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Britain First investigated for use of Royal Crown

Britain First investigated for use of Royal Crown

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday August 27 2014

The Guardian reports on an investigation launched by the Advertising Standards Agency into Britain First’s use of royal symbols following a complaint.

The far right group’s website features an online shop where supporters can purchase a range of products including an embroidered baseball cap, a beanie hat, a hoodie, a members’ only jacket and three polo shirt designs all of which bear the political party’s logo and an image of the Royal Crown above it. One of the products, also bears the image of the Scottish Royal Arms.

The paper notes the party’s use of its merchandise in campaigns and electioneering particularly in the European election in May. The words “Taking our country back” and “Rule Britannia” also feature on the group’s branded clothing.

Following a complaint from an internet user, the Advertising Standards Authority conducted an investigation into the advertisements promoting the clothing range. The ASA assessed whether the images on the BF website, which show the clothing designs, breached the Committee of Advertising Practice Code (CAP Code Edition 12).

The ASA stated that “We understood from the Cabinet Office that the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, responsible for authorising official use of the Royal Crown and Scottish Arms, had not granted permission for Britain First to use the Royal emblems on their merchandising.”

It concluded “The design on the clothing was clearly visible on the website pages and in the ad on Facebook and, because we had seen no evidence to show that Britain First was entitled to use the emblems, we considered that the images of the Royal Crown and Scottish Arms had been used without prior permission and therefore breach the Code.”

Article 3.52 of the CAP Code states “Marketing communications must not use the Royal Arms or Emblems without prior permission from the Lord Chamberlain’s office. References to a Royal Warrant should be checked with the Royal Warrant Holders’ Association.”

In addition, Britain First failed to respond to the ASA’s enquiries and consequently also breached article 1.7 of the Code.  As a result, the ASA noted Britain’s First “apparent disregard for the Code”.

Disregard which is evident in the reaction of Britain First’s chairman, Paul Golding, who stated “It’s not an official crown, it’s something we’ve designed with a graphic designer”. Golding further described the ASA as a “toothless quango with no power which no one takes any notice of”.

While the ASA has no power to rule on the use of the crown image on the group’s uniform itself and elsewhere, the watchdog has informed Britain First not to use images of the Royal Crown and Scottish Arms in their advertising unless they acquire the appropriate official authorisation that permits them to do so.

The Guardian further reports that the Cabinet Office has consequently written a letter to the far right party asking it to remove all images of the crown from its website, marketing materials, stationary and stock “with immediate effect”. It follows a number of complaints about the party’s use of the official symbol as well as the ASA’s assessment.

A Cabinet Office spokesman stated “It appears that Britain First has not fully complied with our requirements and we are considering the most appropriate next steps.”

Britain First and its motto of ‘Taking Our Country Back’ has seen the far right group engage in a number of controversial and confrontational campaigns including the so-called ‘Christian patrols’. As noted in the Guardian, Britain First also distributed army-issued Bibles to “mega-mosques” in Bradford and Glasgow as part of its “Christian crusade” campaign. The paper reports police in Bradford and Scotland has been investigating into the incident.

In addition, the Electoral Commission launched an investigation into its decision to allow the party to exploit the death of Lee Rigby through the use of the tagline “remember Lee Rigby” in its voting slips for the European elections last May.


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