Springbok-Swinton Saga Staggers On

Various British right-wing groupsicles are having arguments, in part apparently facilitated by this blog’s recent entries on the Springbok Club and the London Swinton Circles (sic). It’s somewhat bitty, so I’ve divided the post up.

Part One

Firstly, comments have come in from “London Swinton Circle”, who is either Springbok chairman Alan Harvey or someone close to him. The poster complains that I  mentioned Harvey’s former membership of the National Front, to which he rejoins

Alan Harvey may have briefly been a member of the National Front in his naive youth, but what you conveniently don’t mention is that this was only for 15 months from October 1974 until December 1975 – i.e. over a third of a century ago! Furthermore he resigned in December 1975 PRECISELY because he opposed the neo-fascism of the Tyndall/Griffin clique who had usurped control of the previous democtratically-led party!

OK, but this “conveniently doesn’t mention” Harvey’s next project: editing the South African Patriot magazine, which he memorialises fondly on his website:

S.A.Patriot magazine was founded in Durban in 1980 by the White Rhino Club, and continued publication in South Africa under the editorship of A.D.Harvey until 1987. Following the fall of civilized rule in South Africa it was re-established as S.A.Patriot-in-Exile in the UK under the same editorial team in 1991.  Since its foundations, and in both forms, the magazine has been consistent in its editorial stance, namely:-

To Support

To Reject

It should be noted that since my last posting on the subject “SEPARATE RACIAL DEVELOPMENT” has been amended to “SEPARATE DEVELOPMENT” “GLOBAL WHITE LEADERSHIP” has been amended to “GLOBAL WESTERN LEADERSHIP” (see Wayback).

Part Two

“London Swinton Circle” is also perturbed by my pointing out that the Springbok Club website carries an essay attacking Nelson Mandela, by the pro-BNP blogger “Sarah Maid of Albion”:

If it can be proven that “Sarah, Maid of Albion” harbours anti-Semitic sentiments and/or is connected to the Hitlerite BNP, then her article will definitely be removed from the SC web-site – but we need proof.

Sarah is annoyed by this:

With respect the fact that you refer to the BNP as “Hitlerite” says more about you than it does about them…I am not a member of the BNP as I do not agree with them on many issues…I have a link to the BNP news site on my blog, and am a guest contributor to the Green Arrow which is a BNP supporting site.

In fact, BNP leaders only praise Hitler when they think they’re not being filmed; Mark Collett famously told a BBC journalist that “Hitler will live forever; and maybe I will” when he mistakenly thought he was off camera (and later smugly told the journalist that there was “no evidence” he had said such a thing).

“London Swinton Circle”, however, is sceptical of this posting:

I’m afraid that we’d need some firmer evidence – far more evidence – to confirm that the “Sarah” who wrote this latest posting is actually one and the same person as “Sarah, Maid of Albion” who wrote the original excellent article.

Yes, I’m sure it’s quite possible that someone is impersonating a pro-BNP blogger with pro-BNP statements on an obscure blog just to make Alan Harvey look bad.

Part Three

Meanwhile, there is also a posting from “Swinton Circle“, as distinct from “London Swinton Circle” (it’s curious that the spokespersons for both factions prefer not to post their names):

Please note that the person – styling himself “London Swinton Circle” above does not represent the London Swinton Circle.

1) The Swinton Circle held its AGM in November 2008. At the AGM Swinton Circle members confirmed the removal of Alan Harvey as Chairman of the Circle and the suspension of his membership because of his actions; Alan Harvey was also requested to stop pretending that he was the London Swinton Circle. As Alan Harvey chose not to comply, the Swinton Circle was eventually left with no choice but to expel Alan Harvey from the Circle. 

2) Whilst the London Swinton Circle did indeed at one time hold joint meetings with the Springbok Club it no longer does so.

A riposte from “London Swinton Circle” follows:

There was no AGM of the LSC held in November 2008. It was simply a factional meeting called by Allan Robertson which had no constitutional validity whatsoever…Robertson’s paranoid and hysterical hatred of Alan Harvey (the LSC Chairman) is well known, and all outpourings spewn from his festering mouth should therefore be dismissed with the contempt which they deserve.

Part Four

Meanwhile again, my posts have caught the attention of the Traditional Britain Forum, where former Monday Clubbers and members of the (recently disbanded) Conservative Democratic Alliance hang out to discuss the issues of the day and mull over old times. Many of the posters there are anti-Harvey, and one forum moderator, Mike Keith Smith, has apparently threatened Harvey with a libel action for reasons that are obscure. Following my last post on the Springbok Club, Smith asked:

Why has Michael Shrimpton recently addressed a meeting of the pro-apartheid Springbok Club chaired by Alan Harvey, sometime distributor of Holocaust Denial literature, who has recently been expelled from the London Swinton Circle for gross misconduct?

Postings then appeared in the name Shrimpton (a barrister noted for anti-German conspiracy theories). Here are some highlights:

The Springbok Club is not a fascist organisation and apartheid ended in 1991. To describe it as pro-apartheid, in 2008, seems to me to be a nonsense. To describe it as fascist in writing seems to me to be recklessly irresponsible and a potential libel on its members. No facsist or pro-apartheid views were expressed at the meeting.

…As you should know apartheid was a European concept, implemented mainly by the Afrikaners – the Springbok Club is very much English-speaking and in the traditions of Smuts and the Union of South Africa, with its multi-racial suffrage, not the apartheid, anti-British RSA. It is not pro-ANC on the whole, but that does not make it ‘pro-apartheid,’ a pretty silly allegation to make some might think, 17 years after that inglorious chapter in South African history came to an end.

…So far as I can tell Alan Harvey is being attacked because he is opposed to the BNP taking over Swinton Circle, hardly fascism.

…What I find most baffling is your apparent assumption that I was or am pro-apartheid, when I found the whole concept deeply offensive, and stupid, and spent many years fighting it. I am sure the Swinton Circle and Springbok Club were well aware of my record of anti-apartheid activism when they invited me.

[UPDATE: A new posting in the name of Shrimpton declares that the above quotes are “fraudulent”] I will add once again that there is no evidence that speakers at the Springbok Club either knew of Harvey’s views or agreed with them. And I will similarly add that it is not here alleged that any of Harvey’s opponents have far-right links.

As well as these responses apparently from Shrimpton, a poster called (just to add to the confusion) “The Real Swinton Circle” has also left messages on the TBF site, challenging the authenticity of the Shrimpton posts (everyone keeping up?). There is also an attack on Smith:

You too are a coward and you are a racist…I have the digusting things you have said about Black races and having researched the CDA online seems you are very much an active racist…

Smith has admitted to in the past having held “bigoted” views that he has now repudiated following some kind of religious experience involving “an African man of God”; he believes “The Real Swinton Circle” may perhaps be the woman he successfully sued for libel in 2006, as she runs another forum, which heaps all manner of insults on Smith. This is despite a court injunction that followed the libel defeat, and Smith claims that

…I could apply to have Tracy Williams jailed at any time and it has nothing to do with the CPS. The question is; is she worth the effort?

Part Five

Meanwhile yet again, “Sarah Maid of Albion” is also annoyed by the suggestion (made by left-liberal blogger Edmund Standing) that the fact she cites an American neo-Nazi website as a news source for information about the Anti-Defamation League might in some way reflect poorly on her:

If you would be so good as to direct me to any main stream news site which publishes the fact that YouTube is cooperating with the ADL in order remove so called hate speech from its archives, I would be happy to link to it.

However, I suspect that you will find, as I did that it is almost impossible to trace any mention of this in the heavily self censored main stream media.

I linked to a story on a news site. you will also find links on my blog to the Daily Mail and the New York Times, and I am certainly not in the business of promoting either. You will also find links to the UAF, does that make me a Communist or Stalinist, because some of their supporters are?.

I pointed out that both the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz carried pieces on the ADL YouTube story, and that both can be found very quickly via Google. Sarah responds:

It is interesting to note that it is Haaretz and the Jerusalem press who are the only people reporting what I was saying, yet I am accused of anti-semitism.

So, the media are “heavily self censored” – presumably so as not to offend Jews (what other possible way is there to read this?), but the fact that Israeli media are covering the story somehow confirms, rather than undermines, her suggestion of some kind of conspiracy of silence. We can only speculate as to why she was unable to find these sources, yet was able to unearth an obscure neo-Nazi piece on the subject that adds ramblings about Jews controlling pornography.

WorldNetDaily Puffs Anti-Shariah Project

WorldNetDaily enthuses over a new project entitled “Mapping Shari’a in America: Knowing the Enemy”, which

seeks by the end of next year to document in a rigorous, scientific fashion the controversial premise that the more a mosque or community of Muslims adheres to Shariah, or Islamic law, the greater its threat to U.S. national security.

In order words, it seeks to prove its premise by gathering the evidence needed. But how does it define “Shariah”? The project’s website explains:

Islamic law is the source of the command for faithful Muslims to war against the infidel. Sometimes this “Jihad” is taught as a personal introspective battle against the Muslim’s own demons, but just as often this Jihad is taught as a war against non-Muslims and Muslims who have gone astray…But most Islamic groups and organizations take on what appears to be a legal and peaceful veneer in the English settings, but in fact preach quietly and often in Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu a very violent and anti-American Jihad.

So, we know that “most” American Muslim groups are “very violent” before the study has even got underway. The WND article has amended this to (emphasis added) “Gaubatz contends many Islamic groups and organizations take on a legal and peaceful veneer…”; when you need WND to make you sound less excessive you’re probably in trouble.

Moving on:

…it is first necessary to properly identify the Muslim organizations and mosques teaching and preaching Shari’a, what variety of Shari’a is being taught or preached, and how it rates on a systematic scale measuring the degree to which the specific Shari’a taught or preached is based upon one of the five historical, traditional and authoritative jurisprudential schools of fiqh (or legal interpretation) and to what degree does the particular brand of Shari’a begin advocated call for Jihad, and which aspect of Jihad.

That sounds fair enough, but how are the various interpretations of Shariah to be categorised?

Phase Two will include the first known ranking of Shari’a, with 0 being no Shari’a and 10 being al Qaeda level.

So, all Shariah is to be ranked against the yardstick of how closely a Muslim wishes to be identified with al Qaeda, with only those who want no part of Islamic law being untainted. But why? And how are the various rankings to be decided? And how do you balance the significance of the various factors and interpretations within a particular school of Islamic jurisprudence? The WND article has quotes from the project leader, Dave Gaubatz, who sheds just a little light:

“It’s so easy. You can’t agree with Shariah law and say that you are peaceful,” Gaubatz continued. “You can’t do it. Now there are Muslims in the United States who do. They say, we don’t agree with Shariah law, we don’t want Shariah law. But then, to the pure Muslim, they are not Muslim.”

Some Muslims want to reform Islam, he said, and retain only peaceful elements.

“That’s fine, but then you are not pure Muslim,” Gaubatz said.

So the subjects of the study will have the choice of being categorised as a “pure Muslims”, which means they are violent, or as “impure Muslims” with moderate views. For obviously polemical reasons, this whole approach is based on the idea that Saudi-backed Wahabi Islam is normative, and this in turn is conflated with al Qaeda and its tactics.


Gaubatz said his group has been told by many sympathetic Muslims that to minimize the threat of another attack, authorities should ask foreigners seeking entry into the U.S. if they agree with Shariah.

“If they agree, according to the Muslims who have told us this, then they should probably not even be given entry here,” he said.

But what does it mean to “agree with Shariah”? What kind of Shariah? What kind of agreement? Obviously, for Gaubatz the question is just meant to mean: “Do you reject Muslim beliefs?”, and it makes a mockery of the distinctions supposedly employed in his study.

This is an insult to the intelligence – sociologically illiterate, and clunkily obvious in its bias and bad faith. Of course Islamic extremism should be monitored and opposed, but this kind of clownish pseudo-study is a distraction which serves no good purpose.

Gaubatz enjoyed a bit of fame last year on both sides of the Atlantic, when he was championed by Melanie Phillips in the Spectator over his claims to have found the sites of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. Also involved with the project are David Yerushalmi and Robert Loewenberg, and the three of them also used to run SaneWorks.us, which was where the “Mapping Shariah” project was unveiled.

Following a link from a critical website to SANE brings up a message that “Access to our Premium Archives of blogs and articles are restricted to SANE Members who have contributed as SANE Patriot Members or higher”, but it still has an active website. According to its Mission Statement:

The Society of Americans for National Existence or SANE is what its name declares: a society of sane Americans dedicated to preserving and strengthening America’s national existence. By national existence we mean what you normally mean when speaking of such matters. America is a unique people bound together through a commitment to America’s Judeo-Christian moral foundation and to an enduring faith and trust in G-d and in His Providence. America’s founding, and its greatness was neither accident nor staging ground for some better existence or world state. America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white, who ventured from Europe to create a nation in their image of a country existing as free men under G-d. This constellation of forces existed no where else in the world and resulted in a unique people and nation.

The founding fathers understood that party-led parliaments and democracy were the worse form of government and sought to resist the movement that was soon to find fertile ground in France with the French Revolution, the end of which we can see now before our eyes…

Yerushalmi also has a thing about “white Christians”:

White Christians were at the founding of this nation a distinct people and privileged as such. Men of means among this people were given the opportunity for representative government. This is, for those of you flinching, not a thesis or “viewpoint”; this is historical fact. After the Civil War, this changed; with the move into the 20th century this change became a wholesale reformation.

Today, you cannot speak of Christianity in the public sphere and if you mention “white” and “Christians” in the same sentence you will be set upon as a despicable racist by every “fair-minded” public person. And, this phenomenon extends far beyond race.

Yerushalmi and Loewenberg have also treated us to impenetrable theologico-philosophical ramblings sprinkled with portentous capital letters; here’s a taster:

Speech, Incoherence, the Redirection and Mapping Shari’a

Mapping Shari’a is not merely a law enforcement tool or even a policy tool of self-defense. It is Trojan Horse as it were to turn away from the Redirection. The purpose of much of my writings here at the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) has been an attempt to elucidate an investigation and teaching of the Reciprocal and its consequence — what we term the Redirection — affecting Western society…

… all of man’s existence is reduced to Certainty: either in scientific speech or in political speech where there can be no truth only Uncertainty. Uncertainty in political speech is resolved with certainty by rendering the truth of existence as a methodology where the process or procedure is certain.

…And that brings us to Mapping Shari’a or the attempt to get at the Redirection manifesting as Convergence. In the West, men can no longer say what they are as a unique or existent People or Nation or understand their political order as distinct. Science-Democracy does not allow for a political order for a given People. Men as indistinguishable and found within Science = Certainty and as valueless opinions where All Else = Uncertainty establish a universal order found only in World without Self or Society. It is in a word, the inability to discriminate. Loewenberg refers to this as Indiscriminacy.

So western men can no longer recognize their own; western civilization and the Judeo-Christian understanding of the world no longer has any meaning except as some artificial social construct referred to as racist or xenophobic. For the new western man of science-democracy, Islam is indistinguishable from Christianity. Indeed, the lure of the Umma and the collapse of Self-Society into the Caliphate provides for the convergence our Elite not long ago embraced quite openly in Marxism. Lacking its former luster, Marxism has been replaced by the multi-cultural, open society of radical tolerance where the American People are not actually a People within a sovereign border but a “proposition” or “symbol” or Second Intention. A universal thought. The universal World State. This is the Convergence with political or Shari’a-based Islam. … Mapping Shari’a insists on discriminating; on looking at Shari’a-based Islam and understanding its “end” or telos. That end is our destruction as a People as non-believers. The resistance to the end must be its criminalization and destruction.

Curiously, this essay has not been carried over to the newer “Mapping Shari’a” website.

(PS: WND calls it “Mapping Shariah in America: Knowing the Enemy”; the project itself favours “Mapping Shari’a in America: Knowing the Enemy”)

WND Puffs Chalcedon-Linked Christian Magazine

WorldNetDaily is carrying a puff-piece for a new Christian history magazine, Leben:

Each issue is a virtual collector’s item, lavishly illustrated, intelligently written and bringing to its readers stories of courage and faithfulness you simply won’t find anywhere else…

Leben Editor Wayne Johnson says the uplifting and inspiring stories in each issue of the magazine are out there – but just a little hard to find…Leben is what Johnson calls a “labor of love” of the students, faculty and friends of City Seminary in Sacramento, California.

You wouldn’t know from anything in the article that Johnson and WND editor Joseph Farah are long-time associates,or that Johnson is a Christian Reconstructionist. Luckily we have a 2007 ConWebWatch article:

Wayne C. Johnson has…been on WND’s board since its inception. He’s a California political consultant working largely on conservative candidates and issues. He is currently president of the American Association of Political Consultants… Johnson is also a longtime member of the board of directors of the Chalcedon Foundation, the far-right group founded by R.J. Rushdoony that advocates the idea of Christian reconstructionism — a philosophy that aims to remake the world from a biblical worldview…ConWebWatch has previously noted that Farah holds reconstructionist views…

Leben is also linked with one particular church, the Covenant Reformed Church of Sacramento. According to its website,

Covenant Reformed Church started City Seminary in September 2000. It conducts its first class on September 9, 2000…

Covenant Reformed Church has also spearheaded various publications, including Contrast Ministries, The Two-Edged Sword, and just recently—Leben Magazine (2005).

The church’s pastor, Jim West, is another follower and promoter of the late Rushdoony.

Pope Engenders Controversy

From the BBC:

Pope Benedict XVI has said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction…Pope Benedict XVI warned that gender theory blurs the distinction between male and female and could thus lead to the “self-destruction” of the human race.

Further details are available from the Vatican Information Service:

While highlighting that the Church “cannot and should not limit herself to transmitting just the message of salvation to her faithful”, the Holy Father said that it must also “protect the human being against self-destruction. It is necessary to have something like an ecology of the human being, understood in the proper manner. It is not a surpassed metaphysics when Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected… That which is often expressed and understood by the term ‘gender’, is definitively resolved in the self-emancipation of the human being from creation and the Creator”.

This is less than a revelation; Ratzinger expressed the same views on gender in his 2004 “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World”:

…In order to avoid the domination of one sex or the other, their differences tend to be denied, viewed as mere effects of historical and cultural conditioning. In this perspective, physical difference, termed sex, is minimized, while the purely cultural element, termed gender, is emphasized to the maximum and held to be primary. The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences on a variety of levels. This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.

…This perspective has many consequences. Above all it strengthens the idea that the liberation of women entails criticism of Sacred Scripture, which would be seen as handing on a patriarchal conception of God nourished by an essentially male-dominated culture. Second, this tendency would consider as lacking in importance and relevance the fact that the Son of God assumed human nature in its male form.

No actual texts of gender theory are quoted or discussed; instead, there are ruminations on Biblical texts and citations of other Pontifical documents. The document goes on to extoll women as mothers while also commending virginity:

Although motherhood is a key element of women’s identity, this does not mean that women should be considered from the sole perspective of physical procreation…Virginity refutes any attempt to enclose women in mere biological destiny. Just as virginity receives from physical motherhood the insight that there is no Christian vocation except in the concrete gift of oneself to the other, so physical motherhood receives from virginity an insight into its fundamentally spiritual dimension: it is in not being content only to give physical life that the other truly comes into existence. This means that motherhood can find forms of full realization also where there is no physical procreation.

By “virginity”, Ratzinger is doubtless emphasising the church’s ideal alternative to motherhood, although it should be remembered that nuns (and monks and priests for that matter) do not have to be virgins – St. Mary of Egypt, for example, was an ex-prostitute.

The 2004 document was seen as a mixed bag by feminists. Tina Beattie wrote that

The content of the letter is not antithetical to some feminist arguments, and indeed it reveals how many unacknowledged resonances there are between feminism and Catholic theology. It affirms the inherent relationality of women…which, although couched in essentialist terms that feminists might reject, echoes many of the theories found in feminist writings.


But the whole bias of the letter is implicitly anti-feminist. For a start, it is produced in the name of one exclusively male group…and addressed to another exclusively male group…Its title bears little relation to its content, which says hardly anything about men or about collaboration…Not surprisingly, perhaps, it was widely publicized in the secular press as the Vatican’s hardline reaction to feminism. (1)

Meanwhile, gender theory was also attacked in the recent “First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum’s statement on the family”. Interfax has the document:

We acknowledge the positive international documents that support the family. For instance, art. 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “Man and woman of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family” and “the family is the natural and fundamental group of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” In the past the family and childbirth were regarded as something sacred. In recent years, however, these notions are questioned. There is an attempt to change language and introduce ambiguity into international documents under the ideological introduction of the gender theory.

Implicit here is the idea that supporting gay rights is somehow undermining true human rights. This is an idea that the Russian Orthodox Church – which is more bombastically authoritarian than the Vatican – has been pushing for a while. Ratzinger’s apocalyptic talk of the “self-destruction” of the human race is of a piece with this, and it will doubtless speed along détente with the Orthodox.


(1) Tina Beattie, New Catholic Feminism, p. 20.

The Springbok Club’s Favourite “Maid” and a Neo-Nazi Website

Edmund Standing at I Kid You Not has cast an eye over a piece by pro-BNP blogger “Sarah Maid of Albion”, who is complaining about YouTube “censoring” (i.e. declining to host) extremist videos:

In attempting to prove her point, ‘Sarah’ links to ‘another story from the USA‘. The story, it turns out, is found on a website called ‘Newsnet14’. ‘Newsnet14’ describes itself as ‘an online resource for people of European descent around the world’ and considers itself an alternative to ‘Zionist media mongers’

The short article (more like a blog entry) recommended by “Sarah” is an attack on the Anti-Defamation League, and its author informs us as an aside that Jews control pornography. The article also includes a hyperlink to Resist, which Standing notes is “home of none other than Tom Metzger of ‘White Aryan Resistance'”. It should also be noted that Newsnet14 is registered to “Aryan Wear”, purveyor of “skinhead boots, nazi boots, swastika boots, skinhead shirts, nazi shirts, white pride clothing…”, etc. etc – further details here.

However, although Standing is unimpressed with “Sarah”, the “Maid of Albion” has one fan: none other than Alan Harvey, who has reproduced an anti-Mandela screed written by her on the website of the Springbok Club, with a gushing introduction that praises her discernment when it comes to media:

This excellent article appeared on the blog of Sarah, an Englishwoman endowed with an incisive and razor-sharp understanding of South Africa’s recent history. Unlike so many millions of brain-washed lemmings in the UK, she sees right through the media-contrived smoke & mirrors, lies and myths.

Although Harvey is firmly pro the Israeli right-wing, the “Maid of Albion” is not the only person he recommends who has promoted anti-Jewish propagandists. As I noted a few days ago, Harvey is also a supporter of Clive Derby-Lewis, who once hosted David Irving in South Africa.

No Trial and No Capitulation at Newsnight

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of right-wing think tanks, it’s now one year since Policy Exchange promised to pursue the BBC’s Newsnight “relentlessly, to trial or capitulation” if it dared to broadcast a report which Policy Exchange claimed was libellous. The report was broadcast on 12 December 2007, and was available on the BBC iPlayer for a week after that.

This means that is now too late to bring a claim of libel over the televised report; they could still go after written material on the BBC website, although at this stage that would be very lame.

More importantly, however, the fact that Policy Exchange failed to follow through is evidence that Dean Godson is full of it, and that the threat was made to try to bully the BBC into suppressing newsworthy information which Godson did not want in the public domain. Shameful, and a mockery of Policy Exchange’s supposed support for “libel reform”.

I last blogged on the dispute here.

Global Anti-Terror Network Website Expires

Let’s check out the latest from the website of “Global Anti-Terror Network” VIGIL.

Oh dear…


I previously blogged on VIGIL here and here. As regular readers will know, I’m no fan of Islamism, but that doesn’t mean any weird group that presents itself as “anti-terrorist” should be given a free pass – and there was much about VIGIL that seemed to me to undermine its credibility.

Dominic Whiteman, who was VIGIL’s “European Zone Director”, is now apparently at the Centre for Social Cohesion.

“New” London Swinton Circle Announces Break from Springbok Club

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.

I have blogged on the Springbok Club in the past; as Alan Harvey himself puts it:

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.

“Upon Bush I Cast My Shoe”

As “Turmoil Continues Over Shoe-Throwing Incident” (as the media puts it), let us turn to Biblical scholar Kenneth Bailey for a bit of background:

Rengstorf also uses Ps. 60:8; “Upon Edom I cast my shoe,” as evidence of asserting ownership. Rather it is a very strong insult. At Assiut College in Egypt in the early sixties a young American teacher, inexperienced in Oriental attitudes towards shoes, woke a sleeping student one morning by throwing a shoe across the room at him. A thousand students rioted that day in protest over the “insult”. In public speech the speaker apologizes before using the word “shoes” in deference to its being nearly a four-letter word”. (1)

Lynne Long’s Translation and Religion adds (p. 164):

The shoe connotative meaning [of disrespect] is also used in the Iraqi Arabic expression ibn al-qundarah (son of a shoe) which is the cultural equivalent in English to ‘son of a bitch’.

As well as the famous shoe-beating of Saddam’s statue, a biography of Yasser Arafat by Barry and Judith Colp Rubin includes the detail that

The West Bank bureau of al-Jazira television was closed down for a time after a preview of a program on Lebanon’s civil war showed a demonstrator holding a pair of shoes over Arafat’s picture… (2)

President Qahtan Muhammad al-Shaabi of South Yemen was on the receiving end of a shoe-throwing crowd in Aden in 1968 (3), and in Bangladesh in 2006 lawyers threw shoes at a pair of Islamic militants who had been accused of killing two judges. According to Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328), followers of al-Arabi’s pantheist theology ought to be “beaten with shoes” (4); Islamist theorist Sayyid Qutb recommends the same treatment for homosexuals (5).

Meanwhile, the Iraqi ambassador to the US has been keen to point out that the shoe-thrower is enjoying far better treatment than he would have done under Saddam Hussein; however, if it true that he has been beaten and is likely to be banged up for 15 years that is going to ring somewhat hollow. My view is that if you break the law to make a political protest you have to face consequences, but these surely have to be proportionate and civilised. Needless to say, you also have to be willing to be publicly associated with your political act forever after.


(1) Poet & Peasant ; And, Through Peasant Eyes, p. 186n.
(2) Yasir Arafat, p. 235.
(3) Ivor Lucas, A Road to Damascus, p. 91.
(4) Rafiq Zakaria, Discovery of God, pp. 182-3.
(6) Lamia Rustum Shehadeh, The Idea of Women in Fundamentalist Islam, p. 66.

Robert Spencer Clutches at Straws Over Obama Inauguration

From Christian news-site OneNewsNow:

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, the president-elect said he will follow the tradition and use his full name — Barack Hussein Obama — when he takes the oath of office. “I think the tradition is that they [previous presidents] use all three names, and I will follow the tradition,” he said. “I’m not trying to make a statement one way or another. I’ll do what everybody else does.”

But best-selling author Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch thinks Obama’s statement is ironic in that throughout the campaign it was considered taboo to mention the Democratic candidate’s middle name.

“Because it was suggesting that he had some connection to Islam and to the Islamic world,” says Spencer. [And] now he’s exploiting the same thing. Although he says that it’s only because every president uses his full name when being sworn in and he’s simply going to follow that tradition, it does seem as if there’s a signal being given here that there’s more to it than that.”

I try to resist simply chronicling the utterances of demagogues, but sometimes one sees something so stupid and so lacking in good faith that it cannot pass unremarked.

We all remember the anti-Obama right’s election campaign efforts to create fear of Obama based on his middle name. The likes of Spencer and Walid Shoebat  insisted on either always giving Obama’s full name or writing formulations such as “B. Hussein Obama”. The claim of a “taboo” also appears on Politico; but just how many times did we hear about “John Sidney McCain”? Shoebat was typically dishonest  (and absurd) when he complained about the injustice that saying “Barack Hussein Obama” is not received the same way as “Hilary Rodham Clinton”, but we all know that “Rodham” is a surname rather than a middle name, and that it is a long-established part of of Clinton’s professional and public identity. Most people recognised that those who chose to emphasise “Hussein” were either crackpot obsessives or opportunists playing on prejudice and fear as a substitute for proper political argument. Even McCain understood that, which was why he scolded Bill Cunningham. If the name became a “taboo” – which is arguable – it was because anyone serious did not want to be associated with such a low tactic.

So what exactly is the “signal being given here” that Spencer believes follows from the fact that Obama is going to follow usual practice at the swearing-in ceremony? He doesn’t say, and the good Christians who run OneNewsNow don’t feel the need to ask. Spencer’s comment is vacuous, but presumably he’s now so surrounded by fawning anti-Muslim keyboard warriors that any old rubbish will do.