Six years ago today, the defunct fascist groupuscule the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF) made its public debut with a protest rally in Richmond. Called in opposition to “TeH LeFt” and to demand the resignation of local councillor Stephen Jolly, the 2015 event went about as well as you’d expect. Born and bred on Facebook, the UPF collapsed in May 2017 after the corporate juggernaut decided to remove it from its platform. But where are they now?
Rise Without Fear!
At its core, the UPF consisted of a relatively smol number of men: Shermon Burgess, ‘Perth Lieutenant’ Kevin Coombes (AKA ‘Elijah Jacobson’), ‘Chairman’ Blair Cottrell, ‘Prime Propagandist & Head of Media’ Neil Erikson, ‘Prime Representative — Perth’ Dennis Huts, ‘Brisbane Lieutenant’ Scott Moerland, ‘Prime Organiser and Head of Operations’ Kris Richardson, ‘Secretary’ Tom Sewell and ‘Melbourne Lieutenant’ Chris Shortis. (Pastor Danny Nalliah was also briefly a UPF member.)
• Shermon Burgess, who for a few years dubbed himself ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’ and was briefly the UPF’s Chairman, left the group in tears when a fellow ‘Patriot’ made a video taking the piss out of The Great One. Upon exiting, a sensitive Shermon was soon joined by Neil Erikson, and the pair hatched numerous, short-lived front groups all while angrily denouncing the UPF as ‘nazis’. Funnily enough, after a few years of trying and failing to establish a support base (and generally being an embarrassment), The GAP between Shermon’s ears was filled with Nazi ideology, and disparaging remarks about ‘The Great German Patriot’ Adolf Hitler were replaced with An Hero Worship. Happily, Shermon’s volte face has been rewarded by Facebook, and ‘Shermon Valhalla Burgess’ now routinely uses Zuckerberg’s online kingdom to inter alia spread Coronavirus conspiracy theories and denounce Freemasons, The Illuminati and The Jew World Order.
• I’ve got no idea what Kevin Coombes is up to, but presumably he’s still ‘a mysterious but loyal man’ whose ‘tenacity and dedication are unparalleled’ and, possibly, he continues to ‘work under Huts in the Perth area’ — who knows?
• At one point, Blair Cottrell seriously fancied himself as Australia’s Next Top Fuehrer but, after Facebook rudely interrupted his career as an influencer, he briefly became a Lad, then a convicted racist, and now pouts and poses online. His antics won him a spot on Triple J’s Hack Live and Sky News Australia (proud sponsor of Lauren ‘The Great Replacement’ Southern), a smol legion of Ordinary Mum & Dad™ racist fans and, notably, elevated him to the status of ‘Emperor’ in the eyes of the Christchurch killer. Sadly, after a bad break-up, there’s no love lost between Blair and his former UPF sidekick Tom Sewell, especially after Sewell overthrew Cottrell to assume leadership of The Lads Society (the successor organisation to the UPF). While in the last year or two the pair have occasionally sniped at one another online, happily, there’s been no cage match. Already armed with a criminal record, in 2017 Cottrell was convicted of racisms, lost his appeal against that conviction in December 2019, and is back in court in December, seemingly charged with assault.
• Neil Erikson was and remains a serial pest, but after six years of IRL trolling and numerous legal escapades, earlier this month he was convicted of disrupting a Muslim prayer service (held a few weeks after the Christchurch massacre) and, having refused a community corrections order, was sentenced to four weeks in prison. Erikson’s refusal to bow down to (((the courts))) has rehabilitated his image somewhat among the local neo-Nazi milieu, and his doXXing of members of ‘Nationalist Alternative’ has, like so much else, disappeared down The Memory Hole. (Oh yeah: Erikson is back in court in July to face charges of disrupting a Christian gathering in May 2019.)
• Dennis Huts is a bad-tempered man who, like Neil, enjoys trolling IRL. Most recently (March 2021), an angwy Huts clashed with members of Extinction Rebellion in Perth, and Dennis The Menace was charged with common assault, obstructing officers and disorderly behaviour as a result.
• Dubbed ‘Potty Mouth’ on account of his expletive-laden propaganda videos, Scott Moerland was The UPF’s Guy In Brisbane. Scott bonded with the boys in Melbourne (and Perth) over their shared fear and loathing of Muslamic Ray Guns, fulminations over Teh dAstArdly anTEEfas, and joined Blair and Shermon in Canberra in February 2016 to raise the mighty banner of PEGIDA. After the UPF imploded, Scott Carried On his Online Crusade Against The Islams by way of the various remnants of ‘Reclaim Australia’ on Facebook, and in the 2019 Australian federal election ran as a candidate for
Fortitude ‘Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party’ in the seat of Oxley. As a ‘Conservative National’, Moerland got over three times as many votes (1,474) than he did when he Rose Up for Danny Nalliah (and Australia) in 2013 (400 votes), so it’s not like he hasn’t made any progress.
• Kris Richardson was for a few years Cottrell’s gopher, was described by him as ‘ruthlessly efficient’, and even earned a special medal for his efforts. But as far as I know, it seems possible Mr Richardson has grown-up a little since then, and no longer needs the approval of neo-Nazi meatheads.
• Thomas (Tom) Sewell was once described by Cottrell as ‘a natural economist with great ability in writing, organisation and the practice of discipline’, which is just as well, as Sewell is currently on remand, and will need to keep busy as he awaits trial for ‘alleged armed robbery, robbery, theft, criminal damage, affray with face covering, affray, assault with a weapon, violent disorder, common law assault and committing an indictable offence whilst on bail’. The charges stem from a Nazi Boy Scout camping trip to Cathedral Range Sewell arranged for his followers in the ‘National Socialist Network’ (NSN) a few weeks ago. Just as The Lads Society formed following the collapse of the UPF, the NSN was created following the implosion of The Lads Society, and represents the chief legacy of the UPF. Tommeh! is also facing charges after allegedly assaulting a security guard outside Channel 9 studios in March: his next court dates are June 9 and August 2. While Sewell remains behind bars, his sidekick Jacob Hersant has assumed command of The Rowville Reich.
• An earnest, evangelical Christian from Melbourne, Chris Shortis invested heavily in the UPF — reportedly throwing tens of thousands of dollars at it when Chairman Cottrell had the, ah, brilliant, well thought-out idea of launching a political party and calling it ‘Fortitude’ — but all he really got in return for his investment was a criminal conviction for racisms, the loss of his gun licence, and an abortive career in the security industry. Undeterred by this experience, Shortis later joined Dr Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party, but otherwise keeps busy preaching his idiosyncratic interpretation of Christianity under the banner of ‘SOS Ministries REV 14:12’.