Robert Relf

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For the cricketer, see Robert Relf (cricketer). For the rugby league player, see Robert Relf (rugby league).

Robert Relf (born 1924) is a far right English 'race martyr' who briefly became a cause célèbre for the tabloid press in the 1970s.

Relf first came to national attention in 1976 when he advertised his house in Leamington Spa as being 'For Sale - to an English family only'.[1] Relf was found to be in breach of the Race Relations Act and was jailed for contempt of court when he refused to take it down.[2] Relf's plight was taken up by the tabloid press as an example of the supposedly draconian nature of race legislation and there was an outcry that Relf was imprisoned for his actions. However fervour for Relf's cause soon died after articles about his background began to appear in the Sunday Times, revealing that Relf had been a member of the British Movement and had served as a bodyguard to Colin Jordan as well as attempting to organise a UK branch of the Ku Klux Klan.[3]

Relf was released from prison the same year, although by now much of the popular support that he had gathered had died away. He would go on to rejoin the British Movement, although he left due to his dissatisfaction with the leadership of Michael McLaughlin and instead devoted much of his energies to the World Union of National Socialists, at the time led by Povl Riis-Knudsen. He also been associated with the National Front and it became his main area of domestic activity after he left the BM (although he had also been courted by the National Party who, along with the NF and BM, played a leading role in the campaign for his release).[4]

Having gained notoriety Relf continued to perform publicity stunts, notably in September 1978 when he was handed a £10 fine for refusing to wear a motorcycle helmet in protest at the legal exemption from the requirement for Sikhs.[5] Relf was jailed soon afterwards for publishing racial hatred materials, and immediately went on hunger strike, sparking another NF led campaign for his release.[6] He helped to set up White Nationalist Crusade, an attempt to create an umbrella movement for the far right in Britain, although this proved unsuccessful and he briefly led his own White Power Movement the following year.[7]

Relf largely disappeared from public life until 1991 when he again became involved in controversy, this time over a letter sent to the Conservative Party in Cheltenham. In the letter Relf attacked local Tories for their decision to endorse John Taylor, a black man and current member of the House of Lords, as their candidate for the 1992 general election. Relf suggested that those who had chosen Taylor should be 'strung up' because Taylor wanted 'a nation of half breeds'.[8] Taylor failed to win the traditionally Conservative seat of Cheltenham in the 1992 election, losing to Nigel Jones of the Liberal Democrats.

In 2002 Relf was jailed for a week after refusing to complete a census form because he was not happy to indicate his nationality as "British", preferring "English".[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ITN - Birmingham man advertising house for sale to English family only stays in jail
  2. ^ 'Facing the Crisis'
  3. ^ Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, 2002, p. 184
  4. ^ S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, p. 162
  5. ^ Taylor, op cit
  6. ^ taylor, op cit
  7. ^ Peter Barberis, John McHugh, Mike Tyldesley, Encyclopedia of British and Irish Political Organizations, 2002, p. 195
  8. ^ English census rebel jailed
  9. ^ English census rebel jailed

External links[edit]