A far-right splinter group formed by ex-BNP members in Glasgow has registered with the Electoral Commission as a permitted participant in the Scottish independence referendum campaign.
The Britannica Party, which was founded in 2011 after a power struggle in the BNP saw virtually its entire Glasgow branch expelled for challenging Nick Griffin’s leadership, is headed up by former BNP Glasgow organiser Charlie Baillie and espouses typical far-right views about immigration, monarchism, strike action, and homosexuality.
It will be campaigning for a No vote in the September referendum.
Baillie contested the Shettleston council by-election for his party last year on a platform of ending “mass immigration”. A leaflet published to support his campaign promised “an end to multi-culturalism and political correctness”. He received 31 first preference votes (0.8%).
Parties are only required to register as a permitted participant in the referendum campaign if they intend to spend more than £10,000 campaigning for their preferred outcome.
Britannica’s registration provides it with a higher spending cap, access to the electoral register, and the right for representatives of the party to attend postal vote opening sessions, polling stations, and the counting of votes.
The Greater Glasgow chapter of anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate says Britannica is known for “intolerance and violence towards others” and alleges its senior officers have attended English Defence League demonstrations.
Britannica is one of only a few referendum participants on the fringes of right-wing politics, alongside Alistair McConnachie and the English Democrats.
McConnachie, who is campaigning for a No vote, was the Scottish organiser of Ukip until he left in 2001 amid allegations of Holocaust denial. He has since gone on to launch his own political party called Independent Green Voice, which campaigns on an environmentalist and anti-immigration platform.
The English Democrats, who claim to be “not left, not right, just English”, are campaigning for a Yes vote. The party, which has previously called for an English national parliament and wants to renegotiate the border between England and Wales, has recently struggled with an influx of ex-BNP members.
One of the party’s more recent leaflets reads: “England is a Christian country and those who come here should respect our culture and traditions. We oppose the Islamification of England – one law for all, English Law!”
English Democrat leader Robin Tilbrook recently told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme that he believes Scotland is propped up economically by the rest of the UK. A party leaflet adds that England should not be “used as a convenient ‘cash cow’ to be milked for the benefit of other countries”.
The official campaign for a No vote is Better Together, led by the Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats.
Its opponent, Yes Scotland, is an alliance of the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Green Party, and the Scottish Socialist Party.