A bid to register a neo-Nazi political party in Scotland has been rejected by the Electoral Commission.
An application was submitted in August for a new party called Scotland Awake, using a neo-Nazi logo as its emblem.
But the Electoral Commission – the body responsible for registering political parties in the UK – refused the proposal due to “equalities” issues.
The Electoral Commission received the Scotland Awake application on 17 August 2017.
The party’s proposed descriptions were: ‘Scotland Awake The Real Nationalist Party’; ‘Scotland Awake Start Repatriation Stop Immigration’; and ‘Scotland Awake Your Last Chance’.
The logo submitted with the application was a well known neo-Nazi symbol – a white supremacist version of the Celtic Cross – called a “wheel cross” or “sun cross”.
It is used globally by white supremacists including the Ku Klux Klan which has its own version of the design called a “blood drop” cross.
The Electoral Commission cannot say who made the application to register Scotland Awake due to the Data Protection Act.
To register a party, a constitution must be sent to the Electoral Commission. The commission refused Scotland Awake’s application on the grounds that that its constitution breached equality law.
A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said: “The application you refer to was rejected and is no longer live. We rejected the application because the commission came to the conclusion that it was contrary to its public sector equality duty to consider the application further.
“That was because the commission was of the view that the constitution provided by the party as part of its application was not in accordance with equalities legislation.”
We rejected the application because the Commission came to the conclusion that it was contrary to its public sector equality duty to consider the application further Spokesperson, Electoral Commission
Registered political parties can stand for elections to the Scottish Parliament, the UK Parliament and the European Parliament, among others.
The Electoral Commission is responsible for the registration of political parties under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
The attempt to form an extreme far right party in Scotland came shortly before a neo-Nazi organisation called Scottish Dawn was banned by the UK Government.
The Home Office’s decision to ban Scottish Dawn under terror laws followed an undercover investigation by The Ferret in conjunction with the Daily Record.
We revealed that Scottish Dawn was formed by members of terror group National Action in an attempt to get round a government ban last December.
Unite Against Fascism said: “This shows that politicians banning groups has real limits as racist and far right groups just re-invent themselves with a new name.
“Instead the politicians and some sections of the press should stop creating a climate of fear about immigrants and muslims. It is creating this toxic mix that provides the fuel for the far right.”
There’s growing concern in the UK that neo-Nazis simply re-establish themselves after being banned and operate under a new name.
This shows that politicians banning groups has real limits as racist and far right groups just re-invent themselves with a new name Unite Against Fascism
A number of new far right groups have emerged this year in Scotland.
In August, we revealed that anti-fascist group Antifa closed down the first public meeting in Glasgow of a new far right group called Generation Identity.
Generation Identity has been compared to the so-called “alt right” in the US which was involved in violence in Charlottesville, USA, when Heather Heyer was killed.
Generation Identity started recruiting in Scotland recently via social media.
Other far right groups to emerge recently include Scotland First and Vanguard Brittania, which was active in Angus.
Another group called Last Line Resistance is from Ayrshire and describes itself as “Autonomous Nationalists”.
It is currently organising its first demonstration in Scotland – March Against Marxism – due to be held in Glasgow’s George Square on 5 November 2017.
A version of this story was published by the Daily Record on 24 October 2017.