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dimanche, 05 juin 2011

The Fascist Past of Scotland


The Fascist Past of Scotland

Ex: http://xtremerightcorporate.blogspot.com/

Today, Scottish nationalism is associated mostly with the left. Traditional, conservative nationalism such as produced the Jacobite wars was long in going but seems gone for good at this point. However, Scottish fascists have long been involved in the troubled life of what goes under the blanket-term of ‘British fascism’. Nonetheless, it is important to note the history of nationalism in modern Scotland, which of course existed when Scotland was an independent nation but which survived after the union with England and was never seen in a more pure form than in the Jacobite uprisings that are so famous. Although not often considered, the Jacobite restoration efforts were actually very corporatist at heart. Just to refresh, at its core, corporatism is nothing more than the organization of society based on corporate bodies and the use of those corporate bodies in exercising power for the nation as a whole. This was, in a real sense, what the Jacobite risings were all about and in a very traditional way, upholding the ancient values of western civilization.

It was, from the beginning, the intention of the Jacobites to maintain the distinct nationalism of the three kingdoms individually. We saw this with the declaration of independence following the landing of King James II in Ireland. It was a principle reiterated by King James III in 1715 and Prince Charles III in 1745. The system they were fighting for, that they intended to restore, was very traditional and very corporatist. That was for a union of the distinct kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland under one Crown. Furthermore, particularly concerning Scotland, it was also a fight to maintain the established, traditional clan structure. Power in Scotland had always been very corporatist in nature, based on the power of the chieftains of the various clans, united by their common loyalty to the House of Stuart and a divinely based monarchy. For Scotland, the clans were the basic corporate bodies of society.
Of course, the Jacobites were ultimately unsuccessful and it was, of course, no coincidence, that the Hanoverians (English or Scottish) who sought to wipe out Scottish nationalism specifically by destroying the clan system (which was most significant) as well as all of the outward signs of Scottish nationalism such as the Gaelic language, kilts and all the rest. A sad event to be sure, but it happened and one must move on. Fortunately, some of this was to be restored in time as the Jacobite threat to the government in London faded into history and Scotland came to see itself fully as a part, as a partner, of the glorious achievements of the British Empire and these were certainly considerable. Even as early as the late 18th Century the Scots dominated in the high command of the British army and the highland regiments became among the most feared and fearsome in the world on battlefields from North America to India. The Scots were, very early on, just as committed to British greatness as anyone and this is seen in the number of Jacobite exiles to America who fought for the British Crown against the American revolutionaries who were set to partition British North America.

In modern times, however, liberalism began to creep in and ever since as far back as the 1830’s Scotland has tended to be dominated by the leftist party (Whig, Labour, etc). In 1934 the Scottish National Party was founded, bent on the division of Great Britain and at least some degree of independence for Scotland. Socialist parties also sprang up. These, of course, had an influence on what was considered far-right politics as it would anywhere else but nonetheless, those Scots labeled as “fascists” tended almost to a man to support the union, the British Empire and British power and greatness, seeing the nations of the British Isles as stronger together than apart. Of course the most famous such organization was the British Union of Fascists and there were a number of prominent Scots aligned with or associated with that movement, and a few should be mentioned.
Few embodied these values as much as Sir Louis Greig, a decorated naval surgeon, accomplished rugby player and longtime friend of King George VI, going back to his days as the Duke of York when Greig took the young prince under his wing and even helped encourage his marriage to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. This match worked out so well that the future queen displaced Greig as the closest confidant of George VI, but he did not seem to mind much. He was an ardent supporter of the British Empire and a staunch monarchist, absolutely loyal to his King and Country. This was a firm matter of principle for him, not something based on his own friendship with the Duke of York as his support for the Crown did not falter in the least during the short reign of King Edward VIII with whom he did not get along well. It was also around this time that Sir Oswald Mosley left the Tory party for Labour and then left the Labour Party to form the British Union of Fascists. While trying to strengthen his grouping of blackshirts Mosley formed the January Club, an elite circle of the nationalist community in an effort to attract upper class support for the BUF and put a more respectable face on the fascist movement. Greig was a prominent member of the January Club (he was also by then a Wing Commander in the RAF) and his support, along with others, helped the BUF become more mainstream and it was shortly thereafter that the Daily Mail openly supported the fascist cause. As for Sir Louis Greig, he did not suffer for his fascist associations and continued to serve in the armed forces until his death in 1953. His grandson was even a page of honor to Queen Elizabeth II.

Another prominent Scotsman in the BUF, and one of impeccable ‘blue blood’ if not impeccable reputation was Lord Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll. Born in London, son of Lord Kilmarnock, he carried the coronet of his grandfather, the then Earl of Erroll, at the coronation of King George V in 1911. He dropped out of Eton and began working in the diplomatic service with his father to earn a living (contrary to what many think, having a title does not automatically mean having vast wealth). It is interesting, if not significant to note the extensive he spent in Berlin at this time. However, despite passing his civil service examination he did not go to work for the Foreign Office but instead caused society tongues to wag by marrying Lady Idina Sackville. Her father was an earl, her former husband a politician, who she had divorced, and she was married again when she began her affair with Hay before divorcing that husband to marry him. It was all very scandalous but the two felt ‘unencumbered’ by social norms and traditional values and married in 1923. Moving to the colonies they set up housekeeping in Kenya where they lived a life of libertine debauchery. In 1934, while visiting England, Hay joined the British Union of Fascists. As Earl of Erroll he attended the 1936 coronation of King George VI, joined the military in World War II and began an affair with a married woman which, most believe, led to his murder in 1941 in Kenya.

Less colorful than Hay, but probably an even more staunch fascist Scotsman was Robert Forgan. The son of a minister in the Church of Scotland, he was educated in Aberdeen, became a doctor and served in World War I, later becoming an STD expert. While working in Glasgow he became a socialist, out of concern for the urban poor of course, and also entered politics as a member of the Independent Labor Party. He supported the very socialistic “Mosley Memorandum” which resulted in his break with mainstream leftists and his formation of the New Party. Mosley and Forgan were almost inseparable. He was one of the most successful politicians of the New Party, a key player in organizing and fleshing out the movement and even stood as godfather to Mosley’s son Michael. He was less visible but no less important when Mosley dropped the New Party idea and went on, instead, to found the British Union of Fascists. It was Forgan who worked behind the scenes to enlist more legitimate, acceptable supporters for the BUF, obtain funding for the movement and he was largely responsible to setting up the January Club.
This, however, eventually led to problems between Mosley and Forgan, though not initially. Forgan was adamant that, despite parallels being drawn with the Nazis in Germany, the BUF was not anti-Semitic. Originally, this was true as Mosley took more inspiration from Mussolini and his National Fascist Party (which was not anti-Semitic) rather than Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Working through the January Club and his connections in government, Forgan even tried to bring some prominent Jews on board, appealing to their liberal views of economic and social issues and assuring them that the hatred of Jews was simply a ‘German thing’ rather than a ‘fascist thing’. However, he had little success in getting anyone to take a chance and as the “star” of Hitler continued to rise Mosley became more enraptured with him and increasingly anti-Semitic in his rhetoric. Forgan had become deputy-leader of the BUF next to Mosley himself but this trend was taking the group down a path he refused to follow. In 1934 the BUF became pretty openly anti-Semitic and a disgruntled Forgan left the party, convinced Mosley was making a mistake. He was thoroughly done with politics and stayed out of the fray, finally passing away in 1976 as a largely forgotten figure.

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