Hate: My Life in the British Far Right
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What do you do when everything you know and believe in crashes around you in a hail of fists and boots, flying chairs and broken glass? And not just once, but seemingly every time you leave the house? When it seemed that no one was listening, that Matthew Collins was just another white face from a council estate, and that there was nowhere else to go and nothing else to do, the violence and racism of the far-right offered him an alluring escape from the mediocrity of school, work and boredom. In 1980s Britain, the belligerent sentiments of a few hundred lonely white men went almost unnoticed, but this tiny minority had grand designs. Ignored and marginalised, and fuelled by alcohol and violence, they built a party that would go on to hold seats in council chambers across England and in the European Parliament. Hidden behind those large Union Jack flags were individuals - Collins included - seemingly prepared to bomb and kill to make their violent dreams a reality. But what do you do when you realise that the burning hatred, vehement patriotism and thirst for confrontation that haunts you - from the playground to the pub to the ballot box - stems from your own insecurities and isolation? The answer? You switch sides.
it didn’t stop me singing Christian songs about a guy in a boat with a sister who was useful with the sails. I quite liked it, sitting in the school assemblies singing songs about Jesus and his virgin mother. When I Needed a Neighbour was a particular favourite, it reminded me of my father and the babysitter. Like most kids, my life revolved around football. I’d play it all day at school and then again when I got home. With all the other kids on the estate we’d have massive games anywhere we
were meeting. Our seats were reserved at the front of the hall and a surprisingly good 200 were seated in your average council hall-type building, with a gallery overlooking proceedings. At the back of the room, out of camera shot, skinheads sold their t-shirts and records, while a large American dressed like a host from Sesame Street put his arms around them and posed for photographs. Unimportant people made themselves look busy, while Steve Brady and his associate Tom Acton, the two men behind
bitterly between visits to the pub and the police cells. If we were so ideologically secure, why did we have to have it explained to us why we opposed the things we campaigned against? A St George’s Day rally was fixed for Bromley, and a huge turnout was required from all regional centres. It was definitely going to be a tough rally to pull off, given that Beckenham NF shared Bromley with a fairly old BNP grouping; though they were largely inactive, except when Edmonds held his meetings above a
include an attack on black musicians, so we added in something about ‘negro rhythms’. This was the first instalment in Anderson’s next project. No doubt he thought we were going to corner the Smash Hits market and get Kylie Minogue around to his grotty back room for a provocative photo shoot and questions like ‘Mandela: Shoot or swing?’ CHAPTER 17 The end of 1990 approached along with my political career. I leaned across to Blackham and muttered, ‘If I’m still here next year, I’ll slit
grown and how many people were there day in day out, drinking cups of tea and listening to Edmonds delivering blistering speeches while Lecomber plodded through the mail and the book orders. Both parties were preparing for a clash in Bermondsey. The BNP were working the area in their usual boot-boy ways. Unlike the professional operation they try to run now, they had no ward maps or any idea where their vote would be stronger by way of canvassing an area. The area was simply covered with