The first time you encountered Britain First on Facebook something inside you became complete, a eureka moment – like the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle – you found the pantomime villains of British politics you were looking for, even if you didn’t know you were looking for them.
Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, the leaders of Britain First, are resolved to be the villains Britain deserves, but not the ones it needs right now (or ever). They know that whatever they do, whichever hairbrained scheme they execute next is going to receive nationwide media coverage across major publications with dog whistle titles fine-tuned to rile and polarise.
Like impotent, unthreatening bandits in a kids cartoon – you know they will never prevail but, undeterred, they keep on trying anyway. Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding are 2016’s answer to Dick Dastardly and Muttley scheming up a new gaffe week-on-week. You have to admire their drive, their sheer unbridled enthusiasm to continue despite the overwhelming opposition to their antics.
Jayda and Paul are like the British right-wing Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. A quasi-glamourous fire-powered gal more famous for her looks than her ability to articulate, and an ostentatiously ignorant potato-man who has a lot to say about things, even if he doesn’t know why he’s saying them yet. Think about it, Paul and Jayda are almost exactly like Kim and Ye, they need each other to complete each other, like all great double-acts before them: Posh and Becks, Bill and Hillary, fish’n’chips, hydrogen and cyanide.
They come back time and time again with a new gimmick: armoured Land Rover, mosque invasion, boycott, prosecution by counter-terror police, flat cap, chasing hate preachers down London streets, marches and flashy news bulletin videos. Fun for the whole family. You’ve got Paul for the mums, Jayda for the dads and unsettling carrot-and-stick anti-Islamic rhetoric for the little nippers.
Like all attention-parasites their bread and butter is controversy and they have to become more obscene, more inflammatory to remain relevant, constantly moving their own goal posts. There is no endgame in sight. All we know is, somehow we’ve all unwillingly taken the red pill and we’re watching Britain First unfold in real time. It’s a spectacle like no other, and nothing else that will ever be. It’s almost beautiful.
As Britain First’s like-base grows larger day-on-day, their antics become more outrageous, teetering on theatrical, pandering to what we expect of them. Actively playing the villain. Paul and Jayda really are the pantomime ugly sisters the nation love to boo. And in true pantomime fashion they are allowed to break the fourth-wall and become self-aware characters, goading the audience into hating them.
In other words: They are trolling us, and we are letting them.