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National Front (United Kingdom)
|Headquarters||PO Box 114,Solihull,|
West Midlands, B91 2URIdeologyFascism
White nationalismPolitical positionFar-rightInternational affiliationNoneEuropean affiliationNoneEuropean Parliament GroupNoneOfficial coloursRed, White and BlueWebsitehttp://www.national-front.org.uk/Politics of the United Kingdom
The National Front (NF) is a far right, racial nationalist, whites-only political party whose heyday was the 1970s. Its electoral support peaked in the1979 general election, when it received 191,719 votes (0.6% of the overall vote).
The British prison service and police services forbid their employees to be members of the party.
The party accounts submitted to the Electoral Commission in 2007 detailed national profitability. It put up 17 candidates in the 2010 general election and 18 candidates for the 2010 local elections. The party failed to gain any representation at either national or local level.
The National Front have been described as fascist and neo-fascist. In his book, The New Fascists, Wilkinson, comparing the NF to the Italian Social Movement (MSI), comments on their neo-fascist nature and neo-Nazi ideals:Policies
“The only other case among the western democracies of a neo-fascist movement making some progress towards creating an effective mass party with at least a chance of winning some leverage, is the National Front (NF) in Britain. It is interesting that the NF, like the MSI, has tried to develop a ‘two-track’ strategy. On the one hand it follows an opportunistic policy of attempting to present itself as a respectable political party appealing by argument and peaceful persuasion for the support of the British electorate. On the other, its leadership is deeply imbued with Nazi ideas, and though they try to play down their past affiliations with more blatantly Nazi movements, such as Colin Jordan’s National Socialist Movement, they covertly maintain intimate connections with small neo-Nazi cells in Britain and abroad, because all their beliefs and motives make this not only tactically expedient but effective.”
The party stands for “white family values” and the “Fourteen Words“, a white nationalist slogan that states: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The party works in open cooperation with the white supremacist and neo-Nazi website Stormfront.
The National Front also stand against immigration into the United Kingdom and would introduce a policy of compulsory repatriation of all those of non-European descent as well as closing the borders to all further immigration. The party claims to stand against “American imperialism“, and would withdraw from NATO and the European Union. The party supports the use of capital punishment for crimes of murder, rape, paedophilia and terrorism. It would reintroduce Section 28, and support the recriminalization of homosexuality. The party adopts a strongly pro-life stance, describing abortion as a “crime against humanity” and would repeal the 1967 Abortion Act. The NF claims to oppose all economic and cultural imperialism: “Nations should be free to determine their own political systems, their own economic systems and to develop their own culture.” Its constitution expresses the fact that it is led by a National Directorate rather than a chairman. Section 2 says: “The National Front consists of a confederation of branches co-ordinated by a National Directorate. Additionally a Central Tribunal appointed by the National Directorate is responsible for acting as a final court of appeal in internal disciplinary matters and for acting as a disciplinary tribunal for cases brought directly against individual party members by the National Directorate.” It claims that its skinhead image is a thing of the past.
The party is critical of the historical accuracy of the Holocaust, and is inclined towards historical revisionism, but claims that it has no official view about it and defends the right of free speech for any historian of the subject. In recent years the party has been in conflict with the British National Party over such issues as the BNP’s attempts to present itself with a more moderate image. The party has described the BNP as part of a “Zionist Occupation Government“. The NF’s former national chairman, Tom Holmes, condemned the BNP as no longer being a white nationalist party for having aSikh columnist in their party newspaper.
Late 1960s: formation
A move towards unity on the far right had been growing during the 1960s as groups worked more closely together. Impetus was provided by the 1966 general election when a moderate Conservative Party was defeated and A. K. Chesterton, a cousin of the novelist G. K. Chesterton and leader of the League of Empire Loyalists (LEL), argued that a patriotic and racialist right wing party would have won the election. Acting on a suggestion by John Tyndall, Chesterton opened talks with the 1960s incarnation of the British National Party (who had already been discussing a possible deal with the new National Democratic Party) and agreed a merger with them, with the BNP’s Philip Maxwell addressing the LEL conference in October 1966. A portion of the Racial Preservation Society led by Robin Beauclair also agreed to participate (although the remainder threw in their lot with the NDP, its house political party under David Brown) and so the NF was founded on February 7, 1967.
Its purpose was to oppose immigration and multiculturalist policies in Britain, and multinational agreements such as the United Nations or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as replacements for negotiated bilateral agreements between nations. The new group placed a ban on neo-Nazi groups being allowed to join the party, but members of John Tyndall’s neo-fascist Greater Britain Movementwere allowed to join on an individual basis.
Early 1970s: growth
The National Front grew during the 1970s and had between 16,000 and 20,000 members by 1974, and 50 local branches. Its electoral base largely consisted of blue-collar workers and the self-employed who resented immigrant competition in the labour market or simply the appearance of immigrants. The Conservatives came particularly from the Conservative Monday Club group within the Conservative Party that had been founded in hostile reaction to Harold Macmillan‘s “Wind Of Change” speech. The NF fought on a platform of opposition to communism and liberalism, support for Ulster loyalism, opposition to the European Economic Community, and the compulsory repatriation of new Commonwealth immigrants who had entered Britain legally courtesy of the British Nationality Act, 1948.
A common sight in England in the 1970s, the NF was well-known for its street demonstrations, particularly in London, where it often faced anti-fascistprotestors from opposing left-wing groups, including the International Marxist Group and the International Socialists (later the Socialist Workers Party). Opponents of the National Front claimed it to be a neo-fascist organization, and its activities were opposed by anti-racist groups such as Searchlight. The NF was led at first by Chesterton, who left under a cloud after half of the directorate (led by the NF’s major financer, Gordon Marshall) moved a vote of no confidence in him. He was replaced in 1970 by the party’s office manager John O’Brien, a former Conservative and supporter of Enoch Powell. O’Brien, however, left when he realised the NF’s leadership functions were being systematically taken over by the former Greater Britain Movement members, in order to ensure the party was really being run by John Tyndall and his deputy Martin Webster. O’Brien and the NF’s treasurer Clare McDonald led a small group of supporters into John Davis’ National Independence Party, and the leadership of the National Front passed to Tyndall and Webster.
Mid 1970s: height of party and success
Between 1973 and 1976 the National Front performed better in local elections, as well as in several parliamentary by-elections, than in general elections. No parliamentary candidates ever won a seat, but the party saved its deposit on one occasion.
The NF sought to expand its influence into the ‘white dominions’ of the Commonwealth. In 1977, overseas organisations were set up in New Zealand (the New Zealand National Front), South Africa (the South African National Front) and in Australia (the National Front Australia ).
A Canadian organisation was also set up (National Front of Canada) but it failed to take off.
Already by 1974, the ITV documentary This Week exposed the neo-Nazi pasts (and continued links with Nazis from other countries) of Tyndall and Webster. This resulted in a stormy annual conference two weeks later, where Tyndall was booed with chants of “Nazi! Nazi!” when he tried to make his speech. This led to the leadership being passed to the populist John Kingsley Read. A stand-off between Read and his supporters (such as Roy Painter and Denis Pirie) and Tyndall and Webster followed, leading to a temporary stand-still in NF growth. Before long Read and his supporters seceded and Tyndall returned as leader. Read formed the short-lived National Party, which won two council seats in Blackburn in 1976.
A National Front march through central London on 15 June 1974 led to a 21-year-old man, Kevin Gately, being killed and dozens more people (including 39 police officers) being injured, in clashes between the party’s supporters and members of ‘anti-fascist’ organisations.
The National Front was also opposed to British membership of the European Economic Community, which began on 1 January 1973. On 25 March 1975, some 400 NF supporters demonstrated acrossLondon in protest against EEC membership, mostly in the Islington area of the capital.
During 1976 the movement’s fortunes improved, and the NF had up to 14,000 paid members. A campaign was launched in support of Robert Relf, who had been jailed for refusing to remove a sign from outside his home declaring that it was for sale only to English buyers. In the May local election the NF’s best result was in Leicester, where 48 candidates won 14,566 votes, nearly 20% of the total vote. By June, the party’s growth rate was its highest ever. In the May 1977 Greater London Council election, 119,060 votes were cast in favour of the NF and the Liberals were beaten in 33 out of 92 constituencies.
A police ban on an NF march through Hyde in October 1977 was defied by Martin Webster, who separately marched alone carrying a Union Jack and a sign reading “Defend British Free Speech from Red Terrorism”, surrounded by an estimated 2,500 police and onlookers. He was allowed to march, as ‘one man’ did not constitute a breaking of the ban. The tactic split the Anti-Nazi League in two and made a farce of the ban whilst attracting more media publicity for the Front.[dead link][unreliable source?]
Late 1970s: riots, in-fighting and decline
If anything epitomised the NF under Tyndall and Webster it was the events of August 1977, when a large NF march went through the largely non-white area of Lewisham in South East London under an inflammatory slogan claiming that 85% of muggers were black whilst 85% of their victims were white. As the NF was then contesting the Birmingham Ladywood by-election, such a large march elsewhere was construed by some as an attempt to provoke trouble. 270 policemen were injured (56 hospitalised) and over 200 marchers were injured (78 hospitalised), while an attempt was made by rioters to destroy the local police station. The march saw the first use of riot shields in the UK outside Northern Ireland. The event is often referred to by ‘anti-fascists’ as the Battle of Lewisham in allusion to the earlier Battle of Cable Street against Oswald Mosley[original research?]. In fact, many of those who took part in the riot that day were not members of any ‘anti-fascist’ or ‘anti-racist’ group, but local youths (both black and white).
At the same time, Margaret Thatcher as opposition leader was moving the Tory party back to the right and away from the moderate Heathite stance which had caused some Conservatives to join the NF. Many ex-Tories returned to the fold from the NF or its myriad splinter groups, in particular after her “swamping” remarks on the ITV documentary series World In Action on 30 January 1978:
- “… we do not talk about it [immigration] perhaps as much as we should. In my view, that is one thing that is driving some people to the National Front. They do not agree with the objectives of the National Front, but they say that at least they are talking about some of the problems…. If we do not want people to go to extremes… we must show that we are prepared to deal with it. We are a British nation with British characteristics.”
Also Tyndall insisted on using party funds to nominate extra candidates so that the NF would be standing in 303 seats. This was in order to give the impression of growing strength. However, it brought the party to the verge of bankruptcy when all of the deposits were lost. Most candidates were candidates in name only, and did no electioneering..
National Front deputy leader Martin Webster claimed two decades later that the activities of the Anti-Nazi League played a key part in the NF’s collapse at the end of the 1970s, but this claim seems counter-intuitive, for the Anti-Nazi League collapsed early in 1979 amid claims of financial impropriety, with former celebrity supporters such as Brian Clough disowning the organisation. Furthermore, the NF stood their largest number of parliamentary candidates at the 1979 general election only a few months later, and met with far less opposition than in previous elections..
Most damning of all, a full set of minutes of National Front Directorate meetings from late 1979 to the 1986 “Third Way” versus “Flag Group” split, deposited by former NF leader Patrick Harrington in the library of the University of Southampton, revealed that during the party’s post-1979 wilderness years they were in the habit of “tipping off the reds” in the hope of giving their activities greater credibility with the public, through being attended by hordes of angry protestors. This fact was later confirmed by MI5 mole Andy Carmichael, who was West Midlands Regional Organiser for the NF during the 1990s.
Tyndall’s leadership was challenged by Andrew Fountaine after the 1979 debacle. Although Tyndall saw off the challenge, Fountaine and his followers split from the party to form the NF Constitutional Movement. The influential Leicester branch of the NF also split around this time, leading to the formation of the short lived British Democratic Party. In the face of these splits, the party’s Directorate voted to oust Tyndall as Chairman after he had demanded even more powers. He was replaced by Andrew Brons: but the ‘power behind the throne’ was Martin Webster who, somewhat surprisingly, had supported his old ally’s deposition. After failing to win title to the National Front name in the courts, Tyndall went on eventually to form the British National Party.
1980s: two National Fronts
The party rapidly declined during the 1980s, although it retained some support in the West Midlands and in parts of London (usually centred around Terry Blackham).
The party effectively split into two halves during the 1980s, after it had expelled Martin Webster and his partner Peter Salt. On one side were the Political Soldier ideas of young radicals such as Nick Griffin, Patrick Harrington, Phil Andrews and Derek Holland, who were known as the Official National Front. They had little interest in contesting elections, preferring a ‘revolutionary’ strategy.
The opposition NF Flag Group contained the traditionalists such as Andrew Brons, Ian Anderson, Martin Wingfield, Tina Wingfield, Joe Pearce (initially associated with the Political Soldiers’ faction) and Steve Brady, who ran candidates under the NF banner in the 1987 general election. The Flag Group did some ideological work of their own, and the ideas of Social Credit and Distributism were popular, but the chief preoccupation was still race relations. Some hoped that having two parties within one might help to save the NF from oblivion after 1979. The phrase “Let a thousand initiatives bloom” was coined (meaning that internal diversity should be tolerated) in the hope of re-capturing support, but clashes occurred nevertheless. In the 1989 Vauxhall by-election, Harrington stood as the Official National Front candidate against Ted Budden for the Flag NF, both sides cat-calling at one another during the declaration of the result. By 1990, the Political Soldiers had fallen out with one another, splintering into Griffin’s International Third Position (ITP) and Harrington’s Third Way, leaving the Flag Group under Anderson and Wingfield to continue alone. Griffin’s pamphlet “Attempted Murder” gives a very colourful – if biased and somewhat bitter – overview of this period of the NF’s history.
Around this time, the ‘official’ NF lost much of its traditional English support as a result of its support for black radicals such as Louis Farrakhan. The former supporters either moved to the British National Party (BNP), the rapidly declining British Movement, or to the White Noise umbrella group Blood and Honour. Griffin and Holland tried to enlist the financial aid of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, but the idea was rejected once the Libyans found out about the NF’s reputation as fascist (a quarter of Libya’s adult male population was killed by Benito Mussolini‘s troops during World War II).However, the NF received 5,000 copies of Gaddafi’s Green Book, which influenced Andrews to leave the NF to form the Isleworth Community Group, the first of several grass roots groups in English local elections, whereby nominally independent candidates stood under a collective flag of convenience to appear more attractive to voters.
An estimate of membership of the National Front in 1989 put adherents of the Flag Group at about 3,000 and of the ‘Political Soldier’ faction at about 600, with a number in between embracing Griffin’sThird Position ideas. Griffin’s own estimate, as stated in a TV documentary first broadcast in 1999, was that in 1990 his International Third Position had fifty to sixty supporters, while Harrington’s Third Way had about a dozen.
1990s and 2000s
In the 1990s, the NF declined as the BNP began to grow. As a result of this, Ian Anderson decided to change the party name and in 1995 re-launched it as the National Democrats. The move proved unpopular. Over half of the members continued with the NF under the reluctant leadership of previous deputy leader John McAuley. He later passed the job on to Tom Holmes. The National Democrats continued to publish the old NF newspaper The Flag for a while. The NF launched a new paper, The Flame, which is still published irregularly.
There has been a re-positioning of the NF’s policy on marches and demonstrations since the expulsion from the party in 2007 of Terry Blackham, the former National Activities Organiser. These have been reduced in favour of electoral campaigning. In January 2010, Tom Holmes resigned the leadership and handed over to Ian Edward.
In February 2010, when the BNP had to change its constitution to allow non-whites into the party because of a High Court decision, the NF claimed to have received over 1000 membership enquiries from BNP members and said that local BNP branches in Yorkshire and north Lincolnshire had discussed switching over to them. Prominent BNP dissidents Chris Jackson and Michael Easter joined the NF in the latter half of 2009 while, more recently, the veteran nationalists Richard Edmonds and Tess Culnane have both rejoined the party.
On 14 September 2010, the NF publicity officer, Tom Linden, shared a debate with the Social Democratic and Labour Party MLA, John Dallat, on BBC Radio Foyle about the support the NF had in Coleraine. This gave the NF a chance to air its views, which resulted in the NF Coleraine organiser, Mark Brown, thanking John Dallat for helping the NF double its support in Coleraine through enquiries and membership.
Summary of general election performance
|Year||Number of Candidates||Total votes||Average voters per candidate||Percentage of vote||Saved deposits||Change (percentage points)||Number of MPs|
The National Front has contested local elections since the late 1960s, but only did particularly well in them from 1973, polling as high as 15%. It never won a seat, however. In the 1976 local elections the NF notably polled 27.5% of the vote in Sandwell, West Midlands, as well as over 10,000 votes in some councils. The May 1976 local election results were the most impressive for the National Front, with the jewel in the crown being Leicester, where 48 candidates won 14,566 votes, nearly 20% of the total. However, after 1977 the NF vote-share ceased growing and by 1979 had begun to decline.
During the 1980s and early 1990s the National Front only fielded a handful of candidates for local elections, but it has increased this to 19 since 2010.
Although the National Front has never won a council seat in an election, it did gain a seat on 3 May 2007 when candidate Simon Deacon was elected unopposed to Markyate Parish council, near St Albans (there were ten vacancies but only nine candidates). However, Cllr Deacon soon defected to the British National Party, after becoming disillusioned with the direction of the NF.
In March 2010 the NF gained its first ever councillor in Rotherham: John Gamble, who was originally in the BNP and then the England First Party (EFP). However, not long afterwards he was expelled. Later the same year, a parish councillor from Harrogate, Sam Clayton, defected from the BNP to the NF. However, on 29 November 2010, it was revealed that Clayton had resigned as parish councillor for Bilton in Ainsty with Bickerton ward. As of mid-2011 the National Front had one councillor, who represented Langley Hill Ward on Langley Parish Council. However, in September 2011 it lost its councillor after they failed to complete the necessary paper-work.
In the 2008 London Assembly election held on 1 May, the National Front stood five candidates, saving two deposits – Paul Winnett of the NF polled 11,288 votes (5.56% of those cast) in the Bexley and Bromley constituency. In the Greenwich and Lewisham constituency, Tess Culnane polled 8,509 votes (5.79% of those cast) coming ahead of the UK Independence Party.
The National Front has contested general elections since 1970.
The NF’s most significant success in a parliamentary by-election was in the 1973 West Bromwich by-election: the NF candidate finished third on a high 16%, and saved his deposit for the only time in NF by-election history. This result was largely due to the candidate Martin Webster‘s own adopted ‘chummy’ persona for the campaign as “Big Mart”.
In the 1979 general election the National Front fielded a record 303 candidates, polling 191,719 votes but saving no deposits. This plunged the party into financial difficulties. This is considered to be a major factor in the decline of the NF.[by whom?]
The National Front fielded 60 candidates in the 1983 general election and received 27,065 votes. It saved no deposits, the average vote being less than 1% in each contested constituency. In 1987, the NF was split and only stood one candidate, in Bristol East, polling 286 votes (0.6%).
Since 1992, the National Front has never fielded more than nineteen candidates in a British general election (as few as five in 2001). None has saved their deposit, with their average percentage share of the vote being around 1%. However, in Rochdale during the 2010 general election, the NF candidate, Chris Jackson, polled 4.9% (2,236 votes), coming within a whisker of saving his deposit.
The National Front stood for the first time ever in the Scottish Parliament general election, 2011, fielding six candidates – one for the North East region and five for the constituencies. It gained 1,515 votes (0.08%) for the constituencies nationwide and 640 votes (0.2%) for the North East region. It failed to win any seats or save any deposits.
Logo derived from the Totenkopf used by the3rd SS Panzer Division of the Waffen-SS.
|Motto||Whatever it takes|
|Purpose/focus||Paramilitary fomenting national socialist revolution, against the supposed Zionist Occupation Government.|
|Location||United Kingdom, Ireland,Belgium, Germany, Poland,Russia, United States,Canada, Australia, Iceland,Czech Republic, Serbia,Sweden, Denmark|
|Key people||Charlie Sargent|
|Affiliations||Redwatch, Blood and Honour, National Socialist Movement, Racial Volunteer Force|
Combat 18 (C18) is a violent neo-Nazi organisation associated with Blood and Honour. It originated in the United Kingdom, but has since spread to other countries. Members of Combat 18 have been suspected in numerous deaths of immigrants, non-whites, and other C18 members. The 18 in its name is derived from the initials of Adolf Hitler: A and H are the first and eighth letters of the Latin alphabet. Combat 18 members are barred from joining theBritish Prison Service and police.
Combat 18 was formed in early 1992 by Charlie Sargent. C18 soon attracted national attention for threats of violence against immigrants, members of ethnic minorities and leftists. In 1992, it started publishing Redwatch magazine, which contained photographs, names and addresses of political opponents. Combat 18 is an openly neo-Nazi group that is devoted to violence and is hostile to electoral politics, and for this reason Sargent split decisively from the BNP in 1993.
1997: Murder of Christopher Castle
Sargent had split with his former C18 colleagues over allegations that he was an informer for British security services. The rival faction, led by Wilf “The Beast” Browning wanted Sargent to return to them the C18 membership list, for which they were to return his plastering tools and £1,000. However such was the animosity and fear between them that a mutually acceptable go-between, 28 year-old C18 member, “Catford Chris” Castle, was driven to Sargent’s mobile home in Harlow, Essex, by Browning, who waited in the car, whilst Castle went to visit Sargent. He was met at the door by Charlie Sargent and his political associate, Martin Cross. Cross plunged a nine-inch (22 cm) blade into Castle’s back. Browning took Castle to hospital in a taxi, but doctors were unable to save him and he died shortly after arriving in hospital.
Despite his attempting to implicate Browning, Sargent was convicted of murder at Chelmsford Crown Court the following year. He and Cross were sentenced to life imprisonment and remain in prison to this day.
Between 1998 and 2000, dozens of Combat 18 members in the UK were arrested on various charges during dawn raids by the police. These raids were part of several operations conducted by Scotland Yard in co-operation with MI5. Those arrested included Steve Sargent (brother of Charlie Sargent), David Myatt and two serving British soldiers, Darren Theron (Parachute Regiment) and Carl Wilson.One of those whose house was raided was Adrian Marsden, who later became a councillor for the British National Party (BNP). Several of those arrested were later imprisoned, including Andrew Frain (seven years) and Jason Marriner (six years).
Some journalists believed that the White Wolves are a C18 splinter group, alleging that the group had been set up by Del O’Connor, the former second-in-command of C18 and member of SkrewdriverSecurity. The document issued by the White Wolves announcing their formation has been attributed to David Myatt, whose Practical Guide to Aryan Revolution allegedly inspired nailbomber David Copeland, who was jailed for life in 2000 after being found guilty of causing a series of bombings in April 1999 that killed three people and injured many others.
A group calling itself the Racial Volunteer Force split from C18 in 2002, although it has retained close links to its parent organization. On October 28, 2003, German police officers conducted raids on 50 properties in Kiel and Flensburg that were believed to be linked to German supporters of the group. The Anti-Defamation League says there are Combat 18 chapters in Illinois, Florida andTexas. On 6 September 2006, the Belgian police arrested 20 members of Combat 18 Flanders. Fourteen of them were soldiers in the Belgian army. In July 2008, C18 was painted on St. Mary’s Oratory in County Londonderry. In November 2008, BNP chairman Nick Griffin claimed that C18 was an “effectively fictitious” and “police-run” organisation.
C18 has long been associated with loyalists in Northern Ireland. On 18 June 2009, graves belonging to numerous people, including Provisional Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands were desecrated with C18 graffiti.
Racist attacks on immigrants continue from members of C18. Weapons, ammunition and explosives have been seized by police in the UK and almost every country in which C18 is active.
In late 2010 five members of Combat 18 Australia were charged over an attack on a Mosque in Perth, Western Australia. Several rounds were fired from a high powered rifle into the dome of the Canning Turkish Islamic Mosque, causing over $15,000 damage.
Links with football hooliganism
Members of the organisation include known football hooligans. The most high profile incident involving Combat 18 members in football came on 15 February 1995, when violence broke out in the stands at Lansdowne Road in the international friendly between the Republic of Ireland and England. There was also sectarian motivated taunting of “No Surrender To The IRA” aimed at Irish fans.