With moves to reboot British Nationalism finally stirring, it is essential that mistakes from the past be avoided and insights gained. Very few people can look back on the chequered history of British Nationalism from the vantage point occupied by John Bean. As a veteran nationalist of over sixty years standing, and a man who has first-hand knowledge of everyone of importance in the movement from Sir Oswald Mosley, A.K. Chesterton, and Enoch Powell to John Tyndall and Nick Griffin, John Bean has seen it all. In this exclusive and wide-ranging interview with Alternative Right he offers his reflections and conclusions on a still sadly unfinished project, namely the preservation of the British race, culture, and nation.
Liddell: One of the odd political legacies of the BUF and Union Movement seems to be Lee Kuan Yew’s People's Action Party. The party was formed in 1954 by English-educated professionals who had returned from university education in the UK. As you are probably aware, it has a logo that is surprisingly similar to the BUF’s flash and circle logo, and the party members even have the equivalent to the Black shirt, although in Chinese culture, white not black is the funerary colour, so they use white. Besides these possibly incidental similarities the Party also seems to apply the Fascist idea of the corporate state, not to remove social conflict between the classes, as these are not so important in Singapore, but instead to maintain peace between the different races, as this is the most obvious fracture line in Singaporean society. It has also been very successful in doing this and making Singapore an affluent society, which also obviously helps social and racial peace. What is your opinion of specific parallels between the BUF and UM on the one hand and the PAP on the other? Also, what do you think of the political affinities between so-called ‘Communist China’ and the fascist systems of pre-war Europe?
Bean: It can hardly be coincidence that Lee Kuan Yew’s PAP party chose the BUF and UM symbol of the lightning flash in a circle, together with the slogan “Action within social racial unity,” apparently inspired by the BUF’s more snappy “Action within Unity.” According to an article in the Financial Times by John Burton in 2006, Lee acknowledged a design influence from the BUF symbol. He was in Britain 1949-51, where he read Law at Cambridge, obtaining a double first with honours. In his spare time he helped the Labour party in election campaigns. Apart from Labour’s anti-colonialism it seems he was attracted to Fabian socialism, which was reflected in the PAP party policy from 1954 onwards. However, it could be said that Lee was a National Socialist in the literal sense, i.e. a nationalist as well as a socialist. Thus it would have been natural for him to admire Mosley and some of his policies, although not tactful to admit this at that time. With the Malayan, Chinese and Indian racial mix in Singapore Lee tried to create a unique Singaporean identity. His form of national socialism would aid this and counter any threat that could incite ethnic or religious violence. If one can strip away the distortions of what fascism and national socialism originally proposed (distortions mainly created by the wartime brutalities committed in their names), then I would say that ‘Communist’ China of today has moved far away from Maoism and with its control of capitalism for the national interest – as opposed to the West’s globalism – it is more akin to the corporate state of fascism and national socialism. It is a path that India and Malaysia are also beginning to take.
Liddell: I read once that Lee Kuan Yew may have known Mosley. Have you heard of anything along these lines?
Bean: During the time that Lee was studying in Britain Mosley was living as a semi-recluse in Ireland busily writing his book “The Alternative,” in which he laid down his views for going beyond pre-war nationalism to ‘Europe a Nation.’ A long-term friend of mine and a dedicated follower of Mosley has been unable to establish any documented link between Lee and Mosley. As my friend says, if there had been a link, then Mosley would certainly have mentioned it in his autobiography, “My Life” published in 1968
Liddell: While you were in the League of Empire Loyalists you net John Tyndall; I think during the North Lewisham by-election. What early recollections do you have of the man?
Bean: In 1957 I was put in charge of outdoor meetings of the League of Empire Loyalists in their North Lewisham by-election. Among the new young people who turned up to help was a twenty-two year old John Tyndall Although he was a very serious young man, with firm opinions, who did not appreciate my readiness for humour, we got on well. Although being anti-communist, the previous year he had visited Moscow with the Young Communist League. Apparently while there he stuffed anti-communist leaflets, designed and printed by him, under the doors of the hotel. I mention this because it was indicative of an inability to foresee the results of his actions, which in this case could have meant he would be locked up for years by the Soviet comrades. It was at Lewisham that I became aware that, although he was an admirer of Hitler, he had little time for Germany as such – or any other ‘foreigners,’ come to that. Such was his patriotism that I had the impression that secretly he wished Hitler had been British! It must be said that in his later years he regretted his pro-Hitler and pro-British Nazism statements. Having known John Tyndall throughout his political life (and also his family in the early days), I wish to record my admiration for his tenacity in pursuing his fight for his brand of nationalism, for his mental as well as physical courage, and for his honesty in everything he did. It may be hackneyed to say so but in his case it really was “what you see is what you get.”
Liddell: As you mentioned, the League of Empire Loyalists were famed for their prankish, student-rag-like stunts. You left the group after Chesterton asked you to ‘soot’ the TV commenter Malcolm Muggeridge after he criticized the Queen. You refused to do this, but in Many Shades of Black you also mention that you invited John Tyndall and that he refused. What were his reasons for refusing and did they influence your decision not to perform the ‘mission’?
Bean: My happiest times in the League of Empire Loyalists were spent campaigning in the North Lewisham by-election. After three years of popping out of boxes at opponents’ meetings or awarding a coal scuttle to Anthony Eden for “scuttling the Empire,” I realized that this was not in accord with my growing radical nationalist beliefs. Tyndall had never participated in the stunts and I only asked him to join me in the plot to ‘soot’ Malcolm Muggeridge because I no longer saw any political purpose in these actions and wanted to test him out for his future co-operation with me. JT agreed and gave me his support in our breakaway to form the National Labour Party.
Liddell: Radicalism is often connected in the average mind with extremism. A good example is the term “anti-Semitism.” This has the connotation that it is automatically wrong, and of course certain forms of anti-Semitism would be hard to objectively defend within a context of normal Western values, but a case could also be made that Jewish interests are antithetical to broader Western values and interests. Your earlier mention of “Jewish money and its reflected power in the media,” hint at its separate agenda. Professor Kevin McDonald has done a lot of work explaining the antithetical nature of Jewishness to Western civilization, noting the contradiction of Jewish support for their own ethnostate with their opposition to ethnicity as an organizing value of other, especially White European states. Regardless of tactical concerns about not upsetting a powerful group with money and media influence, do you think there is truth in the idea that the Jews as a group have a clear tendency to undermine White European ethnostates and interests and that this therefore provides a basis for a kind of rational, objective, and even moral anti-Semitism that is distinct from the hate-filled and religiously inspired anti-Semitism of the past?
Bean: I believe that a case can be made that many Jewish interests are antithetical to traditional Western values and interests. The effect of religion is minimal, not least because Christianity has its roots in Judaism. For that reason I have decried the hate-filled and religiously inspired anti-Semitism of the past. The origin of the antithesis between the European and Jewry lies in the Diaspora. In order to survive as small minorities, originally exclusively as a religion then latterly as a people whose beliefs ranged from orthodoxy to agnosticism, putting all Jewish interests first within each host nation of Europe became paramount. Thus over a millennium we saw the rise of powerful Jewish groups that became operative as one international body. With the media power that resultant Jewish money was able to buy, came its antithetical nature to Western civilisation, which you quote above from Professor Kevin McDonald.
Liddell: The above question also relates to a wider problem that nationalism has had: the fact that views that are essentially moderate and reasonable, and which the majority of people naturally support, are stigmatized as somehow “extreme” or “twisted” and “evil.” Why has it been so easy for the opponents of White nationalism to popularize the notion there is “something of the night” about nationalist views? Is it just the media power of the globalists or is it the “Hitler effect”? If it is the second, will time see this diminishing as a factor?
Bean: The ‘Hitler effect’, i.e. ‘nationalism leads to war and genocide,’ does diminish with time and is now secondary to the fact that in addition to many media outlets being owned by globalists, journalists and TV news and documentary programme producers and editors are dominated by the Guardian school of liberal internationalists. This is not just confined to the BBC. ITV News and Channel 5 (owned by porn king Richard Desmond) in the UK frequently outdo the BBC in pushing multiculturalism. Their work is made easier by the tendency of most Brits – and Whites in general – to be particularly hospitable to those who would appear to have fewer advantages in life. The media’s presentation of UK medal winners in the London Olympics is a case in point. Britain won 29 gold. Of which 24 were won by ‘white’ Brits and the remaining five golds won by four black competitors. In no way would I diminish the ability of the non-white athletes, with Mo Farrar and the almost-white Jessica Ennis being outstanding, but the media presentation was that it was a great achievement for multicultural and multiracial Britain. I had to remind a few relatives and neighbours that in cycling, rowing, swimming, sailing and equestrian events – where most of our golds were won – not one Afro-Asian under any flag was present. A gentle reminder that, similarly, there were no whites in the100 metres final hopefully reminded them that the Olympics also emphasised the varying abilities of the world’s races.
Liddell: In Europe, nationalism has been enjoying mixed fortunes from the possibly hollow successes of civic nationalists like Alex Salmond and the limited and now apparently evaporating success of the BNP to more substantial successes of various European nationalist parties. Do you see a pattern that explains the difference between failure and relative success, or is it always a case of very particular specific factors in each country?
Bean: First, I do not consider Salmond to be a ‘nationalist, whether ‘civic’ or in any other form. He is a liberal internationalist with the astuteness of cashing in on many Scots’ national pride, which they feel is dominated by the vastly numerically superior population to their South. He has openly expressed pride in the fact that Scotland’s population has increased solely due to Afro-Asian immigration. The present day failure of nationalism in wider Britain is due almost exclusively to the diminishing support given to the BNP. Its present leader knows this but refuses to step down, which means that because the BNP name is so well known no new nationalist movement has much of a chance of success at this stage.
Liddell: There seems to be something of an Anglo-Euro split, with the globalist tendencies of the English speaking world working against nationalism. Germany is a special case of course, with the legacy of the reaction to National Socialism countering post-war nationalist movements. This Anglo-Euro split suggests that a possible problem is our cultural connection to the United States. How much of a drawback in building an effective nationalist movement is our cultural intimacy with America? Can this ever be countered or will it eventually defeat itself as deeper contradictions arise?
Bean: In theory Nationalism in Germany should have a more difficult task of exerting a greater socio-political influence than the present moribund state of British nationalism because of the reaction to National Socialism. The English speaking world, particularly through American power, destroyed National Socialism as a belief, aided by the ruthless Soviet military machine, which destroyed it even more physically. Nationalists could consider that the ‘globalist tendencies’ of the English speaking world that caused both the pre-war and present day Anglo-Euro split, could be used to our advantage, and not as the present conduit for Afro-Asian immigration and expanding rootless global capitalism. British nationalists even more than the nationalists of the Continent tend to blame America for their woes, not least because it was the prime hatchery for the rise of the international money power. This is quite different from the inventive power of America’s post-Civil War industrial revolution which led to the enormous productive power it still has today. This came from the genius of 18th-19th century European immigration, dominated during that time by the nations of Great Britain, Germany and France. Although 50% of the US population no longer carries the genes of those White pioneers, there is still 160 million who do. I believe it is an essential requisite for American Nationalists to gather strength – and unity – so we can use the English speaking world connections for our mutual advantages.
Liddell: Some nationalists also see the continued existence of the UK as a barrier to nationalism, because it creates a diluted, conglomerate “British” identity that can easily be further diluted. They believe that the break-up of Britain into its component and organic national parts – namely England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland – is a precondition to rebuilding nationalism. In your opinion is this analysis correct and is Britain itself the ultimate barrier to British nationalism?
Bean: I would give considerable weight to this analysis. We should give thought to a British Confederation of the national states of England, Scotland and a united Ireland. The general feeling in Ireland is that our separation in the modern world was a phase that we had to go through to ensure justice and recognition of the individuality of the Irish people. The astounding reception given recently to the Queen in her visits indicates that a return to closer ties would be acceptable.
Liddell: A similar case could be made regarding the European Union, that it is a factor that undermines the organic roots of nationalism. However, if there was enough of an upswell of nationalism across Europe, could the European Union actually help to amplify and consolidate a wider White European nationalism or will the EU always be a force antithetical to European nationalism?
Bean: The objective of the European Union was to form a single socialist state that would act as a major stepping stone to a world government. The collapse of the Euro will come within two years, for the simple reason that you cannot have a single currency without a single government. This has been brought about by the organic roots of nationalism being firmer than the internationalists thought. With the strong signs of co-operation between European nationalists, I would advocate a European Confederation of nationalist states, which I have commented upon in a previous article for Alternative Rights.
Liddell: To finish this long interview, I’d like to ask you a few questions about your involvement with the present BNP, a party which most agree has disappointed if not betrayed the hopes of nationalists. Your role in that party was to serve as the editor of "Identity" magazine, the flagship publication that always contained excellent articles and commentary. This gave you a position of intellectual leadership within the party. What was your editorial strategy or agenda during your tenure there? How did that work with the demands and interests of the party leadership, by which, of course, I mean Nick Griffin?
Bean: I rejoined the BNP in 1999 when Nick Griffin was elected Chairman. I was encouraged by the progress the party began to make and readily accepted his offer to take over the editorship of its magazine “Identity” in late 2002. I edited 70 issues, during which it grew from a 16-page quarterly to a 32-page cultural as well as political monthly, well designed by Mark Collett (who also fell out with Griffin in 2009). “Identity,” without me, was replaced in the spring of 2009 by a badly-written newssheet mainly devoted to drumming up donations. I still retained my membership. I had few differences of opinion with Nick Griffin in the presentation of the magazine’s socio-political content – to which he contributed a regular article. Much of this was concerned with in-depth explanations of the fundamentals of nationalist policies. Where appropriate, I pushed this in the direction of European Nationalism via a European Confederation and through developing the theme of the necessity for the defence of the nations of the white world as a whole and its overall culture, including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Only once did Griffin tell me “not to overdo it.” Perhaps understandably he did not want to frighten off some of the Little Englanders with their belief that “all wogs begin at Calais.”
Liddell: Griffin is fast becoming the yesterday man of British nationalism, but he must have had some talents and good points to gain the leadership and lead the party in what was for a few years a promising direction. What were his strengths as a leader?
Bean: Nick Griffin wrote some good articles, although they could sometimes be rather repetitive. He also had a good eye (no pun intended) for printer’s errors. I was not over impressed by his public speaking, in that he was too hesitant and often appeared to lack true belief in what he was saying. This was evident in his appearance on the fateful BBC “Question Time” program. However, when talking among individuals he put them at ease and soon got himself accepted and gained short to medium term respect. This ability enabled him to work his way to the top on several occasions throughout his political career, starting with the National Front. No one can deny that an outstanding talent was his ability to get people to donate funds.
Liddell: Although heavily attacked and vilified, the BNP made steady gains on councils, the London Assembly, and in the European elections. Then things started to go wrong. From your point of view as an insider, when did the rot set in and, in your opinion, what were the causes of it?
Bean: With the one exception of when the BNP won an East London Council by-election in 1995, the purpose of fighting council elections was to get a double figure percentage of the vote. A victory was when a candidate beat one of the established parties and came third, or even second. The calibre of the candidate did not matter, because it was most unlikely that he or she would be elected. Those members with professional jobs were unlikely to stand because of the witch hunt that would often be organised by the liberal-left and aided by local and even national media. In no small part due to the new energy put into the Party by a still young Nick Griffin after becoming Chairman, local roots put down in mainly Northern cities and the East End and Essex borderland of London produced gold. The first BNP Councillors were elected in Burnley. By 2007 the BNP had almost a hundred Councillors, if you included a few unelected Parish Councillors. In Barking & Dagenham they had 17. The old established parties, Labour in particular, as it was mainly their seats that the BNP had taken, began to say that the BNP councillors were useless. Unfortunately, the local public began to see that in some cases this was true. Some elected BNP Councillors did not bother to attend even one Council meeting. The great tragedy was several excellent BNP Councillors, particularly the women, such as the highly respected Sharon Wilkinson in Burnley who held her seat to the very end, had lost their seats by 2010. The next downturn in the Party’s fortunes came with the fiasco of Griffin’s appearance on the BBC “Question Time” program on October 22, 2009. He had considerable justification when he complained to the press on the following day that “it was a beat up Nick Griffin program instead of Question Time.” He had opportunities to make some sort of answer to more than four of the 25 ‘questions’ (mainly dressed up leftist slogans), but he seemed more concerned in presenting himself to Bonnie Greer, a US black playwright drafted in for the occasion, as a non-racist nice guy. Not only did this not work, but it was humiliating. Unfortunately, Griffin had no experience of arguing points in a council chamber or, as the diminishing band of veteran British nationalists had, of dealing with leftist hecklers at open air meetings, where interjection of a quick, telling point made or lost the day. The immediate reaction of most members to the “Question Time” kangaroo court was anger. But as weeks passed and families and friends made comments they realised that through its leader, unjustly or not, the Party had been humiliated. The third major cause of the rot that set in with this party which had such a promising future was centred on its incapability of handling finances properly. This was covered in my e-mail letter to Nick Griffin dated August 28th 2010 in which I said that his resignation as Chairman would be in its best interest. I wrote: “The British National Party must be forever grateful for the work you put in over the past decade which lifted the Party out of the doldrums of the latter end of the Tyndall era and has made its name a household word. However, it must be recognised that a major mistake was made by allowing the Midas Agency so much control of the Party. No matter how much one plays with words, the fact is that the BNP now has debts in excess of £500,000, which of course is not all of your making. The Party is haemorrhaging membership and is receiving abysmal voting percentages of 2-3% at recent council by-elections. It must also face the fact that as an unregistered company a court could decide we are insolvent and recommend that the BNP be wound up. “It is highly likely that an opposition Nationalist party will shortly be formed which would draw off more disgruntled BNP members, with the result that neither such a new party nor the present BNP would gain a single Parliamentary seat within the next ten years – and time is not on our side. One step that would halt, or at least limit, this splitting of energies would be for you to recognise the veracity of the adage ‘the buck stops here’ and resign as Chairman of the Party in the near future, as opposed to your intention of doing so three years hence. This would not only reduce the loss of more members, but enable you to regain the respect that we all had for you. Furthermore, it would allow you to concentrate on the North West constituency as the BNP’s MEP and expect the full support of the membership in seeing that you were re-elected.” I received a courteous short reply from Nick in which he said he would reply in detail ‘in the next few days.’ He never did. In December that year I did not renew my membership.
Liddell: Because of the degree to which British nationalism has been hamstrung by the decline of the BNP, there are many who believe a kind of "conspiracy theory" that Griffin is actually some kind of government plant. What is your assessment of the man? Is he a sincere but heavily flawed nationalist or is he something much worse?
Bean: I do not believe that Griffin is some sort of government plant, although I can understand that the results of his actions can make some people believe so. He is a flawed nationalist in that I do not believe that he places his form of nationalism above the need to keep the extended Griffin family in reasonable prosperity.
Liddell: There have been various breakaway movements forming from the BNP, such as the English Democrats and British Freedom. What is your view of these two movements in particular?
Bean: The English Democrats wish to break up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and as civic nationalists appear to place the Scots, for example, on a par with Third World immigrants. No true nationalist (let alone a European Nationalist) could possibly support them. They have no connections with any past anti-Semitic or racist movement, which they claim is the reason why the BNP vote was always destined to be limited. Yet although they oppose immigration on non-racial grounds – but secondary to their call for an English Parliament – after nearly a decade they still poll lower than the abysmal level of the BNP today. It would appear that their ‘clean image’ has achieved nothing. The British Freedom Party was formed in 2010 and attracted some disillusioned BNP members. Its leader, Paul Weston, is a former UKIP candidate. Understandably, its policy is predominantly anti-EU. On immigration Weston says: “We can have one culture and it’s not important about what colour or race you come from.” The BFP only fielded six candidates in the 2012 local elections, with a very low poll result of 0.6 – 4.2%. It is significant that British Freedom is also closely connected with the anti-sharia English Defence League that has demonstrated in most towns and cities in the UK with large Moslem communities. White Marxists allied with militant Moslems have regularly attacked the EDL demonstrators, many of whom are frequently arrested. Tommy Robinson is currently in prison, having been placed in a wing holding militant Moslem prisoners. Some long-term radical right and nationalist commentators have said that as Weston is Jewish and some EDL marchers have had banners denoting a Jewish Wing, both organisations are ‘tools of Zionism.’ I would point out to them that today my enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend. I would not recommend support for British Freedom but EDL serves a purpose.
Liddell: Soon it looks like a new nationalist party is to be launched centred on the group around Andrew Brons. What is your view of this party and its chances? Also, based on long and often painful experience, what essential advice do you have for any future nationalist party in Britain to be successful?
Bean: I must now be the Mr Micawber of British radical right politics in that I still hope that “something will turn up.” We could see a new nationalist party formed very shortly centred on the group around Andrew Brons. However, to be fair to Andrew he has consistently stated that he does not want to be such a party’s leader. He has also made it clear that in 2014 he will not be standing for his seat as an MEP at the European Union elections. In my opinion both decisions are a pity and I do not consider 65 being too old (well, I wouldn’t!). I am not betraying any confidences in saying that the deciding factor is really centred on the sufficient financial backing that is needed to get an embryo party off the ground. Some has already been promised. But no matter how much is raised the main stumbling block that any new party has to face is that Griffin’s BNP holds the centre ground of nationalism. For good or for bad his is the name that is known and there is the awful possibility that we may not have the time for any new party to surpass him in recognition by the British public.