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British Movement

British Movement
Leader Colin Jordan (1968-1975)
Michael McLaughlin (1975-1983)
Founder Colin Jordan
Founded 1968
Dissolved 1983 as a political party
Preceded by National Socialist Movement
Succeeded by British National Socialist Movement
Headquarters Coventry
Newspaper The Phoenix, British Patriot
Youth wing National Youth Movement
Ideology Ultranationalism
White nationalism
Political position Far-right
International affiliation World Union of National Socialists
Politics of United Kingdom
Political parties

The British Movement (BM), later called the British National Socialist Movement (BNSM), is a Colin Jordan in 1968. It grew out of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), which was founded in 1962. Frequently on the margins of even the British far-right, the BM nonetheless has had a long and chequered history and became well known for its association with violence and extremism. It initially organised as a political party but subsequently abandoned this strategy and has even had spells out of existence.


  • Formation 1
  • Violence 2
  • Political activity 3
  • Post-Jordan 4
  • Ray Hill's return 5
  • Collapse 6
  • New group 7
  • Footnotes 8
  • External links 9


The NSM had come to an end sometime after Colin Jordan was imprisoned in early 1967 for distributing a racist leaflet The Coloured Invasion and following his release Jordan had met John Tyndall in Denis Pirie's house about the possibility of joining the National Front.[1] These talks came to nothing however and with the Race Relations Act 1968 passed the notion of openly parading Nazi credentials in a party name had to be abandoned, leading to Jordan forming a new group to known as the British Movement.[2] Whilst the new party intended to continue the old group's role of being Nazi apologists and endorsing anti-Semitism it aimed to do so within the restrictions brought in by the newly enacted law.[3]


Not long after its formation the BM gained coverage in Ray Hill, when local members attacked students who were supporting an Anti-Apartheid Movement protest against a South African trade delegation visiting the city.[4] Direct action activities such as this, which usually ended in violence, became the stock in trade of the BM during its early days.[4] An underground cell, the National Socialist Group, was also established in Blackheath by David Courtney and this undertook paramilitary training exercises in Scotland whilst also seeking to build links between the BM and like-minded groups in Europe. The group vanished suddenly in 1969 when Special Branch began to investigate them, with Courtney in particular dropping out of the far-right scene for some time afterwards.[5]

Despite this setback violence remained on the agenda as the party maintained a Leader Guard of violent members whom it encouraged to join the

  • A Century of British Fascism 1969-1979
  • Image of a British Movement demo in 1980

External links

  1. ^ Martin Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana, 1977, p. 77
  2. ^ R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror - Inside Europe’s Neo-Nazi Network, London: Collins, 1988, p. 116
  3. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 117
  4. ^ a b Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 36
  5. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 117-118
  6. ^ a b Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, 2002, p. 177
  7. ^ Geoffrey Harris, The Dark Side of Europe: The Extreme Right Today, Edinburgh University Press, 1994, p. 123
  8. ^ a b c d
  9. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 141-142
  10. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 37
  11. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 37–38
  12. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 38
  13. ^ S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, p. 22
  14. ^ Martin Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana, 1977, p. 134
  15. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 135-136
  16. ^ Michael Billig, A Social Psychological View of the National Front, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978, p. 239
  17. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 119–120
  18. ^ R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 124
  19. ^ a b R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 120
  20. ^ R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 121
  21. ^ Walker, The National Front, p. 195
  22. ^ 'Facing the Crisis'
  23. ^ R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 121-122
  24. ^ Richard Thurlow, Fascism in Britain A History, 1918-1985, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987, p. 282
  25. ^ N. Lowles & S. Silver, White Noise, London: Searchlight, 1998
  26. ^ a b Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 125
  27. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 126
  28. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 130
  29. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 131-132
  30. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 133
  31. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 134
  32. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 139
  33. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 139-141
  34. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, pp. 145-146
  35. ^ a b Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 146
  36. ^ English election results
  37. ^ Hill & Bell, The Other Face of Terror, p. 147
  38. ^ David Boothroyd, The Politico's Guide to the History of British Political Parties, London: Politico's, 2001, p. 20
  39. ^ Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas. Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity. NYU Press, 2003. pp. 40-41
  40. ^ European Parliament, Committee of Inquiry on Racism and Xenophobia - Report on the Findings of the Inquiry, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1991, p. 38
  41. ^ N, Lowles & S. Silver, White Noise, London: Searchlight, 1998
  42. ^ Harris, The Dark Side of Europe, p. 165
  43. ^ Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity, New York University Press, 2003, p. 41
  44. ^ Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, pp. 41-42
  45. ^ Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, p. 42
  46. ^ Lowles & Silver, White Noise, p. 17
  47. ^ Lowles & Silver, White Noise, p. 19
  48. ^ Goodrick-Clarke, Black Sun, p. 44
  49. ^ N. Lowles, "1990-1999 Ballot-box to Bomb - Fighting On All Fronts"
  50. ^ Nick Ryan, Homeland: Into a World of Hate, Edinburgh: Mainstream, 203, p. 123
  51. ^ Searchlight, January 2006
  52. ^ Official Webpage Of The British Movement


The progress of the BNSM was halted in the early 1990s by the emergence of Combat 18 with much of the membership switching allegiance to this new group.[48] The new BM re-emerged during the mid-1990s by becoming heavily involved in the distribution of white power music.[49] By this time Micky Lane had taken over as leader of the group, a position that meant his name appear on an alleged Combat 18 hitlist due to the rivalries between the groups.[50] Although a British Movement still exists, it has a tiny, largely inactive, membership.[51] It does however maintain a presence on the internet.[52]

The BNSM was soon attempting to re-activate the old BM membership and followed the old template of encouraging members to undergo military training through the TA or other means.[43] The BNSM also built up links with the Derbyshire.[46] Donaldson's attempts to leave the skinhead scene and scale back his involvement in music soured the relationship however and in 1990 links were severed after a group of activists turned up at Donaldson's local pub and told him to play for them or face assault.[47]

A group calling itself the British Movement continued to operate after September 1983 under the leadership of Stephen Frost, a Yorkshire member of the original BM.[38] At its 1985 yearly meeting the BM established a new group to be known as the British National Socialist Movement (BNSM).[39] Whilst the BM continued to exist alongside the BNSM the latter would give more freedom to activists by operating as a cell-based structure within the BM.[40] The new group attempted to act as a rallying-point for white power skinheads, although this role was later filled more successfully by Blood and Honour.[41] It also continued to have involvement in football hooliganism and BM members were amongst the rioters responsible for the Heysel Stadium disaster at the 1985 European Cup final.[42]

New group

About half of the members of the BM went with Hill out and joined the newly launched British National Party in 1982, a huge blow to McLaughlin's group.[35] The party failed to contest the 1983 general election, although a single candidate had attempted to stand in Peterborough as a Labour Party candidate; he was barred by the returning officer after several signatures on the nominating papers were found to be invalid.[36] McLaughlin finally announced the closure of the BM in September 1983 and in the statement blamed the court case brought by Ray Hill which had severely depleted BM funds.[37]


After he opened contact with Jordan Hill was expelled from the BM by McLaughlin in 1981. Hill was backed by his Leicester branch, London organiser Tony Malski and Robert Relf and his lieutenant Mike Cole, all of whom backed Hill to replace McLaughlin as leader.[33] Hill released a statement to BM members rejecting the expulsion and threatening a court injunction to overturn the expulsion.[34] With legal advice provided by British Democratic Party leader Anthony Reed Herbert, Hill soon issued the writ against McLaughlin, who attempted to get around the problems by renaming the BM the British Nationalist and Socialist Movement and claiming that the BM in fact no longer existed.[35]

Under Searchlight direction Hill sought to take charge of the BM and he launched his campaign at a demonstration in Lampeter collection membership fees.[31] A speech criticising the police at a BM rally in Paddington helped to cement Hill's popularity amongst the rank and file membership, most of whom held police in contempt.[32]

Following an incident at a [29] Nonetheless Hill continued to criticise Brady to McLaughlin and before long Hill had been promoted to the head of the entire Midlands region following the retirement of Birmingham chief Peter Marriner.[30]

In 1980, Ray Hill, who had been a leading member of the BM under Jordan before emigrating to South Africa, rejoined the group and soon became one of its leading figures, a decision prompted by the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, for whom Hill had become a mole.[27] Hill was appointed Area Leader in the East Midlands where he was given responsibility for enticing disaffected NF members to join the BM. Before long Hill had added about thirty members in Leicester and had also built a close working relationship with the British Democratic Party in the city.[26] Hill also managed to ensure publicity for the BM from the Leicester Mercury after a riot in the city, a fact that won him the admiration of McLaughlin.[28]

Ray Hill's return

McLaughlin, in contrast to Jordan, was under no delusions that the BM might gain a broad following and instead he felt that its best area of possible support was amongst young, working-class males. The BM journals, The Phoenix and British Patriot, thus changed to become much more simplistic and aggressive publications largely shorn of Jordan's pseudoscientific racialism in favour of more basic notions.[20] The BM had also gained some publicity in 1976 when "race martyr" and sometime party activist Kent.[25] By this time the BM had effectively given up mainstream politics in favour of provocative marches and violence, changes that appealed to the younger element who were disillusioned with the disintegrating NF.[26]

After Jordan stood down as leader of the BM [19] McLaughlin quickly rejected this notion and made it clear that Jordan's time was over, resulting in the former leader retiring to Yorkshire from where he still published his own journal Gothic Ripples from time to time, the pages of which were regularly filled with criticism of McLaughlin.[19]


Jordan's run as leader came to an end in 1975 when he was arrested in the Coventry branch of Tesco on a charge of shoplifting. Jordan declared that the event, as well as reports that the item he had stolen were a pair of women's knickers, was a frame-up, but soon after he resigned as leader of the BM to take on an advisory role.[17]

The BM contested the UK general elections in 1970 and in February 1974. The party failed to attract much support in those elections due to its openness about its support for Nazism, and because most of the far right vote went to the National Front (NF). The group's highest result was the 2.5% share which Jordan captured in Birmingham Aston in 1970.[13] Nonetheless, contact between the BM and NF was not infrequent and in early 1972 John Tyndall had met with Jordan and discussed the possibility that the BM might form the basis of a new NF group in the Midlands, an area of BM strength and NF weakness. The proposal was soon dropped however and was largely made only because Tyndall was seeking to build a power-base in his attempts to replace John O'Brien as NF chairman.[14] For his part, Jordan had a long-held ambition to unite the divided far-right and he personally oversaw the production of a BM leaflet, Nationalist Solidarity in '70, in which he called for personal disagreements to be set aside in favour of presenting a united front.[15] There were occasional examples of individuals holding simultaneous membership of the BM and NF, although they were not linked at any official level.[16]

The BM entered electoral politics in 1969 when Jordan put himself forward as a candidate for the Birmingham Ladywood by-election. The campaign made no attempts to hide the party's support for Nazism and violence became the hallmark, not least on the election night itself when scuffles at the count were televised nationally.[10] The 3.5% vote share that the BM secured was treated as a success by activists who felt that it proved that even with a Nazi message nearly 300 people were still prepared to vote for an anti-immigration candidate.[11] Indeed, the BM members had openly worn the German Nazi Swastika symbol, and party literature featured pictures of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.[12]

Political activity

Unsurprisingly, convictions were not uncommon. Crane was jailed in 1981 for his part in an ambush on black youths at Woolwich Arsenal station. An old bailey judge described Crane as "worse than an animal" after his part in the May 1978 bus stop attack in Bishopsgate.[8] Other BM members felt the force of the law as was the case in January 1981 when three members, Rod Roberts, Harvey Stock and Robert Giles, were arrested for possession of illegal weapons and attempted arson with Roberts imprisoned for seven years as a result.[9] However, despite its reputation for violence, the BM came badly unstuck on at least two occasions: at Crass's infamous Conway Hall gig in 1979 and in Oxford in 1981, after attempting to march in the city.

[8] Perhaps one of the most memorable violent assaults made by the BM on non-whites was the Woolwich Odeon attack of 1980, also led and instigated by Crane. After their intended victims ran inside the Odeon cinema to escape attack, Crane and BM members started smashing windows and doors. One Pakistani man was knocked unconscious.[8] In 1979, Crane and BM members were part of 200 strong skinhead mob that attacked Asians on Brick Lane, east London.[8]

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