New party set to emerge from Patriotic Alternative

A new Homeland Party is being created by former officials of Patriotic Alternative

After several months of discussions over whether and when Patriotic Alternative should register as a political party, PA’s national administration officer Kenny Smith and his fiancée Claire Ellis have resigned to create a new party. They are backed by six regional organisers: Si Crane (Scotland), Anthony Burrows (East Midlands), Fraser Patterson (SE England), Laurence Somerset (SW England), Jerome O’Reilly (Wales), and Connor Marlow (West Midlands).

Their new organisation will be known as the Homeland Party. According to a statement issued on Thursday evening, 32 of PA’s 54 officials are quitting to join Homeland.

However, despite speculation in ‘anti-fascist’ circles, PA’s deputy leader Laura Towler and her husband, Yorkshire regional organiser Sam Melia, are supporting PA’s founder and leader Mark Collett, and at least two of the departing ROs have already been replaced.

Unlike earlier splits this seems to be a genuine difference of opinion over movement strategy, not a question of personal bitterness or allegations of impropriety.

Fifteen years ago H&D editor Mark Cotterill (above left) and former BNP official Kenny Smith were leading their own parties, England First and Scotland First. After several years with PA, Kenny Smith is about to launch a new UK-wide Homeland Party.

In a letter circulated to senior activists on 12th April, Kenny Smith said that he had been concerned about the direction of PA since last December. He wrote of a failure of political direction; “no focus on community politics”; and “no real effort to get registered as a political party”.

He drew the conclusion that PA’s “overfocus on online streaming” meant that PA had become “a glorified social club”.

At first in this 12th April letter, Kenny stated that he would not be “joining any other organisation, but a week later (having been approached by numerous senior figures in PA) he has created the Homeland Party and states that he has the backing of 32 of the 54 PA officers.

The PA leadership’s response has essentially been to emphasise “business as usual”. Mark Collett and Laura Towler (alongside Eastern England regional organiser Steve Blake) addressed an online gathering of more than 60 supporters hosted by Radio Albion on 20th April. Laura maintained that much of the “split” talk amounted to “Chinese whispers” and that outside Scotland only seventeen people had confirmed their departure from PA.

Laura Towler (above right) at an H&D event in September 2022 with (left to right) Dr Jim Lewthwaite of the BDP; former BNP regional organiser Keith Axon; H&D assistant editor Peter Rushton; and European correspondent Isabel Peralta.

H&D has no reason to doubt the honesty of the leaders of either side in this split. No doubt Laura was being strictly truthful in stating this on Thursday, but equally there’s no doubt that those seventeen will by now have taken significant numbers of PA supporters with them.

There’s good reason to hope that this will not be the sort of bitter division that has scarred our movement in the past, and that even when two separate groups are established – PA and the Homeland Party – they will form part of a racial nationalist movement that moves towards unity rather than atomisation.

PA is moving to a new membership structure but still seems a long way from registering as a political party with the Electoral Commission.

In a live stream broadcast on Thursday night, Mark and Laura addressed three key issues:
PA’s vetting system; they did not wish to “do away with” the vetting system but felt that it had been applied in too strict a manner that had alienated some potential activists. Mark Collett wanted a more flexible system, allowing regional organisers more autonomy to adopt the level of security vetting they found appropriate.
PA’s political direction; Mark resented the imputation that he is not interested in “community politics”; he points out that alongside his regular online streaming, he has himself been on the frontline in many demonstrations nationwide, including most recently the protests outside hotels taken over by “asylum seekers”;
The paid position offered to Kenny; Mark and Laura said that as late as Monday and Tuesday this week, they had made offers to Kenny in an effort to retain his services with PA; however Kenny and some regional organisers appear to have lost confidence in PA’s national leadership.

PA leader Mark Collett has offered to accept any of the dissidents back into PA, but it seems likely that the outcome of these disagreements will be two separate organisations – one mainly focused on traditional politics including election campaigns, and the other working through podcasts, video streams and the like as well as public demonstrations.

The old PA team, now fractured: (above left to right) Laura Towler, Kenny Smith, and Mark Collett.

In his own response to the PA crisis, also broadcast online to supporters, Kenny Smith emphasised the poor state of PA security when he was appointed and the undoubted fact that he had made dramatic improvements with the vetting policy, even though this was unpopular in some quarters.

Kenny points out that nationalism has become an “online world” where there is “a massive amount of fear”. He sees the vetting policy as an essential step in converting PA’s recruits into real world rather than online activists, and he stresses that this was never a matter of personal ambition or wages, but rather of acquiring the necessary authority to help taking the movement forward.

Part of the dispute within PA’s national leadership seems to be about the speed and scale of that conversion from the Internet to “real life”. On both sides, the proof will be in the extent to which “community politics” manages to put down real world roots, whether in electoral politics or in other forms of action.

H&D wishes both PA and the new Homeland Party well and looks forward to their complementary contributions to the essential cause of racial nationalism.

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