"Herr Chancellor, on behalf of the British Government I congratulate you on crushing communism in Germany and standing as a bulwark against Russia" (1a)
- Lord Halifax then British Deputy Prime Minister (later Foreign Secretary) addressing Adolf Hitler, November 1937.
The first avowedly fascist organisation in Britain was the 'British Fascisti' (later just plain old 'British Fascists') formed in 1923. Largely comprised of military officers it was little more than a strong arm squad for the Conservative Party, stewarding Conservative meetings and calling for votes for the Conservative Party. One of their few policies was, as a means of reducing unemployment, a demand for a reduction in income tax so that rich people could hire more servants. During the General Strike of 1926 they served as scabs, through this they acquired a martyr when one of their members scabbing on the railways lent too far out a window and was decapitated by a bridge. They also worked as agents for Special Branch and M.I.5. However in 1920's Britain admiration for Fascism mostly meant admiration for the Italian Government rather than agitating for Fascism in Britain.
As Sir Winston Churchill put it:
"If I had been an Italian, I am sure that I should have been wholeheartedly with you [Mussolini] from start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism" (Churchill's misnomer for working class resistance)
"But in England we have not had to fight this danger in the same deadly form. We have our way of doing things"(1)
According to historian A.J.P. Taylor:
"Every politician extolled the virtues of democracy, especially at the expense of Soviet Russia. Despite this rhetoric, MacDonald wrote friendly personal letters to the Fascist dictator Mussolini; Austen Chamberlain exchanged photographs with him and joined him in family holidays; Churchill sang his praises in newspaper articles" (2)
It was in the 1930's that British Fascism had it's first and so far only flowering in the form of Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists formed on the first of October 1932. Mosley who had moved from the Tory Party to the Labour left to Fascism, formed the 'January Club' a sort of discussion group/ front organisation to attract Establishment types to his Blackshirt movement.
Devotees of the January Club included Wing-Commander Sir Louis Greig, Lord Erskine a Conservative-Unionist M.P. and assistant Government whip, Lord William Scott brother of the 8th Duke of Buccleuch and Conservative-Unionist M.P., Lord William Scott who was Secretary of State for War from 1900 to 1903 and Secretary of State for India from 1903 to 1905 and Lord and Lady Russell of Liverpool.
The B.U.F. began to receive support from the influential Conservative press in the form of Media Baron Lord Rothermore, who's paper the 'Daily Mail' backed Mosley enthusiastically, beginning with the infamous 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts' headline of the 8th of January 1934. Lady Houstons 'Saturday Review' was also outspoken in its endorsement of England's would be Fuehrer.
According to the 'Daily Mail' of the 15th of January 1934, the British Union of Fascists was:
"a well organised party of the right ready to take over responsibility for national affairs with the same directness of purpose and energy of method as Hitler and Mussolini have displayed"(3)
Writing in the 'Daily Mail' of the 25th of April 1934, Colonel Thomas Moore, a Conservative M.P. pointed out that:
"Surely there cannot be any fundamental difference of outlook between the Blackshirts and their parents, the Conservatives"(4)
Rothermore also expressed support for Germany's Nazi movement. Consider the following from the 'Daily Mail' of September 24th 1930:
"These young Germans have discovered, as I am glad to note the young men and women of England are discovering, that it is no good trusting to the old politicians. Accordingly they have formed, as I would like to see our British youth form, a Parliamentary party of their own. . . We can do nothing to check this movement [the Nazi's] and I believe it would be a blunder for the British people to take up an attitude of hostility towards it. . . We must change our conception of Germany. . .The older generation of Germans were our enemies. Must we make enemies of this younger generation too?" (5)
In November 1933 he wrote that:
"The sturdy young Nazi's are Europe's guardians against the Communist danger"(6)
Similar sentiments were voiced in the House of Commons, on the 24th of July 1934
William P.C. Greene, Conservative party M.P. for Worchester and a landowner in Australia asked:
"Is it not a fact that ninety per cent of those accused of attacking Fascists rejoice in fine old British names such as Ziff, Kernstein and Minsky" (7)
F.A. Macquisten Conservative M.P. with business interests in Rhodesia replied:
"Were some of them called Feigenbaum, Goldstein and Rigotsky and other good old Highland names" (8)
Nor was this the only display of parliamentary anti-semitism at the time, following Hitler's rise to power Edward Doran Conservative-Unionist M.P. for
Tottenham North had this to say:
"in view of the present situation in Germany would the Home Secretary take steps to prevent any alien Jews entering this country from Germany"(9)
On the 14th of June 1934 during the parliamentary debate following the anti-fascist disruption of the B.U.F. rally at the Olympia, Micheal Beaumont
Conservative M.P. for Aylesbury who described himself as
"an avowed anti-democrat"
said of the B.U.F. that there was a lot of
"respectable, reasonable and intelligent people" [in it] (10)
H.K. Hayles Conservative M.P. for Hanley said that the B.U.F. contained:
"some of the most cultured members of our society" (11)
Admiration for Germany's Nationalist Socialist totalititarian dictatorship continued throughout the 1930's. Lord Londonderry, Secretary of State for Air from 1931 to 1935 became from early 1936 onwards an outspoken supporter of the Hitler regime.
As was Britain's last Liberal Party Prime Minister Lloyd George.
"Lloyd George had an undisguised admiration for the German leader which was gradually transformed as the months went by into an intense admiration. 'Hitler' he continually remarked in private 'is a great man'" (12)
The most notorious episode of British Establishment Nazi loving was that of King Edward the 8th/Duke of Windsor. This execrable piece of royal vermin:
In fact Hitler had planned to reinstate Edward on the British throne as a puppet ruler following a German victory. According to a recent Channel 4 documentary, when Edward was interviewed in 1941 while he was governor of the Bahamas he said that:
"Hitler was the right and logical leader for the German people, it would be a tragedy if he was overthrown"
This line of thinking was still alive on the Home Front too, in 1940 M.I.5. investigated the 'Right Club' a crypto-Nazi outfit headed by Conservative M.P. Captain Maule Ramsay.
Indeed early in 1940/late in 1939 prominent member of the British establishment Lord Lloyd of Dolobrian , later a minister in Churchill's war cabinet , wrote a pamphlet entitled 'The British Case' , which explicitly rejected the notion of a war against Fascism ( a concept which later became a necessary part of mobilising the population for Total War after the fall of France ) and this rather than just reflecting Lord Lloyd's viewpoint , had a preface written by the aforementioned Lord Halifax, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. In 'The British Case' Lord Lloyd writes:
"Our most ancient and faithful ally , Portugal , enjoys today greater prosperity than ever before in the modern world under the wise but authoritarian government of senhor Salazar. The government of Poland itself was definitely authoritarian . Above all , the Italian genius has developed , in characteristic Fascist institutions, a highly authoritarian regime which , however , threatens neither religious nor economic freedom , or the security of other European nations." (12a) This was of course before the Italian state entered the war.
LEAGUE OF EMPIRE LOYALISTS
Established in 1954 by A.K. Chesterton who had been Director of Publicity and Propaganda in the B.U.F., according to historian Roger Eatwell:
"Most of it's 2000-3000 active members were Colonel Blimpish rather than fascist: in fact many of it's members saw it as a Conservative ginger group . . . an attempt to keep the Conservatives true to the Imperial way."(13)
In 1967 the League is amalgamated with the British National Party and the Racial Preservation Society forming the National Front to which John Tyndall lead his Greater British Movement into a few months later. Tyndall formerly of the
National Socialist Movement is now head of today's British National Party (or B.N.P.) . A.K. Chesterson was leader of the National Front from 1967 to 1972.
The Monday Club was formed on the first of January 1961 as an anti-Decolonisation pressure group within the Conservative Party. It was strongly supportive of the Apartheid-style regime in Rhodesia and very much anti-immigration. Moved close to the National Front in the early 70's a process which culminated in N.F. members stewarding a Monday Club anti-immigration rally in September 1972. The year 1972 was the high water mark for the Monday Club, whose membership then included approximately 36 Tory M.P.'s. The next year there was an open clash for the control of the group between the far-right faction led by Jonathon Guinness, son of Sir Oswald Mosley's second wife and the extreme far-right faction led by G.K. Young former deputy director of M.I.6. Jonathon Guinness won and became head of the Monday Club.
The following year Young set up Tory Action, a secretive outfit membership of which is only open to Conservative Party members of two or more years standing.
Tory Action is explicitly racist and at one stage(1981) claimed it had the support of two dozen Conservative M.P.'s.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY AND THE NATIONAL FRONT
The early 1970's were a period of time which saw a closeness between the far-right within the Conservative Party and it's external rivals which had not been seen since the days of the British Fascists. The decision by Edward Heath
then Tory leader and Prime Minister to allow 30,000 Asians who had been expelled from Uganda to settle in Britain provoked outrage. Ray Hill, former National
Front member relates that:
"In the pantheon of traitors to white race and nation, the Prime Minister quickly achieved pride of place. Rarely can a party leader have been so deeply hated by so many grassroots members of his own party. The consequences for the party were fairly serious. . . . there was a sizeable haemorrhage of middle-level party activists. Many tore up their cards in disgust and cast around for another vehicle which gave truer expression to their views on race and immigration. Almost invariably, that vehicle was the National Front." (14)
At the same time the N.F. were receiving Conservative support from another direction and in any other way, according to historian Roger Eatwell:
"a substantial sum of money seems to have arrived in the party [N.F.] coffers from sources rumoured to be close to the Tory right" (15)
This must be seen in context for as well as the anti-immigration issue these years, as with those during which the British Fascists operated, had a relatively high level of class struggle. With the rise to power of Margaret Thatcher and the marginalistion of the N.F. the tide began to flow in the other direction those Tories who had defected to the extra-paralimantary right returned to the Conservative fold.
BRITISH LEAGUE OF RIGHTS
In 1971 the British League of Rights is founded with Tory Party and Monday Club member Lady Jane Birdwood as General Secretary and Air Vice-Marshall Bennett as patron. B.L.R. membership secretary Mary Downtown attended the annual international Fascist rally at the Waffen S.S. graveyard in Diksmuide in Belgium in 1980. Interviewed there by the 'News of the World', she reportedly said:
"I want to see a Fourth Reich and we all want the blacks and the Jews out of this country" (16)
B.L.R. offshoot, the British League for European Freedom became the British branch of the World Anti-Communist League in 1974 but was expelled in a purge of anti-Jewish groups in the early eighties.
In 1973 the aforementioned G.K. Young together with former M.I.6. officer Anthony Cavendish, Ross McWhirter who was later assassinated by the I.R.A. and General(retd.)Sir Walter Walker Commander in Chief of N.A.T.O. forces in Northern Europe from '69 to '72, came together to establish Unison. Unison was to be a movement of volunteers ready to takeover the running of essential services should red subversion bring chaos in it's wake. Walker later broke away and formed his own volunteer outfit Civil Assistance. Sir David Stirling , the creator of the S.A.S. , proposed his own version of Unison called G.B.75 in May 1974.How real these organisations were is not known. Perhaps these paranoiac Colonel Blimps saw in the 1972 miners strike which brought down the Heath administration and in the arrival of the age of the urban guerrilla that long dreaded Red Dawn. Perhaps they were part of a covert campaign to destabilise the Labour Government as has been alleged. In any case neither Unison, Civil Assistance or G.B.75 lasted long.
FEDERATION OF CONSERVATIVE STUDENTS
Many youth wings have a habit of being more radical than their parent body and this lot are no exception. A fine upstanding body of Hooray Henrys members of who wore badges with slogans such as 'Victory to the U.D.A.'. This lot caused such outrage that Conservative Central Office had them disbanded in the summer of '87. Previous to this, two F.C.S. members at Nottingham University, one of whom was also vice-chairman of the University Conservative Association were barred from the campus after painting up Nazi slogans such as "Death to Jews".
Another controversy was the defection of two F.C.S. members to the openly Nazi British National Party. One of the M.P.'s who rallied to defend the F.C.S. during it's run in with Central Office was Neil Hammilton (later at the centre of the Cash for Questions scandal) a former vice-President of F.C.S. and guest at the 1972 conference of Movimiento Sociale Italiano - the Italian Fascist Party, the direct descendants of Mussolini(in some cases literally).
WESTERN GOALS (U.K.)
This was the child of an American organisation the Western Goals Foundation which was instrumental in the mobilising of U.S. establishment support for Nicaragua's Contras. The U.K. branch was formed in May 1985 and it's initial Parliamentary Advisory Board included our very own Rev. Martin Smyth M.P. for South Belfast, who was also a vice-president of the group . Western Goals soon took up campaigning against allegedly left-wing charities such as Oxfam and War on Want, and exposing Labour Left candaidaties such as Ken Livingstone as 'extremists' during the 1987 election campaign. In 1988 they helped organise a visit to Britain by Jonas Savimbi leader of Angola's U.N.I.T.A. &endash; a armed rebel group and proxy for U.S. and Chinese imperialism. The next year they brought over the head (Andries Treunicht) and the foreign affairs spokesman (Clive Derby-Lewis) of the pro-Apartheid and white supremacist South African Conservative Party.
Their international affairs plummeted to even greater depths when Major Roberto D'Aubuisson of El Salvador's Arena Party became their honorary patron. D'Aubuisson was the prime mover behind the death squads who according to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights murdered 20,000 civilians between January 1980 and May 1981.(Mostly Trade Unionists and grass roots activists).
Neither did Western Goals neglect forging links with the European far-right, they organised a fringe meeting at the 1989 Conservative Party conference at which French M.E.P. Yvan Blot of Le Pen's Front Nationale spoke from the same platform as the above mentioned Clive Derby-Lewis who became a vice President of the group and their delegate to a World Anti-Communist League conference in 1990. Western Goals also voiced support for Germany's ultra right Republicans who were then led by Waffen S.S. veteran Franz Schonhuber.
REVOLUTIONARY CONSERVATIVE CAUCUS
The Revolutionary Conservative Caucus was founded in 1992 after the disintegration of Western Goals. In their own words they stood for 'Racial Purity and Ruthless Elitism'. Three former key members of the National Front's executive soon became involved. They were Tom Acton, Steve Brady and Mark Cotterill. However the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus did not last very long.
Right Now! is a magazine which has stepped into the vacuum left by the collapse of the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus, taking up the banner of the respectable far-right . This delightful little rag includes articles advocating the break up of the U.S.A. into several Yugoslavia-style ethnically pure states and praising France's would be Fuehrer Le Pen, forced labour for prisoners and bring back hanging is the standard line.
Interviewed in a 1995 issue of Right Now! is none other than Democratic Unionist party deputy leader and M.P. for East Belfast Peter Robinson he of the invasion of Monaghan fame. The Rev. Martin Smyth M.P. has spoken at meetings organised by
Right Now! in the House of Commons as has Robinson. At least eight Tory M.P.'s have associated themselves with Right Now! including Sir Richard Body whose November 21st 1995 talk at a Right Now! meeting was described in the magazine thus:
"Sir Richard reminded us of the difficulties usually faced by federal, polyethnic, multilingual, multicultural states, citing the example of Yugoslavia as what can happen at worst, and pointing darkly to the present stresses and strains in the United States and Australia, as indicators of trouble ahead as their Anglo-Saxon culture is supplanted by other, less tolerant, cultures" (17)
Smyth and Robinson aren't Right Now!'s only Irish connection it's editor Derrick Turner (or Derek as he has anglicised his name) was leader of a now defunct Irish fascist outfit named Social Action Initiative. Turner was investigated by the Garda in 1988, at the time he was working at a Naval base in Co.Cork and was suspected of giving Naval secrets to the U.D.A. . During the investigation it was revealed he had met National Front leaders at the U.D.A.'s Belfast H.Q.
The Monarchist League argues for the hereditary principle in the ordering of society and the state. It's General Secretary until 1992 was Gregory Launder Frost who was also involved in the Monday Club and Western Goals(U.K.). That year he was sentenced to two years imprisonment for defrauding the N.H.S. of more than a hundred thousand pounds.
(1) Quoted in 'Fellow Travellers of the Right' by Richard Griffiths page 14 and 15.
(2) Ibid. page 14.
(5) Quoted in 'Who Financed Hitler' by James and Suzanne Pool page 315.
(6) Quoted in 'Fellow Travellers of the Right" by Richard Griffiths page 164.
(7) Ibid. page 88.
(8) Ibid. page 88.
(9) Ibid. page 81.
(10) Ibid. page 54.
(11) Ibid. page 54.
(12a) Quoted in 'The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion' by Alvin Finkel and Clement Leibovitz.
(13) 'Fascism: A History' by Roger Eatwell page 265.
(14) 'The Other Face of Terror: Inside Europe's Neo-Nazi Network' by Ray Hill with Andrew Bell page 76.
(15) 'Fascism: A History' by Roger Eatwell page 267.
(16) Quoted in 'The Bigger Tory Vote' by Nick Toczek page 18.
(17) 'Right Now!' issue 11 December '95/January '96 page 9.