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article imageOp-Ed: Rogues and Royals

By Alexander Baron     Jun 5, 2011 in Politics
London - An article contrasting a forthcoming talk in London by Matthew Collins with an interview of the Duke of Edinburgh by Fiona Bruce for BBC Television.
On the evening of Thursday, July 7, a character named Matthew Collins will be making a speech or giving a lecture, or perhaps telling a fairy story called ONE MAN’S FIGHT WITH HATE. Those with £12 to spare and time on their hands can nip along to London’s Jewish Cultural Centre and hear him talk during its Cultural Season, Summer 2011. According to the accompanying flyer:
“Matthew Collins was a high profile far-right activist in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the full time chair of South London’s National Front”, but “What his colleagues did not know was that in 1990 Matthew began passing information to the antifascist organisation Searchlight and in 1993 was behind the exposure of the fledgling terror group Combat 18.”
This sounds gripping stuff, especially when the reader is told that Mr Collins has a book out, which will be on sale at the event.
Alas, those with longer memories will recall that he was set to publish a book in 1998; its imminent publication was announced with great fanfare only for it to fail to materialise. The reason for this is that the British National Party got wind of it and sent out a large tranche of letters to bookshops and other interested parties warning them it was likely to contain defamatory material that could result in them being sued for libel if they stocked it. In view of the trouble its sponsor, Searchlight, had experienced in the courts since 1993, a libel action was a very real possibility.
Although it has had some electoral success in recent years, the BNP is not the force it once was, but neither is Searchlight, so it is hardly surprising that its controllers should attempt to feed off what they may consider to be its former glories but in fact was little more than muck-raking and ad hominem.
Matthew Collins was indeed a member of the National Front in the late 1980s and early 90s, but the claim that he was a full time activist is somewhat misleading. In its heyday, the National Front did have a paid staff, but by the time Collins joined, it was a shadow of its former self, and he would certainly not have received any sort of salary.
Mr Collins’ main claim to fame in fact is that he was never a member of the British National Party! Strange, but true. He was also number 4 in a succession of so-called moles – read agents provocateurs – who had operated in and around the far right in Britain at the behest of Searchlight to demonise its activists and to incite its more gullible members to commit criminal acts in the hope of having their organisations proscribed.
The first such agent provocateur was Dave Roberts (1949-82). Dedicated Communist Roberts joined the National Front in the Midlands under the pseudonym Ralph Marshall at the behest of Maurice Ludmer, who ran Searchlight magazine until his death in 1981.
In March 1976, Roberts was convicted of conspiracy to assault the staff of an Indian restaurant, though his main achievement was to transform Column 88 from a small drinking club of neo-Nazi nutcases into a mysterious underground terrorist organisation that could maim, bomb and murder with total impunity. After Ludmer died, the rest of the Searchlight team distanced themselves from Roberts, and he and the mythical Nazi Underground were soon both forgotten.
After Roberts came self-confessed synagogue desecrator Ray Hill, who at one time had warrants outstanding against him on two continents. After he “came out”, Hill published a book called The Other Face Of Terror. Said to be his autobiography, it contained many easily provable “deviations from the truth”. He continued to supply a column for Searchlight magazine called Hill Street News – a pun on an American TV series - but when he was sued for libel, he denied responsibility. The jury didn’t believe him, and along with the editor of Searchlight and the company, Searchlight Magazine Limited, he was found culpable.
Searchlight’s third agent provocateur was Tim Hepple, who has been the subject of much speculation, especially by conspiracy theorist Larry O’Hara. Whatever his true role or agenda, Hepple appears now to have walked away from extremist politics, although he may still be involved with UFOlogy!
If Hepple was a step down from Hill, then Collins must have been an even bigger disappointment. Exactly what important information he could have supplied Searchlight or what use it could have been to anyone remains to be seen, but in the fantasy world of Britain’s Nazi hunters, anything goes.
Having served his purpose, Collins fled to Australia with the international Nazi conspiracy in hot pursuit, after apparently being warned by the police that he was in danger of being murdered. In 2004, he came back having put on quite a bit of weight while writing the odd article for Jewish publications down under. The fact that he is still alive and talking demonstrates admirably that none of his former comrades is interested in anything he has to say, though perhaps their lawyers will be after his book hits the shelves.
If Londoners are wary of shelling out £12 to hear Matthew Collins waffle on about his neo-Nazi fantasy world, they and the rest of Britain can see a genuine icon for free this Thursday at 9pm when Prince Philip is interviewed by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce for his 90th birthday.
When Elizabeth Windsor was proclaimed Queen in 1952, she took an oath to serve her people – of Britain and the Commonwealth. She has now been doing that “job” for an incredible 59 years, and her Consort has been at side her all that time. Their schedule is nothing less than punishing.
Philip is though more than the Queen’s husband; known as much for his plain speaking – including gaffes – as for his heavy work schedule, he is also the instigator of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. How much longer can they reign?
Although the Queen herself is eighty-five, her mother – officially the Queen Mother – lived to the age of 101, and but for the death of her daughter, the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret, a few months earlier, she would surely have lived another ten years.
Will the Queen still be on the throne at the age of 100 with Philip at her side? Although Her Majesty’s horse Carlton House could manage only third in Saturday’s Derby, it would be a brave bookmaker who’d lay that bet.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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