hate crime in the North has risen by more than 60
per cent in the past year, according to Police Service
statistics, as neo-Nazism is poised to make a major
return to loyalist areas.
North is rife with rumours at least two of Britain's
leading fascist organisations plan to contest elections.
The largest fascist movement in mainland Britain,
the British National Party, will be attempting to
build on its fledgling English electoral base by
hopping across the Irish Sea.
spite of not winning a European seat, around 800,000
people in Britain still voted for the neo-Nazi party
in June's elections. The BNP wants to make a breakthrough
on the local government scene in Ulster where it
hopes to capitalise on bitter internal mainstream
unionist rivalry between Ian Paisley's DUP and David
fascists would be gambling that a significant number
of both unionist parties' supporters would give
their second preferences to the BNP rather than
to another rival unionist party.
the National Front - founded in the late 1960s and
once Britain's largest fascist party - is making
its third attempt in a generation to make a breakthrough
in the North with plans to contest a council seat.
the small percentages in the North's 1.7 million
population of the ethnic communities, made up mainly
of the Chinese, Asian, Muslim, Traveller and Jewish
origins, why would the extreme Right want to organise
in a part of Ireland where until recently no previous
serious racial tensions existed?
Far Right is planning to build on two future fronts.
First, the creation of a larger 25-member European
Community. There is now the very real danger the
asylum-seeker issue, which has dogged mainland Britain
and parts of France, will mushroom in the North
in spite of the religious tensions between Catholics
and Protestants in certain areas.
it was the internecine sectarian conflict within
Northern Christianity which deterred the creation
of large-scale ethnic communities during the Troubles
in Derry or Belfast as now exist in English cities
such as Birmingham and Bradford.
the North is governed structurally by a devolved
Assembly at Stormont, by Direct Rule from Westminster,
or even through joint authority between Dublin and
London, a peaceful solution to the Ulster crisis
will spark a sharp increase in European asylum-seekers
attempting to settle in Northern Ireland and the
the Far Right wants to be in place and ready to
capitalise politically on any explosion in the number
of asylum-seekers entering the North.
is a danger from politically motivated Nazis who
will attempt to fuel future tensions caused by a
growth in the North's asylum-seeker community in
the next decade. There is also the very real threat
from paramilitary-organised Nazis who will attempt
to cash in on the present disarray in Northern loyalism's
groups like the BNP, NF, British Nazi Party and
White Nationalist Party represent the explicit face
of neo-fascism in the North, there is also the underlying
potential threat posed by implicit Nazi sympathisers
within mainstream unionism.
there is also the danger of viewing this threat
as being more serious than it is in reality.
his time as Tory boss, Iain Duncan Smith suspended
the hardline Right-wing pressure group, the National
Monday Club, over allegations of the Conservative
organisation's stance on race and asylum-seekers.
Ulster Monday Club was once one of the most influential
pressure groups within the Ulster Unionist Party
and boasted a membership of 40 activists in many
of the North's constituencies and had four UUP MPs
in its ranks. However, the UMC - unlike the NMC
- was never dogged by any allegations whatsoever
that it had been infiltrated by fascists or neo-Nazis.
is no doubt the scandal surrounding the NMC was
a contributory factor in the UMC becoming defunct
a number of years ago. However, it is also known
that a Far Right faction within the UUP would like
to see the UMC rekindled.
of the UMC was only open to card-carrying members
of the UUP before the pressure group disbanded.
A key reason the UMC name is being targeted by the
modern Far Right is because of the esteem with which
the Club was once held in Ulster Unionist circles.
such long-time Far Right sympathiser and card-carrying
UUP member told me: "The UUP is not really
party in the true organisational sense. It is really
a federation of organisations. The UUP is full of
cliques, cabals and factions, and we on the Far
Right are just one of them.
would like to see the Monday Club reformed in the
UUP again, but there is the false impression that
anyone on the Far Right has got to be dogmatically
opposed to the Good Friday Agreement. The faction
I represent, whilst it would certainly be small,
would be classified as Far Right, but pro-Agreement.
We have enough political maturity, experience and
common sense between us to realise that the only
way to advance our ideology is through mainstream
suppose we could join one of the existing UUP pressure
groups, such as Union First - but its too anti-Agreement,
and the Re:Union group is too wishy-washy on ideology.
good thing is that the BNP and NF will take the
heat off us. We eventually want to organise within
the UUP in much the same way as Militant successfully
did within the Labour Party and the trade unions
hard reality is that whilst they will make a lot
of noise in the coming years, the BNP and NF will
never be anything more than a 'two men and a dog
outfit'. But they are correct about the threat which
the asylum-seekers will pose in Ulster - and in
the South - within the next generation.
late Enoch Powell may not have been graphically
correct when he made his 'rivers of blood' speech,
but given the race riots in England and the rise
of the BNP, I think 'stream of blood' might have
been a more accurate interpretation. The trouble
is, unionism is so engaged in fighting itself that
by the time the boatloads of asylum-seekers arrive
at Larne or Belfast it will be too late to do anything
to combat the influx.
there's no way Trimble or Paisley can ever work
together, so we will just bide our time until both
are out of the way and a unionist coalition is formed
between the DUP and us. It would be too tactically
dangerous for us on the Far Right in the UUP to
show our hands too soon. But like the republicans,
our day will come, too."
the moment, it would appear the overwhelming majority
of attacks on the ethnic communities are originating
in predominantly Protestant and working class loyalist
areas. There has always been a history of links
between extreme loyalism and fascism.
NF has traditionally targeted Protestant districts
of east Belfast, Newtownabbey and Coleraine as potential
recruiting grounds in the past. In the 1970s, there
were strong links between the UVF and the Belgian
fascist movement, the Vlaamse Militante Orde (VMO).
hills of North Antrim were used for a limited amount
of joint training between the UVF and VMO, but the
relationship turned sour when the UVF refused to
attack the Jewish community in the North. During
the era of apartheid South Africa, loyalists had
regular contacts with the white supremist authorities.
what happens if ethnic communities abandon Protestant
districts of the North and resettle in predominantly
Catholic localities - will this automatically mean
an end to racist attacks in the North?
racist loyalist gangs venture into Catholic districts
for racial targets in the same way the Tartan Gangs
sought out Catholic targets for sectarian attacks?
To make such a naïve assumption is to believe
that racism and fascism are limited only to loyalism.
and Irish nationalism has its racist skeletons,
too. If the former South Down Ulster Unionist MP,
the late Enoch Powell, was around today, he'd probably
be giving another 'rivers of blood' scenario when
he heard about the rapid increase in racist attacks
across predominantly unionist areas of the North.
latest 'rivers of blood' speech would have been
sparked, not by the current level of attacks in
loyalist areas, but when such racism eventually
surfaced in the nationalist community.
the Islamic communities in Ballymena and Craigavon
as well as the Chinese community in loyalist south
Belfast are finding to their cost that some in extreme
Protestantism have replaced the ethos of 'no fenians
about the place' with 'no wogs on our street'.
the real problem for the ethnic communities in the
North will really escalate if they are forced out
of Protestant areas, and decide to settle in Catholic
localities. In a number of parts of the island,
there has been a history of friction between Catholic
residents and the Irish Travelling community.
there is no evidence of unrest between the nationalist
and ethnic communities in the North. But Northern
Catholics need to guard against letting the Far
Right genie out of the lamp. After all, there are
still many people alive on the island who recall
the notorious antics of General Eoin O'Duffy and
his fascist Blueshirts.
is also known that the late Sir Oswald Mosley, the
former leader of Britain's equally notorious pro-Hitler
Blackshirts, was a staunch supporter of Irish republicanism.
Vatican has also faced generations of allegations
of helping Nazis evade justice by aiding their escape
to South America as well as its frosty relations
with the Jewish state of Israel.
expansion of the European Community is expected
to see a flood of asylum seekers from the new nations
coming to Ireland. Given the growth of Islam internationally
as a religion and the development of the Chinese
community in Britain, it is only a matter of time
before sections of Ireland - like many areas of
England - become multi-cultural in make-up.
Right groups will not limit their activities to
the Protestant domain. They will want to recruit
and be active in any area - nationalist or unionist
- which houses an ethnic community. It's no use
the Catholic Church trying to dismiss the present
racial unrest as a 'purely Prod problem'.
as the Protestant clergy need to preach against
the ghost of Hitler in its sermons, so too, do Catholic
priests need to exorcise the ghost of General O'Duffy
in Masses across the length and breadth of the island.
is a sinister breed of racism. It does not march
like the Blueshirts, but slithers around in the
night like the Ku Klux Klan of old. The racist rattlesnake
has bitten Protestantism. Catholics have the opportunity
to cut off its head before nationalism falls prey
to its deadly venom.
the real danger in trying to expose racism and isolate
new millennium fascism, is that by highlighting
it, you fuel the very evil you are attempting to
confront. Former British Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher once talked about cutting off the oxygen
of publicity from terrorists.
is the best way the media can confront and expose
racism merely to ignore it? By uncovering evidence
of fascist activity, can that racism be 'nipped
in the bud', or enflamed by exposing it?
the growth of the Klan in loyalist parts of Northern
Ireland, for example. Is this a well-organised attempt
to set up a covert racist network, or the mad ramblings
of a few Walter Mitty characters? As the levels
of racist attacks continue to spread across the
North, there is some justification for believing
they could be orchestrated.
to the Ku Klux Klan itself, it is recruiting well-educated,
middle class Protestants in a conspiracy to expel
all asylum seekers and the Irish Travelling community
from Northern Ireland.
from the reformed Knights of the Invisible Empire
have been cashing in on anti-Islamic feeling in
Ballymena and Craigavon to hand-pick activists from
unionism's traditional Fur Coat Brigade.
spokesman for the Invisible Empire, who wished only
to be identified as a "well-educated, middle
class, white graduate from County Antrim" said
his organisation had "permanently binned the
movie-reel images of Klansmen in white sheets brandishing
American Confederate flags and burning Black Baptist
claimed he held the position of "Grand Dragon"
in the Invisible Empire and that the rise of "Klan
policies" was a "direct consequence of
working class loyalist reaction to the growth in
the immigrant and gypsy races in Ulster".
would appear the Klan is attempting to build a group
of nazi intellectuals similar to the League of St
George organisation in England which is one of the
main United Kingdom representatives in the European
well as the openly racist attacks, Far Right activity
has largely been confined to sticker, poster, leaflet
and flag erection provocation.
the Klansman emphasised that his organisation wanted
to mobilise opinion within unionism's middle class,
branding groups like the WNP as "useful cannon
fodder to keep the heat off our real strategies".
added: "Once the European Community is enlarged,
the immigrant flood gates will open and these so-called
ethnic races will be pouring into Ulster. Within
a generation, our whole white Christian way of life
will be submerged just as is happening in many cities
Knights of the Invisible Empire were one of the
largest Klan groupings of the last century. "As
our title states, we will operate as an invisible
empire within the political community. People are
selected to join the Knights; to be a member of
the Invisible Empire is by invitation only."
Invisible Empire, according to the Klan source,
is organised along the structures of Stalinist communist
cells in some of Ulster's 18 Westminster constituencies.
It takes its racism from the writings of Nazi dictator
Adolf Hitler, and its initiation ceremonies resemble
the blood-curdling oaths of Irish Freemasonry.
initiated into the Invisible Empire are reportedly
blindfolded with a mock hangman's noose around their
neck, taking an oath of loyalty with one hand on
the Holy Bible, and the other on a copy of Hitler's
blueprint for genocide, Mein Kampf.
Knights are sworn to secrecy and have orders to
infiltrate branches of the DUP and Ulster Unionists.
We need a legislative Parliament back at Stormont.
Then we can quietly lobby for tough laws to expel
immigrants and repatriate the so-called travelling
people back to the Republic. We need to face the
reality that Enoch Powell was right."
such interviews can be dismissed as the rambling
nonsense of madmen. But human nature being what
it is, there will always be a significant section
of society who view such racist ramblings as Gospel.
How else would people like O'Duffy, Mosley, Hitler,
Mussolini and Franco gained a power base?