Swinton Circle Spat Sequel

Last week I did a posting on the London Swinton Circle and the Springbok Club, giving a bit of background to a diary piece in the Guardian. The piece’s author, Hugh Muir, now has a bit more:

Regrettable that there is continuing fratricide in the Swinton Circle…Discussion forums glow hot, and some of it touches on our diary item on Tuesday, chronicling the personality clashes and hatreds that make its meetings so unmissable…It seems that Alan Harvey, the Circle’s London chairman and a former NF activist, is the object of most ire among the Swinton types. (“Alan Harvey is a grubby bloop,” posts one incisive supporter. “A monumental embarrassment,” complains another.) But it was he who warned the forum that their group risks excommunication from the Tory party unless it stops flirting with unsavoury neofascists. “All Tory MPs have been instructed to have no further dealings with the organisation accordingly,” he posted darkly last week.

The discussion forums that Muir cites can be seen here and here; they are somewhat esoteric unless one is familiar with the UK radical right “scene” and its various branches, but it is clear that Harvey’s main antagonists are Gregory Lauder-Frost and Mike Keith-Smith of the Conservative Democratic Alliance; the current spat flared up when Harvey objected to Lauder-Frost’s presence at a Swinton Circle meeting.

The website of the Swinton Circle has been slightly updated, and the “Forthcoming Meetings” section now says that “All London Swinton Circle activities have been suspended until further notice”, and that “Right of Admission is reserved”. As well as chairing the Swinton Circle, Harvey also runs the Springbok Club, and that organisation’s website remains the same as ever, including its reproduction of the famous 1980s “Hang Nelson Mandela” poster.

A list of recent meetings at the Swinton Circle includes various Tory, DUP, and UKIP politicians, as well as “The Rev. Dr. Alan Clifford of the Norwich Reformed Church” (best-known for screeds such as “‘Enough of Islam: the Muslim Menace”) and “Mr. Stuart Notholt, Deputy Chairman of the Campaign for an Independent Britain” (an old associate of Gregory Lauder-Frost from Western Goals).

Keith-Smith won an internet libel case back in 2006, and it seems that further writs may be in the air. In a response to one hostile poster on a forum, he tells us that

As you are probably aware I am currently suing an MEP of your very close acquaintance for Breach of Contract and Negligence. I am also negotiating with his solicitors – Messrs. Carter-Ruck – pending the probable issue of Libel proceedings. If either or both cases proceed you will be called as a witness… …together with your good friend Mr Harvey.

Lauder-Frost, meanwhile, warns that

People everywhere should be prepared to take on internet smears and libels. If we don’t clean up the WWW the enemies of common decency will destroy our society…The wheels are turning…

UPDATE: A posting by Keith-Smith on a third discussion board (very sporting seeing as it appears to have been set up for the purpose of attacking him) announces further possible woes for Harvey:

Lauder Frost is a former member of the LSC. He happened to be in London…and wanted to hear the speaker – some retired Naval officer. He phoned me and asked whether I thought it was OK for him to go given H*arvey’s antagonism and the fact that I am suing the man for libel…