Posts Tagged ‘Commander Bower’

1930s Tory MP Writes in the Daily Mail about Conservatism and the BUF

February 27, 2016

It’s very notorious that the Daily Mail was solidly behind Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists in Britain, and Adolf Hitler in Germany, at least initially. Tom Pride over at Pride’s Purge about a year or so ago dug out a whole tranche of quotes of columns from the Heil celebrating and promoting the Blackshirts and the Nazis, while at the same time warning of the impending threat from Jewish immigrants and asylum seekers. This was in response to a hit-piece in the newspaper attacking Ed Milliband’s father, the Marxist academic Ralph Milliband, as ‘the Man Who Hates Britain’. For all that he hated British capitalism and its institutions, Ralph Milliband was a patriot, who fought for his adopted country in the war. As opposed to the father of one of the journos on that esteemed organ, who seemed to have enjoyed a somewhat quieter, less riskier life as its sports correspondent.

And some Tories were also very outspoken in their support for Mosley and the Blackshirts. Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Moore was the Tory MP for Ayr Burghs. He was also a member of the notorious Anglo-German Fellowship, an interwar organisation consisting of Nazis and British, largely aristocratic, Nazi fellow-travellers, promoting peaceful relations between Britain and Hitler’s Germany. On April 25, 1934, Sir Thomas Moore published an article in Heil praising Mosley’s thugs. He wrote

Surely there cannot be any fundamental difference of outlook between the Blackshirts and their parents, the Conservatives? For let us make no mistake about that parentage … It is largely derived from the Conservative Party … surely the relationship can be made closer and more friendly?

He also praised the BUF squadristi for their ‘pride of race, love of country, loyalty’ and stated that the briefest study of the movement and the most casual examination of its members satisfy one of that it is largely derived from the Conservative . This is perhaps natural for the instincts are the same, loyalty to the throne and love of country.

And he wasn’t the only Tory MP who approved and defended Mosley. During the debate in parliament on Mosley’s interment of the first of December, 1943, Grenfell, a Labour MP, called Mosley a ‘proved enemy of the state’. The Tories’ response were cries of ‘No, no’, and ‘Not proved’. And when Grenfell asked ‘Does anybody are to stand up and say he was not an enemy of the state?’, one Tory MP, Commander Bower, the Member for Cleveland, did indeed do so, saying, ‘I do.’

From ‘Gracchus’, Your MP (London: Victor Gollancz 1944) 47, 48.

The Anglo-German Fellowship and its related organisation, The Link, were ultimately marginal organisations on the Tory fringes. But this certainly shows how far some members of the Tory party did sympathise with Hitler and Mosley. And I’ve no doubt that its an aspect of Tory history they want to suppress in order to promote the image that it was only under Churchill and the Tories that Britain stood to defeat Nazi Germany.

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