Notable Names from Britain’s far Right
Below follows a brief introduction to some of the personalities who have or are involved in right wing British politics. This list is by no means exhaustive – but should provide a quick appreciation of this complex subject.
He represented the controversial British historian David Irving at his libel case appeal; Irving had raised the original libel action after being accused of Holocaust denial by Deborah Lipstadt, but lost. He also failed in his appeal.
Davies was previously an executive council member of the Conservative Monday Club and a former executive committee member of Tory Action. He is also a co-organiser of the little-known Bloomsbury Forum, and audited the accounts of the British National Party in 2000. He addressed the Conservative Democratic Alliance in October 2002.
We received this email on 22nd December 2010
Re: Adrian Davies
Your web site contains an article about me, to which I don't have any especial objection, as I fully recognise your right to comment freely, but does contain one inaccuracy.
I did not, as stated "audit the accounts of the British National Party in 2000" (or in any other year). I am not a registered auditor, and do not undertake such work.
I would be really grateful if you would kindly correct this error.
Hunter was first elected to Basingstoke as a Conservative in the 1983 election. He was also a member of the Conservative Monday Club and its Vice-Chairman 1991 - 2001, when he was ordered by the Conservative Party to quit the Club. Until 2002, he was a patron of the magazine Right Now!.
Andrew Hunter was active in thoroughly researching and exposing the Irish Republican Army (IRA) links with other groups, including the South African African National Congress (ANC), and in July 1988 called for Margaret Thatcher to deport all ANC members then in Britain, (refer: Daily Express, 16 July 1988). At the October 1988 Conservative Party Conference, Western Goals (UK) held a fringe meeting on the subject of "International Terrorism - how the West can fight back". Andrew Hunter, Sir Alfred Sherman, the Rev. Martin Smyth, MP, and Harvey Ward, were the speakers. Andrew Hunter gave considerable detail to the meeting concerning top-level links between the IRA and ANC. For these exposures, he was given a permanent police guard for over a decade and was forced to move his home twice.
On 3 February 1997, he had a letter published in the Daily Telegraph, which he signed as Chairman of the Parliamentary Conservative Northern Ireland Committee, attacking the "Bloody Sunday" inquiry, calling it "a mistake" and saying that it "dishonours the memory of all who have died in 'The Troubles'".
In 2002, he withdrew from the Conservative Party, in order to fight elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly as a candidate of the Democratic Unionist Party. He had family and Orange Order connections with Northern Ireland and had opposed the Belfast Agreement. The elections were held in November 2003, and he failed to gain his seat. On December 10, 2004, he announced that he had joined the DUP Parliamentary Group in the House of Commons, the first Member of Parliament for a mainland seat to sit for an Irish-based party since TP O'Connor who had represented the Liverpool Scotland (UK Parliament constituency) from 1885 to 1929.
Hunter has raised the case of convicted killer Jeremy Bamber in Parliament, who he believes was wrongly convicted.
Hunter stepped down from the House of Commons at the 2005 general election and suggested he would move to Northern Ireland to become more involved with DUP politics. However, the subsequent death of his wife, Jan, led to a hold on these plans.
Morrison was involved at low levels with both the British Movement and the National Front during the 1970s, although he soon became associated with John Tyndall and followed him into the New National Front in 1979 and from there into the newly formed British National Party in 1982. Following his leaving the BNP Morrison spent a short time in the notoriously violent National Democratic Freedom Movement (a minor group which ended when its founder, David Myatt, was jailed) before setting up his own group, the National Action Party. The NAP was a miniscule group and Tony Malski(now disappeared from the Nazi scene) claimed that Morrison was out of his depth and had sought to merge the NAP into his own National Socialist Action Party. After the NAP ran out of steam, Morrison was readmitted to the BNP in the late 1980s and became regional organizer for Yorkshire, revitalising the party right across the North of England, especially when he organised the now notorious Dewsbury open air mass rally which is credited by many observers with putting the BNP on the map.
Morrison returned in the late 1990s and rejoined the NF, rebuilding the local party group in Yorkshire after years of decline. However the NF leadership soon became distrustful of the power base Morrison was building up until in 2002 he led the Yorkshire NF away, initially under the name of Aryan Unity. This group was soon renamed the White Nationalist Party and Morrison became one of its leading members until yet another split occurred and he again broke away with his followers. This time Morrison formed the Spearhead Support Group (soon shortened to Spearhead Group) and again linked up with Tyndall to support his attempts to regain leadership of the BNP from Nick Griffin. When progress was not made, Morrison suggested to Tyndall that he give up on the BNP altogether and form his own party, but Tyndall was not ready. Morrison however decided that this was the best course of action and, breaking with Tyndall, set up the Nationalist Alliance in 2005 in the hope that Tyndall would lead it eventually. After enduring a torrid few months as leader of the NA, Morrison, along with John G. Wood, left the NA and reconstituted their followers as the British Peoples Party a group of which Morrison is currently National Organiser, which now seems to be establishing itself as a small but growing challenger to what it sees as the 'liberal' BNP.
As well as his ever changing role in the politics of the far right, Morrison is also a poet, with much of his work dealing with nationalist themes and some of a more general nature.
Wood was a member of Sir Oswald Mosley's Union Movement and became a Branch Leader. As well as being a member of UM he also recognised as a personal friend and confidant of Mosley and remained in the UM until 1964 when he joined the British National Party. Remaining with the BNP, Wood became a founder member of the British National Front when it was formed in 1967.
Wood left the British far right not long after this as work commitments took him to the Federal Republic of Germany. Whilst there, he established links with the National Democratic Party.
After returning to Britain, Wood linked up with Eddy Morrison in Leeds and followed him into the New National Front. In April 1982 at the Charing Cross Hotel in London, Wood was present at the launch of the (third) British National Party. John TYndall and a few others, including Charles Parker, Tyndall's father-in-Law, wanted the new party to be called the Nationalist Party but Wood, under pressure from a great majority of northern nationalists in Leeds and Manchester, persuaded Tyndall to adopt the name of the BNP.
Wood remained with the BNP until 1990 when he resigned from the party due to personality clashes with some moderate senior officers. He continued to appear as a guest speaker at party events, fulfilling a similar function for the NF and other groups, without formally participating in any group.
When the White Nationalist Party was formed in 2002, Wood was offered the position of propaganda and Training Officer which he accepted. Later, in 2003, he led the party as National Organiser. He was still in that position when, on June 6th 2005, he dissolved the WNP and merged the whole membership into the Nationalist Alliance. He retained the position of National Organiser in the new merger and remained there until September 2005 when, due to irreparable differences with fellow members of the National Executive Council, he resigned along with other senior officers, Eddy Morrison, Kevin Watmough and Sid Williamson. Immediately following his resignation from the NA, the leading figures who had resigned with him created a new party, the British Peoples Party. Wood became Chairman of the BPP with Morrison as National Organiser.
After a few months, Wood was expelled by the party's 'steering committee' in late November 2005. He is not presently a member of any organization, with allegations having been made by other figures on the far right that he has been working for Searchlight magazine.
John Hutchyns Tyndall (July 14, 1934 – July 19, 2005) was a far-right British nationalist politician best known for leading the National Front in the 1970s and for founding the British National Party in the 1980s.
Forms the BNP
Deposed as leader
Tyndall was first politically active in the League of Empire Loyalists (a right-wing pressure group) headed by A.K. Chesterton. In 1957, feeling that the League was not sufficiently active, he and John Bean left to form the National Labour Party. The Labour Party prevented the use of this name, and in 1960 it merged with the White Defence League of Colin Jordan to form the old British National Party (BNP) which was led by John Bean.
Tyndall became deputy national organiser of this party and deputy commander of a private army set up by Colin Jordan called Spearhead, based on the SA of Nazi Germany. The police prosecuted Jordan, Tyndall and two others for paramilitary organising. Tyndall said that he deeply regretted his involvement with this organisation. Until his death Spearhead lived on as Tyndall's personal magazine through which his political thoughts and comments as well as those of others on the right of the BNP were communicated. Spearhead went to make up a great part of his personal revenue because although he changed parties several times in his life, he retained the copyright over the name "Spearhead".
Tyndall left the old British National Party along with Colin Jordan in 1962 when he set up the National Socialist Movement. He fell out with Jordan over the wealthy French Françoise Dior who, although she was originally engaged to Tyndall, married Jordan in extreme haste, who had just been released from prison before Tyndall, to avoid being expelled from Britain as an undesirable alien. This act provoked a life long schism between the two allies. He formed the Greater Britain Movement in 1964, taking most of the members of the National Socialist Movement with him. Jordan was well in with the proprietor of the headquarters at 74, Princedale Road, London, W11, (the widow of Arnold Leese) so it was Tyndall who was obliged to quit the building but he retained his copy of the keys and during one of Jordan's prolonged absences, emptied the HQ of all the expensive equipment. Jordan attacked him in justice for theft but the court ruled that it was an internal affair and considering that both litigants were members of the same movement at the time in question, no theft had occurred. The Greater Britain Movement drifted from various accommodation addresses varying from an upper room in a pub named "The Silver Sword" in Petty France, London, SW1, to an address in Holborn, and finally invading the basement of the prestige address of "Westminster Chambers" which eventually became the first HQ of the National Front
Tyndall spent much of the 1960s developing his ideological programme. He published the book The Authoritarian State in 1962, in which he claimed that liberal democracy was a Jewish tool of world domination that needed to be replaced by authoritarianism.
Later Tyndall continued to develop his ideological programme and produced in 1966 his Six Principles of Nationalism which appeared to break with the neo-Nazi NSM and instead looked to electoral paths to government, which would be characterized by leadership, corporatism and racial purity and would be regularly ratified by referenda, bringing to mind the earlier calls of Sir Oswald Mosley who, along with his mother, Tyndall deeply respected. He would spend hours in front of a mirror perfecting Mosley's gestures. Tyndall’s new work impressed A. K. Chesterton, who at the same time was helping to reorganise the demoralised far-right.
When the National Front was formed in 1967 Tyndall pressed for the inclusion of the Greater Britain Movement. Eventually a compromise was reached to allow individual members to join the NF, and Tyndall disbanded the Greater Britain Movement when they all had. Tyndall swiftly rose to the rank of Chairman when A.K. Chesterton resigned, in which his principal responsibility was theory and political thinking.
Forms the BNP
Under Tyndall's guidance the Front grew in membership and gained many votes, peaking during the February general election of 1974. This success was not so much due to Tyndall's leadership but was a direct result of Martin Webster's tactics of banging the drums in the streets. For the 1979 general election, the Front put up 303 candidates but the results were disappointing: it lost its deposit everywhere. Internal recriminations saw Tyndall removed from all his positions and he opted to depart, setting up first the New National Front, then changing its name to the British National Party in 1982.
During his tenure as leader of the new BNP, Tyndall did little to dispel the perception among some that the BNP was a neo-Nazi organisation, and strongly resisted any attempts to soften the party's policies or image. Tyndall was convicted of incitement to racial hatred in 1986 and was jailed three times. During his time in prison he completed the part-autobiographical part-political book The Eleventh Hour (ISBN 0951368621), which he subsequently revised several times.
Deposed as leader
In 1999 Tyndall lost the leadership of the BNP to Nick Griffin. Afterwards he threatened, at times, to run against Griffin to regain the leadership, although he did not act on his threats. Griffin briefly expelled Tyndall from the BNP in 2002 for being a disruptive influence although Tyndall was reinstated after a court case. In 2004, Tyndall joined in signing the New Orleans Protocol. The New Orleans Protocol seeks to "mainstream our cause" by reducing violence and internecine warfare, and was written by David Duke. When he signed, Tyndall made it clear that he was not acting on behalf of the BNP.
On December 12, 2004 Tyndall was arrested on suspicion of incitement to racial hatred following a BBC documentary aired in July 2004. On April 6, 2005, he was charged by police with two offences of using words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred.
Tyndall was found dead at his home in Hove, Sussex, on July 19, 2005, less than a week after his 71st birthday. He was due to stand on charges of incitement to racial hatred at Leeds Magistrates just two days later (July 21, 2005).
He was the cousin of author G. K. Chesterton.
Born in England, Chesterton was taken with his family to South Africa as a boy and did not return to England until the late 1920s.
In 1915 he joined the British colonial army and was sent to East Africa, where he almost died of malaria and dysentery.
After officer training, he ended up on the Western Front in 1917, as a member of the Durban Light Infantry. He was subsequently decorated with the military cross. Like so many other future fascists, his war experience was crucial to his repudiation of democracy. The war also left Chesterton broken in health and an alcoholic.
After the war, he worked as a journalist for the Johannesburg Star. He then traveled to England and secured a job with the Stratford-on-Avon Herald, where, as the theatre critic from 1925 to 1929, he cultivated his aesthetic sense of societal decadence and cultural decline.
For the next four years, according to Chesterton's biographer, David Baker, he tilted at windmills and sharpened his skills as a controversialist while the Great Depression deepened and the bankruptcy of liberal and capitalist democracy became apparent. The corporate state, he came to believe, would rule in the interests of the whole nation, whereas democracy was the plaything of special interests and privilege
Moving to London and marrying a Fabian socialist and pacifist, Chesterton found himself living near the headquarters of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. He took to dropping by for conversation and argument, and by late 1933 he had joined the movement.
He became the director of Publicity and Propaganda as well as the chief organiser for the Midlands.
In 1936, Chesterton's alcoholism, combined with overwork, led to a nervous breakdown. He consulted a German neurologist, and between 1936-7 lived in Germany. After returning to Britain he was appointed as editor of the Blackshirt - the official BUF newspaper. This position provided a pulpit for his increasingly anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Initially a strong admirer of Oswald Mosley he left the BUF in 1938, somewhat disillusioned, but continued his involvement in far-right politics by joining the Nordic League and serving as the editor of Lord Lymington's right-wing journal, the New Pioneer.
In 1939, Chesterton re-enlisted in the British Army shortly after the outbreak of war. He served in East Africa during Second World War but returned to Britain in 1944, due to poor health, and launched the short lived National Front after Victory Group. He also became deputy editor of the right-wing publication Truth.
He then returned to Africa for a short time, after which point he again returned to Britain where he established the League of Empire Loyalists in 1954. The League was a pressure group campaigning against the increasing dissolution of the British Empire, and was well-known at the time for its various stunts at Conservative Party meetings and conferences (acting as a constant irritation to the party). These stunts included hiding underneath the speaker platform overnight to emerge during the conference in order to put across their points. The League found support from a number of Conservative Party members, although they were disliked very much by the leadership.
Also about this time, he was appointed by Lord Beaverbrook to be one of his "literary advisers,"- contributing to the Daily Mail and the Sunday Express. He also ghostwrote the Beaverbrook's autobiography, Don't Trust to Luck.
He also founded and edited the right-wing magazine Candour. which he continued issuing for the rest of his life.
Chesterton went on to co-found the National Front in 1967, an organization that continues to operate today (2005). Chesterton was leader for only a short time, although he made several attempts to keep the party free from national socialist extremists. Upon his stepping down the first of several long, inter-factional disputes took place within the NF which frequently coloured its policies in ways which Chesterton did not approve of. Today the NF describes itself as a "White nationalist organisation founded in 1967 in opposition to multi-racialism and immigration", although the term "multi-racialism" was not in common usage in 1967.
Amongst Chesterton's written works are Portrait of a Leader (1937), a hagiography of Mosley; Why I left Mosley (1938), which broke from his earlier work; The Tragedy of Anti-Semitism (1948) in which he distanced himself from this form of prejudice; and The New Unhappy Lords, a diatribe against international finance.
The last 30 years of Chesterton's life were spent in a modest apartment in South Croydon with his wife, Doris. He died on August 16, 1973.
Born on 7th June 1927 in Carshalton, Surrey, Bean briefly flirted with communism whilst at school, calling for support for the Soviet Union. His initial fervour soon faded and by the time he began his National service in 1945 Bean was largely apolitical. As a sailor in the Royal Navy, Bean was placed on HMS Bulawayo and spent much of his time docked in Trinidad until the finish of his naval days in June 1948. He briefly moved to India in 1950 to work as a chemist in a paint factory, although he failed to settle and returned to Britain six months later.
Upon his return, Bean began to attend meetings of the Union Movement, being attracted by the Europe a Nation policy and by the time Oswald Mosley had spent in prison for his beliefs. Bean soon became a leading figure in the UM stronghold of the East End of London, before being appointed to head up a branch in Putney in 1952. Despite these advancements, Bean grew disillusioned of the UM's chances of making any real headway and he left them altogether in February 1953. A brief stop-over in the local Conservative Party in Barnes that followed lasted only two months.
After a spell on the sidelines he then linked up with Andrew Fountaine, who had been attempting to form his own party, the National Front, and began to produce a journal, National Unity. His work attracted the attention of A. K. Chesterton and, with the National Front idea failing to get off the ground, he decided to join the League of Empire Loyalists, serving as Northern Organiser and then in the HQ in London. Continuing to produce his paper, now called The Loyalist, Bean soon became frustrated at both the lack of political activity and the links to the Conservative Party that were the hallmarks of the LEL and so left in 1957 to set up the National Labour Party along with Fountaine.
The NLP gained a few minor results in elections but was always destined to be a small fringe movement and as a result Bean decided to merge his party with another LEL splinter group, the White Defence League in 1960 to form the British National Party. Initially gaining some support in London, the party soon ran into trouble when it became clear that Colin Jordan was emerging as the public face. A journalist commented in 1962 that Jordan was becoming the British Adolf Hitler to which Bean responded that that made him "the British Joseph Goebbels". This remark would haunt Bean's career from then on. Despite this, Bean, who had eschewed open Nazism, soon clashed with Jordan and before long Jordan had left to form the National Socialist Movement, taking emerging figure John Tyndall with him. By 1966, Bean was reduced to standing on an upturned orange box in Middlesex Street, London E1, (commonly known as Petticoat Lane market)on Sunday mornings preaching his message to half a dozen pimply youths. Although this was in the heart of the Jewish quarter, the opposition felt more pity than aggression towards him and he was never attacked, either physically or verbally. The diminished party suffered a series of setbacks at the 1966 general election and saw their support fall dramatically. With morale at an all-time low, Bean returned to A. K. Chesterton and the BNP became one of the founding parts of the National Front in 1967.
Bean became something of a peripheral figure in the NF, as the BNP element was somewhat sidelined. He held the post of Deputy Chairman of the Executive Directorate, a body which was largely subordinate to the Policy Directorate, until resigning in 1968. Still an NF member, he was recalled to positions of minor influence from time to time until 1972 when he largely ceased active involvement. Retreating into political retirement, his membership lapsed in 1977 and he emerged only briefly to lend some support to his old friend Andrew Fountaine's Constitutional Movement and to take part in the Countryside Alliance march of the 1st March 1998.
Bean eventually ended his retirement after the political fall of John Tyndall and joined the British National Party under the leadership of Nick Griffin. He has since become a fairly active member of the BNP (mostly on the administrative side) and was a candidate for the party in the 2004 European elections, where he was seventh on a list of seven candidates for the Scotland constituency. He also runs his own website, which functions as an extreme right news page, and has served as editor of BNP magazine Identity (a role he still holds as of September 2005).
A one-time candidate for the Conservative Party (whose candidature was disowned for his extremist positions), Fountaine came to the extreme right initially as a member of the League of Empire Loyalists (whom he joined after attempting to organise his own Nationalist movement which briefly used the later more well-known National Front name). He would go on to follow John Bean out of this group and was a founder member of the National Labour Party. Officially the leader of the NLP Fountaine fulfilled this role because he presented a more respectable image than Bean, being a landowner in Norfolk. Fountaine remained a strong supporter of Bean and supported him in his later struggles with Colin Jordan in the British National Party (in which he acted as party president).
Fountaine would go on to be a leading member of the British National Front, eventually serving as deputy leader to John Tyndall despite being expelled by Arthur Chesterton in 1968 (an action he had overturned in the High Court). Fountaine split with Tyndall in 1979 and challenged him for the leadership but was defeated and split from the NF to form his own NF Constitutional Movement, later called the Nationalist Party. The new party claimed 2000 members by January 1980 and was publishing its own paper Excalibur. The new movement was to prove short-lived as Fountaine became disillusioned with the in-fighting that was coming to characterise the British right. He retired from politics in 1981 to concentrate on growing trees on his Norfolk estate and remained there until his death in 1997.
Controversial figure and British National Party supporter Tony Martin is the nephew of Fountaine.
Martin lived in a run-down, isolated farmhouse in Emneth Hungate, Norfolk, nick-named "Bleak House". He had been burgled several times and in May 1999 had apparently lost £6,000 worth of furniture. His shotgun license was revoked in the mid 1990's, but he had retained or since acquired at least two weapons.
Attempted burglary and manslaughter
Parole applications and release
Attempted burglary and manslaughter
On the night of August 20, 1999 two burglars, Brendon Fearon, 29, and Fred Barras, 16, entered Bleak House. They were shot by Martin, with his shotgun, and attempted to flee. Barras died in the grounds, Fearon was able to leave and got medical assistance. Martin subsequently left the farm and spent the night at a friend's house.
On 10 January 2000 Fearon and Darren Bark 33 both from Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, admitted to conspiring to burgle Martin's farmhouse. Fearon was sentenced to three years, Bark to 30 months (with an additional 12 months from previous offences). Fearon was released on 10 August 2001.
On 10 April 2000 Martin was charged with murder (of Barras), attempted murder (of Fearon), wounding with intent to cause injury (of Fearon) and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
At his trial, Martin claimed that on the night of August 20, 1999, he was awoken by sounds in his home. He took his unlicensed shotgun and came downstairs, he claimed, to be confronted by a torch being shone in his face. A 29 year old man, Brendon Fearon, and an accomplice of 16, Fred Barras, were stealing from the house. Martin opened fire three times on the two burglars as they attempted to flee, killing the youth, who was shot in the back, and injuring the older man. Martin was later arrested and charged with the murder of Barras and the wounding of Fearon with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Martin was bailed; it was claimed by police that there was information of an underworld contract on his head for £60,000, but this claim has not been substantiated.
The jury at the trial found Martin guilty of murder by a 10 to 2 majority. They had been told that they had the option of returning a verdict of manslaughter if they thought that Tony Martin "did not intend to kill or cause serious bodily harm".
Martin was duly sentenced to life in prison, the mandatory sentence for murder. The case had attracted considerable media interest and the life sentence shocked many. He was portrayed as a martyr figure in right-wing tabloid newspapers such as The Daily Mail.
An appeal was lodged and, in due course, Martin's appeal went before three senior judges headed by Lord Lane.
Martin's case was highlighted by William Hague, then leader of the Tories. Hague's actions arguably contributed to his growing image as the opportunist 'Billy Bandwagon' as it was thought Martin's case had little appeal beyond the Tory 'core vote'.
Submissions by the defence that Martin had fired in self defence were rejected by the appeal court. But on this occasion the defence submitted evidence that Martin suffered paranoid personality disorder specifically directed at anyone intruding into his home; this submission was accepted by the Court of Appeal, and on the grounds of diminished responsibility, Martin's murder conviction vacated and replaced with manslaughter carrying a five year sentence, and his 10-year sentence for wounding the Fearon cut to three years, to run concurrently.
Parole applications and release
Martin was imprisoned in Highpoint prison, Suffolk. When he became eligible for parole and early release the Parole Board rejected his application; probation officers on Martin's cases said there was an "unacceptable risk" that Martin might again react with excessive force if other would-be burglars intruded on his Norfolk farm. At this stage of his sentence (and indeed to this day) Martin publicly refused to acknowledge his guilt and stated that he would do the same thing again if he encountered the same circumstances.
The Sun newspaper ran a continuous campaign supporting Tony Martin, with one front-page headline (2nd April 2000) stating that 55,000 readers had telephoned their support for him. On the 8th July 2003 they ran another full-page article (p.9) with the headline Sun readers have risen in defence of decency, with a personal letter of thanks from Martin, and picture.
On July 28, 2003 Martin was released after serving over three years of his five year sentence, the maximum he could be held for given good behaviour, three days after Fearon was released from a drugs conviction, on the earliest date possible. The contrast lead to another public outcry.
The family of Fearon applied for, and received, an estimated £5,000 of legal aid to sue Martin for loss of earnings due to the injury he sustained, but later dropped the case. Martin sold his version of the story to the Daily Mirror; the government launched an investigation into the law against convicted criminals receiving payments from newspapers.
Since his release Martin has appeared on the platform of the United Kingdom Independence Party and has also allegedly endorsed the far right wing British National Party, both parties have advocated changes in the law to stop prosecutions of people attacking intruders as well as less restrictive firearm controls.
The November 2003 "Traditional Britain Dinner" at Simpsons-in-the-Strand had Martin as their Guest-of-Honour. A number of figures on the traditional British right were in attendance, including Derek Turner, editor of the magazine Right Now!, Mike Smith, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) candidate for Portsmouth North in the 2005 General Election and Chairman of the Conservative Democratic Alliance, Andrew Moffat, who stood for UKIP at the last two general elections, Adrian Davies, the barrister who is Chairman of the fledgling Freedom Party, and John Gouriet, a founder with Norris McWhirter of the Freedom Association. Gregory Lauder-Frost was in the Chair. A notice of the dinner appeared in the 'Court & Social' columns of the Daily Telegraph on 8 November 2003.
Fearon was paid a reported £4,500 to contribute to a BBC documentary in 2005, Martin had also been interviewed for the documentary but had not been offered any fee.
Tony Martin's case was one that polarised the media in the UK to a greater degree than would usually be seen. To the left leaning papers he was a trigger-happy and unstable xenophobe, who wilfully killed a fleeing boy, to right-wing concerns he is a wronged man and a prime example of how the government punishes victims and rewards criminals.
For a general discussion on the theory behind the law, see the theory of self-defence. For a more specific coverage of the issues, see self-defence in English law and defence of property.
The Right Honourable John Enoch Powell, MBE (June 16, 1912 – February 8, 1998) was a right-wing British politician and Conservative Party MP between 1950 and February 1974, and an Ulster Unionist MP between October 1974 and 1987. Controversial throughout his career, his tenure in senior office was brief; however, his skills as a polemicist and orator gained significant public support for his controversial views on issues such as immigration and the United Kingdom's entry into the European Union, sparking national debates which continue to this day.
Rivers of Blood speech
An unusual Conservative?
Ulster Unionist Party
Racist demagogue or lost Prime Minister?
Powell was born and raised in Birmingham, the son of two schoolteachers. His formidable intelligence was apparent early on. From King Edward's School, Birmingham he became a respected student of Classics, in particularly Latin and Greek (which would later influence his infamous 'Rivers of Blood' speech) and became one of the few students in the school's history to attain 100% in an end-of-year English examination (a feat only equalled in 2005 by 15-year old Tim Kiely). He completed his education at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a double first and fell under the powerful influence of A. E. Housman. He was later appointed Professor of Greek at Sydney University aged 25. Amongst his pupils was the future Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam. He revised Stuart-Jones edition of Thucydides' Historiae for the Oxford University Press in 1938. His most lasting contribution to classical scholarship was his Lexicon to Herodotus (1938).
As well as his education at Cambridge, Powell took a course in Urdu at the School of Oriental Studies, now the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in a bid to further his chances of being appointed Viceroy of India.
While Powell was in Australia as a Professor he grew increasingly angry at the appeasement of Germany and what he saw as a betrayal of British national interests. In a letter to his parents in June 1939 before the outbreak of war, Powell wrote:
"It is the English, not their Government; for if they were not blind cowards, they would lynch Chamberlain and Halifax and all the other smarmy traitors."
Upon the immediate outbreak of war Powell returned to England, although not before buying a Russian dictionary because Powell thought 'Russia would hold the key to our survival and victory, as it had in 1812 and 1916'.
During World War II, Powell enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, almost a month after returning home because most of the recruiting stations would not take him and Powell only managed to join the Warwickshire's by enlisting officially as an Australian. Though he served in Africa with the Desert Rats Powell never actually saw combat, serving for most of his military career as a staff officer. It was here in the Algiers that the seed of Powell's dislike of the United States was planted. After talking with some senior American officials he became convinced that one of America's main war aims was to destroy the British Empire. Writing home on the 16th February 1943 Powell said:
"I see growing on the horizon the greater peril than Germany or Japan ever were...our terrible enemy, America...".
Powell continued his fixation of the alleged anti-Britishness of the Americans during the war.
Powell cut out and retained all his life an article from the Statesman newspaper of the 13th November 1943 in which the American Clare Booth Luce said in a speech that Indian independence would mean that the "USA will really have won the greatest war in the world for democracy".
Powell desperately wanted to go to the Far East to help the fight against Japan because 'the war in Europe is won now, and I want to see the flag back in Singapore' before, Powell thought, the Americans beat Britain to it.
By the end of the war, he was the youngest brigadier in the British army, having started off as a Private. He felt guilty at the end of the war for having survived when many of those he'd met during his journey through the ranks had not.
After the war, he joined the Conservative Party and worked for the Conservative Research Department, where one of his colleagues was Iain Macleod. He was elected as MP for Wolverhampton South West in the 1950 general election.
Powell was a member of the Suez Group of MPs who were against the removal of British troops from the Suez Canal because such a move would demonstrate, Powell argued, that Britain could no longer maintain a position there and that any claim to the Suez Canal would therefore be illogical. However after the troops had left in 1954 and the Egyptians nationalized the Canal in 1956, Powell opposed the British attempts to reconquer the Canal because he thought the British no longer had the resources to be a world power.
He worked in Housing and then as Financial Secretary to the Treasury but in 1958, Powell resigned along with Peter Thorneycroft and Nigel Birch in protest at the government's plans for increased expenditure; he was a staunch monetarist and believer in market forces. The by-product of this expenditure was the printing of extra money to pay for it all- which Powell believed (and is now widely accepted) to be a major cause of inflation, and in effect a form of taxation, as the holders of money find their money is worth less. Inflation rose to 2.5%; a high figure for the era, especially in peacetime.
Powell returned to government in 1960 when he was appointed to the post of Minister for Health, albeit outside the Cabinet but this changed in 1962. In this post which he was responsible for promoting an ambitious ten year programme of general hospital building and for commencing the run down of the huge psychiatric institutions. In his famous 1961 "Water Tower" speech, he said:
"There they stand, isolated, majestic, imperious, brooded over by the gigantic water-tower and chimney combined, rising unmistakable and daunting out of the countryside - the asylums which our forefathers built with such immense solidity to express the notions of their day. Do not for a moment underestimate their powers of resistance to our assault. Let me describe some of the defences which we have to storm."
The speech catalysed a debate that was one of several strands leading to the Care in the Community initiative of the 1980s.
Later, he encouraged a large number of Commonwealth immigrants into the understaffed National Health Service. Prior to this, many non-white immigrants were often obliged to take the jobs that no one else wanted (eg. street cleansing, night-shift assembly production lines), often paid considerably less than their white counterparts. Powell was vehemently opposed by the Trade Union movement (who feared that immigrants were being used by capitalists to keep wages low by artificially increasing competition for jobs), but there is no doubt that in easing non-white immigrants into what was considered a prestigious form of career, he boosted the confidence of the immigrant population and helped lay the foundations of a future immigrant-descended permanent Afro-Caribbean and Asian middle class in Britain.
Along with Iain Macleod, Powell refused to serve in the cabinet position following the appointment of Alec Douglas-Home as prime minister. Following the Conservatives' defeat in the 1964 general election he agreed to return to the front bench as Transport spokesman. In 1965 he stood in the first ever party leadership election, but came a distant third to Edward Heath, who appointed him Shadow Secretary of State for Defence.
In a controversial speech on the 26th May 1967 Powell criticised Britain's post-war world role:
"In our imagination the vanishing last vestiges...of Britain's once vast Indian Empire have transformed themselves into a peacekeeping role on which the sun never sets. Under God's good Providence and in partnership with the United States, we keep the peace of the world and rush hither and thither containing Communism, putting out brush fires and coping with subversion. It is difficult to describe, without using terms derived from psychiatry, a notion having so few points of contact with reality".
Rivers of Blood speech
Powell was noted for his oratorical skills, and for being a maverick who cared little about what harm he did to his party - or himself. On Saturday April 20th 1968 he made a controversial speech in Birmingham, in which he warned his audience of what he believed would be the consequences of continued unchecked immigration from the Commonwealth to Britain. Because of its allusion to Virgil saying that the Tiber would foam with blood, Powell's warning was christened the 'Rivers of Blood' speech by the press, and the name stuck.
One feature of the speech was the extensive quotation of a letter Powell had received detailing the experiences of one of his constituents in Wolverhampton, an elderly woman who was supposedly the last white person living in her street. She had repeatedly refused applications from non-whites requiring rooms-to-let, which resulted in her being called a racist outside her home and receiving excreta through her letterbox. Despite combing the electoral register and other sources, the editor of the local newspaper Clem Jones (a close friend of Powell's, who broke off relations with him over the controversy) and his journalists failed to identify the woman. Powell refused to name her because he felt it was right to respect her confidentiality. After Powell's death Kenneth Nock, a Wolverhampton solicitor, wrote to the Express and Star in April 1998 to claim that his firm had acted for the woman in question and to confirm that she existed but that he could not name her due to rules concerning client confidentiality. The speech was delivered while the 1968 Race Relations Bill (later Act) was making its way through parliament, which was to make the colour bar in housing illegal.
With appalling timing, Powell only realised later that of all the days he could have made a speech that some regarded as racist, it was on the anniversary of Hitler's birth - during a period of Britain's history when it was known that various neo-Nazis such as Colin Jordan and John Tyndall (the latter a future leader of the National Front and founder of the British National Party) held birthday parties in the Nazi leader's honour.
Heath sacked Powell from his Shadow Cabinet the day after the speech and Powell never held another senior political post. However, Powell gained considerable support from the public, receiving almost 120,000 (predominantly positive) letters and a Gallup poll at the end of April showed that 74% of those asked agreed with what Powell had said in his speech. The Sunday Times received a libel writ from Powell for branding his speeches as "racialist", but also gained a court order for disclosure of the letters he had received to demonstrate the validity of their defence. Powell dropped the libel action as a consequence of the court order.
Three days after the speech, as the Race Relations Bill was being debated in the House of Commons 1,000 dockers marched on Westminster protesting at Powell's apparent "victimisation", and the next day, 400 meat porters from Smithfield market handed in a ninety-two page petition in support of Powell.
Some suspected that Powell was set up – TV cameras were not known to turn up at meetings of the West Midland branch of the Conservative Political Centre, and some believe that Heath wanted Powell to take the blame for his party taking a tougher line on immigration later that year. Conversely, Powell had issued an advance copy of his speech to the media and their appearance at the speech may have been due to the fact that they realised the content was explosive. The Conservatives had discovered in nationwide studies in the wake of the notorious General Election result in Smethwick in 1964 (where Peter Griffiths took the safe seat of Labour's pending Foreign Secretary Patrick Gordon Walker) that a hard line on immigration would win them up to twenty Labour seats, but it took their defeat in the 1966 general election to push the Conservatives into deciding to "play the race card".
An unusual Conservative?
Powell's popularity contributed to the Conservatives' surprise General Election win in 1970, which showed a late surge in Conservative support in the West Midlands near Powell's constituency. A Daily Express poll in 1972 showed him being the most popular politician in the country. Powell had previously made an attempt to become leader of the party, but votes in his favour barely got in to double figures. It is rarely disputed that Powell would have the been the main contender from the Conservative right after Heath's double failure in the 1974 elections, but whether he would have won the contest is a matter more of circumstance than of solid fact (given that the eventual winner, Margaret Thatcher, won through playing down her support). Powell's disadvantage is that he was viewed as a man of questions and not answers- his rogueish nature would have also counted against him.
In February 1974 Powell quit the Conservative Party, mainly because it had taken the UK into the European Common Market, and advised the electorate to vote Labour, who promised a referendum on whether or not the UK should remain in the EEC, as the only way to save the UK's sovereignty. Given the close nature of the election (there was a hung Parliament), it is possible that Powell's comments led to Heath's defeat. He repeated this line in the October 1974 General Election, and the referendum was held in 1975. However the result was a clear vote to remain in "the Common Market" (as it was called on the ballot paper).
Powell's Euroscepticism was fuelled by a belief that the Cold War was a sham because the Soviet Union was not intent on invading the West - so dependent was the USSR on receiving US and European grain surpluses for next to nothing - and so he did not see the need to maintain the Western alliance as other Conservatives did. The UK's "independent nuclear deterrent" was also viewed negatively; because it could not rationally be used it was pointless. He believed that American interest in Britain was an attempt to undermine Britain and give the United States a greater world role. Powell also argued that the Americans advocated European states, including Britain, to join the EEC because it was the 'political arm' of NATO and therefore fitted into America's grand strategy against the Soviet Union.
Ulster Unionist Party
In a sudden general election later in 1974, Powell returned to Parliament as an Ulster Unionist MP for South Down, having rejected an offer to stand as a candidate for the National Front. He was a strong believer in the United Kingdom, and he believed that it would only survive if the Unionists strove to integrate fully with the United Kingdom by abandoning the devolved rule that Northern Ireland had recently enjoyed. He refused point blank to join the Orange Order (who largely controlled the UUP after their split from the Conservative Party) - the first Ulster Unionist MP at Westminster never to be a member (and to date only one of three, the others being the former UDR member Ken Maginnis and Lady Hermon), and he was an outspoken opponent of the more extremist Unionism espoused by the Reverend Ian Paisley and his supporters.
Powell claimed that the only way to stop the IRA was for Ulster to be an integral part of the United Kingdom, treated no differently than any other of its constituent parts. He claimed the ambiguous nature of Ulster's status, with its own parliament and prime minister, gave hope to the IRA that it could detach Ulster from the UK:
"Every word or act which holds out the prospect that their unity with the rest of the United Kingdom might be negotiable is itself, consciously or unconsciously, a contributory cause to the continuation of violence in Northern Ireland".
During 1983 his local agent was Jeffrey Donaldson, later an Ulster Unionist MP before defecting to the DUP.
In Powell's later career as an Ulster Unionist MP he continued to criticise the United States and claimed that the Americans were trying to persuade the British to get Ulster into an all-Ireland state because the condition for Irish membership of NATO, Powell claimed, was the Six Counties. The Americans wanted to close the 'yawning gap' in NATO defence that was the southern Irish coast to northern Spain. Powell claimed he had a copy of a State Department Policy Statement from the 15th August 1950 in which the American government allegedly said that the 'agitation' caused by partition in Ireland 'lessens the usefulness of Ireland in international organisations and complicates strategic planning for Europe'.
'It is desirable', the document continued, 'that Ireland should be integrated into the defense planning of the North Atlantic area, for its strategic position and present lack of defensive capacity are matters of significance'.
In 1984 Powell also claimed that the CIA had murdered Lord Louis Mountbatten and that the deaths of the MPs Airey Neave and Robert Bradford were by the Americans in order to stop Neave's policy of integration for Northern Ireland. Then in 1986 he again argued that INLA had not killed Airey Neave but 'MI6 and their friends' were responsible instead.
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990 Powell claimed that because Britain was not an ally of Kuwait in the 'formal sense' and that the balance of power in the Middle East ceased to be a British concern after the end of the British Empire, Britain should not go to war. Powell claimed that 'Saddam Hussein has a long way to go yet before his troops come storming up the beaches of Kent or Sussex' and after Britain claimed to be defending small nations from attack Powell said 'I sometimes wonder if, when we shed our power, we omitted to shed our arrogance'.
When German unification was on the agenda in 1990 Powell claimed Britain urgently needed to create an alliance with Russia in view of Germany's effect on the balance of power in Europe. This part of Powell's analysis was taken more seriously by the Atlanticist Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who tried to persuade the then Soviet-leader Mikhail Gorbachev to halt unification, but failed.
Though he was on supposedly good terms with Margaret Thatcher (she claimed her own monetarist policies stemmed from Powell's, to which he remarked drily, "A pity she did not understand them!"), he came into conflict with her in 1985 in protest because of her support for the Anglo-Irish Agreement, resigning his seat and then regaining it at the ensuing by-election. Powell lost his seat in the 1987 general election to the SDLP's Eddie McGrady, mainly due to both demographic changes and boundary changes resulting in there being many more Catholics in his seat of South Down than before.
Ironically, the boundary changes had arisen due to his own campaign for the number of MPs representing Northern Ireland to be increased to the equivalent proportion for the rest of the United Kingdom, as part of the steps towards greater integration.
His unionism did not block his capacity for independent thought; he was critical of the SAS shootings of three unarmed IRA members in Gibraltar in 1988.
Enoch Powell died in 1998 from the effects caused by Parkinson's disease at the age of 85, and is interred in Warwick Cemetery, Warwickshire. His wife, Pamela, and their daughters, survived him.
Despite his earlier atheism Powell became a devout Anglican, having thought in 1949 "that he heard the bells of St Peter's Wolverhampton calling him" (Heffer p130) while walking to his flat in his (then future) constituency. Subsequently, he became a warden of Westminster Abbey. He spent much of his later life trying to prove, with close textual reading, that Christ had not been crucified but hanged.
Powell was reading Greek by age five, learning it from his mother. At age 70 he began learning his 12th and final language, Hebrew.
In August 2002 Powell appeared in the List of "100 Greatest Britons of all time" (voted for by the public in a BBC nationwide poll).
Powell had remarked that "all political careers end in failure" and did not hesitate to agree that this maxim applied to his own. Like Tony Benn (a personal friend from a different political background, whom Powell had aided to renounce his peerage and so remain an elected MP), he was seen by supporters as putting conscience and duty to his constituents before loyalty to his party or the sake of his career.
Powell's rhetorical gifts were also employed, with success, beyond politics. He was a poet of considerable accomplishment, with four published collections to his name: First Poems; Casting Off; Dancer's End; and The Wedding Gift. His Collected Poems appeared in 1990. He translated Herodotus (The History of Herodotus) and published many other works of classical scholarship. He published a biography of Joseph Chamberlain. Powell published many books on political matters too, that were often annotated collections of his speeches. His political publications were often as critical of his own party as they were of Labour; often making fun of what he saw as logical fallacies in reasoning or action. His book 'Freedom & Reality' contained many nonsensical quotes from Labour party manifestos or Harold Wilson.
Racist demagogue or lost Prime Minister?
Powell said "I have set and always will set my face like flint against making any difference between one citizen of this country and another on grounds of his origin." The public tend to agree with this statement. The Trial of Enoch Powell, a Channel 4 television broadcast on the thirtieth anniversary of his Birmingham speech (and two months after his death) saw a vote of the studio audience yielded a 64% 'not a racist' result.
Powell's detractors often assert that he was 'far-right', 'proto-fascist' or 'racist'. The first two charges seem to be incorrect in the light of his voting record on most social issues, such as homosexual law reform and the abolition of the death penalty, both liberal reforms which had limited support in the Conservative Party at the time. Although the public tend to support Powell on the issues for which he gained fame, many journalists, commentators and politicians (whom Powell grouped together as the "chattering classes") are among his detractors, and denounce him as a racist. For some though, this charge seems unconvincing in the light of Powell's pre-political actions. Claims against this include that Powell was simply trying to garner support to become Viceroy of India, and that it was not until the late '60s that he made speeches that addressed the issues of race and immigration.
Although a strong monetarist, his views were often socially relaxed. He voted for relaxed divorce laws in 1965 on the grounds that two unhappy people should not be forced to maintain their unhappy state. He also voted for relaxed abortion laws, claiming that such actions are on the conscience of the individual, not the government.
His speeches and TV interviews throughout his political life displayed a suspicion towards "The Establishment" in general, and by the 1980s there was a regular expectation that he would make some sort of speech or act in a way designed to upset the government of the day and ensure he would not be offered a Life Peerage (and thus transferred to the House of Lords), which he had no intention of accepting so long as Edward Heath sat in the Commons. (Heath remained in the Commons until after Powell's death.) He had opposed the 1958 Life Peerages Act and felt it would be hypocritical to accept a life peerage himself, while no Prime Minister was ever willing to offer him a hereditary peerage.
Webster continued to be an able lieutenant to Tyndall in the National Front and jointly held the leadership of the party with him from 1971-1974. Webster clashed with their replacement John Kingsley Read and the clash set in motion Read's downfall, allowing Tyndall to return to the leadership. However Webster would go on to break with Tyndall and became the leading figure in the NF during Andrew Brons' leadership.
Rumours of Webster's bisexuality led to him becoming vilified in far-right circles and he also fell foul of the Political Soldier wing of the NF. In 1983 they ensured that he lost his position as National Activities Organiser, then deprived him of his place on the National Directorate, before expelling him from the party altogether. Many activists also reproached Webster for being too friendly with the police. He briefly attempted to lead his own group, One Nation, although this proved unsuccessful despite scrounging money from Françoise Dior.
No longer involved in active politics (although he was associated with Lady Jane Birdwood for a while leading up to her death) Webster re-emerged in 1999 to claim that he had been involved in a gay relationship with Nick Griffin during the 1970s as an attempt to discredit Griffin's attempts to wrest leadership of the British National Party from Tyndall. Webster's efforts proved unsuccessful and he has yet to return on the political scene, although he writes as a freelance. He is an active cyclist and is a member of recreational cycling groups.
She was born Joan Pollock Graham in Winnipeg, Manitoba and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, after which she changed her name to Jane in order to avoid confusion with a popular radio actress of the time. She later became the second wife of Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Birdwood (the son of William Birdwood, 1st Baron Birdwood) and thus became Baroness Birdwood in 1954.
Initially serving only as a worker for her husband's passion international aid, she began to expand her political horizons after she was widowed in 1962. She first emerged as an activist in the League for European Freedom, an anti-communist group that sought to aid refugees from Eastern Europe. Around the same time she also became involved in campaigns to support to public decency and was briefly associated with Mary Whitehouse. In this role, she attempted to launch a number of prosecutions against productions and writers that offended her sense of taste, including the makers of controversial nude revue Oh! Calcutta! and the author of the play Council of Love John Bird.
Birdwood then became involved in campaigns against trade unions, setting up the Citizens Mutual Protection Society in the early 1970s, which launched a failed attempt to run a private postal service. She then became involved in leading a number of far right pressure groups, including the Immigration Control Association, Common Cause, the British League of Rights (of which she was General Secretary) and Self Help, the latter attempting unsuccessfully to charge Arthur Scargill with treason.
Birdwood flirted with a number of political parties during her life, including briefly leading her own, British Solidarity. She became associated with the British National Front in the mid 1970s, although she also worked with Ross McWhirter at this time on his right wing magazine Majority (and became a vocal critic of the Provisional Irish Republican Army after his murder} as well as devoting a lot of time to the World Anti-Communist League. She stood in the 1983 by-election in Bermondsey as an independent candidate, winning 69 votes and was equally unsuccessful when she stood as a British National Party candidate in the 1992 general election in Dewsbury. Through much of her later life she published the journal Choice, which presented a right wing stance but was generally independent of any political party.
In 1991 she was brought to trial at the Old Bailey for ten counts of breaching the Public Order Act 1986. She was given a three month suspended sentence and a £500 fine after being found guilty of all charges (which related to the distribution of anti-Semitic material). She was brought to trial for similar offences in 1994 and 1998, although the last one was suspended on health grounds. Her lawyer for these trials was usually Doug Christie.
Birdwood continued to lead British Solidarity as a pressure group, publish Choice and run a publishing venture, Inner City Researchers, until late 1999 when she was forced to stand down for health reasons. After her retirement most of these concerns passed into the hands of her associates Martin Webster and Peter Marriner.
Read was elected Chairman of the National Front on October 21, 1974 in a victory for the 'populist' wing of the party over the supporters of John Tyndall who had a National Socialist background. Tyndall refused to accept his defeat and attempted to overturn it through the courts, eventually succeeding in 1976.
Read then quit the party along with his followers to establish the more 'respectable' National Party. The party was initially successful, winning two seats on Blackburn Council, although they failed to build on this early success and Read eventually left politics. After the murder of a young Asian man by racists at this time, Read made the statement "One down, a million to go", which effectively ended his presentation of a more moderate stance.
Read died in 1985 and upon his death was revealed by Searchlight magazine to have been working as a mole for them.
David John Copeland (born May 15, 1976) is a former member of the British neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement who became known as the "London nailbomber" after a 12-day bombing campaign in April 1999 aimed at London's black, Asian, and gay communities.
Over three successive weekends, Copeland placed homemade nail bombs, each containing up to 1,500 four-inch nails, outside a supermarket in Electric Avenue, Brixton, an area of south London with a large black population; in Brick Lane in the east end of London, which has a large Asian community; and in the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho's Old Compton Street, the heart of London's gay community. No warnings were given before the bombs exploded.
The attacks claimed three lives, all in the Admiral Duncan. Andrea Dykes, 27, who was four months pregnant with her first child, died along with her friends and hosts for the evening, Nick Moore, 31, and John Light, 32, who was to be the baby's godfather. Andrea's husband, Julian, was seriously injured. The four friends from Essex had met up in the Admiral Duncan to celebrate Andrea's pregnancy, when the bomb exploded after being taped inside a sports bag and left near the bar. A total of 129 people were injured in the three attacks, with four of the victims losing limbs and 26 suffering serious burns.
Although Copeland was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and a personality disorder, his plea of diminished responsibility was not accepted by the prosecution. He was convicted of murder on June 30, 2000, and received six life sentences.
Copeland was born in Isleworth, London, and brought up in Yateley, Hampshire, where he attended Yateley comprehensive school and passed in seven subjects in his General Certificate of Secondary Education. He apparently resented that he was small for his age, and was given the nickname "Mr. Angry." After his arrest, he told psychiatrists that he had started having sadistic dreams when he was about 12, including dreams or fantasies that he'd be reincarnated as an SS officer with access to women as slaves. He left school when he was 16 to start an engineering apprenticeship, and became involved in petty crime, drinking, and taking drugs, including heroin. He was said in court never to have had a girlfriend, and feared that people might think he was gay.
In May 1997, at the age of 21, he joined the British National Party, a far-right, anti-immigration party that fields candidates in British elections. Copeland acted as a steward at some BNP meetings, in the course of which he came into contact with the BNP leadership and was photographed standing next to John Tyndall, then BNP party leader. It was during this period that Copeland first learned how to make bombs using fireworks with alarm clocks as timers after downloading a so-called terrorists' handbook from the Web.
Copeland was allegedly disappointed by the BNP, which had moved away from advocating violence, and he left within a year. In 1998, he joined the smaller, violent, openly neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, becoming its regional leader for Hampshire just weeks before the start of his bombing campaign. It was around this time that he visited his family doctor and was prescribed anti-depressants after telling the doctor he felt he was "losing his mind."
Copeland's first attack, on Saturday, April 17, 1999, was in Electric Avenue, Brixton, part of the so-called "frontline," a street made famous in the UK by the 1981 Brixton race riots that took place there.
Copeland made his bomb using explosive from fireworks and taped it inside a sports bag before priming it and planting it outside the Iceland supermarket on the corner of Electric Avenue. The market traders became suspicious of it and moved it several times before it detonated just as the police arrived, at 5:25 in the evening. Fifty people were injured, many of them seriously because of the four-inch nails Copeland had packed around the bomb. One victim was a 23-month-old toddler who had a nail driven through his skull into his brain (see right), though he is believed to have made a full recovery.
Copeland's second bomb, on the following Saturday, April 24, was aimed at Brick Lane, the centre of the Bangladeshi area in the east end of London. There is a famous Brick Lane street market on Sundays, but Copeland mistakenly tried to plant the bomb on Saturday, when the street was quiet. Unwilling to change the timer on the bomb, he left it instead in Hanbury Street, where it exploded injuring 13 people.
Copeland's third bomb was planted and exploded on the evening of Friday, April 30, in the crowded Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, the centre of London's gay village, killing Andrea Dykes, Nick Moore, John Light, and injuring 79, many of them seriously, with four people requiring limb amputations.
The Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Metropolitan Police Service identified Copeland from CCTV footage of Brixton. The image was given wide publicity on Thursday, April 29, which caused Copeland to bring forward his bombing of the Admiral Duncan to Friday evening. Paul Mifsud, a work colleague of Copeland's, recognised him and alerted the police about an hour and 20 minutes before the bombing.
Copeland was arrested that night once the police obtained his address, a rented room in Farnborough, Hampshire. His mental state was assessed at Broadmoor Hospital, but remained a matter of dispute at his trial. The jury convicted him of three murders and three offences of planting bombs, and he was sentenced to six life sentences on June 30, 2000.
Though some groups did claim responsibility for the bombings, Copeland maintained he had worked alone and had not discussed his plans with anyone, which the police accepted.
During police interviews, he admitted holding neo-Nazi views, and talked of his desire to be famous, to "spread fear, resentment, and hatred throughout" the UK, and to "cause a racial war" in the UK. When asked why he had targeted ethnic minorities and the gay community, he spoke of his belief that ethnic minorities are "inferior", and of his hatred of gay people.
Rivers of Blood speech
A profile of historian and holocaust denier David Irving
BNP's Nick Griffin
British ‘Neo –Nazi’ Parties