Just another crazy American

EBF Trump crazy AmericanI was out having coffee with an old friend from my hometown when the news broke. We were sitting in a swanky coffee shop making adoring noises in the general direction of our new humans (her delightful little treasure is a month or two older than mine) when our mutual admiration fest was interrupted by mobile phone alerts. My old friend was first to comment.

“OMG! Trump’s been retweeting Britain First! You’re something to do with EBF aren’t you?”

I almost fell off my chair. Not only did I not know she’d heard of EBF, I definitely didn’t know she knew I was involved.

“Yes,” I replied, taken aback.

“I’m EBF Blogger”

“I knew it!” She exclaimed. “I knew that was you. I can tell your style of writing a mile away!”

My friend and I had gone right through school together. We almost always sat next to each other and even met in each other’s houses to do homework. We really were the geeky girls of the class. So it stands to reason that if anyone would know my writing style, she would.

“So?” She inquired. “What do you make of that?”

“Just another crazy American who thinks they understand British society.” I said.

“Most of Britain First’s followers are either paid-for clickfarm likes or foreigners. The American Christian right wing has always been keen on slagging off non-Christians so BF’s anti-Muslim, anti-brown agenda appeals to them.”

My friend stared blankly back at me, clearly surprised that I didn’t see this ‘shot in the arm’ for the Biffers as a problem.

“It’s no big deal.” I said. “Britain First has lost all credibility in UK. British people took a while to see them for what they are but now everybody who cares to look knows that they’re a bunch of far-right bigots. They can get American Facebook support if they want but that won’t help them in this country. If they get a few American donors… IF that happens they’ll just squander the money on European holidays and fines for public order offences anyway.”

“So you’re not worried that the President of the free world just endorsed them?”

“The president of what? I didn’t vote in that election. He’s president of America – nowhere else. And anyway – even the Yanks want shot of him!”

My friend smiled and sat back in her overly stuffed comfy chair.

“Just another crazy American, then.” She said, wiping the second most adorable little baby face in the world.

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All ship shape and Bristol fashion

EBF BUF Bristol 12 March 2016The New British Union of Fascists, a tiny bunch of wannabe Black-shirts with an ‘action-man style’ uniform fetish are making a bid for big-boy status. Like brave little soldiers trying not to cry on the way to the dentist these Dad’s army refugees are soon to put their collective heads straight into the lion’s mouth. They’re off to Bristol!

In some towns the fash can muster a small amount of local support. Most are indifferent to them, seeing them only as an inconvenient obstruction to be avoided whenever possible. But some…

Towns like Bristol have a long history of running the far right out of town. They’ve seen neo-nazis of various stripes from the BNP and NF to the EDL and countless other sad groups of fash literally run in terror from Bristol’s #Antifa. It’s such a well-established tradition that Bristol parents are developing a fash-themed version of ‘Whack-a-mole’ to introduce their children to the habit.

This is the place where a miniscule group of uniformed, beer-gutted, middle-aged men (who are definitely past their prime) plan to prove how hard they are. For some unfathomable reason their Fuhrer, Gary “Blakey” Raikes thinks Bristol is the place to be. We think he might not have though this through.

What could possibly go wrong?

Dear Jayda

BF Jayda Dudley speeches 3We’re really grateful to this follower who also happens to be something of an expert in ancestry research. There has been much speculation about Jayda “Dutchy” Fransen’s roots over the last year or so. There has been much speculation about her heritage – her degree of ‘Britishness’, if you like. There has been much speculation about the possibility that she may be an immigrant or hail from a family of recent immigrants to our fine, welcoming, multicultural society. Now we can all stop speculating and start ‘knowing’, thanks to the painstaking research of one of EBF’s dedicated followers.

So, without further ado we invite you to boil the kettle, make a nice hot cup of tea, put your feet up and read this wonderful open letter to Miss Jayda Fransen, a British citizen of distinctly foreign heritage…

Dear Jayda

You don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve my time, my energy or this gift. But I am going to give this to you anyway because as the adage goes; you don’t always get what you deserve.

I am a family history enthusiast. I am an amateur but after 10 years enjoying this hobby, I’m pretty good at it. I started following Exposing Britain First about a year ago and something struck me. Your surname. I’ve been studying family history now for long enough to suspect that you aren’t completely British. Fransen is not a British name. So I decided to have a little dig around. All the records I researched are in the public domain. You can look for yourself if you like.

Your family history is rich and I have to confess I am jealous. So far in my ancestry I have found no-one (and my “tree” is over one thousand people strong) who isn’t English. I am the product of an endless stream of Agricultural Labourers. I remember finding a shop-keeper once – and dancing round the room in delight. I am unremittingly English, through ten generations. Your family history on the other hand is exciting and shows tremendous courage and vibrancy. It is rooted in the East End of London. As now, the East End has always been a melting pot of cultures, religions and immigrants. It’s where people new to this country often start their lives.

Let’s start with your paternal grandparents; John Joseph Fransen, or rather Jan Jozef Wynand Fransen. Born in the Netherlands in 1927, Jan came to England with the Dutch Naval fleet. 26710 Leading writer Fransen was in the Royal Netherlands Navy and based in London during the Second World War, fighting the Nazis when most of the Netherlands was occupied or destroyed. The name Jan Jozef would have been a difficult one to live with during and after the Second World War; anything the least bit Germanic sounding was not something to be flaunted or advertised. So he changed it to John Joseph, the name you probably knew him by when he died in 1999.

BF compassion EBFWhilst here, he met and married your grandmother, Elizabeth Mary Cotter. They married in the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady in Lisson Grove. I can find no record of Elizabeth being born in the UK. Most likely, both she and her father, John William Cotter were born in Ireland.

John William Cotter joined the Royal Leinster Regiment in 1913, intending perhaps to have a career in the Army. He was discharged before the beginning of the First World War for misconduct. From the records it appears that he was incessantly drunk and insubordinate. I can’t find out how he made it to London but there are records that appear to show him in the Fulham Road Workhouse in 1922. The workhouse was the somewhat barbaric “benefits” system of the day; where those too sick or without work were forced to go in order to survive. Your ancestor was not alone; throughout your family history there are frequent examples of your family receiving support in this most degrading and undiginified fashion.

On your maternal grandparent’s side of the family, the history is equally fascinating. Your great-grandfather is recorded in prison in the 1901 census. His crime isn’t mentioned and the records are currently sealed but wait a few years and you’ll be able to find out. And then there’s his surname; Silver. The Silver family were highly skilled workers, polishers and cabinet-makers. Why would they marry “beneath” their skill or financial status continually throughout the 19th Century. Speculating, the Silver’s had Jewish ancestry and even in the 19th Century, even though they were surrounded by other immigrants and those struggling with poverty, being Jewish or of Jewish ancestry wasn’t considered to be an asset. Silver is an extremely common anglicised surname, usually from Silber. I’ll keep searching, not for your benefit but for mine. You have no idea how exciting and interesting from an intellectual perspective it is to research such a diverse family history.

Immigrant ancestry Jayda BF EBFI imagine you would rather this was not your family history. I would give my “eye-teeth” to swap your ancestry for mine; endless farm workers get a little boring after a while. I am very, very English. You, on the other hand, are not. You are a melting pot of Dutch, Irish and Jewish roots. So I wonder, not “Who do you think you are?” but “What on earth do you think you are doing?” Your grandfather John (Jan Jozef) came to this country to fight for freedom and settled here. Your great-grandfather, an Irish immigrant was supported by the English “benefits” system, harsh though it was despite being an immigrant. And the Silvers? The highly skilled workers who married beneath them, integrated into English society so that their children and their children’s children, leading right to you could be part of this country and its culture, what would they say to you if they could. Probably much the same as the good, decent people of Exposing Britain First do now.

I’m sorry if this has upset you and I am sure you will want to deny it. But stop. It’s time to grow up and start representing your incredible family, your diverse, culturally rich ancestry like most British people do. With pride. This is who you are.