Photo: Oswald Moseley (centre) with members of his British Union of Fascists, including (left) William Joyce who later became Lord Haw Haw.
Three prominent Midland members of a sinister new group of right-wing extremists have resigned from the self-styled fascist party after it was exposed by the Sunday Mercury – with one of them branding it a front for white supremacists.
Calling themselves the 21st Century Blackshirts, the New British Union Party is trying to revive Oswald Mosley’s notorious British Union of Fascists party. Members look up to the former Smethwick MP and Nazi sympathiser as their spiritual leader.
In the 1930s Mosley’s British Union of Fascists aligned itself with Nazi Germany and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini while its paramilitary footsoldiers, dubbed the Blackshirts, terrorised Britain’s Jews. Now far-right defectors from groups like the British National Party and English Defence League have resurrected the party re-labelling it the New British Union party (NBU).
Set up in January, the party named 54 “officers” from across Britain on its web page which has already had more than 50,000 hits.
A Sunday Mercury investigation revealed that its top two Midland representatives are former soldiers, while other district officers in the region include failed local election candidates for the British National Party.
Last night both ex-soldiers sensationally resigned from the party with its Birmingham officer claiming he had never even asked to join. Former British National Party election candidate for Sheldon, Ian Starks said he had contacted the group for more details and wasn’t even aware that he had been listed as its Birmingham Divisional Officer.
Mr Starks, a former RAF Kosovo and Gulf War veteran, said:
“I never asked to join the NBU and I am not a racist. My fiancé has three mixed-race children who I will be step-father to soon, so how can I be against people of colour? I don’t know why my details were put on the fascist website because I don’t agree with the party policies. The party leader Gary Raikes has used me in an dishonest way and since reading your article I have contacted him to say I resign from any position he has taken it on himself to give me and that I want nothing to do with him or his party.”
Another member who was listed as the party Policies Director and Warwickshire district officer called it a “front for white supremacists and racists.”
Matthew Gill described the NBU and some of its members as “sinister and dangerous” and said he too had never asked to officially join or become a district officer. The 34-year-old father-of two and European History graduate, from Sudbury, Derbyshire, said last night:
“I contacted the party in March via its website because I thought it was interesting from a historical point of view. I was later invited by its leader to write a policy document which I happily did because I thought I could retain some control over its manifesto and ensure it did not include any racist or Nazi elements. But the longer I was in the group the more I noticed it was taking a more sinister and dangerous direction and lunging fast towards the extreme far-right.”
He said the party had established links with Ultra Nationalists across Europe and was, in effect, a front for white supremacists.
Mr Gill, who works for a Mormon charity, added: “I finally left a month ago because the party was preaching hate against people of race and was extremely anti-semitic and anti-Islam. They are dishonest and I would describe the NBU as an ugly extreme right-wing hate group and I deeply regret ever having anything to do with them.”
Mr Gill said he now works with Derbyshire Police to educate youngsters about the perils of joining extremist groups.
He said: “The local police force CID intelligence officers got in touch with me and now I plan to go round schools and colleges with them to warn youngsters about groups like the NBU and the way they manipulate and use people.”
The third NBU officer to resign, Matthew Moloney, was unavailable for comment but his details have been removed from the party website.
Following our expose last week the party reacted angrily on its website and Facebook page titled Black Shirts.
NBU founder Gary Raikes, wrote: “Although a couple of officers got cold feet and resigned I am happy to say that a new District Officer for Birmingham is already being processed, this movement will not be stopped.”
He added: “Three officers from Birmingham district have resigned over one report in one local paper. A real lack of courage in the Midlands, the leader gets death threats and God knows what rubbish printed in papers about him does he throw it in? Not bloody likely, not now not ever! On a more positive note many more people have joined and hopefully some will have the courage to act as officers.”
Party members are encouraged to dress in paramilitary blackshirt style uniforms, like the type worn by fascist Mussolini’s private army during his authoritarian rule. The party website — which shows Mosley’s fanatical followers performing the stiff-armed fascist salute — boasts the first official Blackshirt meeting to be held since the Second World War will be a historic occasion “heralding the return of a registered fascist political party in Britain.”
As revealed last week, the party claims not to be racist or anti-semitic but a careful look at its constitution reveals a bitter hatred of multiculturalism and non-white immigrants.
Its immigration policy states that immigrants
“... must be prepared to totally leave their past nationality behind them. Racially and ethnically they must be compatible with the majority population where they wish to settle. The same goes for religious beliefs. They must be the same as the majority, or at least similar enough so as to have no problem adopting the established values and moral code of the nation. Differences cause problems and excessive diversity leads to nothing but trouble. Multiculturalism does not work and only ruins all cultures involved.”
Gerry Gable, from anti-fascist magazine Searchlight praised the Sunday Mercury for exposing the party and hoped the article “will help spell its demise”
“This new incarnation of Mosley’s notorious Blackshirts is clearly attracting the dregs from other far-right groups but the negative publicity you gave it will hopefully ensure that it does not survive.”
Last night Mr Raikes, – who has taken on Mosley’s preferred title of Leader and signs off his correspondence with ‘Hail Britannia’ – was in unrepentant mood and insisted the three Midland men were full members.
He said: “They have their reasons for denying any involvement with my party but I am still waiting for them to officially resign. We need people with courage to continue our work and I’m glad to say we have retained our other Midland officers.”