July 23, 2001

A Fascist Goes Bigtime


Imagine the scene. The premier right wing party in one of the nuclear powers is about to be taken over by a former fascist. The world would rise and condemn this "post-fascist" scoundrel, and the party he wished to lead. After all, they went bonkers when tiny Austria was about to let a man whose parents had belonged to the Nazi party become the junior member of the coalition. Alternatively, not so tiny Italy with the ex-fascist "National Alliance" and the anti-immigration Northern League. So what does the outside world do? They ignore it. And left-liberal opinion in the country? It welcomes it.


This is the stark truth of Britain today: Ken Clarke, the liberal establishment's favourite candidate was once a fervent admirer of the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley and led a purge of Jews in his local Conservative Party. The point is, nobody notices.


This is how it happened: Ken Clarke was a bright scholarship boy with an interest in history whose father was a small businessman. He got to Cambridge and, interested in politics, he naturally gravitated towards the Conservatives. At that time – and no one has ever worked out why – he became fascinated with fascism, and particularly Sir Oswald Mosley the washed up leader of the "Union Movement." His preoccupation came clear when he – for a period of eight weeks – became the chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. In this short time he invited Oswald Mosley to speak at the University, not just once but twice. Once in two months could be seen as interest, twice is downright infatuation. This led to a kerfuffle, with Jewish students, including the future Home Secretary Michael Howard, taking umbrage. Many threatened to leave if Mosley was invited a second time. Whether Clarke shared Mosley's anti-Semitism at the time is unclear, but he had no problem with a "Jew free" Conservative Association. In other words, it was a purge.


It is certain that Ken Clarke does not now share the anti-Semitism of Oswald Mosley, if he ever did. He is also as socially liberal as is the norm in the British establishment (although, unbelievably, he is less socially liberal than his Old Right opponent Iain Duncan Smith). Mosley's Corporatism is very much toned down by Clarke. There is a grain of continuity, and that is Europe. Mosley was a fanatical Euro-federalist. His post-war organisation, the "Union Movement," was named for European Union. His theoretical journal was known as "The European." He campaigned on the slogan of "Europe a Nation." In the 1975 EEC referendum campaign, he added his support to those in favour of the EEC. Of course, no matter how much proof the pro-Europeans are given of the fascist antecedents of their ideas, they are loath to accept them. Strange, that.


One cannot talk about Sir Oswald Mosley and Europe, without looking at his son, the Motor racing tycoon, Max. Max, astoundingly, wanted to be a Conservative MP. This was despite his youthful devotion to his father and his father's cause. For years, he was a Conservative activist, but never became a Conservative MP. Recently, he moved to Labour, becoming a member of their major donor's "Thousand Club." That New Labour will accept fascist money and support is perhaps no surprise, and neither is Max's reasons for defection. It seems that the Tories were not pro-European enough.


Of course, Clarke's devotion to "Europe a nation" is equally long and faithful. As a new MP in 1972, he spoke out in favour of the EEC, looking forward to a European army and currency. He was a major part of the pro-European Cabinet putsch that ended Margaret Thatcher's premiership. In the Major government in the 1990s, he threatened to break the Government on the issue of Europe by pulling out. He refused to serve on the front bench of the Conservative Party in opposition, because of its mild Euro-scepticism. Nowadays he says that Europe plays a small part in his politics. Doubtless, he would deny that Oswald Mosley was his youthful hero. It seems our Ken has a problem with either his memory or the truth. Whatever it is, do not expect the establishment media, of either the left or the right, to ask too many questions. After all, Ken stands for their vision of Europe, and nothing – even a stint in the Blackshirts – can get in the way of that.

Text-only printable version of this article

Airstrip One Article Archives

Emmanuel Goldstein

Go to the most current column by Emmanuel Goldstein

Sign up to receive Airstrip One by e-mail

Airstrip One Article Vault

Emmanuel Goldstein is the pseudonym of a political drifter on the fringes of English classical liberal and Euro-sceptic activity. He is a former member of the Labour Party, who knows Blair and some of his closest buddies better than they realise, yet. He has a challenging job in the real world, working for a profit-making private company and not sponging off the taxpayer in politics, journalism or the civil service. "Airstrip One," appears Mondays at Antiwar.com.

Please Support Antiwar.com

A contribution of $50 or more will get you a copy of Ronald Radosh's out-of-print classic study of the Old Right conservatives, Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism. Send contributions to

520 S. Murphy Avenue, #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

or Contribute Via our Secure Server
Credit Card Donation Form

Your Contributions are now Tax-Deductible

Back to Antiwar.com Home Page | Contact Us