Fountaine at a training camp in c. 1960
December 7, 1918
|Died||December 14, 1997(aged 79)|
|Residence||Near Swaffham, Norfolk, England|
|Alma mater||Army College, Aldershot|
|Known for||Far-right politician|
|Notable work(s)||Meaning of an Enemy (1960-65)|
National Labour Party
British National Party
|Parents||Charles Fountaine (father), Louisa Constance Catherine Fountaine (mother)|
|Relatives||Tony Martin (nephew)|
|Conflict||Second World War|
Andrew Fountaine (7 December 1918 – 14 September 1997) was a veteran of the far right scene in British politics. After seeing service in a number of conflicts Fountaine joined the Conservative Party and for a time was a rising star within their ranks until his outspoken views resulted in his being disowned by the party. He subsequently was involved with a number of fringe rightist movements before becoming a founder member of the National Front in 1967. He fulfilled a number of roles within that party and was involved in a number of internal feuds until he left in 1979. He briefly led his own splinter party before retiring from politics altogether.
Born into a land-owning Norfolk family, Fountaine was educated at the Army College in Aldershot and was the son of Vice Admiral Charles Fountaine who had been naval ADC to King George V. Fountaine drove an ambulance for the Abyssinians during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War He then fought for Francisco Franco's forces during the Spanish Civil War, before enlisting in the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman during the Second World War. During the course of the war he rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander. He served in the Pacific before being invalided out. Fountaine then took a chemistry degree at Cambridge.
During the 1940s, Fountaine also became involved with the Conservative Party, with his speeches becoming one of the highlights of the annual party conference, notably the 1948 conference when he denounced Labour as 'semi-alien mongrels and hermaphrodite communists'. He launched his political career proper in 1949 when he was chosen by the Tories as their candidate for Chorley. A speech to the Tory Party conference that same year was found to be too heavy with anti-Semitism, however; and, as a result, Party Chairman Lord Woolton disavowed his nomination. Nonetheless, no official Conservative candidate was nominated to take his place, and, as a result, Fountaine finished only 361 votes behind the winning candidate, Labour incumbent Clifford Kenyon.
Having left the Conservative Party, Fountaine launched his own group, known as the National Front Movement. However, this came to nothing, and so he became a member of the League of Empire Loyalists. He would go on to follow John Bean out of this group, and was a founder member of the National Labour Party. Officially the leader of the NLP, Fountaine fulfilled this role because he presented a more respectable image than Bean, being a landowner in Norfolk, although actual control lay with Bean. Fountaine remained a strong supporter of Bean and supported him in his later struggles with Colin Jordan in the British National Party (BNP), with Fountaine acting as party president. It was during this time that Fountaine's land was used for 'Spearhead' drilling exercises under the supervision of Jordan and John Tyndall.
Fountaine would later claim that during this time he regularly phoned the home number of Harold Macmillan in order to tell the Prime Minister to do more to stop immigration although he also added that Macmillan would hang up as soon as he heard Fountaine's voice.
Along with the rest of the BNP Fountaine became a founder member of the National Front (NF), although problems developed from the outset due to his fractious relationship A.K. Chesterton. Nonetheless he was the party's first parliamentary election candidate in Acton in a by-election in 1968.
Alarmed by the protests of 1968, Fountaine believed that revolution was sure to follow in continental Europe and, fearing similar protests in the UK, told NF members to report to the police in order to offer their services in the event of revolution or civil war. Chesterton, who had no desire to turn over the details of the nascent movement to the police, promptly expelled Fountaine although he obtained a court order overturning the expulsion and at the 1968 party conference challenged Chesterton for the leadership. In the interim Fountaine's credibility had been attacked by John Tyndall in the pages of Spearhead and with his reputation damaged he was easily routed by Chesterton, 316 votes to 20. After a confrontation with Chesterton in which he told Fountaine to submit to his leadership or leave, Fountaine walked out with two of his closest supporters, Gerald Kemp and Rodney Legg, who joined him in resigning from the National Directorate of the NF.
Fountaine largely disappeared from view for some years after this, although during the internal struggles of 1974, which saw Tyndall as leader pitted against a newly emerged group of populists, pro-Tyndall elements claimed that Fountaine had secretly been conspiring with Roy Painter, at the time recognised as the leader of the populist faction. Despite this Tyndall subsequently courted the support of Fountaine following the election of John Kingsley Read, who had emerged ahead of Painter as populist leader, as NF Chairman. Fountaine agreed to work with Tyndall, and at the 1975 conference proposed one of Tyndall's favoured ideas, changing leadership elections from the existing system of National Directorate members only to a party-wide vote, a motion that was narrowly defeated. In November 1975 Tyndall was expelled from the party whilst Fountaine and Martin Webster were suspended for their part in recent machinations, although all three were reinstated by court order the following month. Kingsley Read and his supporters would break away to form the National Party soon afterwards.
Fountaine returned to prominence under Tyndall and was immediately adopted as the party's candidate for the up-coming Coventry North-West by-election. His campaign was not successful, with only 3% of the vote captured in a city where the local branch had been divided by the National Party split, although Fountaine did at least beat Kingsley Read, who was also a candidate.
Fountaine's alliance with Tyndall was not to last however, and he began to become openly critical of what he saw as the neo-Nazism of Tyndall and Webster, as well as their attempts to recruit elements he saw as undesirable, such as racist skinheads and football hooligans. As a result by 1978 Fountaine had become a focus for dissident activity within the NF. Fountaine stood as National Front candidate in the Norwich South constituency, polling 264 votes (0.7%).
In the aftermath of the NF's failure at the 1979 general election Fountaine split with Tyndall in 1979, and challenged him for the leadership, but was defeated and split from the NF to form his own NF Constitutional Movement, later called the Nationalist Party. The new party claimed 2000 members by January 1980 and was publishing its own paper Excalibur. The new movement was to prove short-lived as Fountaine became disillusioned with the in-fighting that was coming to characterise the British right. He retired from politics in 1981 to concentrate on growing trees on his estate near Swaffham, and remained there until his death in 1997.
|Date of election||Constituency||Party||Votes||%|
|25 March 1959||South West Norfolk||Independent||785||2.6|
|28 March 1968||Acton||NF||1400||5.6|
|4 March 1976||Coventry NW||NF||986||3.1|
Note: Although Fountaine was the candidate of the local Conservative Party in 1950 his candidacy had been disavowed by the party at national level.
- Andrew Fountaine - An Outstanding British Patriot at the Wayback Machine (archived December 8, 2004)
- J. Bean, Many Shades of Black – Inside Britain’s Far Right, London: New Millennium, 1999, p. 123
- Martin Walker, The National Front, Fontana/Collins, 1977, p. 28
- R. Weight, Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000, London: Pan, 2003, p. 539
- S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, p. 61
- N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 15
- Walker, The National Front, p. 33
- Walker, The National Front, pp. 34-36
- Weight, Patriots, p. 542
- Walker, The National Front, p. 86
- Walker, The National Front, p. 174
- Walker, The National Front, p. 183
- Walker, The National Front, pp. 187-188
- Walker, The National Front, p. 189
- Walker, The National Front, p. 198
- Richard Thurlow, Fascism in Britain: A History, 1981-1985, Basil Blackwell, 1987, p. 293
- N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 20
- Review by John Bean from British Democratic Party website
- Bleak world of the loner who killed, The Guardian
- Vote BNP and give Britain a dictator, says Tony Martin, Daily Telegraph