As I have blogged several times over the past few months, the right-wing London Swinton Circle has been riven by factional strife, which has now led to there being two Circles of Swinton: one is led by Alan Harvey, while the other is chaired by a certain Allan Robertson. The latter groupsicle insists that Harvey has been expelled, while Harvey declares that he is now in charge of the “official” London Swinton Circle. A few weeks ago I noted that the Robertson faction’s website included a message directed at Harvey, berating him for getting into certain arguments and warning him not to “pass yourself as acting on behalf of the Swinton Circle or allow anyone else to do so”; that message has now been removed, and Harvey’s rival website (which has been running for some years) carries the notice that
An Emergency General Meeting of the London Swinton Circle, at which the crisis resulting from the events of July 22nd will be discussed and the appropriate decisions taken, is planned for next month…After this EGM it is anticipated that normal regular activities of the organisation will be resumed.
Unfortunately, however, he also promised that last month…
The Robertson faction website does now include a notice that
The London Swinton Circle is not associated or affiliated with “The Springbok Club”, nor does the Swinton Circle hold joint meetings with “The Springbok Club”.
Harvey, by contrast, tells us that there was another joint LSC-Springbok Club event in November:
…at which the guest of honour was Mr. Michael Shrimpton, the famous barrister and national security consultant. In his most revealing and powerful address Mr. Shrimpton told something about the international forces which lay behind the abandonment of the British Empire post-World War II, which culminated in the betrayal of Rhodesia, and also gave an in-depth account of some of the little-reported facts about those involved in the recent US Presidential Election.
There was also a “joint event” in October.
In a nutshell our policy can be summed up in one sentence: “We want our countries back, and believe this can now only come about by the re-establishment of civilised European rule throughout the African continent”.
The Springbok Club website also has a page dedicated to Harvey’s S.A. Patriot magazine, where he declares his support for “separate racial development” and “global white leadership”. A few indistinct sample covers are given; here’s an older one that Harvey removed from the site a while ago:
Clive Derby-Lewis is currently serving a life sentence for his part in the assassination of communist politican Chris Hani; he told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997 that his action was religiously motivated:
As a Christian, my first duty is to the Almighty God before everything else. We were fighting against communism, and communism is the vehicle of the Antichrist.
Despite Harvey’s far-right and racist background (he was also formerly in the National Front), the Springbok Club has had a stream of fairly high-profile speakers, although it is not here alleged that any of them were aware of the views propounded on the Springbok Club website, or that any of these speakers sympathise with Harvey’s opinions in any way.
However, some of the speakers are preposterous: the barrister Michael Shrimpton, for instance, boasts of how he “expose[d] propaganda operations such as the faked ‘hood’ Abu Ghraib photo”, which was supposedly created by the Syrian secret service. There’s also the disgraced ex-MP Neil Hamilton, who is shown on the Springbok Club website posing in front of the apartheid-era South African flag; Harvey tells us he “gave a riveting keynote speech in which he recalled his own fond memories of South Africa during the era of civilised rule” (that was in 1998; ten years on, as Oliver Kamm has noted, Hamilton and his wife appeared in a London pub performing a “camp cowboy act” as “second billing to a chain-wearing, whip-lashing S&M duo called Topping and Butch”).
Also on the list is the historian Andrew Roberts, who in 2007 half-heartedly – and vulgarly - threatened to sue journalist Johan Hari for “tens of thousands of pounds” for (among other things) suggesting in the New Republic that his praise for the Springbok Club reflected poorly on him; and Anthony LoBaido, who writes pieces on South Africa for WorldNetDaily. Intriguingly, the Springbok Club website has also recently been updated to include the names of some past speakers which had previously not been publicised.
UPDATE: How’s this for timing? Hugh Muir in the Guardian reports on the latest from the Robertson faction of the Swinton Circle:
we see that in February, the Swintonites [Harvey] left behind will have as their guest speaker Alistair McConnachie, who, in 2001, triggered resignations from Ukip by writing to the Scottish press saying the Pope had been duped over the Holocaust. Clarifying his position, he later wrote, “I don’t accept that gas chambers were used to execute Jews for the simple fact there is no direct physical evidence to show that such gas chambers ever existed.” No one can guarantee similar controversy when he speaks, but we guess he won’t be dull.
There’s more on McConnachie here.
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