Tag Archives: Norris McWhirter

Daniel Hannan on Norris McWhirter, Supporter of Fascism

Some time ago, I wrote a blog on Daniel Hannan’s defence of Norris McWhirter after he and his beloved Freedom Association got into a lather about David Baddiel’s off the cuff remarks about the former being no better than a brownshirt. Beastrabban’s article is much more in depth about McWhirter’s passions, shall we say, than mine. McWhirter subscribed to the League of Empire Loyalists’ journal “Candour” (sit back and think about that title for a moment). The LEL gave birth to the National Front and similar parties.

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Norris McWhirter, Founder of the Freedom Association and probable supporter of the anti-Semitic and racist League of Empire Loyalists

The extreme Right-wing Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan, amongst his other attacks on the Left and the NHS, criticised the comedian David Baddiel for his film criticising Norris McWhirter in his online Telegraph column. Baddiel had made the terrible offence of comparing the Freedom Association, which McWhirter founded, to the BNP. Guy Debord’s Cat has also posted a detailed critique of Hannan’s comments, ‘Hannan: McWhirter is a Decent Man (Because I Say So)’ at https://buddyhell.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/hannan-mcwhirter-was-a-decent-man-because-i-say-so/.

In fact Baddiel’s comment about the Freedom Association being similar to the BNP has more than a little truth in the context of McWhirter’s extreme Right-wing political views. There is evidence that McWhirter was a member of the League of Empire Loyalists, a Fascist, anti-Semitic organisation that formed the National Front along with the BNP, the Greater…

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Hannan: McWhirter was a decent man (because I say so)

He who has the biggest wallet can afford free speech. Conversely, he who has the biggest wallet can silence those whose speech appears to cause them offence. The slight may be imagined. Indeed the slight may be exaggerated in order to hijack or control discourse. I expect some of the offended parties to talk about filing a lawsuit in the coming weeks.

And so it is with those right-wingers who have recently been offended by David Baddiel’s remarks about Norris McWhirter. Desperate Dan whines and moans that the BBC didn’t sack Baddiel for daring to compare The Freedom Association to the BNP. He says,

Still, can you imagine BBC comedians making equivalent remarks about a Left-of-Centre campaigner: Helena Kennedy, say, or Shami Chakrabati? Silly question, really.

He doesn’t ask the important question: why? Instead he sounds like a 6 year old child who’s just been told that he can’t watch cartoons because he has to do his homework. Life’s so tough. The thing is, neither of the people he mentions are anywhere near as vile or racist as McWhirter whose TFA was more than happy to support apartheid-era South Africa as well as Rhodesia. In fact, Kennedy and Chakrabarti have done more for ordinary people in this country than the McWhirter brothers ever managed in a lifetime.

A fundamentally decent man, a man who had served his country in the war against Nazism and had been awarded the CBE, was traduced on air, linked to Mosley and compared to the BNP.

“Fundamentally decent”?  Why? Because you say so? Don’t make me laugh.

His comment to one of his fans is quite amusing too,

The whole premise of the film is facile. The young David Baddiel goes to a talk at his public school (usual Leftie angst about public school, I was on a special scheme for the poor etc) expecting Norris to talk about the Guinness Book of Records. Instead Norris talks about politics and – angels and ministers of grace defend us – the man is RIGHT-WING.

Here is a dilemma for the teenage David. Someone he had admired turns out to disagree with him. But rather than consider why this admirable person might think differently, rather than allow the possibility that there might be two sides to an argument, he recoils in horror. Instead of thinking “If an impressive man like Norris is conservative, maybe there are some good conservatives”, he says “If an impressive man like Norris is a conservative, he can’t be as impressive as I had thought”.

As I’ve blogged before, what is striking about this attitude, which has become the default assumption among many on the Left, is not its narrow-mindedness or its stupidity, but it’s sheer narcissism. It redefines evil as “someone who disagrees WITH ME!”

So where did Baddiel describe anyone as “evil”? This trope that Hannan regurgitates is worth looking at closer. Here Hannan assumes that “many of the Left”  think that anyone who has a different point of view is ‘evil’.  It is so simplistic and barely takes a nano-second of thought. He has so far failed to provide any salient examples for his bizarre contention. We could read this comment in the same way as those comments and articles that are produced by the American right on the ‘left’: they are entirely constructed from tropes and myths. The left is “dangerous” or the left is “narrow-minded” (Dan evidently overlooks the narrow mindedness among his fellow Tories). The most popular trope is “liberal elites”, which always seems to trip off the tongue of an elitist. What Danny Boy seems to be missing is the fact that McWhirter’s appearance at Baddiel’s school confused him. McWhirter on Record Breakers was clearly a different person (almost avuncular) to the one that ran TFA. Of course, I knew the first time that I saw the McWhirter brothers there was something deeply disturbing about them. Patrick Moore too.

I’m not a fan of Baddiel. He was a part of that BritCom, BritPop, BritArt crap that was the zeitgeist of the mid-1990s. Strictly speaking, his remarks should be viewed within the context of the programme on which he appeared. Besides, Jeremy Clarkson gets away with a hell of a lot more.

If McWhirter had visited my school, I would have doubtless reached the same conclusion as Baddiel.

UPDATE:  6/3/11 @ 2342

Added additional paragraph about Baddiel and BritCom etc.

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The Freedom Association: we will tell you what freedom is

The Freedom Association would have you believe that they know what freedom is and that it is the diametric opposite of  ‘socialism’. But that’s only if you live in a one-dimensional world that is populated by cardboard cut-outs and silhouettes.

This statement from Norris McWhirter, who co-founded the TFA with his brother, Ross is quite revealing,

“Freedom is usually appreciated only by those who have lost it, consequently it requires not praise but intelligent, active and continuous defence.  We campaign for limited government and the fundamental freedoms essential to the maintenance of a humane and civilised society.”
– Norris McWhirter C.B.E.

The problem here is who is McWhirter talking about? Moreover, what is this ‘freedom’ that he is speaking of? It turns out that it’s just another ruse for the already wealthy to get their hands on more power and wealth. It is freedom at a price.

The Freedom Association claims to be “a non-partisan, centre-right, libertarian, pressure group”.  I think the Freedom Association would like to think of themselves as ‘non-partisan’ but they are anything but; they have extremely close relations with the Conservative  Party, indeed one would think that they had a symbiotic relationship with them given the numbers of Tory MPs and MEPs in their ranks.

Their 7 principles are quite instructive,

Individual Freedom

Personal and Family Responsibility

The Rule of Law

Limited Government

Free Market Economy

National Parliamentary Democracy

Strong National Defences

Someone is having a laugh here.  They want a “national parliamentary democracy” but they want “limited government”?  They’re also in favour of a “free market economy” what they haven’t told you is what this means for those who don’t move in the same circles as they do. If you’re rich, you’re fine. If you’re on a low income, forget it; you don’t get any freedom because freedom for TFA equals the freedom to make money at the expense of the freedom of others.

The Freedom Association also has a regular series of conferences and meetings that it calls The Freedom Zone (sic). In the Freedom Zone, invited guests and members can slap each other on the back and tell each other how much they believe in ‘freedom’. Looking down the list of guest speakers, I can see that Fraser Nelson, the man with possibly the most irritating voice on television, was booked for 7 September.  The event was sponsored by the Taxpayers Alliance, who try to portray themselves as ‘non-partisan’ (there’s that word again) but once again it is a smokescreen,

But a Guardian investigation has established that a large part of its funds come from wealthy donors, many of whom are prominent supporters of the Conservative party. Sixty per cent of donations come from individuals or groups giving more than £5,000. The Midlands Industrial Council, which has donated £1.5m to the Conservatives since 2003, said it has given around £80,000 on behalf of 32 owners of private companies. Tony Gallagher, owner of Gallagher UK, a property company that gave the Conservatives £250,000 in 2007, is a member of the MIC, as is Christopher Kelly who owns the international haulage firm Keltruck, and Robert Edmiston who owns IM Group, a large car importer.

Hmmmm, have a look at who’s on the council. See any familiar names? Oh, look, Lord Malcolm Pearson of Rannoch, the former UKIP leader is a member (there will be more on the links between the Tories and UKIP in a forthcoming blog).

The board now features no one who could be described as just an ordinary taxpayer. Members include Ruth Lea, the former chief economist at Lehman Brothers, Mike Denham, a former Treasury economist who worked on tax and spending under Margaret Thatcher, and Saul Haydon Rowe, partner at financial firm Devon Capital LLP.

Ah, if it isn’t our old friend, Ruth Lea, scourge of the workers and enemy of the poor. Lea is often used as an ‘economic expert’ by the BBC (whom the right like to portray as ‘left-wing’) but as we all know, economics isn’t ideologically neutral – in spite of attempts by lazy news producers to inform us of the contrary.

The Freedom Association and its assorted front groups like Tea Party UK would have us all beleive that freedom isn’t possible any other way but through them and their ideological bedfellows, the Tories. But this kind of freedom comes with a massive price tag. The ‘freedom’ that they and other right wing libertarians offer doesn’t interest me. I can’t afford it.


I’ve just found out that Alexander Heath, the de facto leader of the Taxpayers Alliance does not pay British tax. The Guardian says that,

The admission, made by Matthew Elliott, the TPA’s chief executive and founder, is potentially embarrassing for the Conservative party, which has close links to the group that claims to be “the guardian of taxpayers’ money, the voice of taxpayers in the media and their representative at Westminster”.


“Mr Heath, a retired teacher, has lived in France since marrying his French wife in 1973,” said Elliott in a statement. “He is still a British citizen but he is a French taxpayer (where taxes are higher than in the UK!). He is passionate about the Taxpayers’ Alliance.” Elliott said Heath returned to the UK for about a fortnight each year and owned no property in Britain.

Time to close the tax loopholes methinks.

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