Some Notes on “The White Pendragons”

From the Washington Post:

An anti-Islamic nationalist wheeled a homemade gallows into central London, led a group of men into a conference hall and attempted to “arrest” the city’s first Muslim mayor as he gave a speech Saturday.

The group failed, and was eventually escorted out by the same police officers they had asked to apprehend Mayor Sadiq Khan. They still managed to delay the speech for 15 minutes as they accused Khan of treachery, tyranny and disrespecting President Trump.

The incident occurred at the Fabian Society New Year Conference at Friends Meeting House in Euston Road.

The disruption was widely reported in the UK, although the “gallows” detail appears to have been mostly overlooked (it was parked around the back, in Taviton Street; images were uploaded to Facebook). The group calls itself “White Pendragons” or “White Pendragon”, and members wear distinctive black t-shirts bearing the image of a dragon. The dragon is very similar to the dragon as depicted on the Welsh flag (the main difference – apart from the image being white rather than red – is with the position of the tail). Some members appear to prefer “Pen Dragon”, presumably to evoke (but not properly translate) the Welsh original “Pen Draig”, meaning “Chief Dragon”.

The dragon logo comes with slogans:

Take Back Control / Rule of Law / Common Law / Lawful Rebellion / Magna Carta 1215 

This is instantly recognisable as “sovereign citizen” or “freeman of the land” type rhetoric: the general idea is that there is something in the law that has been overlooked or suppressed, but which means that the legal system as we know it is largely invalid. The particular form this takes with this group appear to derive from ideas posted online by the British Constitution Group. Thus Sadiq Khan has broken the “real” law, and group members have the legal “common law” authority to arrest him (and from the gallows, perhaps we should infer more than just that). The group has also published a “Pre Action Notice” that it apparently sent to the Queen at Buckingham Palace in October.

Paul Brand of ITV News managed to speak to and film one of the protestors after his ejection from the event. As he Tweeted:

Sadiq Khan’s speech at @thefabians conference interrupted by protest by group called White Pendragon who tell me Fabians are subverting society (link) / They claim they are not a racist group, nor far right. But they told us Sadiq Khan has no right to be Mayor of London, referencing his religion (link) / Asked several times for some clarity on what their objection to the Fabians is. They claim Fabians are subverting the constitution of the UK and one quoted the Magna Carta. Not entirely clear how they think Fabians are doing this. (link) / The man in this clip would appear to be Davey Russell, a leading member of the EDL, who is known for posting his views of Islam on YouTube. (link)

Those “views” have also been expressed by Russell in the form of tearing a page from a copy of the Qur’an and spitting on it. In 2016 he was convicted of running a pirate radio station out of his home in Kent as “DJ Bossmann”; his station, Motiv-8 (var. Motive8) has moved online (for some reason the url redirects to one in South Africa).

Russell also describes himself as “Sargent at Arms, AKA party whip” of a political party called “England, Takes Back Control (Party)”, which uses the phrases and image associated with “White Pendragon”. Aims include “an expedient inquiry into perjury of oath by those previously elected and those not elected but have sworn oaths, purpose to prosecute Treason”, and the outlawing not just of the Fabian Society, but also the Muslim Brotherhood, Chatham House, Common Purpose, and “additional seditious and or pernicious groups”. On the other hand, though, “no form of political correctness should subvert free speech”.

The leader of the party is Graham Moore, who was formerly with UKIP and then the English Democrats. This time, though, he’s found a position for life, as “Officials or Officers cannot resign as they have sworn an oath which cannot be resigned.” Moore was an English Democrat candidate in the 2015 General Election and the 2016 Tooting by-election, but despite not receiving very much support (in the latter he got fewer votes than the Monster Raving Loony Party) he has more than once been invited to speak on the Kremlin-financed TV station RT.

Another site connected with the group is called “The People’s Bailiffs”, which explains that the t-shirts can be purchased from Adrian Langton of “Patriot Screen Printing”.

But how significant is the group? Media stunts tend to provide massive publicity boosts that that are disproportionate to an individual’s or a group’s influence. However, looking through Facebook pages associated with the group, I found more than a 100 users using the “Pendragon” logo as their avatar before I stopped counting.