National Action

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A lunatic Chaplin imitator
and his greatest fans

Icon nazi.svg
First as tragedy
Then as farce
Tykes gassing Kikes is our motto.
—Yorkshire branch of NA[1]

National Action is a neo-Nazi extremist organisation based in the UK that is officially considered by the British government as a terrorist organization. NA is known for its youth-focused recruitment strategy, including seeking students within universities. National Action has a predominantly-northern membership, with between 60 and 100 members concentrated in Yorkshire, according to The Sunday Times.[1]

As of December 2016, the group is a proscribed terrorist organisation (the first far-right organisation to have been so): this means that it is now illegal to be a supporter of the organisation. However, those in the know such as Hope not Hate point out that this misses the point – what was really needed before proscription was a fair application of already-existing law.[2] "National Action" is a name neo-Nazi groups like using, e.g. an unrelated group of this name in Perth, Western Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


The source of all of the conflict in society is all the different racial groups that have been brought here. They have been brought here to create a people who are deracinated and easier to control.
—Benjamin Raymond, National Alliance leader[3]

The founders of National Action from 2013 were formerly involved with several far-right groups such as English National Resistance, Autonomous Nationalists UK and BNP-Youth (YBNP). One of the founders, Benjamin Raymond, had created a political party of his own called the Integralist Party based on the fascist ideology of Oswald Mosley. Members of National Action claim that these organisations are/were (some are defunct) not extreme enough, and that NA is "more radical than the BNP". Unlike the BNP, National Action is not interested in moderating its racist image to attract popular support. For example, a typical NA leaflet reads: "Cleanse Britain of parasites. The white man is on the march – white power", while National Action’s website contains very crude racist and anti-Semitic imagery and ­quotations by Adolf Hitler; one comment states: "To be on our side, a nationalist must be openly racist and openly anti-Semitic. There is no legitimate reason to not be a racist or an anti-Semite in 2014. The battlefield today is race". Its motto is also: "For a Free White Britain".[4] Alex Davies, another founder of the extremist group has openly claimed NA wants to exterminate Jews. National Action therefore is watched by the British police anti-terror squad, who regard them as a threat to national security. However, it is unclear if Davies is being serious, since he has claimed his own intentions and those of National Action's are to "piss people off".[5] NA also makes prolific use of social media such as Twitter, where it promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Jooz being behind 9/11, and has promoted lone wolf terrorist attacks online.[1]

Despite this background, Raymond still seems convinced that he can get decent, university-educated chaps to join NA and professionalise the far-right in the UK.[3] In June, 2014, Alex Davies, a then first-year Philosophy undergraduate, was expelled from Warwick University for his racist views and comments about killing Jews.[6][7] A current senior spokesperson for the organisation is Jack Renshaw, a former BNP Youth activist currently facing criminal charges over incitement to racial hatred.[8]

Stirring up trouble[edit]

In October 2014, Garron Helm, a National Action member from Merseyside, was sentenced to four weeks in prison for sending an antisemitic message via Twitter to Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger.[9][10] The following month, following Helm's release, 10 National Action activists were arrested in dawn raids on suspicion of conspiring to cause criminal damage to Berger's office; they were all bailed.[11] National Action's campaign against Berger was supported by US-based neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, which offered advice on how to set up untraceable Twitter accounts in order to send abuse.[12]

In June 2015, 26-year-old member Zack Davies, was found guilty of the attempted murder of a Sikh man in Mold, Flintshire. He claimed this was revenge for the murder of Lee Rigby.[13]

In August 2015, the group attempted to hold a "White Man March" in Liverpool. Strong opposition from the Anti-Fascist Network forced organisers to cancel the march before taking refuge in Lime Street Station. Tensions were raised by a letter to Mayor Joe Anderson threatening race riots; National Action claimed this was a forgery by an agent provocateur.[14]

Run up to proscription[edit]

Brexit led to a more alarming trend within the organisation going beyond thuggery and spray-painting swastikas on buildings. In the months following the referendum, National Action began a propaganda campaign in West Yorkshire and Mersey side, putting up posters labelling the areas as "Nazi-Controlled Zones".[15][16] In July, teenager Jack Coulson was arrested after making threats towards ethnic minorities online; searching his house confirmed the presence of explosives and he was arrested on terrorism charges, and later released pending rehabilitation.[17]

In November 2016, The Sunday Times reported that National Action was supporting Thomas Mair, the murderer of Batley and Spen Labour MP Jo Cox. National Action altered its listing on Google to state: "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain!", a slogan Mair had said to a court when asked to give his name following Cox's murder.[1]

The organisation is currently the most active in Yorkshire, where half of referrals to the government's anti-extremism strategy have been from the far-right. It has promoted the conspiracy theories that Jews were behind the September 11 attacks, and has labelled Cox as the "patron saint of [Asian] grooming gangs", according to The Sunday Times.[1] At a secret meeting of the Yorkshire Forum, Jack Renshaw, a spokesman for the group said that they need to adopt a "killer instinct". According to him: "As nationalists, we need to learn from the mistakes of the national socialists and we need to realise that, no, you do not show the Jew mercy".[18]

As a result of the combined propaganda campaigns and the Coulson case, the UK government declared National Action to be a proscribed terrorist organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000, making it a criminal offence to support or be a member as of Friday 16 December 2016. In laying an order for National Action's proscription, Home Secretary Amber Rudd described the group as "a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology".[19]


National Action immediately attempted to rebrand themselves with alternate names in an attempt to bypass the ban in a manner comparable with Anjem Choudary's al-Mujahiroun. Among the rebranded factions were Scottish Dawn, which recruited Scottish Neo-Nazis, and NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action) which glorified Neo-Nazi graffiti and street art. Both were declared to be continuations of National Action and banned in 2017 as such.[20]

Since its banning a number of arrests have also been made. In September 2017, five members of the British Army were arrested over membership, with an additional six arrested over several days.[21][22][23][24][25][26] [27] The latter six people, including Renshaw, appeared in court in England charged with being members, and for a plot to kill MP Rosie Cooper in July 2017 and additional threats to kill a police officer.[28][29][30] In June 2018 Christopher Lythgoe and Matthew Hankinson were jailed for 8 and 6 years respectively for membership of the organisation.[31] Ben Raymond, one of the founders of National Action and later of NS131, was convicted of membership of a proscribed organisation in November 2021; during the trial the prosecution described him as "like Joseph Goebbels of the original cabal of Nazis, the natural head of propaganda".[32]

Coulson was arrested again in 2018 when he was found to be in possession of a bomb manual.[33]

Far-right criticism[edit]

Ironically National Action has been attacked by other white supremacist, skinhead and neo-Nazi groups who view the organization as too provocative or extreme, which they regard will turn the British public away from voting for 'credible' (that is, "I'm not racist, but...") far-right political parties such as the BNP. NA has only so far received support from the more race-obsessed National Front and the Hitler-fanatical British Movement. There are recurrent debate threads on Stormfront whether NA tactics or the organisation itself is genuine.

Some white nationalist conspiracy theorists such as Dan Rayner have claimed NA is "Jewish infiltrated".


  • Joshua Bonehill
  • Jack Coulson - Bradford, bombmaker.
  • Alex Davies - Founding member.
  • Alexander Deakin - Birmingham. Charged with publishing terrorist material.
  • Mark Jones - Halifax. Described in court as a leader, strategist and recruiter for National Action in the year after its ban. Known for going on a trip to Buchenwald where he performed Nazi salutes for photographs.[34]
  • Alice Cutter - Halifax. Girlfriend of Mark Jones and fellow member. Dubbed the "Buchenwald Princess" in NA circles.[34]
  • Daniel Ward - Birmingham. One of three arrested on suspicion of being a member after the ban.[35] Jailed for three years.[36]
Rosie Cooper murder cell
  • Matthew Hankinson - Merseyside. Sentenced to 6 years for being a member of a terrorist organisation, and was part of the Rosie Cooper plot.[37]
  • Garron Helm - Merseyside. Arrested in September 2017 as part of the Rosie Cooper murder plot.
  • Christopher Lythgoe - Warrington. Alleged to be the leader of National Action post-ban. Jailed for eight years for being part of the Rosie Cooper plot.[37]
  • Jack Renshaw - Skelmersdale, Party spokesman. Arrested in September 2017 as part of the Rosie Cooper murder plot and plead guilty along with threats to kill a police officer, also convicted pedophile.[38]
  • Michael Trubini - Warrington. Arrested in September 2017 as part of the Rosie Cooper murder plot.
  • Andrew Clark - Warrington. Arrested in September 2017 as part of the Rosie Cooper murder plot.
Army cell
  • Pte Mark Barrett - Soldier in the Royal Anglian Regiment. Arrested in September 2017 while stationed in Cyprus.[39]
  • L/Cpl Mikko Vehviläinen - Soldier in the Royal Anglian Regiment, and stationed in Brecon. Arrested in September 2017 for possession of Anders Breivik's terror manual[39] and some illegal firearms, sentenced to eight years in prison in March 2018.[40]
  • Unknown third man charged with "distributing material likely to be useful to terrorists featuring information on explosives and how to kill people." (may or may not be Deakin)[39]


Scottish Dawn[edit]

Scottish Dawn emerged in Scotland after the banning of National Action, with its first public appearance at a Scottish Defence League (SDL) rally in Alloa in March 2017, but was proscribed by the UK Home Secretary in September 2017.[41] One of its leaders was identified as Ruaidhri McKim, who claimed to also be a former member of UKIP who quit after the 2016 referendum.[42] It claims to be very into animal rights and veganism, and to help the (white) homeless. Its emblem is a yellow flag with a black "life" rune, previously a symbol of the actual Nazi party. Unlike most far-right Scottish organisations, which tend to be Unionist and pro-British, Scottish Dawn is pro-Scottish nationalist and has tried to get support among working-class nationalists, diverting them from the Scottish National Party's more inclusive, civic nationalism towards identitarian ethnic nationalism.[42]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Gadher, Dipesh (27 November 2016). "Neo-Nazis face ban after Cox murder". The Sunday Times. (subscription required).
  2. "National Action ban: HOPE not hate statement". Hope not Hate. 12 December 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nye, Catrin (1 September 2015). "Radicals: The Proud Racist". BBC News – via YouTube.
  4. Exposed: Rise of Hitler-loving National Action group who want to 'ethnically cleanse' the UK.
  5. Meet New Neo-Nazi Group National Action Which Just Wants To 'Piss People Off. Huffington Post, 6 March 2014
  6. Warwick Students' Rally Against Neo-Nazi Group
  7. Fascist leader leaves Warwick
  8. Hamilton, Fiona (28 November 2016). "Hitler's only fault showing mercy to Jews, youth leader told secret meeting". The Times. (subscription required).
  9. Perraudin, Frances (21 October 2014). "Man jailed for antisemitic tweet to Labour MP". The Guardian.
  10. Collins, Matthew (March–April 2015). "National Action: Young, Nazi and Dangerous". Hope Not Hate (18).
  11. Traynor, Luke (8 November 2014). "Neo-Nazis target Jewish MP as police arrest 10 for 'anti-Semitic' protest". Daily Mirror.
  12. Dysch, Marcus (30 October 2014). "Neo-Nazi gave out internet abuse tips in campaign against Luciana Berger". The Jewish Chronicle.
  13. "National Action's Zack Davies guilty of attempted murder". Channel 4 News. 25 June 2015.
  14. "Liverpool: White Man March Neo-Nazis Cower In Station Depot After Being Pelted With Rubbish, Then Cancel Event". The Huffington Post. 15 August 2015.
  15. BBC news - Wayne Bell jailed for neo-Nazi group social media posts.
  16. Liverpool Echo - Liverpool man arrested as part of Nazi stickers investigation.
  17. BBC News - Neo-Nazi pipe bomb teenager given rehabilitation order.
  18. Hamilton, Fiona (28 November 2016). "Hitler's only fault showing mercy to Jews, youth leader told secret meeting". The Times. 
  19. Elgot, Jessica (12 December 2016). "Neo-Nazi group National Action banned by UK home secretary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  20. Banned neo-Nazi terrorist groups still recruiting as aliases of National Action, Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, 29 Sep 2017
  21. Daily Telegraph - British soldiers arrested by terror police for allegedly being members of banned neo-Nazi group
  22. Guardian - Five army men held over alleged membership of banned UK neo-Nazi group.
  23. BBC News - Six held in far-right group National Action investigation
  24. Independent - National Action: Six alleged members of neo-Nazi group arrested on suspicion of terror offences
  25. BBC News - Neo-Nazi arrests: UK soldiers charged with terror offences
  26. Sky News - National Action investigation: Six held over suspected membership of banned far-right group.
  27. Huffington Post - National Action: Eleven People Arrested As Part Of Probe Into Banned Far Right Group.
  28. National Action: Six alleged neo-Nazis appear in court charged with joining banned terrorist group, Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, 9 Jan 2018
  29. Six held in far-right group National Action investigation, BBC, 3 Jan 2018
  30. Man pleads guilty to plot to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper, Nadia Khomami, The Guardian, 12 Jun 2018
  31. Two members of banned neo-Nazi group National Action jailed, The Guardian, 18 July 2018
  32. ‘Head of propaganda’ for UK neo-Nazi group faces jail after conviction, The Guardian, 30 Nov 2021
  33. BBC News - Neo-Nazi pipe bomb teenager admits terror offence.
  34. 34.0 34.1 Independent - "National Action neo-Nazi entered ‘Miss Hitler’ beauty contest to attract new recruits, court hears".
  35. Independent - "National Action: Three more charged with membership of banned neo-Nazi terror group".
  36. Independent -
  37. 37.0 37.1 Independent - "'Fully-fledged neo-Nazi' jailed for eight years for leading banned far-right group National Action".
  38. The neo-Nazi paedophile who plotted to kill. BBC News, 2 April 2019.
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 BBC News - National Action: Accused soldier 'had Breivik manual'.
  40. Britannian armeijassa palvellut suomalainen Mikko Vehviläinen sai 8 vuotta vankeutta - valmisteli ”rotusotaa”, Iltalehti, 12 November 2018 (in Finnish)
  41. Who are the Scottish Dawn neo-Nazi group?, Stuart Nicolson, BBC Scotland News, 29 Sep 2017
  42. 42.0 42.1 Revealed: neo-Nazi terrorists are behind Scotland’s newest far right group, The Ferret, 12 June 2017