Posts Tagged ‘League of Empire Loyalists’

The League of Empire Loyalists and the Term ‘EUSSR’ for the EU

April 27, 2014

I posted a piece this morning about the way UKIP’s election poster, showing a British workman supposedly unemployed through foreign workers taking his job, harks back to earlier Conservative posters with exactly the same message from the 1904-5 election campaign. Jess, who supplied further information on the anti-immigration campaigns of the late 19th century and its leaders, also suggested that the term ‘EUSSR’ for the EU had its origins in the rhetoric of the League of Empire Loyalists. The League was a Fascist group that founded the National Front with the British National Party and the Greater British Movement.

In a further comment to the article, she writes:

The earliest reference I have (so far) seen to ‘EUSSR’ is a piece in ‘Candour’ by Mark Ewell ; Candour’s Clarion Call’, October 1983.

A paragraph with the sub-heading ‘Stepping-stone to the United (Soviet) States of Europe’ Ewell comments on a report in The Times about the Soviet Union appealing “to the E.E.C.’s own Court of Justice over an anti-dumping action taken against it by the Commission…” [p.77]

It did not strike an immediate chord with the ‘Loyalists’.

Their favourite phrase, for a long time was to bang on along the lines
“The plans of the Euro-fanatics to create a United States of Europe in an effort to destroy the nation-state…” [GR Kemp, ‘Chunnelling to our Doom; Candour Feb 1986]

or

“The pattern for the new U.S. of E. will be subtly different. Multi-party systems in the regions will continue to debate the issues, and send their elected representative, at vastly increased salaries and overheads, to prestigious assembles in the heartland of Europe, but in the end the really vital decisions will be taken by a politburo or committee’ (J. Wilkes sic], Democracy after Thatcher, Candour, March 1991)

You will not need me to point out to you the echoes of the phrase; “elected representative, at vastly increased salaries and overheads” in the current ukip adverts.

But you can see the LEL moving towards the language of Ewell, cited above, with the implied comparison of the European Parliament, and Commission with the Soviet system.

I suspect that the final leap to ‘EUSSR’ was made a little after this, probably to avoid antagonising influential U.S. money.

Later in 1991 Leslie Von Goetz penned a couple of paragraphs which are integral to ukip thinking. The second of these;

“Those who would lead us blindfold into ‘Europe’ without even understanding the difference between a federation and a confederation risk having a lot of blood on their hands when the various peoples of Europe realise that in the name of free trade, which they could have had anyway, quite simply they have created a monster which is ruining domestic agriculture, depriving their own parliaments of the right to levy their own taxes and control their own immigration, and giving overwhelming powers to a small bureaucracy which cannot begin to police the gigantic frauds generated by its insane rules” [Candour, June/July, 1991]

would appear to be as much part of the tory Europhobe’s discourse, as that of ukip.

The term ‘United States of Europe’ seems to go back to the very foundation of the EU in the 1950s after the Second World War. I can remember studying the EU at school way back in the late ’70s- very early ’80s. The textbook we were using stated that the EEC as it was then had been set up following moves to create a ‘United States of Europe’ in the 1950s and ’60s. I think a ‘United States of Europe’ was the way the EU’s founders thought of it, and so there isn’t anything Fascistic in the term. The use of ‘EUSSR’ for the EU is, however, very different.

As for the League of Empire Loyalists, this was a non-party organisation set up by Arnold Leese, a former member of the British Union of Fascists. Leese was an anti-Semite, who believed that there was a global Jewish plot to destroy the British Empire directed by Jewish American bankers and financiers. The same bankers were also responsible for the Russian Revolution and the spread of Communism, as well as the various international organisations that arose after the Second World War, including the United Nations, NATO and the EEC/ EU. It’s the kind of weird conspiracy theorising that formed part of Hitler’s ideology of Nazism, and which was sent up by the late, great and very Fortean Robert Anton Wilson in the Illuminatus! books. Candour was the League’s magazine.

The term seems to have escaped the political ghetto of the LEL to find its way into conventional, Centre-Right political discourse. And some of those who have adopted the term, or the ideas behind it, have been on the completely opposite side of the political spectrum. I remember reading an article in the SF magazine The Edge with two Scots SF authors, China Mieville and the author of the ‘Culture’ series of SF novels, in which they talked about how they saw the EU – very much like the old Soviet Union, but something that was generally benign, despite its bureaucracy and corruption.

UKIP’s 19th Century Anti-Immigration Electioneering

April 27, 2014

ukip_poster_1

On Friday I reblogged a piece from the ever-acute and satirical Tom Pride about how the unemployed worker in UKIP’s election poster was actually an Irish actor. This was a source of highly ironic amusement, as well as a comment on the double standards used by UKIP and some of the other parties, when they start banging on the nationalist and anti-immigration issues. On the same evening you could also see a clip on the BBC’s long-running satirical quiz, Have I Got News For You, UKIP’s Fuehrer, Nigel Farage, being given a thorough grilling by the Beeb’s Nick Robinson. Why, asked Robinson, if immigration was so bad and a threat to British jobs, did Farage employ his wife, who was German, as his secretary? Because, said il Duce, there were no English people, who could do the job, thus torpedoing much of his anti-immigration arguments. It also brought forth the rejoinder from Paul Merton, ‘What? Sleep with Nigel Farage?’

The Tories were also caught using a similar set of double standards a few years ago during their election campaign to persuade the Scots to vote for them. They published a leaflet claiming that under the Tories, Scottish jobs would remain in Scotland. But obviously not as far as the production of the leaflet itself went. It was printed in England.

Such ironies aside, UKIP’s poster is highly controversial, because of the way it plays on British fears about immigration. The unemployed British workman in the poster is unemployed due to competition from immigrant workers. The message is that UKIP will stop foreigners entering the country and taking British jobs. The poster recalls some of the Conservative anti-immigration campaigns and posters in the first decade of the 20th century.

One of these posters showed an employer opening his door to welcome in a new, and obviously foreign employee to his workshop, saying, something like ‘Welcome, Mein Freund’. Meanwhile, a British workman was being forced to leave out the back. He had been made unemployed to give a job to his foreign employer’s fellow countryman. It was no accident either, that the boss and his compatriot both spoke German. The campaign was playing on the racial fears caused by immigration to Britain of German-speaking Jews entering the country following a series of pogroms in eastern Europe from the 1880s onwards.

Jess, one of the commenters on this blog, supplies some further information on the anti-immigration campaign and the context of these Victorian and Edwardian posters. She says:

The poster you refer to was probably part of the tory campaign to introduce the Aliens Bills of 1904-5

Bill Fishman has an interesting chapter on this in his ‘East End … Radicals’

“1887 was the year of opportunity both for political demagogues flying the anti-alien kite and the new social reformer. The East End borough of Tower Hamlets provided a focus…On 19 April 1887 the first recorded public meeting was held for the ratepayers of Mile End to petition for the exclusion of destitute aliens. It took the form of a debate with the motion put by Conservative MPs Captain Colomb, Howard Vincent and Lords Charles Beresford and Brabazon..The chairman was … Arnold White. The result was a compromise……But …White would not let go. On 14 July, writing en route for South Africa…he directed (under the ..title ‘England for the English!’) a second broadside through The Times: ‘Will you permit me to fire a parting shot at the pauper foreigner…..’”
Fishman p.71

Arnold White was a notorious racist and militarist, whose writings helped form the basis of British fascism in the 1930′s. We hear their echoes in the rantings of ukip today, unfortunately.

She then describes how Lord Brabazon concisely summarised this policy in a letter to the Times.

It is quite surreal that the clearest exposition of ukip and tory migration ‘policy’ I have yet found is not in the diatribes of Arnold White, but in a letter to the Times from Lord Brabazon, an hereditary liberal peer, who described himself as being of the ‘old [ie free-market] liberals’. What he also meant was that he was opposed to Irish and Scottish ‘Home Rule’

PAUPER IMMIGRATION,
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir,— Mr. Arnold White has the courage of his convictions. The suggestions contained in his letter which you published in your issue of Saturday, March 26, are so contrary to the principles of action which have found favour in this country for some time past that they are sure to meet with severe criticism, and it is only right, therefore, that those who have some knowledge of the condition of the working classes in our large towns and who share his views should speak out.

I have for some time been of opinion that the wholesale immigration into this country of more or less destitute foreigners should, in justice to our own working classes, be placed under some kind of control. The low wages which are paid for many kinds of labour are in no small degree due to the competition of these hordes of foreigners who, to escape military service in their own country and believing that the streets of London are paved with gold, flock to our shores. Not a few manufactures which used to employ a large number of persons in the East-end are now almost entirely in the hands of Germans and Jews.

Foreigners would not come to London unless they thought that by doing so they could in some way better their condition, or, in other words, they desire to share in some real or fancied advantages which they consider England possesses over other countries.

So surely these advantages may be very justly considered by Great Britain as property bearing a money value. Most of them, such as free and stable government, civil and religions liberty, immunity from wars and social and political disturbances, vast manufactures, extended commerce, the practical monopoly of the carrying trade of the world, have been won by the energy, enterprise, inventive power, unconquerable determination, and blood and treasure of Englishmen. In private business a man who desires to be admitted into partnership is always required to pay for the advantages which he seeks to enjoy. Advantages enjoyed by the aggregate of individuals composing a nation may surely be considered as much a property, bearing a money value, as the advantages possessed by individuals and companies which are every day bought and sold in the public market.

The nation knows not how to feed its present population, increasing at the rate of 340,000 a year, over and above the large emigration which is continually taking place.

The ship of State is fast becoming water-logged. It is good to work the pumps of emigration and colonization, but let us at the same time not forget to stop the leak of foreign immigration, which is filling the vessel as fast as we attempt to empty her.

I see no reason why we should not, as the Americans do, refuse to receive foreign paupers, nor can I believe that any injustice would be perpetrated by requiring every foreigner, residing in Great Britain for more than six months, to take out a licence upon which a small tax should be paid, such licence to be renewed annually; the liability to take out the licence to cease after, say ten years, should the bearer in the meantime have become a naturalized British subject.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

[Lord] BRABAZON.: The Times Wednesday, Apr 13, 1887; p. 13;

Lord Brabazon (of Meath), you will recall, sat on the platform of that 1887 ‘meeting’ chaired by White

All of the ukip themes are here;
“those who have some knowledge of the condition of the working classes in our large towns and who share his views should speak out”;

“the wholesale immigration into this country of more or less destitute foreigners should, in justice to our own working classes, be placed under some kind of control”

” low wages which are paid for many kinds of labour are in no small degree due to the competition of these hordes of foreigners ”

“The nation knows not how to feed its present population…”

Apart, of course, from ‘The Thing’, Cobbett’s meme for his own anti-Semitism, and an entrenched ‘establishment’. That bit was supplied by the League of Empire Loyalists’ reference to the European Union as a ‘EUSSR’.

How do they get away with this stuff, whilst pretending to be a ‘party’ of the 21st century?

This shows you how UKIP and the Europhobic parts of the Conservative party are taking us back to the worst features of late 19th and early 20th century Britain. UKIP and the Tories both are Neoliberal parties hostile to state intervention and welfare benefits for the working class. Margaret Thatcher in particular heartily despised them. UKIP are suspiciously silent about their domestic policies. When you do find out about them, they’re horrifying. They have been described as Tories on steroids. One of their policies, for example, is to abolish paid annual leave for workers. In order to gain working-class votes, they stress national solidarity against the threat of foreigners and outsiders. In this case, it’s foreign workers supposedly coming here to steal British jobs.

As for the description of the EU as the ‘EUSSR’, it’s highly significant that this came from the League of Empire Loyalists. These were an extremely Right-wing anti-Semitic, founded by Arnold Leese. They were one of the groups that founded the National Front, along with the British National Party and the Greater British Movement. It’s quite sinister that something coined by them that should be so widely adopted outside of the ghetto of the racist politics. My guess it entered general political discourse through extreme Right-wing Tories.

As for the Brabazon’s complaint that the foreigners coming over here in the late 19th century did so partly to escape national service in their own countries, that wasn’t entirely true. When the Kaiser lifted the restrictions on Jews entering the army, it aroused a wave of patriotism amongst German Jews, many of whom enthusiastically took up the new opportunities of a military career. The single largest group in the German army in the First World War were the Jews. One of these Jewish soldiers was Hitler’s captain, who recommended him for the Iron Cross. It’s one of the facts that gives the lie to the ‘stab-in-the-back’ explanation for the fall of the Reich – that somehow Germany was betrayed by the Jews.

Further east, in the Russian Empire, you couldn’t blame the Jews, nor any other minorities from wishing to avoid national service. The Tsars used it as a method of forcibly converting the Jewish population. Russian recruits are subject to a level of truly horrific bullying and physical abuse, and this was inflicted on Jewish members of the armed forces. Under Communism, the same attitude and abuse was adopted towards Pentecostalist Christians conscripted into the forces. Some of these received beatings so savage, that they were also hospitalised.

If the Tories and UKIP succeed in their policy of the utter dismantlement of the welfare state, this kind of anti-immigration attitudes will increase, and get much, much worse, leading to a revival of the overt, vicious racism of the 19th and early 20th centuries as the poor are forced to compete for increasingly meagre economic resources. And Tory and UKIP campaigns against ‘political correctness’ will be used to justify overtly racist rhetoric. The only way to stop this is to vote them out of power.

Daniel Hannan on Norris McWhirter, Supporter of Fascism

April 6, 2014

McWhirter

Norris McWhirter, Founder of the Freedom Association and probable supporter of the anti-Semitic and racist League of Empire Loyalists

The extreme Right-wing Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan, amongst his other attacks on the Left and the NHS, criticised the comedian David Baddiel for his film criticising Norris McWhirter in his online Telegraph column. Baddiel had made the terrible offence of comparing the Freedom Association, which McWhirter founded, to the BNP. Guy Debord’s Cat has also posted a detailed critique of Hannan’s comments, ‘Hannan: McWhirter is a Decent Man (Because I Say So)’ at http://buddyhell.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/hannan-mcwhirter-was-a-decent-man-because-i-say-so/.

In fact Baddiel’s comment about the Freedom Association being similar to the BNP has more than a little truth in the context of McWhirter’s extreme Right-wing political views. There is evidence that McWhirter was a member of the League of Empire Loyalists, a Fascist, anti-Semitic organisation that formed the National Front along with the BNP, the Greater Britain Movement and Racial Preservation Society. Even if he was not formally a member, McWhirter and his brothers subscribed to Candour, the League’s magazine, which attempted to spread its highly conspiracist view of the decline of British civilisation due to a global Jewish conspiracy. It was the same view as that of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, with the exception that the Nazis obviously focussed on Germany rather than Britain.

McWhirter and the Aldermaston March

The February 1989 issue of the Freedom Association’s newsletter, Freedom Today, printed a photograph of a car containing Norris McWhirter and his elder brother, Kennedy, surrounded by a crowd of angry CND protesters at the first Aldermaston March in 1958. The photograph was supposed to show the violent nature of peace marchers. According to the Times the McWhirters had appeared at the march in a car shouting at the crowd through a loudspeaker. They told the demonstrators that they were each guilty of increasing the threat of war and voting with their feet for ‘Soviet imperialist domination’. They then turned into a field, where they got out and attempted to display their own placards. They then scuffled with some of the marchers, and were forced to get back into the car. The marchers then started to rock it. The police eventually appeared, and managed to get the McWhirters and their car out of the crowd and away from the demonstration.

McWhirter and the LEL

Norris McWhirter stood as the Conservative candidate for Orpington in 1964. However, it looks very much like that if they weren’t formal members of the League of Empire Loyalists, they supported them sufficiently strongly to take part in some of their stunts. George Thayer in his book, The British Political Fringe: A Profile, published in 1965 stated that as the League supported nuclear weapons they ‘made a habit of harassing the Aldermaston marches’. Rosine D’Bouneviallel, a member of the League with custody of their records, confirmed that the incident was one of the LEL stunts. She did not state that the McWhirters were members of the League, but did say that they subscribed to candour.

See ‘Kennedy McWhirter 22/10/23 – 3/11/89’ in Stephen Dorril, ‘Gone but not Forgotten’, in Lobster 19: 10-13 (11).

A.K. Chesterton and the League of Empire Loyalists

The League of Empire Loyalists was founded in October 1954 by Arthur Keith (A.K.) Chesterton, a cousin of the writer G.K. Chesterton, and one of the ideologues of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. Its members including the future leaders of the National Front and related Fascist organisations, John Tyndall, Martin Webster, Colin Jordan and John Bean. It Strongly campaigned against any infringement of British sovereignty, including British involvement in a future EU or federated Europe, as well as the UN, NATO, SEATO and CENTO. It also demanded that Britain should not relinquish its Empire, but should continue to maintain and strengthen it. It also demanded that Non-White immigration to the UK should be stopped.

Chesterton, Anti-Semitism and Fascism

Chesterton split from Mosley and the BUF in 1938, and supported the British war effort against Nazi Germany. He was thus, unlike Mosley, never charged with treason. He was, however, extremely anti-Semitic. Apart from the BUF, he was also a member of the Nordic League, whose membership also included Serocold Skeels, a known Nazi agent, and William Joyce, Lord Haw Haw. Like the Nazis, the Nordic League also demanded the extermination of the Jews, and Chesterton fully shared their vile views. Chesterton later wrote a pamphlet attacking the leader of the BUF, complaining that Mosley had been deceived by the leader of one of the other factions within the BUF, which itself had become a parody of German Nazism. The pamphlet was published by the National Socialist League, the similarity of whose name to Hitler’s party was certainly not accidental. After the War Chesterton retreated from the genocidal implications of earlier extreme anti-Semitism, through his opposition to Nazism and friendship with individual Jews like Joseph Leftwich. He denounced the racial anti-Semitism of Houston Steward Chamberlain and the Nazi ideologue, Alfred Rosenberg, and demanded that those responsible for the death camps should be hanged. Like Mosley he also strenuously denied that he was a Fascist after the War.

Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories and the LEL

Chesterton was a professional journalist. He was the deputy editor of the Fascist magazine, Truth, from 1944 to 1953. In 1953 he was also literary adviser to Lord Beaverbrook, and founded the anti-Semitic newspaper, Candour. Chesterton was strongly influenced by the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Father Denis Fahey, A.N. Field, Douglas Reed, C.H. Douglas and Nesta Webster. He believed that Jewish financier and bankers, controlled by Bernard Baruch and Paul and Max Warburg, had been responsible for funding all the social unrest around the globe from the Russian Revolution onwards. The Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks agreements, along with the World Bank, Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and United Nations were part of a plot to establish a global Jewish ‘One World’ superstate and destroy the British Empire. In his 1965 book, The New Unhappy Lords, Chesterton made it clear that he believed that global Communism was merely a subordinate branch of this international conspiracy. Moscow and Peking were, he declared, merely ‘branch offices’, while the headquarters of the conspiracy was in New York. Despite his denial that he was a Fascist, and disapproval of political violence, this is very much the same conspiratorial view as Hitler’s, except that it was updated to include the new, post-War supranational organisations.

Political Stunts

The League attempted to spread its vile ideas not by marches or demonstrations, but through a series of disruptive stunts. Amongst these were the blowing of bugle horns at Conservative party conferences. When Krushchev and Bulganin arrived at Victoria Station as part of their détente peace tours of the West, the League’s members shouted that Anthony Eden had shaken hands with a murderer. They also gatecrashed the 1958 Anglican Lambeth Conference disguised as Greek Orthodox bishops. As racist imperialists, they also disrupted meetings of the Movement for Colonial Freedom and the Anti-Slavery Society.

Whatever Hannan says about McWhirter, it is clear that he had some extremely unpleasant Right-wing views, which could fairly be described as Fascistic. If he was indeed a subscriber to Candour, as claimed by the keeper of the LEL’s records, then he was clearly at least one of their fellow travellers. He may not have formally joined the League out of a desire to maintain his membership of the Tories. After their disruptive antics at the 1958 Tory party conference led to fighting between the conference’s stewards and members of the Leagues, the Conservatives took strong measures to throw out League sympathisers. The Freedom Association has also supported brutal and repressive extreme Right-wing dictatorships, so Baddiel actually was right to compare the Freedom Association to the BNP and attack the noxious views of its founder. And by his own support for McWhirter, Hannan has also shown how extreme his own political views are.

For further information on the League of Empire Loyalists, see Kevin Koogan, ‘The League of Empire Loyalists’ in Lobster 46, Winter 2003, pp. 26-9, and Richard Thurlow, Fascism in Britain: A History, 1918-1985 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd 1987).