Friday, 20 February 2015

Exposure on the Steadfast Trust

This Wednesday night, ITV aired a docmentary entitled Exposure: Charities Behaving Badly. The documentary covered three registered charities that had been involved with extremism.

The programme initially caught my attention because one of the charities featured was the Steadfast Trust, an English nationalist outfit which I have written about multiple times on this blog; the other two charities are ones which I was previously unfamiliar with. I have decided to run aseries of posts summarising the documentary's findings and adding my own observations where appropriate.

Let us start with the first of the charities featured on Exposure: the Steadfast Trust.

The documentary begins at the Stone Cross St. George's parade, which is sponsored by the Steadfast Trust. Narrator Mark Austin introduces the charity, quoting from its website, and reveals that an undercover reporter named Jamie had been researching the Steadfast Trust for Exposure.

If you are curious about the books on sale, see my posts on Athelney Press here and here.

"At the St. George's day event, the Steadfast Trust has a stall selling books and t-shirts", says the narrator. The documentary then cuts to undercover footage as Jamie chats with Tim Hawke, charity trustee, who is attending the stall.

Tim Hawke, as seen on the Steadfast Trust website.

After this, Jamie and Hawke are shown heading to an event to commemorate the Battle of Maldon:

Narrator: "It's not a Steadfast event, but some of the charity's supporters will be there."

Jamie: "How many people are going to be here?"

Hawke: "Probably several. They're a nice enough bunch, don't do a great deal, but they turn up to events. Some of them been in the old NF in the past and all that sort of thing."

As the narrator explains, the NF is the National Front, a notorious far-right party.

Jamie and Hawke head to a pub where they meet a Steadfast Trust supporter named Steve. Hope not Hate claims that this is Steve Sargent, founder of the National Socialist Movement, but I have not confirmed this.

Tim Hawke and Steve.

Steve: "Remember at the Waltham Abbey last year? There was a geezer who came up with the fucking nigger wife with the nigger kid and they had the white dragon flag, do you remember his name?"

Another man (Hawke?) replies that he "can't recall him."

Jamie then meets a man identified by the documentary simply as Darren. This is Darren Clarke, also known as "Edmundy", who I wrote about here; he is the secretary of the Ipswich English Community Group, chaired by Tim Hawke.

Darren Clarke (left)

Darren then begins talking about his nationalist graffiti.

Darren: "My mate is talking about, 'look at the graffiti.' I bloody did the graffiti!"

Jamie: "Did you?"

Darren: "Yeah, I sprayed it up."

Jamie: "Where was it?"

Darren: "Down at Battle Abbey."

Jamie: "What was it?"

Darren: "Oh, just like a... I've got a picture in my car."

This graffiti made it into local news.

The documentary cuts, and Darren Clarke begins talking about a separate act of vandalism; this is picked up again later in the programme:

Jamie: "Where was that?"

Darren: "Norwich Castle. Why they should illustrate an Anglo-Saxon gallery with a picture of an Indian woman I don't know. Had to be done."

Darren Clarke then tries to get Jamie involved:

Darren: "I 've got loads of stickers which you can just go in and chuck on to offensive displays. If there's anything around your way, we can get some stickers to you."

The discussion moves on:

Darren: "If you do something one week, and then the next week, and then the next week, they'll take notice of you. Demos, petitions, angry letters... [shakes head] You know it's just wasting their time, aren't they, so you do have to have the right people, people you can trust, trust with your liberty, trust with your life even. You're risking going away for 25-30 years or being sectioned or something because that's what they're trying to do to you."

Jamie and Darren then head to the event itself. The following sequence has been uploaded as a clip to the Telegraph website.

Narrator: "Jamie discovers that many of the men at this gathering have extreme political views."

Jamie meets a bald man in sunglasses who introduces himself as Piers and says that "I was a member of the BNP for years, I've been a member of the BM [British Movement], the NF..." I believe that this man is Piers Mellor; more information on him can be found with a quick search.

The documentary then cuts to a different, unnamed man who says that

"I was a candidate for the National Front in 1980 something. When the Ku Klux Klan started up over here I got involved in that. A lot of us here took it to the extreme, where we was actually going out and mob up and attack them. That’s because all we had. We didn’t have the Steadfast charity years ago. I suppose you want to do it a bit differently, so the Steadfast charity comes into play."

The Telegraph article incorrectly attributes these statements to Piers. A passer-by tells them that the battle's over (referring, presumably, to a battle re-enactment); the nationalist replies that "no, the battle's just about to begin."

Narrator: "So, according to this supporter of the Steadfast Trust, the registered charity has become a new focal point for the fascist far right movement."

The nationalists rally around a white dragon flag. The documentary shows a clip of one man waving his arm about; the narrator identifies this as a Nazi salute, although it strikes me as a very odd-looking Nazi salute. We could give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest that he got a cramp and needed to stretch his arm.

The documentary then presents clips of various slogans being yelled: "white power", "victory to the Aryan race", "14 words", "race and nation". As a personal observation, the man saying "victory to the Aryan race" sounds like Wulf Ingessunu, founder of Woden's Folk - listen to one of his speeches here for comparison.

Eventually, the gatherers' attention is caught by something occurring off-camera.

Narrator: "A mixed-race family is passing. Within earshot of the family, the group makes threatening comments and racially insults the young boy, who looks around five years old.

"There's a human sacrifice there," remarks one man. "Get the fucking axe ready, we're on."
"Hail the glorious dead" growls another, raising a drinking horn, to a round of laughter.
"I think he's been doing that mud racing," says another of the nationalists.

The documentary then shows Tim Hawke raising a toast with a drinking horn, possibly the same one used by the man who made the "glorious dead" comment.

The documentary host Mark Austin is then shown screening Jamie's footage for two commentators: charity expert Francesca Quint and extremism expert Chetan Bhatt.

Bhatt: "This isn't just casual racism, this is a systematic ideology of white supremacy and race hatred, and it emerges from neo-Nazism, so you can see that very clearly from the kinds of symbols, slogans... the 14 words emerged from a neo-Nazi organisation in America - a terrorist organisation in America." [He is referring to the terrorist activities of David Lane]

Quint: "Of course, they weren't acting in their capacity as representatives of the charity when they were doing that, but it's clearly the sort of thing they're proud of and their association with the charity doesn't make them want to hide it - rather, the opposite. That is something which brings the whole charity into disrepute, and thereby brings charities into disrepute."

The documentary then returns to undercover filming. It shows Tim Hawke and Mark Taylor apparently taking turns to man a stall.

Narrator: "Tim Hawke and Mark Taylor took over the running of the charity in 2014. It seems these new trustees are happy to have support from the far right."

Mark Taylor: "There's a whole big bunch of them going down with Darren, skinheads and everything. We need some people like that, we need a bit of enthusiasm, you know?"

The documentary then moves to Hawke's house.

Narrator: "To find out the charity's plans for the future, Jamie's been invited to Tim Hawke's house."

Hawke: "I mean, I got involved in a couple of things with him [it is implied by the documentary that "him" refers to Darren Clarke]. Went to Norwich, at the Anglo-Saxon centre they had. They said 'you know, there's lots of parts of culture in Britain, Anglo-Saxon was part of it.'  And then they had a picture of Indian women and stuff like this, and we thought 'what?' So we put some little sticker things over it."

Norwich Castle display before and after vandalism (latter image from here)

The narrator then begins talking about English Community Groups, which the Steadfast Trust aims to set up.

Narrator: "Tim mentions an English Community Group in Chelmsford. Tim refers to the group as 'Burn the Mosques'."

Hawke: "...'Burn the Mosques'. I said, 'there's not a chance the charity is going to give you any money'. Can you imagine the charity providing funding for that?"

Narrator: "But it seems he isn't ruling out, mosques may be burnt down in the future."

Hawke: "They're not going to burn the mosques down. Maybe if there was a strong nationalist English focus, more militancy, that might happen. It's not going to happen for the next few years. Maybe it'll happen in the future, but not now."

The documentary then moves on to a charity-endorsed event.

Narrator: "Steadfast have a stall in Waltham Abbey at the annual memorial ceremony to honour King Harold, who died in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. For many people here, this is a taste of the enjoyable pageantry of the Middle Ages. But last year, at the same event, Steadfast supporter Steve spotted a mixed-race family he did not approve of."

The documentary then replays the clip from earlier on, of Steve making racist comments about "that geezer with his nigger wife."

Narrator: "Steve spots the same family attending this event, and he's not too pleased to see them."

Steve: "There's that one with the African wife and the white dragon flag. What goes through their fucking mind, though? 'Oh yeah, my African wife, drape yourself in this white dragon flag."

Steve then goes to take a photo of the family.

Steve: "An African tart holding a white dragon flag! Fucking unbelievable!"

Narrator: "Steve arrives at the charity's stall. He says he's going to put his photo of the family online."

Tim Hawke: "Did you see that white dragon flag walking along?"

Steve: "Yeah, got the photos of it mate. That may be on Redwatch tonight."

This gets a big laugh from Tim Hawke. The narrator then explains to us that Redwatch is a far-right website containing photographs and personal information of "reds". As this incident demonstrates, having a spouse of a different race is apparently enough to make someone a "red".

The documentary then cuts to Chetan Bhatt being shown Hawke's comments on mosque-burning.

Bhatt: "For a charity, that would be quite shocking to see a charity make these claims, but it's not surprising for a far-right organisation. You are never far from political violence, you are never far from incitement to hatred. I'm shocked that it's still being allowed to function as a charity. It's clearly got a political agenda which is driven by neo-Nazi/white nationalist ideas."

The narrator then quotes the charity's response to such concerns:

"Tim Hawke has been suspended pending an internal investigation, and Darren Clarke suspended from our supporters' list.
The Trust does not share or support the offensive views expressed, some by people unknown to the charity. We cannot be held responsible for the views, actions or political affiliations of our supporters. 
We always work within charity law and all donations are used to further our registered objectives.  The Steadfast Trust is not and never has been political in its aims and we are perplexed by the suggestion it has become the focal pint for the far right. 
Tim Hawke attended the event to identify whether it could benefit from a grant, he disliked what he saw and told trustees he would not attend in future. 
We have criteria that English Community Groups must follow. Only a fraction of groups are sanctioned by us. Tim Hawke says 'burn the mosques' was a comment on the page of one group, and he decided the trust could not be associated with it. Mark Taylor's comments on skinheads were made in jest and the event referred to did not happen."

Finally, the charity claimed that it had no knowledge of Steve and could not trace him for a response.

How does the Steadfast Trust's defence stand up? That is something I will examine in my next post.

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