Sunday, 18 December 2011

Taking Tea With Adolf - the Tories' Nazi Fetish

Aidan Burley MP (right) said he regretted the behaviour of the others in the party...
Just hours after the Prime Minister called for "Christian values" to save Britain from moral decay, a Tory MP, Aidan Burley, has been fired from his post as Private Parliamentary Secretary at the Department for  Transport. The Cannock Chase parliamentarian had been seen as a rising star until he was photographed at a stag party where the groom was dressed as a Nazi. Although initially claiming (after the photo was published in a Sunday newspaper) that he had felt uncomfortable and should have left the party sooner, it came to light that he had actually hired and paid for the fascist outfit and was more than a tad instrumental in setting the theme for the evening. At this point, Prime Minister Cameron decided he had to go, more it seems to avoid the bad publicity than through any real regret about the offence caused/

So far, so tasteless, but Burley is far from the first Conservative activist to have a more than passing fascination with things Nazi and a strange desire to dress up in the clobber Hugo Boss designed and supplied (latterly using slave labour) for the Hitler Gang back in the inter-war years.
Hugo Boss: by appointment to Hitler

Both in the UK and USA, the supposedly respectable right in the Tory Party and the Republicans appear to have a good number of people in their ranks who have a taste for SS-chique. Last year, for example, a Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio defended his regular dressing up as a Nazi Waffen-SS officer to re-enact the glories of the Hitler years. And a letter in Private Eye in 2007 alleged that, while at University in the 1970s, former Tory MP and now UKIP big wig Neil Hamilton joyfully paraded with henchmen dressed in Nazi-style brownshirts.

Anyone involved in student politics in the 1980s, the heyday of Thatcherite triumphalism, will recall the rumours and the real sightings of members of the Federation of Conservative Students enthusiastically sieg-heiling each other after a few beers and the (particularly) odd ones who seized any opportunity at all to don alleged "fancy dress" with some sort of Nazi theme. But this is hardly surprising when you look at the actual politics of these people.

Tory students, 1980s
The FCS in the 1980s was well known for its extreme positions on a range of policy fronts, with racism and a taste for authoritarianism ranking high in their pantheon. This, after all, was the group that, under the chairmanship of current Speaker of the Commons John Bercow MP, repeatedly called for Nelson Mandela to be hanged and very enthusiatically voiced its support of vicious military regimes in Chile and elsewhere. In at least one case, its members sought to make common cause with the British National Party, formed by John Tyndall, who also had a strong liking for donning Nazi outfits. It was disbanded by the main party only after its 1985 conference at Loughborough University deteriorated into a drunken riot.

The BNP's Tyndall (left)
But today, their successors are little better - just a few weeks ago, Conservative students at St Andrews University burned an effigy of Barack Obama and just a few days before that Oxford University Conservatives were put under investigation after claims of members singing Nazi songs celebrating killing Jews at one of their "Port & Policy" meetings - one committee member who resigned in protest said that this is a regular event among a group which counts the current Prime Minister and Chancellor among its alumni and which is seen as a nursery for future Tory leaders and PMs.

Many Conservative have been repeatedly found sympathising and actively engaging with the most odious far right groups - Cameron himself pushed the Tories out of their links with mainstream Christian Democrats in the European Parliament into an alliance with very extreme, homophobic and fascistic eastern European parties. This includes blatantly neo-Nazi sympathisers in the Baltic states and Polish politicians who derided the election of Obama as the end of white civilisation.

So in spite of David Cameron's claims to have transformed the Tories from the nasty party of the past to one that represents the allegedly Christian values of the country, it seems if you scratch the surface, the putrid odour of racism, violence and repression is not far away at all.

British values? Fighting moral decay? I hope not.

2010 General Election debate in Hammersmith - the Tory candidate defends Cameron's alliance with European neo-Nazis. In the election, Hammersmith was one of only two seats where there was a swing towards the Labour Party.


  1. Of course Green Party parliamentary candidate Keith Bessant, went one step further than dressing as a nazi he became one!

  2. THE Keith Bessant?

  3. This one :-

    A spokesman for the Green Party said: “He formed the opinion that the BNP climate change policy was more radical than ours." (you couldn't make it up)

    I hate the Tories, but the majority are not Nazis. When the BNP membership list was leaked the Greens seem to have a disproportionately high number of closet Nazis. Perhaps you need to look closer tho home VL.

  4. I'm not entirely sure of your point: one very obscure parliamentary candidate for the Greens cited from 7 years ago, set against a significant number (though grantedly not a majority of Tories) who like to cosy up to nazi symbolism and neo-Nazi ideas and parties. You may well be able to find the odd BNP entryist in the Greens as in other parites, sent there by his or her party for whatever unknown reason (paranoid syping perhaps?). You may also find the odd eccentric who travels through various parties in search of a home.

    That's very different from the Conservative Party being in formal alliance in the European Parliament with a Latvian party that honours the SS; or a Polish party that wants to ban homosexuality; Czech climate change deniers; or anti-gay Dutch activists. It is also different from the Tory Mayor of a Welsh town who recently declared that Hitler had it right when he "dealt" with gypsies in the holocaust.

    And lastly, it is difficult if not impossible by default to identify "closet Nazis" - but when the Tories take their little black SS numbers OUT of the closet, the decent thing would have been for Cameron to have fired this character a lot sooner.