In Defense Of An Englishman and the Rise Of the Far Right

by Neil Bamforth

I had my feelings a little hurt recently. Yes, I know, my rhino hide was penetrated. Disgraceful behavior. It won’t happen again! I would also like to point out that I am no longer hurt and the person in question is top drawer and I value their opinions enormously. After all, it has to be said, I do need a wee bit of guidance from time to time don’t I? – and I suspect this particular person will be a damn good guide for a silly old fart like me!

In late 1970’s Britain a far right political party was formed. They called themselves The National Front. They spotted a gap in the political spectrum, namely, British people worried about immigration who did not have their views represented by any other political party.

Various seeming ‘offshoots’ of The NF appeared shortly afterwards. Viking Youth to recruit young people to the far right and the far more menacing Combat 18.

Combat 18 used the number 18 to represent Adolph Hitlers initials alphabetically. I have no idea what the ‘Combat’ bit is about other than, I assume, it’s to do with combating immigration? I could Google it but, frankly, I’ve better things to do with my time than surf around far right websites – assuming there is one.

I’ve peaked my own curiosity now. Hang on a sec. No. There’s a link to ‘Skrewdriver’ who were a far right rock band but not, as far as I can tell, a website as such. Actually haven’t they been made illegal? Possibly.

The success of these far right organisations was, at best, very limited. Whilst it was indeed true, and remains so, that many British people were alarmed at the numbers of immigrants being allowed into Britain, the clear Nazi connections of these organisations made most Brits steer well clear of them. WWII memories were only 30 odd years old.

Eventually, albeit remnants have always remained, their very limited inroads into Britain’s mindset ultimately diminished them.

Mind you, they played a major role in the race riots in Britain in the 80’s. I witnessed the one in Southall from the back of an ice cream van as it drove through the riot, Molotov cocktails and all, playing music with Tony the driver leaning out of his window shouting ‘Come and get your riot burgers here!’ and ‘I’ve a RIOT of ice cream to go!” – well he didn’t say ‘to go’ actually but I’m adapting it to America a bit.

Related: Can Britain Ever Be Multicultural?

I sat in the back next to the ice cream dispenser with an 80 year old man and a black Labrador who howled in time to the music and peed on my foot – it’s a long story.

Some of them re-emerged in the 90’s as The British National Party. For a short while they succeeded in convincing otherwise decent ordinary people that they were a legitimate political party, were not racist and merely wanted immigration controls.

This argument appealed to many ordinary decent people who also wanted immigration controls. Not on any racist or xenophobic grounds but purely on numbers grounds. The infrastructure of the country had not been sufficiently invested in to cope with the numbers arriving therefore everyone’s quality of life would suffer so, logically, get controls of the numbers in place.

The BNP had their first ever local government officer elected in my home town of Oldham in Lancashire. Their leader even managed to get onto the BBC current affairs program ‘Question Time’.

Eventually, as it emerged many ex members of The National Front and, indeed, Combat 18 were now members of The British National PartyΒ  – or had been at it’s inception – the party lost much ground and, to date, has never recovered.

It is believed some ex NF / BNP etc members may well have ended up with UKIP who, of course, had some success in European Union elections – not to mention Brexit but, since Brexit, UKIP are basically a spent force as, after all, they were very much a ‘one trick pony’ and, now Brexit is a reality they no longer have a purpose.

So, in Britain at least, the far right is not a serious issue. Of course they are still around. The BNP and UKIP – albeit UKIP, who in fairness, are accepted as right wing rather than far right – still exist and the National Front has a website. Recently a couple of soldiers were put on trial for links to far right groups so we know they’re still active up to a point.

In Eastern Europe the far right are far more active. To me that isn’t really a surprise. After all in WWII Lithuania and The Ukraine in particular collaborated with the Nazis. Eastern Europe have always been more prone to nationalism of this sort. Being under the control of The Soviet Union probably didn’t help quell nationalism for a start.

There appears to be some Islamophobic issues in The Czech Republic at the moment too.

Related: Czech Republic’s Tiny Muslim Community Subject to Hate

Well, that’s Eastern Europe for you. I’ve been there several times. Lithuania, Latvia. Lovely countries, lovely people and, even better, cheap beer!

In western Europe, including Britain then, the far right exist but, as yet, are not a force to fear. That being said, things change so, as long as they exist, they could one day become, again, a problem. Hopefully not but we shall see I suppose. Le Pen did quite well in France and, I think, Austria have a problem?

Actually, according to Wikipedia, an American was involved in the set up of Combat 18. Now that I didn’t know!

So, in defense of an Englishman eh?


In the late 70’s I had good pals – some of them I still have today. A Sikh, a Hindu and several skinheads for example. Suffice to say I tended to socialize with the skinheads separately. They were all supporters, at least, of The National Front. Their ‘leader’ was a member of Combat 18. I drank beer with them and played pool.

I discussed them with my Sikh and Hindu pals. They thought I was nuts to associate with them. Probably right. However, on a personal level I liked them and they liked me. They never asked me to share their views and I took them at face value. My Sikh and Hindu pals didn’t ‘drop me’ as they knew I was me and that meant I liked getting along with everyone.

That, my friends, is my only connection, if you could call it that, with Combat 18. At the age of 19 or so, I drank beer and played pool with racist skinheads who actually took the mickey out of me for having Asian friends. They were never nasty about it but clearly thought I was as nuts as my Asian pals did.

Funnily enough, both my Sikh and Hindu pals constantly moaned about the influx of Muslims into Britain. Must be where I got it from eh? πŸ˜‰ They still do as a matter of fact. Mind you, there is ‘history’ between Sikh’s, Hindu’s and Muslims ever since Indian partition.

Two of my old skinhead pals served a number of years in prison for beating a young Asian chap very badly with a baseball bat. I am not, I hasten to add, in touch with them.

Another skinhead pal had a sort of epiphany somewhere along the way, grew his hair and has, for the last 25 years or more worked for the Commission for Racial Equality. He also married a lovely Anglo-Indian girl. I was best man at the wedding. Strange how things work out really.

I think what I am trying to say here is this.

I hold views that some would consider right wing but none that are far right. I also hold views that some would call left wing or, oh dear, liberal.

My wife calls me ‘the random man.’ I’ve never been certain why but perhaps she’s right. I never fly my flag for any side solely. I spread my views across a spectrum political or otherwise. I cherry pick what I want to believe. If I like it I like it. I couldn’t care less if what I like is right, left, liberal or something else.

Yes, I do tend to go on – and on – and on – and on about the numbers of immigrants, particularly Muslim, in Britain who clearly do not respect western British values and are not prepared to even attempt to fit into our country and our ways.

It irritates me intensely – as if you didn’t know.

I do acknowledge that many do fit in though – there are many Muslims serving in Britain’s armed forces for starters.

I have a history. I have skeletons in many closets. I have done bad things. Along the way I hope I’ve done a few good things too – well I’ve helped keep the British beer industry afloat for one thing.

I am not a liberal nor a conservative nor a socialist. I am all of them. I love animals – more than people much of the time. I would die for my wife and daughter albeit I’d prefer not to. I support all and any campaigns to protect the environment or wildlife. I am simple and complicated and flawed and generous and cruel and happy and depressed and confused and human.

Aren’t you at least a little bit like me?

Well, maybe not that ice cream van thing in the middle of a riot obviously. I’ll tell you about that one day.

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Posted by on November 14, 2017. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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22 Responses to In Defense Of An Englishman and the Rise Of the Far Right

  1. Bobbie Peel Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    A few things:
    Combat 18 did originate in England. It forged ties to similarly deranged organizations here in the USA and other countries. Haters everywhere.

    Combat 18 do not just detest people of color, but people on the left, Jews and Catholics.

    Do you ever get a pain in the crotch area? From sitting on the fence? On one side your racist skinhead friends and on the other your more gentle and spiritual Hindu pals. Reminds me of Donald Trump when he commented on the aftermath of a semi riot in Charlottesville, Virginia. Neo nazis were having a rally when they clashed with anti Nazis, one person died and many were injured. Trump said: β€œThere are good people on both sides.”

    • Karen Bell-Lincoln Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      I think I know what he is saying. You don’t have to be a part of, or like everything about one organization or the other, but you can like or hate parts of them. While certainly no fan or Mr Trump, I can see where, he, in his dim view of reality, would assume that neo-nazis can be good people beyond their beliefs. It’s not a palatable position for most but it is for some, and I think that’s what we’re seeing here with Mr Bamforth.

      • Neil Bamforth Reply

        November 14, 2017 at 3:05 pm

        If my view gets dim I turn the light on πŸ˜›

        • Karen Bell-Lincoln Reply

          November 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm

          Silly responses such as that certainly diminish you in my eyes. Either make an informed respectful response or make no response at all.

          • Neil Bamforth Reply

            November 14, 2017 at 5:12 pm

            Sorry. I will refrain from frivolity πŸ˜‰

            Valid point you made. I just like to try and see the best in everyone. Just me I suppose.

          • Neil Bamforth Reply

            November 14, 2017 at 5:14 pm

            and absolutely NO disrespect intended x

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      I knew what my skinhead pals were as I knew what my Hindu and Sikh pals were.

      On a purely personal level I enjoyed the skins company on a beer, pool n having a laugh basis. I disagreed with their views but, as a white northern lad they were fine with me.

      My Hindu pal and my Sikh pal – who are still pals today – were my door to peace in what was a pretty chaotic life back then.

      By the way…my crotch feels fine πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    • jess Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      AYUP with dolt45 and his whole both sides schtick. Now they are all gung ho for a kiddy diddler, as long as he voted their way giving it to the rest of us. It’s fucking disgusting the lengths these right wing nutjobs will go to keep power.

  2. Bobbie Peel Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Shouldn’t have replied Neil, you have a flock of guardian angels doing it for you. They think they know what you are saying, or they think they know what you think. I’m glad they do, I sure as hell don’t.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      I told you all about me at the end. I think. πŸ˜›

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Ps…please reply. I’d miss you already 😘

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Not sure I see too many guardian angels here Bobbie.

      • Neil Bamforth Reply

        November 14, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        Your wings are peeking out πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  3. jess Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    Your skinhead friends would likely hate me with the heat of a thousand suns being not only Asian but Latino also. Dude keep sitting on the fence with things and all you will get is splinters on your ass. I’m sorry but there is no way I would even associate with far right nutjobs, none, in my personal life. Why would you torture yourself like that, if as you say, you have centrist views and they hate the people that you say you care about. Times like that require, no they demand side choosing, in my opinion, no two ways about it. Hope it wasn’t me that caused you grief but if it was, you’re a big boy now, go pull up your big boy drawers and get on with it πŸ˜‰

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      I was 19 at the time Jess!…besides, one grew his hair and married an Anglo-Indian girl.

      People change.

      Sometimes for the better sometimes not. Either way they need time and maybe guidance?

      Nobody’s too old to change. I know.

      Besides…my ass is to big to notice splinters 😬

      • jess Reply

        November 14, 2017 at 6:29 pm

        Think I said already, I’m not up for doing the whole guidance thing with nutjobs anymore and I stand by that. Life is just too damn short to try reaching people when there is no reaching them. I want to enjoy however much life I have left on this blue ball we all call home.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      And no…it wasn’t you. I’d have loved you anyway if it was 😘

  4. Bill Formby Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Neil, we all go through some phases in life. I know I have but growing up, mentally as well as physically, one begins to see the world in a different light. I grew up in the deep, deep South where I was supposed to like or hate people because of their skin color. For some reason I could never understand the reasons for the hate of someone I did not simply because he was of a different skin color. A whole lot of those good old white folks call me a liberal because of that today but it has nothing to do with being liberal. Not one bit. It has more to do with being a thoughtful person. I need a reason to not like someone and a really good reason to hate someone. Much more than their politics or their skin color. A person’s behavior usually determines if I am going to tell me if I am going to not like a person, or perhaps hate someone, although I have pretty well given up hating people because it takes too much of my energy to hate someone that I dislike so I just ignore them. I make an exception for Donald Trump. But, from what I gather from your article you are trying to like and dislike, and perhaps even hate some people all at the same time. That really takes a lot of energy. Liking people, or at least being tolerant takes up for less energy than disliking or hating someone or some group. Just because a group is anti Muslim does not mean they never make a valid point once in a great while but it does not mean I want to be in their company. I am a very tolerant person and objective about the way life really exists. People who burn up a lot of energy disliking or hating others is just something that I accept that humans are going to do, so I tolerate them as much as possible and them leave them alone. It is like the point I made in your last article. There are a few places in this country that are becoming unlivable because of a mass congregation of Muslim culture. That’s OK, I don’t think I would like it very much so I will just avoid those places. I have live in areas of this country where I could not tolerate the white, anglo saxon protestant was too overwhelming whose religiosity was simply more than I could stand, so I got the hell out. If necessary I will go live in a forest just so I can be at peace with myself because in the end I have only one time around in life and I would prefer that it not be made miserable by staying around people that bother me too much.

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      You are starting to become my Yoda old bean. I suspect if I took your advice my brain would stop hurting sometimes. Cheers mate.

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      November 14, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      I wouldn’t like those places either Bill, and a friend of mine actually lived in one, until he and his family didn’t. Apparently it was an intolerable situation. Then again, I found living in South Georgia to be virtually intolerable.

  5. Dawn1966 Reply

    November 15, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I admit to a few prejudices, because I’m human you know. I have to say that one of them is new, and that is a certain antipathy toward some Muslims. I am tired of them giving me hard looks and crossing the street when I walk my dog. One of them even approached me and said she was “allergic” to dogs and would I please not walk it in “their” neighborhood. That “allergic” thing is code for “we muslims find dogs to be filthy animals.” Many of the Muslims moving into our neighborhood (Virginia) are plain unfriendly who look at me like I’m some sort of scum because I have my dog. So I’m with Neil Bamforth today and know what is going on. Normally I would be ashamed of this new prejudice but I’m not!!!!!!!

    • Neil Bamforth Reply

      November 15, 2017 at 10:08 am

      As I say…there does seem to be an issue with some Muslims and their ability to adapt to us?

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