A. K. Chesterton

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Not to be confused with his cousin G. K. Chesterton,Wikipedia a prominent author philosopher etc of the late 19th and early 20th century

Arthur Kenneth Chesterton (1896-1973) was a prominent figure in the British far-right.

In 1933 he joined the British Union of Fascists,[1] but resigned when the organisation fell into decline;[2] he and some other former members of the BUF formed the National Socialist League in 1938.[1] Chesterton later became a member of the Right Club, an organisation founded in 1939 by MP Archibald Maule RamsayWikipedia with the aim of ridding the Conservative Party of a perceived Jewish influence.

Chesterton also became a regular contributor to the pro-fascist Weekly Review, which had been founded by his late cousin G.K. Chesterton but moved rightward after his death in 1936.[3] He joined the New Pioneer Group of Gerard Wallop, Viscount Lymington, an ardent imperialist and isolationist.[4][5] Under Collin Brooks, he was deputy editor of Truth, a long-running British periodical which went through varying political incarnations, but had faced allegations of Nazi sympathy during World War Two; it was taken over by moderates in 1953 and Chesterton left.[6] The same year he founded another magazine, Candour, which he edited until his death.[7]

In 1954 Chesterton formed the League of Empire LoyalistsWikipedia, with Candour becoming its house magazine. Unlike contemporary fascists Chesterton was not interned during World War II, and the LEL was able to garner a certain respectability. But as well as being pro-Empire and anti-communist views the LEL had anti-semitic, anti-American and anti-capitalist streaks, and attracted Nazi sympathisers as well as the mainstream right. Its support did not last long: the LEL had 3000-odd members in 1958 but just 300 in 1961.[8]

In 1965 his book The New Unhappy Lords was published, which set out a conspiracy theory about Jews and other groups running an occult conspiracy to control the world through organisations such as the Bilderberg Group, with a supposed goal of promoting globalism and threatening the white race.[9][10]

On 7 February 1967 the League of Empire Loyalists combined with the British National Party (not to be confused with the version founded in 1980), the Greater Britain Movement and the Radical Preservation Society to form the National Front (although they excluded some of the more obviously violent, thuggish people who might provide bad publicity). Chesterton became chairman of the new party.[11] However, in ill health and spending much of his time in South Africa, he was eventually driven to resignation by resentful members in 1970, the first of many such incidents in the history of the National Front.[12][13] He died in 1973 of emphysema.[9]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SSchesterton.htm
  2. Sykes, Alan (2005). The Radical Right in Britain. p. 70
  3. Sykes, Alan (2005). The Radical Right in Britain. pp.77-8
  4. Sykes, Alan (2005). The Radical Right in Britain. p. 91
  5. See the Wikipedia article on Gerard Wallop, 9th Earl of Portsmouth.
  6. See the Wikipedia article on Truth (British periodical).
  7. See the Wikipedia article on Candour (magazine).
  8. Sykes, Alan (2005). The Radical Right in Britain. p.99
  9. 9.0 9.1 See the Wikipedia article on A. K. Chesterton.
  10. "Transatlantic Connections and Conspiracies: A.K. Chesterton and The New Unhappy Lords", Graham Macklin, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol 47, Issue 2, 2012
  11. Arthur Kenneth Chesterton Collection: Factsheet, University of Bath (UK)
  12. Walker, Martin. The National Front. pp. 95-6
  13. Sykes, Alan (2005). The Radical Right in Britain. p. 106