I must stop writing about “freemen on the land” very soon. But Charon QC linked last week to a video showing some of their antics – and watching it prompted me to do a little more research.
The video records events inside Birkenhead County Court in March this year, when a large number of “freemen on the land” types converged on Birkenhead to support the purported “arrest” of a judge. Here’s Veronica, founder of the “fmotl” forums, writing subsequently about what happened.
The pretext for the “arrest” was that the judge was supposedly guilty of treason, or something. In more practical terms, he was considering an order for bankruptcy relating to Roger Hayes of the “British Constitution Group“, who refused to pay his council tax and apparently organised the event. Here is Roger Hayes after emerging from the hearing. It’s not Hayes who interests me, though, but two men you can see if you freeze the video at 1’38”, just to the side and behind the man handcuffed by the police.
These men – the one to the side with the silver hair and glasses apparently talking to a police officer, and the one behind with the dark grey and white beard and ponytail – look a lot like Mike Whitby and Peter Tierney, both of whom seem to be BNP activists.
Here they are speaking together on a BNP video (please be aware that some of the links in this post are to British National Party videos and sites: I’ve tied to make it clear which – don’t click if you don’t want to). Notice, by the way, the badge on Whitby’s left lapel. Here the two men feature in a BNP video recording of a nasty stunt outside a newsagents.
Turning back to the events in Birkenhead in March, in this video (which begins by the way with Norman Scarth, about whom I’ve written before) you can again clearly see the two men inside Birkenhead County Court during the “arrest” stunt, at 3’58” and again at 6’28”.
In addition, at 4’00”, a woman begins shouting that’s she’s being assaulted by police. Notice if you can the badge on the right front pocket of her black, military-style jacket – it looks quite similar to the one we saw earlier on Mike Whitby. You can see the same incident at 10’00” on this video. This looks to me like Karen Otty, who is apparently another BNP activist. She can also be seen just after 5’40” on that BNP video of the nasty newsagent stunt.
I don’t accuse any of these people of doing anything wrong – although according to this BNP website Whitby was sent to prison for contempt of court. Supporting the BNP is legal. It’s interesting, though, that BNP activists should apparently be attracted to publicity stunts linked to the “freemen on the land”, “lawful rebellion” micro-movement.
Some “freemen” and “lawful rebels” at least seem to be aware that there was a BNP presence in Birkenhead: the write-up by Veronica I mentioned earlier ends for some reason with a clear attempt to distance “freemanism” from “any political party of any kind”; and on an affiliate site, one commenter (March 20, 2011 at 4.45pm) says
What’s with the far right/BNP presence though?! That ain’t cool at all…
I don’t accuse “freemen” generally, and certainly not “commonly known as dom”, of supporting the BNP. No doubt many of them were unaware that BNP activists were present in Birkenhead. But it’s important for anyone who comes into contact with “freemen’s” pseudolegal ideas – especially anyone who thinks of themselves as a radical who meets them, say at a protest – to be aware of the right-wing nature, attraction and potential of “freemanism”. It seems the BNP are aware of it.
Roger Hayes was soon declared bankrupt, by the way.