Michael McLaughlin

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For other people named Michael McLaughlin, see Michael McLaughlin (disambiguation).

Michael McLaughlin (also known as Michael Walsh) was, for a time, a leading figure on the British far right.

Michael McLaughlin
2nd Leader of the British Movement
In office
1975 – 1983 (8 years)
Preceded by Colin Jordan
Succeeded by Position Abolished
(Succeeded by the British National Socialist Movement)
Personal details
Born Liverpool, United Kingdom
Residence Wales
Occupation Politician, activist, writer

Born in Liverpool, he was the son of an Irish republican and socialist who was a veteran of the International Brigades.[1]

According to his blog, McLaughlin’s father was a good friend of Irish playwright Sean O’Casey, and shared battle experiences with war correspondent and international author, Ernest Hemingway. His mother corresponded with Dolores Ibárruri, (La Pasionaria) during the Spanish Civil War.[2]

Joins British Movement[edit]

For a time McLaughlin worked as a milkman, and as a result he was known as "The Milkman" in right wing circles, where he was seen as a largely unassuming figure. His first involvement with politics came when he joined the British Movement in 1968.[3]

McLaughlin became leader of the British Movement in 1975 when Colin Jordan abruptly resigned. Although initially seen as not being leadership material he soon gained publicity for the BM by leading the campaign to free Robert Relf, who at the time had considerable sympathy in sections of the press.[4]

Moving the BM headquarters away from Jordan's base in Coventry to Shotton, Flintshire, he repositioned the BM as a party geared towards the young working classes and by 1979 had raised membership to around 3,000.[5]

He was imprisoned by judge David Wyn Morgan in 1979 to six four-month prison sentences for publishing leaflets dealing with the British government’s foreign policy and immigration policies.[6] The jail term did not affect his position as leader.

Demise of the British Movement[edit]

McLaughlin's leadership came under fire from deputy leader Ray Hill, who commanded the respect of the BM's large racist skinhead following and who was also working in secret for Searchlight magazine.

Hill accused McLaughlin of spending all his time in Wales and using the BM for his personal enrichment, causing splits to develop in the group. McLaughlin eventually expelled Hill but was served with a writ by the deputy leader. McLaughlin was forced to use BM funds to fight the case whilst Hill was able to call upon the expertise of his close associate Anthony Reed Herbert.[7]

McLaughlin attempted to change the name of the group to the British Nationalist & Socialist Movement in order to convince the courts that the BM no longer existed, but the move failed and the case continued until finally Hill left to join the British National Party in 1982, taking more than half of the membership with him.[8]

Devoid of much of its support and left in a precarious financial state, McLaughlin was forced to wind up the BM in 1983.

Post British Movement Activity[edit]

McLaughlin ran a series of army surplus, notably Rucksack n'Rifle in North Wales, which specialised in survivalism, during the late 1980s.[9] He produced an occasional broadsheet newspaper Comment on political themes, although this has not appeared since the mid-1980s.[10]

Later political writing[edit]

Sometime in the mid-2000s McLaughlin reappeared on the political scene using the name Michael Walsh-McLaughlin, which he then shortened to Michael Walsh.[11][12]

Using the name Michael Walsh, McLaughlin set up a copywriting company called “Michael Walsh Copywriting” based in Liverpool.[13]

Also under that name, McLaughlin began writing intensely pro-Nazi and pro-Hitler articles for long-time neo-Nazi American activist Gerhard Lauck on the latter's website under the topic-heading “United Kingdom News Desk by Michael Walsh”.[14]

He also writes an irregular column on the website of the Historical Review Press in Sussex, under the title "Contemporary Comments from the News Desk of Michael Walsh".[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ray Hill & Andrew Bell, The Other Face of Terror, London: Grafton, 1988, p. 120
  2. ^ Michael Walsh "About"
  3. ^ Hill & Bell, op cit
  4. ^ Hill & Bell, op cit, p. 124
  5. ^ Hill & Bell, op cit, pp. 127–130
  6. ^ MICHAEL WALSH NEWS DESK - 30 NOVEMBER 2000 "OFFICIAL: BRITAIN IS NOW A POLICE STATE"
  7. ^ Hill & Bell, op cit, pp. 137–141
  8. ^ Hill & Bell, op cit, p. 146
  9. ^ Roger Griffin, The Nature of Fascism, p. 165
  10. ^ Hill & Bell, op cit, pp. 285–286
  11. ^ Lee Marshall (1 January 2013). "The fringe of the fringe". Searchlight. McLaughlin, who in the mid-2000s reappeared as a writer in Liverpool using the name Michael Walsh, wound up the British movement in 1983. 
  12. ^ Michael Walsh Copywriting, “Free Index Leads to Business”
  13. ^ Michael Walsh Copywriting, “Free Index Leads to Business”
  14. ^ Kingdom News Desk United Kingdom News Desk, “Michael Walsh”
  15. ^ Contemporary Comments, "from the News Desk of Michael Walsh"

Bibliography[edit]

  • R. Hill & A. Bell, The Other Face of Terror- Inside Europe’s Neo-Nazi Network, London: Collins, 1988