Graham Williamson

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Graham Keith Williamson is a long-time far right activist in the United Kingdom, having been active at the top levels of fascist and far right groups including the National Front, the Third Way and Solidarity. Most recently, he is a leading member of the National Liberal Party which contested the 2014 European Parliament election with eight candidates in the London constituency election being held in May 2014.[1]

Political background[edit]

According to Williamson his first political involvement occurred in 1975 when, as a schoolboy, he made a speech to supporters of the "No Campaign" against the United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum.[2]

Williamson eventually joined the National Front and rose to the position of deputy chairman. Active in the movement during the 1980s, he was closely associated with the Official National Front (ONF) wing of Nick Griffin, Derek Holland and Patrick Harrington which was opposed by the Flag Group of Andrew Brons and Ian Anderson.[3] Like most of his fellow members of the tendency Williamson had began as a member of the Young National Front.[4] Williamson's membership of the NF dated back to 1975.[5] Williamson attracted coverage when he and Harrington attended the 1988 Quds Day march to show their support for Islamic extremists, a position that was advocated by the ONF faction.[6]

National Liberal Party[edit]

With Patrick Harrington, he founded the National Liberal Party in 1999. Harrington is the staff manager for the BNP leader Nick Griffin[citation needed], himself a former leading figure in the National Front, and publicity consultant of British National Party (BNP)-supported "trade union" Solidarity.[7] Williamson was a member of the executive for that organisation.[8] With Harrington he ran a nationalist think tank for more than twenty years called the Third Way, named after the third-positionist strategies influenced by the ideology of Roberto Fiore, an Italian fascist. Third-positionist ideas were a great influence on the "Political Soldier" faction of the National Front, which included Williamson, Harrington and Griffin.[8] Williamson has stated that he abandoned British Nationalism upon joining the Third Way and instead embraced "progressive nationalism".[2] This was the name adopted by the Third Way to describe their guiding principles, as led out by Williamson and TP Bragg in a 2005 booklet. The publication committed the Third Way to support for an overarching British culture that must be embraced by immigrants,[9] a system of federalism for the UK with the possibility of a future break-up,[10] an isolationist foreign policy,[11] environmentalism,[12] the wide use of Swiss-style citizens' initiatives[13] and distributism.[14]

Williamson was a candidate for the Third Way in the 2006 local elections in Havering London Borough Council, where Third Way ran 14 candidates. Capturing 954 votes Williamson was not elected in what was one of the main areas of activity for the group.[15] Williamson had been running a community group, officially not connected to Third Way, in the area for some time.[16] His leadership of the group in Elm Park and his past in the National Front were covered in an issue of Private Eye, with Williamson claiming in the magazine that his group had the support of local MP John Cryer. Cryer would subsequently disavow the group and condemn Williamson in Searchlight.[17] Williamson also served as the London East and East Central organiser for the Campaign for an Independent Britain.[18]

Among Fiore's ideas was that far right white nationalist groups should form alliances with national liberation movements and separatists. Williamson and Harrington pioneered this in the National Front in the 1980s, but apart from allowing them to say they were not racists because they had black allies, the policy was not a success. The National Liberal Party has kept up this strategy, appealing for ethnic minority votes by focusing on national struggles abroad and with particular emphasis on injustices in Sri Lanka and India.[8]

Despite the far right and fascist backgrounds of its leaders, the party is contesting elections in London on a multicultural election list including Tamil, Sikh and Kurdish candidates. The party manifesto gives no indication of its far right origins. It says, "The National Liberal Party is putting forward a team of 8 ethnically and racially diverse candidates – Tamil, Sikh, Azerbaijan, Kurdish, English, north Borneo (sabah-sarawak), to represent the real grassroots London."[8]

Elections contested[edit]

European Parliament elections (Multi-member constituency; party list)

Date of election Region Party Votes  % of votes Result Source
2014 European election London National Liberal Party 6,736 0.3 Not elected [19]

Charity[edit]

Williamson is also a director of the human rights campaign group ACT NOW. He is a former British humanitarian aid worker in Sri Lanka and founded ACT NOW with fellow aid workers after seeing human rights violations and mass killings directed against the Tamil population.[20]

It was through his work with ACT NOW that Williamson developed a strong relationship with the Tamil community in Britain, to the extent that he has persuaded Tamils and other ethnic minority people to join and contest elections for the National Liberal Party. What is clear is that while they were aware of his aid work, they were not aware of Williamson's political background.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Regional Returning Officer for London, Statement of parties and individual candidates nominated and Notice of Poll, published 28 April 2014
  2. ^ a b Graham Williamson & TP Bragg, A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism, Liveable Nation, 2005, p. 1
  3. ^ Luciano Cheles, Ronnie Ferguson & Michalina Vaughan, Neo-Fascism in Europe, Longman, 1991, p. 255
  4. ^ Nigel Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 33
  5. ^ Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism, p. 183
  6. ^ Cheles, Ferguson & Vaughan, Neo-Fascism in Europe, p. 260
  7. ^ 06/03/2011 – Solidarity AGM Report
  8. ^ a b c d e Channel 4 News, "Exposed: far-right veteran seeking London multicultural vote", posted in Searchlight, 3 May 2014
  9. ^ Williamson & Bragg, A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism, p. 9
  10. ^ Williamson & Bragg, A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism, pp. 9–11
  11. ^ Williamson & Bragg, A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism, p. 12
  12. ^ Williamson & Bragg, A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism, pp. 13–14
  13. ^ Williamson & Bragg, A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism, pp. 15–17
  14. ^ Williamson & Bragg, A Declaration and Philosophy of Progressive Nationalism, p. 18
  15. ^ Searchlight, No 372, June 2006, p. 25
  16. ^ Searchlight, No 369, March 2006, p. 27
  17. ^ Searchlight, No, 354, December 2004, p. 13
  18. ^ Searchlight, No 367, January 2006, p. 27
  19. ^ VOTE 2014 – London, BBC News, 23 May 2014
  20. ^ ACT NOW press release: "Four Hundred Tons of Medical Aid Sets Sail for Sri Lanka" 27 March 2009
    - Self-polls of Tamils make contrast to State-polls of Sri Lanka, TamilNnet, 1 February 2010