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Western Goals Institute

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The Western Goals Institute was a British far-right pressure group originally connected with the fight against communism, in which it particularly supported the white apartheid regime in South Africa. With the decline of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s it increasingly switched to attack multiculturalism, non-white immigration, decolonization, and related topics. A number of Conservative MPs were members, including UFO enthusiast Patrick Wall and future Ukipper Neil Hamilton. In the early 1990s it had close links with European far-right and neo-fascist groups, especially Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National. South African politician Clive Derby-Lewis, later sentenced to death for his involvement in the murder of an anti-apartheid activist, was one of its vice presidents. The WGI gradually faded from prominence in the late 1990s and shut up shop in 2001.

Institutional history[edit]

The Institute began in 1985 as Western Goals UK, an offshoot of the American Western Goals Foundation, an American private intelligence organisation supposedly researching communist infiltration, which was wound up in 1986 due to its involvement in Iran-Contra. Western Goals UK's patron was General Sir Walter Walker, a British counter-insurgency expert and militant anti-communist who was active in the 1970s opposing perceived trade union infiltration (and was accused by some of planning a military coup against Harold Wilson). Prominent supporters included Conservative MP Patrick Wall (also active in the pro-Empire group the Conservative Monday Club, and president of the British UFO Research Association[1]) and Ulster Unionist MP Martin Smyth.[2]

It reformed itself as an independent body in 1989, taking the name Western Goals Insitute (WGI). Its vice presidents included Smyth, Antony Flew, Merlin Hanbury-Tracy, 7th Baron Sudeley,Wikipedia's W.svg Joseph Labia, Tryggvi McDonald (son of prominent anti-communist senator Larry McDonald who was killed in the Soviet shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007), and Harvey Ward (a member of Ian Smith's administration in Rhodesia).

It allied itself with the French Front National, inviting Jean-Marie Le Pen and Alessandra Mussolini to give speeches in fringe meetings at the 1992 Conservative Party Conference. It was a member of the World Anti-Communist League; it also had links to Angolan guerilla organisation UNITA; and Western Goals (UK) may have been involved with its parent organisation in Iran-Contra.[2] WGI continued to support apartheid in South Africa: when the National Party under PW Botha and FW de Klerk moved towards compromise with communism, their party split and the breakaway Conservative Party of South Africa established itself to argue for the continuation of the apartheid system; the Western Goals Institute supported this hardline faction. Clive Derby-Lewis, a Conservative MP in the South African parliament, was made another vice president of the WGI in 1989. Derby-Lewis was later sentenced to death for his involvement in the murder of anti-apartheid activist Christopher Hani (commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished in South Africa).[3]

It worked with a number of Conservative MPs including Patrick Wall, Nicholas Winterton, Neil Hamilton, and Bill Walker. However, other elements in the Conservative Party were hostile, and some party officers such as Julian Lewis (then deputy head of the party's Research Department) campaigned against it. Tory MP Norman Fowler called it "an extreme anti-Conservative group".[4] Another senior Conservative, Iain Duncan Smith, was involved in meetings the WGI held with officials of the French Front National in 1995.[3]

Other members included Gregory Lauder-Frost, a vice president of the WGI[4] and chairman of the Monday Club's foreign policy committee. He was sentenced to 2 years in jail in 1992 for stealing 110,000 pounds from his employers, and went on to form the white nationalist, anti-immigration Traditional Britain Group, while remaining friends with conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg.[5]

With the end of apartheid and Soviet communism, its power weakened though it maintained links with Le Pen into the late 1990s, and was very critical of Tony Blair's 1997 election. But the money began to run out, and it was wound up in 2001.[2]

Activism[edit]

The group's first action of note was a campaign against the charities Oxfam, War on Want, and Christian Aid, who had all been critical of the apartheid regime in South Africa. The WGI claimed this was political campaigning and against charity law. The WGI's complaint against War on Want was upheld by the Charities Commission.[2]

References[edit]