far right PA Scotland was the subject of a counter-terrorism meeting

Erskine protest attended by far right activists linked to banned neo-Nazi group

A protest in Erskine against asylum seekers, organised by the far right group Patriotic Alternative, was attended by people from England with past links to a banned neo-Nazi terror group, The Ferret can reveal.

The Ferret revealed on 31 January 2023 that Patriotic Alternative (PA) Scotland was planning to protest in Erskine over asylum seekers being housed in a local hotel, prompting critics to claim the group was trying to stir up racial hatred. 

The asylum seekers will be housed in the MGM Mutha Glasgow River Hotel. The settlement programme is being managed by Mears Group on behalf of the Home Office, which is trying to accommodate asylum seekers arriving on the Kent coastline every month.

The housing provider is already housing people in several hotels around Scotland, including Perth, Greenock and Aberdeen. 

Erskine protest attended by far right activists linked to banned neo-Nazi group 1

However, the decision to place people in Erskine has led to some local concern.  A rally had originally been organised by locals from the Erskine Against Asylum Hotel group, who were concerned they had not been consulted about the move to bring asylum seekers to the town.

But some locals distanced themselves from PA Scotland after The Ferret reported concerns that the far right group were trying to exploit the situation.

PA Scotland went ahead, however, holding a protest on Sunday, 5 February, attended by a small group of its supporters, who were met by about 100 people from campaign group, Stand up to Racism.

One of PA’s speakers was Sam Melia, from Yorkshire, a leading figure who is alleged to have had links to National Action, a terror group banned by the UK Government in 2017.

Erskine protest attended by far right activists linked to banned neo-Nazi group 2
Sam Melia, of Patriotic Alternative, speaks at demo against asylum seekers in Erskine on Sunday 5 February, 2023.

The anti-racism group HOPE not hate reported that Melia had marched with National Action at a rally in 2016 and published a photograph.

The Ferret can reveal that another PA supporter who attended yesterday’s event had links to National Action. 

James Costello, (aka James Mac), from Kirkby, Merseyside, is known as the “Reverend” in the Creativity Movement – a white supremacist cult that calls for a racial Holy War and claims that Judaism must be destroyed.

According to Hope not hate, Costello associated with National Action and attended its demonstrations. He was also filmed training with National Action at a secret training camp, months after the group was proscribed under anti-terror legislation.

Anti-racism groups expressed concern over PA’s intervention.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said PA targets people with “racist indoctrination”, adding that for the group to “find common cause with someone like James Mac tells you everything you need to know about this vile organisation”.

A spokesperson for CAA added: “Their propaganda, which is designed to stir hatred towards minority groups, including Jewish people, has no place in British society.”

As these views are abhorrent to the public, PA’s modus operandi is to try to hijack local issues, stirring up trouble in communities while presenting themselves as the ‘authentic’ voice of the people. 

David Lawrence, researcher at HOPE not hate.

David Lawrence, senior researcher at HOPE not hate, said Patriotic Alternative is a “fascist group led by Hitler fetishists and Holocaust deniers”.

He added: “As these views are abhorrent to the public, PA’s modus operandi is to try to hijack local issues, stirring up trouble in communities while presenting themselves as the ‘authentic’ voice of the people. 

“However, the fact that PA has to bus in extremists from hundreds of miles away, in order to pad out the dismal crowds at its events, says much about how the public regards this fringe band of extremists.”

PA has been holding rallies outside hotels in England housing asylum seekers.

PA Scotland was asked to comment.

Photographs by Angela Catlin www.angelacatlin.com

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