Posts Tagged ‘British Fascists’

Dictators in their Own Imaginations: Joshua Bonehill and the National Worker Party

April 8, 2014

Tom Pride over at Pride’s Purge today posted a piece about Joshua Bonehill, a would-be Fascist leader with about 24,000 followers on Twitter, including one Brigadier-General John E. Michel. He naturally wondered if Michel’s following of the great dictator was merely due to the military gentleman having a laugh, or something more serious. My guess is that it’s probably the former. And Bonehill himself reminds me of the great British Fuhrer, Lt. Colonel Graham Seaton Hutchinson, the head of the 1930s National Worker Party.

Lt. Colonel Hutchinson claimed that his Fascist party had 20,000 members in Mansfield, with many more stormtroopers spread all over Lancashire and other areas. His organisation had its own journal, the National Worker, which had a print run of hundreds of thousands. In the early 1930s he approached Rotha Lintorn’s Orman’s British Fascists with suggestion that the two be merged into a single movement, the British Empire Fascist Party. The British Fascists have been described by Richard Thurlow in his Fascism in Britain: A History, 1918-1986 as ‘a cross between a glorified boy scout movement and a paramilitary group’. It was a Die-Hard Conservative quasi-paramilitary organisation, set up to defend the country from the Socialist menace. Despite Orman’s admiration for Mussolini as the man, who had saved Italy from Socialism, she actually seems to have known very little about Italian Fascism.

The British Fascists collapsed in 1935 when it was declared bankrupt after a series of splits. The first was when a group of 100 left to form the National Fascists and a second occurred when several members split to join Mosley’s BUF. There were plans to turn it into an Ulster Loyalist organisation, as well as another to merge it with the Imperial Fascist League. The proposed merger with the National Worker Party collapsed when it turned out that was indeed well named, and that Lt. Colonel Hutchinson was the Worker of the National Worker Party. There doesn’t seem to have been anyone else.

Bonehill’s group seems to be a similar group, whose massed Fascist legions number exactly one. Looking through his website I couldn’t decide whether he was seriously mentally ill, or actually having a post-modern laugh at the expense of the British Far Right. I suspect that most of his followers are doing so for the same reason. A more sobering thought is that he, and some of his followers, might be in deadly earnest.