Five mainstream media articles about Patriotic Alternative this week and a wave of new registrations. Keep ‘em coming.
Amy Sharpe 7-9 minutes
A far-right group is pushing a “hateful and poisonous” home school curriculum which uses racist songs and claims all English people have white skin.
Patriotic Alternative claims 10,000 people a month are viewing its “wholesome” syllabus online during lockdown.
It claims it helps kids “learn history and culture free from the shackles and ideology of the National Curriculum”.
Parents are told to teach their children how Britain abolished slavery – glossing over its involvement in the shameful trade for 300 years and blaming “African chiefs” for selling their people.
Lessons focus on a “heroic age” when Britons were “a superior kind of people showing great feats of courage”.
The group is run by two controversial figures.
One is neo-Nazi Mark Collett, 40, from Leeds – a Holocaust doubter who has tweeted claiming “white genocide” is taking place.
A former BNP official, he ran the party’s youth wing.
His deputy is Laura Towler, a critic of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Patriotic Alternative’s website says home schooling during lockdown is a “blessing for nationalists” – and it explains how to apply to a local council to permanently teach kids at home.
Horrified MPs, education experts and campaigners described the group’s education content as “deeply shocking”.
Former Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw told the Sunday Mirror: “If I was a head I would be warning parents about accessing anything like this. No teacher in their right mind would sink to use it.”
MP Afzal Khan, vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hate Crime, said: “We have seen far-right activity and racist attacks increase in the pandemic.
"Groups such as Patriotic Alternative use lockdown as an opportunity to peddle their hateful ideology.
“I have been subjected to heinous racist abuse online and know how painful and damaging it can be. This ‘alternative’ curriculum is dangerous and harmful and must be removed.”
Lib Dem education spokesperson Daisy Cooper demanded an “urgent Government investigation”.
Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green slammed the bid to “poison children’s education”, saying: “Every child has a right to high-quality schooling that celebrates diversity and teaches them about inclusive British values.
"The Government needs to crack down on extremist ideologies and use of offensive dangerous material.”
The lessons – aimed at kids from five to 16 – feature maths, Anglo-Saxon history, Charles Dickens and nature.
But a closer look exposes the far-right ideology.
One lesson, called The People of England, includes a description of the English, stating: “We all have white skin.”
Another, Be Proud of Your People, says equality movement Black Lives Matter aims to “destroy Western civilisation, the white nuclear family, Christianity and private property”.
It says a migrant “onslaught” caused “discord, unhappiness and violence”.
The same lesson blames “Black African tribes” for capturing and selling slaves “for many centuries before White Europeans set foot in Africa”.
The class ends with questions, such as who was first to reach the highest point on Earth, the bottom of the ocean, the North and South Poles – with the answer to each cited as “white people”.
Finally, it asks: “Who can do absolutely anything you put your mind to because these are your people? You can!”
The music syllabus features eight propaganda videos including a clip called That’s What, showing black men as lyrics ask why they are here.
Another, called If I Wasn’t White, alleges people of other skin tones get more opportunities.
Videos feature bearded historian Professor Steve Parish, but there is no suggestion his content is racist.
Prof Parish insists he simply makes educational videos for kids and told the Mirror: “I’m pleased if anyone wants to use my ramblings, including Patriotic Alternative.
“What we do is factual source material. We don’t do anything with any political bias to it. We cover English history to English schools.”
Quizzed on whether the curriculum is racist, he replied: “That’s a very woke and uneducated opinion of what PA is.
“It’s an alternative, as the name suggests, for patriotic people. As far as I know that’s not illegal.”
PA launched its “Alternative Curriculum” in 2019 and has grown the syllabus since millions of children turned to home-schooling.
Advocacy group Hope Not Hate researcher Patrik Hermansson said: “They added new parts, ran a campaign and spread it on social media.
"This is more dangerous because parents have a bigger responsibility for children’s education and a bigger possibility of influencing them.
“They [PA] want to instil in kids a racist world view that views white people as superior to others. It’s hostile towards other progressive ideas such as feminism and sexual freedom.”
An education plan on PA’s site vows: “British history will be restored as a central pillar of every child’s education. It will be prohibited for any school to promote anti-white propaganda... children will not be taught to hate themselves or ancestors.”
PA’s controversial views go on and on.
It backs capital punishment, wants a complete halt to immigration unless in “exceptional cases”, promotes a “traditional nuclear family” unit consisting of a mother, father and children – and vows to ban “sexualised material or LGBT propaganda” in public.
The Mirror previously told how recruits were taken paintballing.
In October, counterterror experts warned PA was recruiting children as young as 12 via live web interviews.
And last week it emerged the group is hosting Call of Duty tournaments in an attempt to woo younger members.
PA leader Mark Collett was exposed by Channel 4 in a 2002 documentary about the BNP.
He was recorded saying he admired Adolf Hitler and called AIDS a “friendly disease because blacks, drug users and gays have it”.
Collett’s former girlfriend, Eva Van Housen, has a swastika tattoo on her chest.
Deputy leader Laura Towler claimed PA’s curriculum is visited by 10,000 people a month.
She told the Mirror it is designed by “qualified teachers” and she and Collett had no input in creating resources.
She added: “We launched our curriculum before the pandemic. Home education is something we’ve supported for many years.
“Hope Not Hate are a far left, anti-white activist group who lie constantly and who frame patriotic people as hateful and facts as conspiracy theories.
"They are never able to debunk anything we say. It’s ludicrous to say that we have ever encouraged hate or violence.
“Loving your own people doesn’t mean that you hate anybody else.”
But PA’s curriculum is even slammed by a group set up to help people leave the far right – by former believers.
Nigel Bromage, founder of Exit UK, said: “Promoting a misleading version of history simply ill-equips children for life and puts them at a disadvantage, which no parent would ever want.”