John Tyndall (politician)

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John Tyndall
Chairman of the
British National Party
In office
1982 – September 1999
Deputy Richard Edmonds
Succeeded by Nick Griffin
Chairman of the National Front
In office
Preceded by John Kingsley Read
Succeeded by Andrew Brons
In office
Preceded by John O'Brien
Succeeded by John Kingsley Read
Personal details
Born (1934-07-14)14 July 1934
Exeter, Devon, England
Died 19 July 2005(2005-07-19) (aged 71)
Hove, East Sussex
Political party League of Empire Loyalists 1954-1957,
National Labour Party
British National Party (1960) 1960-1962,
National Socialist Movement 1962-1964,
Greater Britain Movement 1964-1967,
National Front
New National Front
British National Party
Spouse(s) Valerie Tyndall
Children 1 girl - Marina Tyndall[citation needed]

John Hutchyns Tyndall (14 July 1934 – 19 July 2005) was a British politician who was associated with several fascist/neo-Nazi sects.[nb 1] However, he is best known for leading the National Front in the 1970s and founding the contemporary British National Party (BNP) in 1982.

A prominent figure in British nationalism in the second-half of the twentieth century, Tyndall's legacy has been highly controversial, even among some members of the contemporary BNP under his successor Nick Griffin.[citation needed] Tyndall was involved with the openly neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement as deputy leader under Colin Jordan in the early 1960s.[1]

Early life[edit]

Main article: Tyndall

John Tyndall was born in Exeter in Devon, England, on 14 July 1934. The son of the warden of St George's House, a YMCA hostel at Southwark, he grew up in London. He was related to the early English translator of the Bible, William Tyndale, his ancestors having moved to County Waterford in Ireland in the 16th century.[2][3]

Political career[edit]

Early politics[edit]

Tyndall was first politically active in the League of Empire Loyalists, a right-wing pressure group, led by A. K. Chesterton. In 1957, feeling that the League was not sufficiently active, he and John Bean left to form the National Labour Party. The Labour Party prevented the use of this name, and in 1960 the NLP merged with the White Defence League of Colin Jordan to form the old British National Party (BNP) which was led by John Bean.

Tyndall left the original British National Party with Colin Jordan in 1962, when the National Socialist Movement was formed; Tyndall was Jordan's deputy. Spearhead was set up as the NSM's embryonic security corps, modelled on the SA of Nazi Germany. In 1962, the police prosecuted Jordan, Tyndall, Denis Pirie and Kerr-Ritchie for paramilitary organising. All four were imprisoned for several months after having been found guilty of breaching the Public Order Act, 1936.[4]

In 1963, Tyndall fell out with Jordan over Françoise Dior, the French heiress, who, though she was originally engaged to Tyndall, hastily married Jordan, who had been released from prison before Tyndall, to avoid being expelled from Britain as an undesirable alien. This caused a certain cooling of relations between the two former allies, although in 2009 - by which point both were deceased - Tyndall's widow Valerie was reported to have claimed that Tyndall and Jordan were eventually reconciled,[5] an assertion which is supported by Jordan's account of a meeting between Tyndall and Jordan himself, in 1968, as reported in Martin Walker's book The National Front (p 77).

In 1964, Tyndall set up his personal magazine, using the name Spearhead, which ran until his death. His political thoughts and comments, as well as those of select others - in most cases close political allies - were communicated. The magazine made up a great part of his personal revenue because, although he changed parties several times in his life, he retained the copyright over the name Spearhead. Tyndall formed the Greater Britain Movement that year, taking most of the members of the National Socialist Movement with him. Jordan was on good personal terms with the proprietor of the headquarters at 74, Princedale Road, London, W11 (the widow of Arnold Leese), so it was Tyndall who was obliged to quit the building but he retained his copy of the keys and during one of Jordan's prolonged absences, emptied the HQ of all the expensive equipment. A court of justice ruled that it was an internal affair and considering that both litigants were members of the same movement at the time in question, no theft had occurred. The Greater Britain Movement drifted from various accommodation addresses varying from an upper room in a pub named "The Silver Sword" in Petty France, London, SW1, to an address in Holborn, and finally occupying the basement of the prestige address of "Westminster Chambers", which eventually became the first HQ of the National Front.

Tyndall spent much of the 1960s developing his ideological programme. He published the book The Authoritarian State in 1962, in which he claimed that liberal democracy was a Jewish tool of world domination that needed to be replaced by authoritarianism.

Later, Tyndall continued to develop his ideological programme and produced Six Principles of Nationalism (1966) which appeared to break with the neo-Nazi NSM and, instead, looked to electoral paths to government, which would be characterized by leadership, corporatism, moral regeneration, racial purity and a restored British Empire,[6] and would be regularly ratified by referendums, bringing to mind the earlier calls of Sir Oswald Mosley who, along with his mother, Tyndall deeply respected. Tyndall’s new work impressed A. K. Chesterton, who co-operated with Tyndall in engineering a re-alignment of nationalism.

National Front[edit]

When the National Front (NF) was formed in 1967, Tyndall pressed for the inclusion of the Greater Britain Movement. Eventually, a compromise was reached to allow individual members to join the NF, and Tyndall disbanded the Greater Britain Movement when they all had done so. On the secession of John O'Brien and his supporters, in 1972, Tyndall assumed the chairmanship, in which his principal metier was ideology and strategy. Tyndall was also a talented orator, in the Mosley tradition.

Under Tyndall's guidance the Front grew in membership and received votes, peaking during the local elections of 1977. However, Tyndall's leadership faced a number of challenges from both populists and Strasserites, beginning with a running feud with Roy Painter, then his replacement as leader by John Kingsley Read and culminating in the two groups uniting to form the breakaway National Party in 1976. After this split Tyndall was able to regain the Chair and re-establish his control of the NF. Tyndall promoted a British pan-nationalist policy,[7] leading to the formation of branches of the NF in South Africa and Australia in 1977.

For the 1979 general election, the Front put up 303 candidates: it lost every deposit. Internal recriminations saw Tyndall removed from all his positions and he opted to depart, setting up the New National Front (NNF) in 1980.

British National Party[edit]

As NNF leader, Tyndall sought to work with other groups and as a result the British National Party emerged in 1982 after he amalgamated his group with the British Democratic Party, elements of the Constitutional Movement and those members of the British Movement loyal to Ray Hill.

During his tenure as leader of the new BNP, Tyndall often resisted any attempts to soften the party's policies or image. However, the crucial change from a policy of compulsory, to one of voluntary repatriation, was accomplished while Tyndall was still leader. Tyndall was convicted of publishing material likely to incite racial hated in 1986 and was jailed. During his time in prison, he wrote the work of political philosophy entitled The Eleventh Hour (ISBN 0-9513686-2-1), which he subsequently revised several times.

In 1999, Tyndall lost the leadership of the BNP to Nick Griffin. Afterwards he threatened, at times, to run against Griffin to regain the leadership. Griffin expelled Tyndall twice, on the first occasion, in 2003, with his close ally John Morse. Tyndall was reinstated after a court case. In December 2004 Tyndall was expelled from the BNP a second time, having announced in Spearhead of August 2004 his intention to mount a challenge to Griffin's leadership in 2005.

In 2004 Tyndall joined in signing the New Orleans Protocol. The New Orleans Protocol seeks to "mainstream our cause" by reducing violence and internecine warfare, and was written by David Duke, When he signed, Tyndall made it clear that he was not acting on behalf of the BNP. For a time, he also became associated with Eddy Morrison who had split from the White Nationalist Party and organised a Spearhead Support Group to back Tyndall. However the alliance fell apart when Tyndall made it clear that he did not support Morrison's attempts to set up a new party (which eventually emerged as the Nationalist Alliance).

On 12 December 2004, Tyndall was arrested on suspicion of incitement to racial hatred of Michael Howard's Jewish background and towards African people, following a BBC documentary which aired in July 2004. On 6 April 2005, he was charged by police with two offences of using words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred.

Tyndall was found dead at his home in Hove, East Sussex, on 19 July 2005, less than a week after his 71st birthday. He was due to stand trial on charges of incitement to racial hatred at Leeds Magistrates' Court just two days later on 21 July 2005.

Personal life[edit]

His wife, Valerie – whom he met while both were in the National Front in the 1970s – stood as an NF candidate in Brighton, Kemptown, in the 1979 general election, and as BNP candidate in Hackney, South & Shoreditch in the 1983 general election and at Old Bexley & Sidcup in the 1997 general election. Her father, Charles Parker, became a leading member of the BNP in its early years and provided the party with a source of funding. Valerie died on 24 June 2011 in Hove.[8][9]

Elections contested by John Tyndall[edit]

UK Parliament elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  %
1979 general election Hackney, S & Shoreditch NF 1,958 7.6
1992 general election Bow and Poplar BNP 1,107 3.0
9 June 1994 by-election Dagenham BNP 1,511 7.0
1997 general election Poplar and Canning Town BNP 2,849 7.3
2001 general election Mitcham and Morden BNP 642 1.7

European Parliament elections

Year Region Party Votes  % Results Notes
1999 London BNP 17,960 1.6 Not elected Multi member constituencies; party list

Elections contested by Valerie Tyndall[edit]

UK Parliament elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  %
1979 general election Brighton Kemptown NF 404 0.9
1983 general election Hackney, S & Shoreditch BNP 374 1.0
1997 general election Old Bexley and Sidcup BNP 415 0.8

European Parliament elections

Year Region Party Votes  % Results Notes
1999 London BNP 17,960 1.6 Not elected Multi member constituencies; party list

Books by Tyndall[edit]

Year Title Notes
1962 Authoritarian State: Its Meaning and Function National Socialist Movement. Reprinted by Westropa Social Alliance Press in 1973, OCLC 43505111
1966 Six Principles of British Nationalism 2nd edition printed in 1970. Reprinted by The A.K. Chesterton Trust in 2013, ISBN 0-95646-697-4
1971 Death in the Lebanon London: G. Bles, ISBN 0-71380-291-X
1975 The Case for Economic Nationalism Croydon: National Front Policy Committee, ISBN 0-90510-900-7
1988 The Eleventh Hour: A Call for British Rebirth London: Albion Press, ISBN 0-95136-861-3. Reprinted in Welling in 1998, ISBN 0-95136-860-5


  1. ^ Tyndall was a founder and/or leading member of several fascist and neo-Nazi groups. See, for example, National Socialist Movement, National Labour Party, Greater Britain Movement, National Front and British National Party.
  1. ^ Obituary of John Tyndall
  2. ^ "John Tyndall Obituary". Daily Telegraph. 20 July 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  3. ^ "John Tyndall". The Times Online (London). 20 July 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  4. ^ Criminality in the BNP Ribble Valley Against Racism
  5. ^ 14 June 2009 Friends of JT Meeting
  6. ^ Walker, Martin, The National Front second edition 1978 pp 78-83
  7. ^ NF Policy Committee Britain: World Power Or Pauper State 1974
  8. ^
  9. ^

External links[edit]

Party political offices
New creation Chairman of the British National Party
Succeeded by
Nick Griffin