Swinton Circle Spat Second Sequel

A bit of politics for a change: Hugh Muir of the Guardian has a third diary piece concerning members of the Swinton Circle (see my previous entries here and here for background):

… They have looked at their group as led by Alan Harvey, a former National Front activist and founder of the Springbok Club. Many just don’t like it. “Alan Harvey was removed as chairman by the committee in August as he brought a personal feud into a Circle meeting on 22/7 and his conduct was deemed unbecoming of that of a chairman,” says the latest newsletter. “He has subsequently been suspended as a member as he attempted to sabotage the meeting held on 3rd September as he contacted the speaker to say that it had been cancelled which was manifestly untrue. He has also sabotaged the Circle’s website. Fortunately his attempts to stop the meeting going ahead were unsuccessful. AGM should have a discussion on all these events and decide on further action.”

This announcement has been reposted on a discussion board run by a group of Harvey’s political opponents (my previous postings on the subject have also reappeared there, although with certain bits of information curiously removed – in particular my reference to the location of a Right Now! conference as being at the Mark Mason HQ in Piccadilly).

Harvey himself has a rather different take, and he claims that he was trying to keep extremists out. His lengthy account appeared in the comments section of my blog and elsewhere. Here’s an abridgement:

As you are probably aware, a quite scurrilous attack has been made against me in the so-called London Swinton Circle Members Circular No.69, which contained many factual errors. I believe therefore that I have the full right to defend myself in this matter.

I have been a member of the Committee of the London Swinton Circle for the past four years, being elected Chairman following the resignation of Sean Pearson in January 2007. During that time I have steadfastly endeavoured to uphold the Constitution of the LSC and to advance its cause. I have, however, become increasingly concerned by the fact that no proper AGM has been held for the past couple of years, and neither were Committee members being replaced when they died or resigned. If I have made an error as Chairman then it is that I never voiced my concerns in this regard strongly enough. For the past couple of years, therefore, the LSC has been run basically by the only two remaining active members of the Committee, Mr. Allan Robertson, the Organiser, and myself. This arrangement seemed to be working very efficiently however, and as no-one raised any objections there seemed no reason change the situation…All this was to change alas at the last LSC meeting of 22nd July 2008, which was addressed by Cdr. John Muxworthy RN of the UK National Defence Association. Incredibly all three of the undesirable individuals who we thought we had got rid of turned up – completely uninvited and unwelcome…The question before you therefore is whether you wish the LSC to become a mere appendage of the BNP – or whether like me you wish it to remain loyal to true Conservative and Unionist principles. I trust that I can rely upon your support.

Yours sincerely,

( Alan Harvey – Chairman, the London Swinton Circle )

The Swinton Circle website, which, as inferred by Muir’s piece, remains under Harvey’s control, carries a notice that

…The planned Emergency General Meeting of the London Swinton Circle, at which the crisis resulting from events of July 22nd will be discussed and appropriate decisions taken, is now planned for December 2008. After this EGM it is anticipated that normal regular activities of the organisation will be able to be resumed.

Just last night the Springbok Club (which is profiled by Johann Hari here) held a “joint meeting with the London Swinton Circle, at which the guest speaking will be a visiting long-standing overseas supporter” (for some strange reason,  a number of Springbok speakers are not identified by name on the website). Untangling the Swinton Circle from the Springbok Club will prove difficult without Harvey’s cooperation – indeed, the Swinton Circle website url contains the phrase “~springbok”.

According to a posting on a second discussion board, a Swinton Circle meeting was planned for September with a certain Christopher Luke replacing Harvey as chair. He writes that “I can assure Ken and others that the Committee of the London Swinton Circle have taken action against Mr Harvey to hopefully prevent him misbehaving again.” Luke, by the way, is an exponent of British-Israelism (here: “the Union Flag is no ordinary flag: it has a profound Biblical significance and is the banner of God’s Covenant People: Israel Britain”) and, although based in the south of England, he identifies strongly with Northern Ireland Unionism (although he was recently expelled from his Orange Lodge, an incident which moved him to poetry).

Meanwhile, there is no news on Michael Keith-Smith’s threatened libel suit against Alan Harvey, details of which remain obscure.

3 Responses

  1. […] Springbok Club Posted on October 25, 2008 by Richard Bartholomew A few days ago I blogged once again on Alan Harvey and the London Swinton Circle. Harvey has apparently been suspended as chairman and […]

  2. Postings in which anonymous members of the two Swinton Circles attack each other have been removed. The reasons: (a) I don’t want to be liable for any comment that “crosses the line”; and (b) there have been allegations of impersonation. Members of the two groups are still welcome to provide information about their activities that either adds to or clarifies anything I have written.

  3. […] discussed the follow-up to this a number times, such as here, and culminating here. Harvey also runs a group called the Springbok Club, which at the centre of […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *