The Right Club was a group of anti-semitic fascist sympathisers within the British establishment formed prior to the Second World War by the Scottish Unionist MP Archibald Ramsay, which became focused on opposition to war with Germany up to and including by acts of treason to the point that many of its members were jailed for the duration of the war.
The group was formed in May 1939, when Ramsay decided that he needed to make others aware of the threat so that they would rid the Conservative Party of perceived Jewish control. Ramsay, describing the Right Club, boasted that "The main objective was to oppose and expose the activities of organised Jewry."
He noted those who had joined in a red leather-bound and lockable ledger (the "Red Book"). There were 135 names on the men's list and 100 on a separate ladies' list; the members of the Right Club include a broad spectrum of those known to be anti-semitic (including William Joyce and MP John Hamilton Mackie), those who were in some respects "fellow travellers" with anti-semitism, and some friends of Ramsay who may have joined without knowing the actual functions of the club. At its early meetings, the 5th Duke of Wellington took the chair. The logo of the Right Club, seen on its badge, was of an eagle killing a snake with the initials "P.J." (which stood for "Perish Judah").
While Ramsay was attempting to launch the Right Club, he spoke at a meeting of the Nordic League at the Wigmore Hall at which a reporter from the Daily Worker was present and reported Ramsay as saying that they needed to end Jewish control, "and if we don't do it constitutionally, we'll do it with steel" – a statement greeted with wild applause. The popular magazine John Bull picked up on the report and challenged Ramsay to contradict it or explain himself. Ramsay's local constituency newspaper, the Peeblesshire Advertiser, made the same challenge and Ramsay responded by admitting he had made the speech, citing the fact that three halls had refused to host the meeting as evidence of Jewish control.
Outbreak of war
Privately, Ramsay had been invited to some of the "Secret Meetings" at which right-wing opponents of the war discussed tactics. However, after they grew to be dominated by Oswald Mosley and his supporters, Ramsay withdrew. The Right Club spent the Phoney War period distributing propaganda in the form of leaflets and "sticky-backs" (adhesive labels containing slogans), with Ramsay later explaining that he wanted "to maintain the atmosphere in which the "Phoney War", as it was called, might be converted into an honourable negotiated peace." In addition to Ramsay's "Land of dope and Jewry" rhyme, the slogans included "War destroys workers' and "This is a Jews' War"; some of the leaflets asserted "the stark truth is that this war was plotted and engineered by the Jews for world-power and vengeance".
End of the club
One of the last members to join the Right Club was Tyler Kent, a cypher clerk at the American Embassy in London. Ramsay gave Kent the ledger containing the list of Right Club members for safe-keeping. Kent was stealing top-secret documents from the embassy and Ramsay took advantage of this fact to attempt to leak correspondence between Churchill and Roosevelt in the hope of scuppering any chance of American intervention in the war. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to them, they had already fallen under suspicion for so doing. On 20 May, Kent's flat was raided and he was arrested; the locked 'Red Book' was forced open. Ramsay's involvement with Kent was extremely concerning to the authorities as Ramsay enjoyed Parliamentary privilege: Kent was passing the stolen documents to Ramsay, and if not intercepted it would have been impossible to prevent their publication.
The Cabinet decided to extend Regulation 18B to give more power to detain people suspected of disloyalty. With many other Right Club members Ramsay was arrested and lodged in Brixton Prison on an order under Defence Regulation 18B on 23 May 1940.
- "Churchill and the Fascist Plot". http://www.channel4.com/programmes/churchill-and-the-fascist-plot/. Channel 4. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- Richard Griffiths, Patriotism Perverted, Constable, 1998, p. 237, citing The National Archives file HO 144/22454/109.