Saturday, 4 May 2013

John Bean, politician

In 2012, over a period of several weeks, I interviewed veteran British nationalist John Bean by email. Mr. Bean, who was aged 85 at the time, spoke about a lengthy career in politics and activism, stretching from the late 1940s to the present. He also recounted his experiences and impressions of a number of well known figures on the nationalist side of politics, including Sir Oswald Mosley, A.K. Chesterton, Enoch Powell, John Tyndall and Nick Griffin.

CBL: First of all, I read your biographical memoir, Many Shades of Black. That was a fascinating account of political struggle from a very human perspective. However, to my mind, there seemed to be a bit of a gap between your fascinating description of life in post-Independence India, where you briefly worked in the chemical industry, and your active involvement in the Union Movement, following your return to the UK. What was the deciding moment or chain of events that turned you onto a nationalist course of action?

JB: The few months I worked in India in 1950 played a major part in fashioning the mould in which my life-long socio-political views were to be cast. The rather insular young nationalist who had eagerly volunteered for RAF aircrew in March 1945 found that his nationalism had widened to a European nationalism. However, the beginning of this metamorphosis began when serving in the Royal Navy on a former German ship, the Nordmark, in 1947-48. Its wartime function was to supply surface raiders and occasional U-boats and carry Merchant Navy survivors of British ships that had been sunk to internment in Germany. Two of these former prisoners had been contacted by the Royal Naval authorities and came to Portsmouth and spoke of their experiences on board as prisoners. They said that conditions were cramped and although the food was poor it was the same as served to the German crew. Above all they were treated correctly as prisoners of war. For the first time I began to question the image that wartime propaganda had given our recent enemy.

Arriving in India, as a nationalist I was interested to hear the opinions of so many older Indians who wished the British Raj was back, and praised its incorruptibility. In spite of its presence for some 250 years, I found the average Indian did not differentiate between a Briton, Frenchman, Swiss or German: we were all Europeans, all white men to them. Perhaps more important, I was soon conscious of the fact that I was in the presence of a deep-seated culture, but only as an observer and that for reasons I could not then define I would always be an observer, never to be enjoined within that culture. In contrast to the outward looking cultural ethic of the European, ever looking to cross previously defined frontiers, that of India to me at the time appeared as inward looking, each concentrating on his own soul personified by the navel contemplation of Buddha.

On reflection perhaps I was being too simplistic. Not taken into account was the fact that there are greater racial differences between, for example, The Brahmins and the Negritto type Dravidians of southern India than the Norwegians and Sicilians of Europe. Before I am taken to task for confusing the Indian caste system with race let it be remembered that 'caste' is of Sanskrit origin and just means 'colour.' It was devised by the Aryan invaders from the Caucasus who founded the Indus Valley civilisation around 1500 BC, who the Brahmins still associate themselves with. Returning to India 40 years later I found that my earlier interpretation of the reasons for the cultural differences between the European and the Indian still had some substance – particularly in rural areas – but, sadly, was becoming considerably affected by the materialistic aspects of Western culture.

CBL: Much of the political activity of Union Movement involved rowdy meetings with heckling, provocative marches, and brawls. This can of course be dated back to the British Union of Fascists versus hard left politics of the pre-War period, with a similar style of street politics continuing up to the National Front in the 1970s. In Many Shades of Black, this ‘aggro-politics’ often seems to coincide with ethnic tensions in working class neighbourhoods – Irish, Jewish, Black vs. English. In retrospect such violence seems to have contributed to the marginalization of British Nationalism and to have been a major tactical error. Were there any benefits from this kind of aggro-politics? Given the roughness of the areas Union Movement and subsequent nationalists operated in, how avoidable was such an element?

JB: On my return from India the first few months were occupied with obtaining a new job (still in the paint and resin industry) and establishing a home for our impending start of a family. As a reaction to the stories I had heard in the Navy about the generally civilised behaviour of German sailors during the war, when on leave in early 1948 I had obtained a copy of Oswald Mosley's Greater Britain from New Cross public library. Although impressed with much of its content I did nothing about it at the time. In 1950, four months after my return from India, I contacted the Mosley movement, basically for an update on Mosley's post-war view. His British Union of Fascists had been disbanded to be replaced by Union Movement. This had gone beyond narrow nationalism to 'Europe a Nation.' Although then, as today, I thought that a single European government was a step too far, my cultural experiences in Trinidad and more so in India, made the European idea in post-war Mosleyism more acceptable to my own ideas. I joined Union Movement in the late summer. In the autumn for the first time I heard Mosley speak at a meeting held in Kensington Town Hall. Although he had turned 60 he was still a first class orator and held the majority of his 500 audience spellbound. The meeting was held in peace with not even a heckler.

Jeffery Hamm's League of ex-Servicemen held meetings – mainly but not exclusively in London – from early 1947 until Mosley's Union Movement was formed late in 1948. Supported by mainly British Fascists, it continued to attract the same pre-war violent confrontations from the Communists and militant Jews. The militant Jewish group was now called the 43 Group (formed in 1943) with the express purpose of rooting out and destroying any Fascist or anti-Semitic elements that reared their heads following the release of Mosley and his support from 18b internment – without charge or trial.

Towards the end of 1949, however, the Communist Party must have received instructions from Moscow that Fascism in Britain no longer posed a major threat to 'democracy,' because the organised opposition practically ceased overnight. The pitched battles that were fought in Ridley Road, East London, where no holds were barred by Jew or Gentile, came to a halt. Now this was not good for Mosley's Union Movement as the publicity that had been created was turned off. It had been a vital tool in attracting not only some of his pre-war supporters, but their sons and daughters in the brave new world of London's East End at that time. Inspired by Alf Flockhart and Jeffery Hamm, but not directly by Mosley, attacks were initiated against Communists in their stronger areas and against the many Communist controlled 'Peace Movements' with a return of publicity as initiators of violence

I supported it and indulged in it to some extent, but it was a fatal mistake. It was repeated by John Tyndall 20 years later with the National Front marches that initially attracted more members, but the attraction of Left wing violence meant that the National Front carried the blame for the violence. Thus the NF carried on the same theme as Union Movement of marching its way into obscurity.

CBL: Would it be fair to say that British politics has always had a 'physical' side? One thinks of the 18th and 19th century political mobs, the typical unruliness of the hustings, often fuelled by free alcohol provided by candidates, as well as our great tradition of forceful heckling.

JB: This is true, although it tends to be overlooked by establishment media commentators of today. My experience of the 'physical' side of political campaigns in both Union Movement and the first BNP (1960-68) showed that some who had fought the fiercest drank the least in the pub meetings that usually followed an ‘encounter.’

CBL: You were involved in a fair number of brawls and tussles, often due to attacks from Leftists. You describe these in great detail in Many Shades of Black. Without advocating violence, what practical advice would you pass on to nationalists who find themselves in similar physically threatening situations?

JB: Unless you outnumber your militant opponents don't trail your cloak to encourage violence. If you are still in charge of speaker equipment that can overcome opposition chanting then hand over to those who can sometimes control the gathering by humour (which I tried at my Southall election meetings with some success) and not to those who prefer to 'wind up' your opponents.

CBL: Would it be fair to say that overall the Leftists with their superior numbers, covert support from the establishment, and greater ruthlessness came out on top in the street fighting?

JB: Hopefully without sounding like a bragging football hooligan, I do not recall the militant leftists coming out on top when their numbers were evenly matched. As for ruthlessness, I never met anyone more ruthless than Alf Flockhart of Union Movement – who I did not like – or my own 'bodyguard' in the early BNP – who I did like because his ruthlessness was controlled.

CBL: I get the impression from your book that you deeply regret nationalist politics having taken this course. How much of a dead-end do you think it has been? When did you come to this realization?

JB: It should be noted that the League of Empire Loyalists, led by A.K.Chesterton, never indulged in any violent actions to gain publicity. They preferred well thought out stunts to gain publicity. These included hiding under the stage at Tory meetings then commandeering the microphone to condemn their betrayal of the Empire, or having one of their members dress up as Archbishop Makarios and gaining access to the 1956 Commonwealth Conference. Several LEL demonstrators were subjected to violence, usually form outraged Conservative meeting stewards. It was, of course, all rather pointless because the electorate had noted that history had already decided that there was no longer any British Empire to be loyal to.

CBL: Supposing violent street politics had been avoided, do you think the British nationalist movement would have been able to avoid political marginalization and be in a much healthier position today, or would other factors have ensured its marginalization anyway?

JB: One only has to look at the reasonable progress being shown by Marine Le Pen with the Front National in France to see that if British nationalism had been able to distance itself from violence over the last 30 years or more then it would be more of a threat to the Lib-Lab-Con political establishment. But the latter's control of the media would probably still have prevented substantial nationalist Parliamentary representation today.

CBL: One of the most fascinating excerpts in your book Many Shades of Black is when you describe your face-to-face meeting with Sir Oswald Mosley. The two of you failed to see eye-to-eye, and he comes across as rather imperious. Apart from what you mention in the book, what do you remember about that meeting and what other impressions did you have of the man?

JB: On reflection my tea-time meeting with Mosley at the Eccleston Hotel gave classic examples of the duality of his character. In the preliminary discussion, which centred on my support for European co-operation and even a confederation, he listened attentively to my argument, courteously making non-committal acknowledgements although without entering into any debate. It was when I said that due to his past actions and positions, such as anti-Semitism, and the way he had been woefully misrepresented in the media on so many issues, he had no chance of being elected to any form of power, that he became irritated and changed to the imperious Mosley. Additionally, I had the impression that for him this was a another case of déjà vu where he, an aging man whose contemporary critics admitted could have been prime minister, was being told where he had gone wrong by a political tyro. Immediately after the meeting, in some ways, I regretted this additional disappointment I had given him.

CBL: If he had ever achieved power, how do you think he would have used it? Would he have been the monster that leftists and liberals assume? What about his anti-Semitism? Was it only opportunistic or did it run deeper?

JB: Leftists and liberals are notoriously victims of their own propaganda. Mosley in power would not have been a monster, although as a man of decision he would appear to the liberal-left as being somewhat dictatorial. If you read his Greater Britain, for his pre-war BUF policies, or The Alternative for his post-war Europe a Nation [ideas], it is corporatism in general that he was advocating and not 'Fascism' in its pejorative sense – certainly not in his post-war writings and speeches. Writing in his autobiography, My Life, page 287, this is his post-war reflection on fascism:

"Fascism was in essence a national creed, and therefore by definition took an entirely different form in different countries. In origin, it was an explosion against intolerable conditions, against remedial wrongs which the old world had failed to remedy. It was a movement to secure national renaissance by people who felt themselves threatened with decline into decadence and death and were determined to live and live greatly. Without understanding these three basic facts it is possible to abuse fascism, but not to make a serious reply to its case and its spirit.”

There is no escaping his anti-Semitism in his BUF days, although it could be understood why he became so. When Mosley left the Labour Party in 1931 to form the New Party he had the support of a number of Jewish members – much as Mussolini did in the early days of power in Fascist Italy. As the BUF progressed it came under vicious attacks at its meetings by Communists. In London, Leeds and Manchester in particular, many of these Communist militants were Jewish. This was not unusual but reflected the same political situation on the Continent. With Hitler's rise to power in 1933 his actions meant that he had virtually declared war on the Jewish people. It is therefore understandable that Jewish money and its reflected power in the media should be harnessed with the militancy of the communists to not only bring down Hitler and his National Socialism, which Fascism had morphed into, but also any party that expressed sympathy towards any aspect of his policies. This included the BUF. Hitler's intransigence meant that there was no turning back, that war was inevitable, and that Mosley's BUF could not survive.

CBL: I also got the impression from your account that he was rather disconnected from the day-to-day realities, although you don't specifically say this. I believe you also mention that he was spending much of his time out of the UK, in Ireland and France, at that time. And, of course, by background, he was from an upper class family. One of the failings of British nationalism, as I see it, was that at its core it lacked the plebeian touch and tended to rely for leadership on rather aloof scions of the old ruling class, or people from the lower classes who copied the attitudes of the old ruling class. I am thinking here of Enoch Powell and John Tyndall, who whatever their merits, also came across as pompous and distant. An interesting contrast can be drawn with the success of the SNP. Although a civic nationalist party, it has enjoyed great success because its leadership has always been rooted in the common Scottish people. Alex Salmond typifies this. Whatever negatives, he is indisputably one of 'The People.' Do you think that British nationalism was to a certain extent hamstrung by the influence of the class system and undue deference to those who had or who affected the manners of the old ruling class? How does Griffin fit into this picture? In my opinion, he’s more of an NCO type than an officer type, which should have been an asset in some ways.

Bean: In my opinion the only one of the people you referred to who was rather 'pompous' was John Tyndall. The stiff upper lip appearance of the Leader was everything to him. Perhaps it was his middle class origins, with strong connections to the Protestant church that made him so. He and I always had respect for each other, but he could never understand why I readily turned to humour in political campaigns and kept social contact with many of our activists. Thus, among some compliments, he more than once said that my failing was that I lacked gravitas. He was probably right, although I may have had the plebeian touch, which I did not regret. Like Tyndall and myself, Enoch Powell was a grammar school boy. Of middle class background – mine was the impoverished former nouveau riche – I do not think that his scholarly distinctions, including his love of Greek and Latin meant that he was copying the attitudes of the old ruling class. He certainly was not ‘plebeian’ but he had great appeal with his stand on immigration and withdrawal from the EU from working class people, as manifested in the marches against immigration by such 'plebs' as the dockers and the Smithfield meat porters.

Certainly the charge of being 'distant' is valid. I noticed this when I had a short conversation with him when he and I were in the hospitality suite prior to appearing on the BBC Timewatch program on the history of immigration in Britain broadcast in April 1995.

Oswald Mosley's upper class origins seemed only to work to his advantage with the overwhelming support he gained – certainly in BUF days – from the so-called working class. This was due more to his character, his First World War service with the Flying Corps and the high office he obtained in the Labour Party, than his class origins. Pre-war he was closely connected with the party and spoke regularly at indoor and outdoor rallies all round Britain, being injured from missiles on several occasions. As I have stated, post-war he spent much of his time out of the country, first in Ireland and finally in Paris. Overall, I think the class system had little effect in holding back the fortunes of British nationalism.

You are right that the left-wing Alex Salmond who poses as a Scottish nationalist has made great progress because his actions are rooted in the Scottish people. But I would still only rate him as a sergeant, rather than an officer. As for Griffin, only a lance-corporal – but a quick-witted one, particularly where personal gain was possible!

CBL: One of the odd political legacies of the BUF and Union Movement seems to be Lee Kuan Yew's People's Action Party. The party was formed in 1954 by English-educated professionals who had returned from university education in the UK. As you are probably aware, it has a logo that is surprisingly similar to the BUF's flash and circle logo, and the party members even have the equivalent to the Black shirt, although in Chinese culture, white not black is the funerary colour, so they use white. Besides these possibly incidental similarities the Party also seems to apply the Fascist idea of the corporate state, not to remove social conflict between the classes, as these are not so important in Singapore, but instead to maintain peace between the different races, as this is the most obvious fracture line in Singaporean society. It has also been very successful in doing this and making Singapore an affluent society, which also obviously helps social and racial peace. What is your opinion of specific parallels between the BUF and UM on the one hand and the PAP on the other? Also, what do you think of the political affinities between so-called ‘Communist China’ and the fascist systems of pre-war Europe?

JB: It can hardly be coincidence that Lee Kuan Yew's PAP party chose the BUF and UM symbol of the lightning flash in a circle, together with the slogan "Action within social racial unity," apparently inspired by the BUF's more snappy "Action within Unity." According to an article in the Financial Times by John Burton in 2006, Lee acknowledged a design influence from the BUF symbol. He was in Britain 1949-51, where he read Law at Cambridge, obtaining a double first with honours. In his spare time he helped the Labour party in election campaigns. Apart from Labour's anti-colonialism it seems he was attracted to Fabian socialism, which was reflected in the PAP party policy from 1954 onwards. However, it could be said that Lee was a National Socialist in the literal sense, i.e. a nationalist as well as a socialist. Thus it would have been natural for him to admire Mosley and some of his policies, although not tactful to admit this at that time. With the Malayan, Chinese and Indian racial mix in Singapore Lee tried to create a unique Singaporean identity. His form of national socialism would aid this and counter any threat that could incite ethnic or religious violence. If one can strip away the distortions of what fascism and national socialism originally proposed (distortions mainly created by the wartime brutalities committed in their names), then I would say that 'Communist' China of today has moved far away from Maoism and with its control of capitalism for the national interest – as opposed to the West's globalism – it is more akin to the corporate state of fascism and national socialism. It is a path that India and Malaysia are also beginning to take.

CBL: I read once that Lee Kuan Yew may have known Mosley. Have you heard of anything along these lines?

JB: During the time that Lee was studying in Britain Mosley was living as a semi-recluse in Ireland busily writing his book The Alternative, in which he laid down his views for going beyond pre-war nationalism to 'Europe a Nation.' A long-term friend of mine and a dedicated follower of Mosley has been unable to establish any documented link between Lee and Mosley. As my friend says, if there had been a link, then Mosley would certainly have mentioned it in his autobiography, My Life published in 1968.

CBL: While you were in the League of Empire Loyalists you met John Tyndall; I think during the North Lewisham by-election. What early recollections do you have of the man?

JB: In 1957 I was put in charge of outdoor meetings of the League of Empire Loyalists in their North Lewisham by-election. Among the new young people who turned up to help was a twenty-two year old John Tyndall Although he was a very serious young man, with firm opinions, who did not appreciate my readiness for humour, we got on well. Although being anti-communist, the previous year he had visited Moscow with the Young Communist League. Apparently while there he stuffed anti-communist leaflets, designed and printed by him, under the doors of the hotel. I mention this because it was indicative of an inability to foresee the results of his actions, which in this case could have meant he would be locked up for years by the Soviet comrades. It was at Lewisham that I became aware that, although he was an admirer of Hitler, he had little time for Germany as such – or any other 'foreigners,' come to that. Such was his patriotism that I had the impression that secretly he wished Hitler had been British! It must be said that in his later years he regretted his pro-Hitler and pro-British Nazism statements. Having known John Tyndall throughout his political life (and also his family in the early days), I wish to record my admiration for his tenacity in pursuing his fight for his brand of nationalism, for his mental as well as physical courage, and for his honesty in everything he did. It may be hackneyed to say so but in his case it really was "what you see is what you get."

CBL: As you mentioned, the League of Empire Loyalists were famed for their prankish, student-rag-like stunts. You left the group after Chesterton asked you to 'soot' the TV commenter Malcolm Muggeridge after he criticized the Queen. You refused to do this, but in Many Shades of Black you also mention that you invited John Tyndall and that he refused. What were his reasons for refusing and did they influence your decision not to perform the 'mission'?

JB: My happiest times in the League of Empire Loyalists were spent campaigning in the North Lewisham by-election. After three years of popping out of boxes at opponents' meetings or awarding a coal scuttle to Anthony Eden for "scuttling the Empire," I realized that this was not in accord with my growing radical nationalist beliefs. Tyndall had never participated in the stunts and I only asked him to join me in the plot to 'soot' Malcolm Muggeridge because I no longer saw any political purpose in these actions and wanted to test him out for his future co-operation with me. JT agreed and gave me his support in our breakaway to form the National Labour Party.

CBL: Radicalism is often connected in the average mind with extremism. A good example is the term "anti-Semitism." This has the connotation that it is automatically wrong, and of course certain forms of anti-Semitism would be hard to objectively defend within a context of normal Western values, but a case could also be made that Jewish interests are antithetical to broader Western values and interests. Your earlier mention of "Jewish money and its reflected power in the media," hint at its separate agenda. Professor Kevin McDonald has done a lot of work explaining the antithetical nature of Jewishness to Western civilization, noting the contradiction of Jewish support for their own ethnostate with their opposition to ethnicity as an organizing value of other, especially White European states. Regardless of tactical concerns about not upsetting a powerful group with money and media influence, do you think there is truth in the idea that the Jews as a group have a clear tendency to undermine White European ethnostates and interests and that this therefore provides a basis for a kind of rational, objective, and even moral anti-Semitism that is distinct from the hate-filled and religiously inspired anti-Semitism of the past?

JB: I believe that a case can be made that many Jewish interests are antithetical to traditional Western values and interests. The effect of religion is minimal, not least because Christianity has its roots in Judaism. For that reason I have decried the hate-filled and religiously inspired anti-Semitism of the past. The origin of the antithesis between the European and Jewry lies in the Diaspora. In order to survive as small minorities, originally exclusively as a religion then latterly as a people whose beliefs ranged from orthodoxy to agnosticism, putting all Jewish interests first within each host nation of Europe became paramount. Thus over a millennium we saw the rise of powerful Jewish groups that became operative as one international body. With the media power that resultant Jewish money was able to buy, came its antithetical nature to Western civilisation, which you quote above from Professor Kevin McDonald.

CBL: The above question also relates to a wider problem that nationalism has had: the fact that views that are essentially moderate and reasonable, and which the majority of people naturally support, are stigmatized as somehow "extreme" or "twisted" and "evil." Why has it been so easy for the opponents of White nationalism to popularize the notion there is "something of the night" about nationalist views? Is it just the media power of the globalists or is it the "Hitler effect"? If it is the second, will time see this diminishing as a factor?

JB: The 'Hitler effect,' i.e. 'nationalism leads to war and genocide,' does diminish with time and is now secondary to the fact that in addition to many media outlets being owned by globalists, journalists and TV news and documentary programme producers and editors are dominated by the Guardian school of liberal internationalists. This is not just confined to the BBC. ITV News and Channel 5 (owned by porn king Richard Desmond) in the UK frequently outdo the BBC in pushing multiculturalism. Their work is made easier by the tendency of most Brits – and Whites in general – to be particularly hospitable to those who would appear to have fewer advantages in life. The media’s presentation of UK medal winners in the London Olympics is a case in point. Britain won 29 gold. Of which 24 were won by 'white' Brits and the remaining five golds won by four black competitors. In no way would I diminish the ability of the non-white athletes, with Mo Farrar and the almost-white Jessica Ennis being outstanding, but the media presentation was that it was a great achievement for multicultural and multiracial Britain. I had to remind a few relatives and neighbours that in cycling, rowing, swimming, sailing and equestrian events – where most of our golds were won – not one Afro-Asian under any flag was present. A gentle reminder that, similarly, there were no whites in the 100 metres final hopefully reminded them that the Olympics also emphasised the varying abilities of the world's races.

CBL: In Europe, nationalism has been enjoying mixed fortunes from the possibly hollow successes of civic nationalists like Alex Salmond and the limited and now apparently evaporating success of the BNP to more substantial successes of various European nationalist parties. Do you see a pattern that explains the difference between failure and relative success, or is it always a case of very particular specific factors in each country?

JB: First, I do not consider Salmond to be a 'nationalist,' whether 'civic' or in any other form. He is a liberal internationalist with the astuteness of cashing in on many Scots' national pride, which they feel is dominated by the vastly numerically superior population to their South. He has openly expressed pride in the fact that Scotland's population has increased solely due to Afro-Asian immigration. The present day failure of nationalism in wider Britain is due almost exclusively to the diminishing support given to the BNP. Its present leader knows this but refuses to step down, which means that because the BNP name is so well known no new nationalist movement has much of a chance of success at this stage.

CBL: There seems to be something of an Anglo-Euro split, with the globalist tendencies of the English speaking world working against nationalism. Germany is a special case of course, with the legacy of the reaction to National Socialism countering post-war nationalist movements. This Anglo-Euro split suggests that a possible problem is our cultural connection to the United States. How much of a drawback in building an effective nationalist movement is our cultural intimacy with America? Can this ever be countered or will it eventually defeat itself as deeper contradictions arise?

JB: In theory Nationalism in Germany should have a more difficult task of exerting a greater socio-political influence than the present moribund state of British nationalism because of the reaction to National Socialism. The English speaking world, particularly through American power, destroyed National Socialism as a belief, aided by the ruthless Soviet military machine, which destroyed it even more physically. Nationalists could consider that the 'globalist tendencies' of the English speaking world that caused both the pre-war and present day Anglo-Euro split, could be used to our advantage, and not as the present conduit for Afro-Asian immigration and expanding rootless global capitalism. British nationalists even more than the nationalists of the Continent tend to blame America for their woes, not least because it was the prime hatchery for the rise of the international money power. This is quite different from the inventive power of America's post-Civil War industrial revolution which led to the enormous productive power it still has today. This came from the genius of 18th-19th century European immigration, dominated during that time by the nations of Great Britain, Germany and France. Although 50% of the US population no longer carries the genes of those White pioneers, there is still 160 million who do. I believe it is an essential requisite for American Nationalists to gather strength – and unity – so we can use the English speaking world connections for our mutual advantages.

CBL: Some nationalists also see the continued existence of the UK as a barrier to nationalism, because it creates a diluted, conglomerate "British" identity that can easily be further diluted. They believe that the break-up of Britain into its component and organic national parts – namely England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – is a precondition to rebuilding nationalism. In your opinion is this analysis correct and is Britain itself the ultimate barrier to British nationalism?

JB: I would give considerable weight to this analysis. We should give thought to a British Confederation of the national states of England, Scotland and a united Ireland. The general feeling in Ireland is that our separation in the modern world was a phase that we had to go through to ensure justice and recognition of the individuality of the Irish people. The astounding reception given recently to the Queen in her visits indicates that a return to closer ties would be acceptable.

CBL: A similar case could be made regarding the European Union, that it is a factor that undermines the organic roots of nationalism. However, if there was enough of an upswell of nationalism across Europe, could the European Union actually help to amplify and consolidate a wider White European nationalism, or will the EU always be a force antithetical to European nationalism?

JB: The objective of the European Union was to form a single socialist state that would act as a major stepping stone to a world government. The collapse of the Euro will come within two years, for the simple reason that you cannot have a single currency without a single government. This has been brought about by the organic roots of nationalism being firmer than the internationalists thought. With the strong signs of co-operation between European nationalists, I would advocate a European Confederation of nationalist states, which I have commented upon in a previous article for Alternative Right.

CBL: To finish this long interview, I'd like to ask you a few questions about your involvement with the present BNP, a party which most agree has disappointed if not betrayed the hopes of nationalists. Your role in that party was to serve as the editor of Identity magazine, the flagship publication that always contained excellent articles and commentary. This gave you a position of intellectual leadership within the party. What was your editorial strategy or agenda during your tenure there? How did that work with the demands and interests of the party leadership, by which, of course, I mean Nick Griffin?

JB: I rejoined the BNP in 1999 when Nick Griffin was elected Chairman. I was encouraged by the progress the party began to make and readily accepted his offer to take over the editorship of its magazine “Identity” in late 2002. I edited 70 issues, during which it grew from a 16-page quarterly to a 32-page cultural as well as political monthly, well designed by Mark Collett (who also fell out with Griffin in 2009). Identity, without me, was replaced in the spring of 2009 by a badly-written newssheet mainly devoted to drumming up donations. I still retained my membership. I had few differences of opinion with Nick Griffin in the presentation of the magazine’s socio-political content – to which he contributed a regular article. Much of this was concerned with in-depth explanations of the fundamentals of nationalist policies. Where appropriate, I pushed this in the direction of European Nationalism via a European Confederation and through developing the theme of the necessity for the defence of the nations of the white world as a whole and its overall culture, including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Only once did Griffin tell me "not to overdo it." Perhaps understandably he did not want to frighten off some of the Little Englanders with their belief that "all wogs begin at Calais."

CBL: Griffin is fast becoming the yesterday man of British nationalism, but he must have had some talents and good points to gain the leadership and lead the party in what was for a few years a promising direction. What were his strengths as a leader?

JB: Nick Griffin wrote some good articles, although they could sometimes be rather repetitive. He also had a good eye (no pun intended) for printer's errors. I was not over impressed by his public speaking, in that he was too hesitant and often appeared to lack true belief in what he was saying. This was evident in his appearance on the fateful BBC Question Time program. However, when talking among individuals he put them at ease and soon got himself accepted and gained short to medium term respect. This ability enabled him to work his way to the top on several occasions throughout his political career, starting with the National Front. No one can deny that an outstanding talent was his ability to get people to donate funds.

CBL: Although heavily attacked and vilified, the BNP made steady gains on councils, the London Assembly, and in the European elections. Then things started to go wrong. From your point of view as an insider, when did the rot set in and, in your opinion, what were the causes of it?

JB: With the one exception of when the BNP won an East London Council by-election in 1995, the purpose of fighting council elections was to get a double figure percentage of the vote. A victory was when a candidate beat one of the established parties and came third, or even second. The calibre of the candidate did not matter, because it was most unlikely that he or she would be elected. Those members with professional jobs were unlikely to stand because of the witch hunt that would often be organised by the liberal-left and aided by local and even national media. In no small part due to the new energy put into the Party by a still young Nick Griffin after becoming Chairman, local roots put down in mainly Northern cities and the East End and Essex borderland of London produced gold. The first BNP Councillors were elected in Burnley. By 2007 the BNP had almost a hundred Councillors, if you included a few unelected Parish Councillors. In Barking & Dagenham they had 17. The old established parties, Labour in particular, as it was mainly their seats that the BNP had taken, began to say that the BNP councillors were useless. Unfortunately, the local public began to see that in some cases this was true. Some elected BNP Councillors did not bother to attend even one Council meeting. The great tragedy was several excellent BNP Councillors, particularly the women, such as the highly respected Sharon Wilkinson in Burnley who held her seat to the very end, had lost their seats by 2010.

The next downturn in the Party's fortunes came with the fiasco of Griffin's appearance on the BBC Question Time program on October 22, 2009. He had considerable justification when he complained to the press on the following day that "it was a beat up Nick Griffin program instead of Question Time." He had opportunities to make some sort of answer to more than four of the 25 'questions' (mainly dressed up leftist slogans), but he seemed more concerned in presenting himself to Bonnie Greer, a US black playwright drafted in for the occasion, as a non-racist nice guy. Not only did this not work, but it was humiliating. Unfortunately, Griffin had no experience of arguing points in a council chamber or, as the diminishing band of veteran British nationalists had, of dealing with leftist hecklers at open air meetings, where interjection of a quick, telling point made or lost the day. The immediate reaction of most members to the Question Time kangaroo court was anger. But as weeks passed and families and friends made comments they realised that through its leader, unjustly or not, the Party had been humiliated.

The third major cause of the rot that set in with this party which had such a promising future was centred on its incapability of handling finances properly. This was covered in my e-mail letter to Nick Griffin dated August 28th 2010 in which I said that his resignation as Chairman would be in its best interest. I wrote:

"The British National Party must be forever grateful for the work you put in over the past decade which lifted the Party out of the doldrums of the latter end of the Tyndall era and has made its name a household word. However, it must be recognised that a major mistake was made by allowing the Midas Agency so much control of the Party. No matter how much one plays with words, the fact is that the BNP now has debts in excess of £500,000, which of course is not all of your making. The Party is haemorrhaging membership and is receiving abysmal voting percentages of 2-3% at recent council by-elections. It must also face the fact that as an unregistered company a court could decide we are insolvent and recommend that the BNP be wound up. It is highly likely that an opposition Nationalist party will shortly be formed which would draw off more disgruntled BNP members, with the result that neither such a new party nor the present BNP would gain a single Parliamentary seat within the next ten years – and time is not on our side. One step that would halt, or at least limit, this splitting of energies would be for you to recognise the veracity of the adage ‘the buck stops here’and resign as Chairman of the Party in the near future, as opposed to your intention of doing so three years hence. This would not only reduce the loss of more members, but enable you to regain the respect that we all had for you. Furthermore, it would allow you to concentrate on the North West constituency as the BNP's MEP and expect the full support of the membership in seeing that you were re-elected."

I received a courteous short reply from Nick in which he said he would reply in detail 'in the next few days.' He never did. In December that year I did not renew my membership.

CBL: Because of the degree to which British nationalism has been hamstrung by the decline of the BNP, there are many who believe a kind of "conspiracy theory" that Griffin is actually some kind of government plant. What is your assessment of the man? Is he a sincere but heavily flawed nationalist or is he something much worse?

JB: I do not believe that Griffin is some sort of government plant, although I can understand that the results of his actions can make some people believe so. He is a flawed nationalist in that I do not believe that he places his form of nationalism above the need to keep the extended Griffin family in reasonable prosperity.

CBL: There have been various breakaway movements forming from the BNP, such as the English Democrats and British Freedom. What is your view of these two movements in particular?

JB: The English Democrats wish to break up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and as civic nationalists appear to place the Scots, for example, on a par with Third World immigrants. No true nationalist (let alone a European Nationalist) could possibly support them. They have no connections with any past anti-Semitic or racist movement, which they claim is the reason why the BNP vote was always destined to be limited. Yet although they oppose immigration on non-racial grounds – but secondary to their call for an English Parliament – after nearly a decade they still poll lower than the abysmal level of the BNP today. It would appear that their 'clean image' has achieved nothing. The British Freedom Party was formed in 2010 and attracted some disillusioned BNP members. Its leader, Paul Weston, is a former UKIP candidate. Understandably, its policy is predominantly anti-EU. On immigration Weston says: "We can have one culture and it's not important about what colour or race you come from." The BFP only fielded six candidates in the 2012 local elections, with a very low poll result of 0.6 – 4.2%. It is significant that British Freedom is also closely connected with the anti-sharia English Defence League that has demonstrated in most towns and cities in the UK with large Moslem communities. White Marxists allied with militant Moslems have regularly attacked the EDL demonstrators, many of whom are frequently arrested. Tommy Robinson is currently in prison, having been placed in a wing holding militant Moslem prisoners. Some long-term radical right and nationalist commentators have said that as Weston is Jewish and some EDL marchers have had banners denoting a Jewish Wing, both organisations are 'tools of Zionism.' I would point out to them that today my enemy's enemy is not necessarily my friend. I would not recommend support for British Freedom but EDL serves a purpose.

CBL: Soon it looks like a new nationalist party is to be launched centred on the group around Andrew Brons. What is your view of this party and its chances? Also, based on long and often painful experience, what essential advice do you have for any future nationalist party in Britain to be successful?

JB: I must now be the Mr Micawber of British radical right politics in that I still hope that “something will turn up.” We could see a new nationalist party formed very shortly centred on the group around Andrew Brons. However, to be fair to Andrew he has consistently stated that he does not want to be such a party's leader. He has also made it clear that in 2014 he will not be standing for his seat as an MEP at the European Union elections. In my opinion both decisions are a pity and I do not consider 65 being too old (well, I wouldn't!). I am not betraying any confidences in saying that the deciding factor is really centred on the sufficient financial backing that is needed to get an embryo party off the ground. Some has already been promised. But no matter how much is raised the main stumbling block that any new party has to face is that Griffin's BNP holds the centre ground of nationalism. For good or for bad his is the name that is known and there is the awful possibility that we may not have the time for any new party to surpass him in recognition by the British public.

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