Andrew Brons: the genteel face of neo-fascism
It was on Hitler’s birthday, deliberately chosen, that the National Socialist Movement was formed in Britain in the 1960s. It was the first political organisation of the far right that Andrew Brons, the newly-elected British National party MEP for Yorkshire and Humberside, was to join – but not the last.
The group that he signed up to as a teenager had been founded in honour of Hitler by the British fascist leader, the late Colin Jordan. No mention of this early political involvement features on the BNP’s website celebrating Brons’s victory. Instead, Brons is portrayed just as a “veteran British Nationalist”.
Brons, 61, comes from what might be described as the genteel wing of British neo-fascism. He lists William Cobbett, the radical journalist and author of Rural Rides, as his favourite historical person, the Pickwick Papers as his favourite book and Zelig as his favourite film. But his early associations with the far right were when it was at its most overtly racist and before it had started to try to present itself as just another political party.
The group he first joined included among its members people responsible for arson attacks on Jewish property and synagogues. According to the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, which has been tracking his career for decades, Brons appears to have approved. In a letter to Jordan’s wife, Brons reported meeting an NSM member who “mentioned such activities as bombing synagogues”, to which Brons responded that “on this subject I have a dual view, in that I realise that he is well intentioned, I feel that our public image may suffer considerable damage as a result of these activities. I am however open to correction on this point.”