Flash and Circle

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The flag of the British Union of Fascists

The Flash and Circle is the second and best known symbol of the British Union of Fascists. (The BUF had briefly used the fasces of Mussolini's fascists.) It was chosen to represent "action within unity". Oswald Mosley's post-war group the Union Movement and his National Party of Europe initiative also used this symbol.

The American National Renaissance Party adopted the lightning bolt within a circle as their symbol, which superseded Madole's use of the swastika. It decorated their rostrum and was worn on their armbands.

The BUF's left-wing opponents nicknamed the symbol "the flash in the pan."

The "Flash and Circle" symbol is similar to the logo of BoltBus, to that of the youth wing of Italy's CasaPound and to the insignia of Singapore's People's Action Party (PAP). The PAP's symbol is composed of a red flash struck through a smaller blue circle on a white background. The PAP insignia represents "Action within social/racial unity". The white background represents purity in thought and deed.

Singapore People's Action Party flag
The flag of the People's Action Party of Singapore, held high by party supporters during the 2011 Singapore General Election campaign.

In popular culture[edit]

Flag of the Black Shorts used in Jeeves and Wooster.

In the alternate history film It Happened Here, the Flash and Circle is used as the symbol of the fascist puppet government in Nazi-occupied Britain.

In one television adaptation of the Jeeves novels by P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and Wooster, a similar insignia is used by the "Blackshorts", a political group led by Roderick Spode, a character based on Sir Oswald Mosley, the founder of the British Union of Fascists.

David Bowie's character Aladdin Sane wore make-up in the shape of a lightning bolt symbol often surrounded by a circle, Bowie's lightning bolt bears a close resemblance to the lightning bolt used by the British Union of Fascists.[1]


  1. ^ Baddeley, Gavin (2001). Dissecting Marilyn Manson. London: Plexus Publishing. pp. 101–102. ISBN 0859653722 – via GoogleBooks. 'It also echoes the insignia of Oswald Moseley's British Union of Fascists, and looks intriguingly close to the lightning make-up worn by David Bowie for the Aladdine Sane album cover'