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Tragedy & Hope:
Lessons from the Plight of British Nationalism

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Editor’s Note:

This is a transcript by T.K. of Matt Tait’s talk at the 2015 American Renaissance Conference. You can watch the video here.

It’s a real pleasure to be here. Having got to meet some of you, yesterday evening, it was clear to me that this is a very strong and varied group of very decent, mostly White, straight, cis-gendered, decent normal people. And on that basis alone, we can be sure that the SPLC will be classing us as a hate rally.

I’d like to extend my thanks to Jared Taylor for the invitation to speak today. I’m particularly honored to be the opening speaker and to help to set the tone for a conference which I’ve attended several times before and enjoyed greatly. My experience with AmRen has always been as the ultimate date in the diary to get together with your friends and to recharge those batteries and discuss everything that you struggle to discuss with perhaps the people in your everyday lives at work or your own family even. So it really is a fantastic experience to come to these conferences, and I hope that you will enjoy this as much as I have so far this time and also have done twice before.

In those previous conferences I’ve managed to make some great friends, and those friendships have lasted the distance of thousands of miles over the oceans, and I’ve had several visitors come to stay with in England, and I sincerely hope that this trip will enable me to renew those friendships as it already has and to make some new friends as well.

AmRen is part of a global movement, a global movement within which I’ve been a member in my own country. It’s a movement that is immensely powerful. To be on the side of righteousness in the face of adversity is something that truly gives you a sense of something that you never really experience in the mundane existence that most modern people live today. I’ve personally seen transformations of characters. People who were just very average or perhaps would have even considered themselves to be well below average types of people have transformed themselves into something greater, something far more glorious and valuable in their own lives through being involved in this cause.

As Jared says, I joined when I was 18, and I did so because I always felt like I wanted to be involved. I always felt like I wanted to understand the way the world is and why it is that way. And having read the BNP’s website, I came to the conclusion that however controversial it was, that it was utterly reasonable and correct and that the only thing that decent people could do is to commit themselves heavily and to get involved.

When I got involved in 2004, the party was just about to go into this sort of golden era. So I joined just at the right time. I was able to experience many victories, starting off with local council elections (5:00), where we would get 10%, 15%, 20%. Suddenly we’d be getting 30% of the vote and coming close to winning and then – BANG: Victory. And that taste of victory was very, very, very powerful, and the only thing we wanted to do was to win more. And to win more often. And we set about doing exactly that. And over the coming years we got to the stage where we had councilors in pretty much all regions of England and even into Wales as well. These victories led on to further professionalization of the party and to us being able to contest seats at a much more national level. I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you about the victories that the party enjoyed including getting someone elected to the London Assembly, Richard Barnbrook, and also two members of the European Parliament, which really was the crowning jewel in the victory of the BNP in its life. That was in 2009.

For my part it was very much regional role that I played in this, and I live in a part of the country which is not considered to be radical territory. It’s solidly Conservative. It’s a commuter belt type of area with very wealthy people. The kind of place that the BNP would never have really stood. So what I really wanted to do was to help the party become associated with these high-status areas in the country and to show that we were the party that represented British people, whether they were from a difficult place to live — an old mill town in the north of England or an inner city area of East London or whether they lived in home counties. We managed to get national press coverage for standing in the Queen’s hometown of Windsor and also in a town called Henley-upon-Thames which is a sort of quintessential postcard English town.

And it really was an honor to be involved in these campaigns, I got to meet people who I would never have normally got to meet in regular life and I was able to come into contact with members of the public who showed me just how much of a hunger there really is for change, just how much of a hunger there is for old values and for a sense of national identity which has been eroded since the War.

I remember a particular experience of being in East London and helping to get the first councilors elected in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham, which is a very deprived area, and I’d come across people who just wanted to give, and that really touched me. They had so little to give, and all they wanted to do was to give as much as they could. And there was a particular old gentleman who would write us a check for £10 and send it to me. And then I would sort that out before him and send him something in reply, a thank-you note. And every time I’d send a thank-you note, he’d send me another check. And I didn’t know at one point whether to write him and thank him again, because I might be risking bankrupting him if I continued to be so thankful for his contributions.

It’s a great shame that I’m here to talk to you about the tragedy of what’s happened with this party that I’ve been involved with and have given so much to.

Over the years since 2010 there’s been a mass exodus of members, the vast majority of members who really made the party tick and who really were able to push the party forward and to have achieved things it did achieve – those people have almost entirely left that party. I can pretty much announce to you, to anybody here who’s in any doubt about that party, that at this stage it really may as well not exist.

So how did it go from the glories of successes at the national and even international pan-European council level to where it is today in abject failure? And I was told today — yesterday — that the party this year will be standing 8 candidates in the election. And when I stood in 2010, we stood over 300 candidates in the country.

There are number of complex issues which really are interlaced here and need to be understood to really understand exactly how we went from the first case scenario to the scenario that we are in now. One of those things was that Nick Griffin himself was very much the party. He was very much the micro-manager of the party, and he was really allowed to do that for a long time on a basis that he was delivering success — which he was.

But, really, tragedy came out of that, because of a number of things to so with his own particularities and also the fact that he and Andrew Brons, who’s another leading light in the party, ended up being elected to the European Parliament. And it was almost a Pyrrhic victory in a sense that we got them elected, and we sent them away. We sent them to Brussels. And they were no longer really in the country to lead the party.

There have been scandals over the years to do with money and financial impropriety. Frankly, I’m not going to support any of those claims, because I don’t feel there is enough evidence to support them. But what I can attest to, is that I saw the party go from being run on a shoestring of couple of hundred thousand pounds a year to millions of pounds per year in the space of only two years. This was massive, massive growth. And I think that to a certain extent the party was a victim of its own success in this regard. It didn’t really quite know what to with this money, and it was clearly obvious to everybody involved, who was donating, that this money wasn’t being spent wisely. It was often being wasted or misplaced, and certainly it led to other questions about where money may have been going.

There are many strengths and many weaknesses to Nick Griffin as a politician, and I’m sure you’re aware of the strengths that he has as a speaker. He spoke at AmRen before. And he was an absolute stalwart in the face of adversity for year upon year upon year. To go through the attacks the he had to suffer and to carry on. I have nothing but respect for somebody who can go through that experience.

However, he was a man who perhaps only completely trusted himself in an atmosphere of paranoia, which is certainly not completely unreasonable. And at one point he did make a suggestion that he’d step aside from leadership of the party, allow some else to take over. But that never happened. And I think that was because, perhaps in his mind the control of the party and keeping the party in the hands of somebody who is genuine was perhaps more important than making sure that it had the strongest leadership that it could, at risk of perhaps employing people who we weren’t so sure of, or who hadn’t proved themselves so long over the years.

There were several instances, which really acted as quite acute issues for the decline of the party, one of them being Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time, which many, many were very critical of. And certainly, he could have done better. Also his dealings with the invitation he had to the Queen’s garden party, where Andrew Brons did what most politicians would always do, and that is just to go and be glad of being in attendance, whereas Nick likes to try to make politics perhaps where it shouldn’t have really been made.

It was my experience in the party that all too often people would come along who were of good quality, good caliber: experienced people that had built a business, or they were well qualified in a particular area, or they were just all round good eggs, and you could tell. And these people were often sidelined in favor of people who were much more likely to be just sort of blindly loyal to the leadership. So, one of the key lessons we’ll need to learn from this situation is that we really must allow people to flourish, and we must give responsibility and positions to the people who deserve those places. After all, we can’t do this alone. We need lots of high quality people doing their part, playing the part that they can play best.

There is a little more around the party itself that I think is worth understanding in this context and that is that in 1997 Tony Blair became the Prime Minister and ushered in a long period of time under New Labour. Nick Griffin also became leader of the BNP around that time. And it’s always been the case that radical Right-wing party will do well under a Left-wing government and not so well under a Conservative government. In 2010 David Cameron became Prime Minister, and really, it was in 2010 that the situation began to change away from success and towards failure. And I think that it’s worth bearing in mind that greater context. It was often said in the party that the greatest recruiter that we’ve ever had was Tony Blair. And the reason for that was that he was so hated, so hated — and he still is today, I’m glad to say.

Something also very interesting I believe is the willingness of the press to talk about immigration. I’ve got some friends in Sweden, and they tell me that there is just no popular press that will address the issue of immigration. In Britain though, it sells, and it’s on the front covers of newspapers. I’m sure you’ve all come across The Daily Mailonline, which is the biggest online newspaper in the English language I believe in the world. Now this website is absolutely huge, and even the paper copy is the most well-read newspaper in the country; and it will regularly run front page stories on very controversial subjects including immigration. The Daily Express is another newspaper that also does likewise, and they’ve really begun to step up these sensational headlines about this subject in or round about the turn of millennium. In or right around about the year 2000.

So the BNP kind of had its growth phase in a situation where we were being led by an incredibly unpopular socialist Left-wing politician who was flooding the country, literally flooding the country, with foreigners from the Third World and at the time when the popular press were addressing and stirring up peoples’ interest in this particular issue. And yet there was nobody to capitalize on that at all, apart from the BNP. UKIP did exist at that time, and I have been asked to speak a little bit about UKIP, which I will do presently.

One of the key problems I saw within the party as well was the inability of us to provide people with a suitable place within the structure of the movement. Often people would come along, and they would come to a meeting, maybe a few meetings, you get to know them a bit, realize they’re high caliber person, and there wasn’t really anything you could give to them. You couldn’t say: “This is the way that you can help the cause, thank you for coming, this is a place that we think you can fit in. Would you like to fill this place in our movement?”

And one of the things I’m going to be talking about a bit again today is the lack of broadness of the movement is a problem. Particularly in Britain it’s always been about a political party, and I believe that a political party is an important part of any solution to our problems. But it should not be the entirety of the solution. And that is what it really has become in Britain. Over here I think that you have a broader spectrum of movement, because being only about party politics is difficult, and I understand that.

It’s often been said that people’s impression of you is 70% how you look, 20% how you speak, and 10% what you say. And I think you can see that’s way politicians are selected these days. If we want to have people who can survive in these high-pressure, high-tension positions, we need to make sure that they tick these boxes. We need to make sure that they look good and that they speak well. And really, details of policy and manifesto decisions is something that isn’t particularly crucial.

Most of the time when I was involved in politics, the debates would about “should we be in favor of this, should we be against that, how much should we be against that, how should we define it.” Constantly trying to get that 10% of the important elements right and not focusing enough on the 70% or the 20%. Our message is our messenger. And I’m going to say that again, because I think this is absolutely crucial: Our message is our messenger.

In retrospect the way that the BNP used to go about things, and the way that I used to speak to people, I now feel was kind of lazy. You know we’d say: “We want to bring back National Service. We want to give our young people more confidence. We want to give them new skills. We would change the schools. Life under our party with our policies would make your life better. So vote for us.” But, that doesn’t usually work in the real work, does it? I mean, if you go to your employer and you say: “You know, you give some money now. And I’ll do the job later.” It’s not going to work.

Something I talk to people about is the Aryan mindset. Now I know that the “Aryan” word has connotations to it, but I kind of like it, because someone told that it means “noble” – and I think that’s what we all are trying to live up to — we try to be noble people. I think a noble person goes about the things rather differently. I think that the ambitions that we have need to be drawn from a different angle. I think that we need to lead by example. I think that we need to create now. Show people what we can do. Show them the examples. Show them how the world can be different – led by us. And in doing so, then we can say to them: “Imagine what we could for you if you voted for us and you gave us money.” That’s the way around to do it, not the old way.

To give you bit more of the understanding of the current environment in the UK, there are numerous other groups that exist, including the old National Front, which existed before the BNP, and they’re still there. There is of course the group the English Defence League, which sometimes people often ask me about; there is another party led by Andrew Brons, who was the other BNP MEP, and that party is called British Democratic Party. So we have a kind of alphabet soup of small political parties that are still existing. Most of these really — however well-intentioned they might be — they may as well really not exist, because they are really hardly there. Something may come of it, and I’m sure that if anything can come of it, then people will be working towards that.

But really in the UK in the moment there is one group and one group only which is seeming to achieve anything, anything real and anything public, and that is the UK Independence Party – UKIP. Now this is a very controversial subject and something that is debated hotly amongst my friends all the time. “Can you trust UKIP? How staunch are they, really?” Because it is very, very hard to say. It’s hard to know what they’re doing to use as a reputational shield. You know, they sometimes have really cringe-worthy press conferences, where Nigel Farage hugs someone of every different race and gender, and you know, maybe stands there with a transgendered person as well, just to show how tolerant he is — it’s all very embarrassing. But if we could achieve the victory that we want to achieve and build the world we want to build — and we have to do that — then we just have to hold our noses and do it. But the question is: Is that really what they’re doing, or are they sincere?

I can’t really answer that, but I certainly want to say that I’m hopeful about what I’m seeing from the UK Independence Party. First and foremost, we’ve lived in a one party state almost as rigidly as you do here in the US. We have the Labour Party, we have the Conservative Party, and we have the Liberal Democratic Party. No party other than those three has ever won an election in Britain, going back hundreds of years, since they were created. It was always the Conservatives and the Liberals, and then in the early 20th century the Labour Party took over from the Liberals, and ever since then it’s been Labour Party or the Conservative Party or a mixture of those.

For the first time in the country’s history a non Lib-Lab-Con political party has won an election, and not just an election: a national and even super-national election, the European elections, beating the Conservatives in the second place. Now the irony of course is that UK Independence Party are the most well-known force against that Parliament so — you know — we voted in the people who don’t want to be there to be there. That’s down to them.

At the moment the talk is all about the general election. We have a general election coming up in May – only in a couple of weeks’ time. And we’re really discussing “Could they win?” And frankly, yes they could. The polls have been up and down, as high as 20%, and at the moment they seem to floating around 15% due to many attacks in the press, but they could win seats in Parliament – and that is hard, because we a “First-past-the-post” system in every constituency. And although they have 15% of the vote, they may end up with a 0% of the seats if they don’t enough votes in one area. But personally I find the idea of breaking the deadlock in politics in my country a good sign, and I hope that it is a stepping stone to stauncher things.

There is a great deal of potential in my country, and although I’m here to really to give bad news about the party I dedicated so much of my adult life to, I’m very positive about the things that could come. Public opinion polls show that 80% of British people want to see a complete or a near-complete stop to immigration into our country. That to me is a great sign. Something even more controversial which I was absolutely shocked about was I read in the poll that 25% of British people support forced repatriation of all immigrants — whether they were born in the country or not. I think we can work with that.

Our movement today is very divided, very lacking in so many areas. Really when you consider the parts that we have within our movement and you compare it to another group that isn’t really even particularly significant. I’d like to give you an example comparing it to the Mormon Church. I think about 1 to 1.5% of the US is Mormon. And members of the Mormon Church give 10% of their income before tax to the church. Yet they’re still a small minority and not particularly powerful group, right? But look at us. We are way, way down, multiple leagues down from there. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

But our movement could be so much more, and in the end I think that people are going to be much more receptive to things that are going to benefit them than something like a particular brand of religion.

What our movement should be like, and could be, like is a broad and all-encompassing network of aligned groups dedicated to people’s individual personalities – whether they are into being outdoors or whether they are studious and academic. Whether they are paleoconservatives or radical racialists. Whether they are scientific or whether they are religious or artistic. We need a group for every demographic, and that should be part of the network that we create as leaders of this movement. We need a place for everybody: when someone comes along with skills, they need a place, they need a home. And a one-size-fits-all solution for me is a non-starter.

I’d like for you all of to take a somber moment to examine your own commitment to this cause. I don’t think I need to stress to you the urgency and the life and death situation that we are in for our race and our culture. You should know that. But, realistically, how committed is each one of us to achieving the ends that we wish to achieve. And I’ll give you an example: if you have a pet dog, I found out that the average pet dog costs more than £100 — so probably $130 to $150 — per month. How many people here have a pet dog who is costing them more than they give to the cause? I’ll ask you all to ask yourselves that question. What about your cable TV subscriptions? What about if you’re smoker? Smoking is very expensive in the UK. Ten cigarettes a day could be very, very expensive per month. I think it’s something like £150 per month. I can count on my one hand the number of people that I know who give more than the £150 a month to saving their race and nation and culture.

So I’m going to say to you that the greatest problem that we have isn’t deciding the right ideology; it isn’t deciding the right group to support; it isn’t deciding the right name for a new political group that you’re going to create; it isn’t about your personal blog. The problem that we have is us. The problem that we have is that we say we are against liberalism, yet we continue to live the liberal lifestyle. Our money we pay in taxes to a government who are against us; we invest the money that we earn in pension funds that go into corporations that then hire foreign immigrants to come in and work and replace us. We watch television and we read newspapers that propagandize against us and brainwash our children against us.

So far we’ve chosen the comfortable liberal lifestyle over doing what’s necessary. And doing what’s necessary is hard. And when you look at our situation that we’re in, we must realize that we’re not committed enough. And everything is down onto us to become more committed, to do more. I know it’s easier said than done. And I might be able to get you excited about this now. But in the end you are going to go home, and the effect will wear off, perhaps.

So what we need to do as a movement to move towards greater commitment is to produce more value for the people within it. Just like they do in churches and other organizations, where there are regular social activities, regular activities of all different kinds, so that you’re part of an actual true community – not an annual conference that you come to, and you see your friend once a year. Not something that is intermittent.

We need a separate culture. And others have said this better than I will say, and I will leave that for others to put to you. But we need that separate culture. We need to start living like a different kind of people. We need to have an opting in.

Having a white skin is not what it’s about. You have to opt in to our community. You need to make the decision, what you care about most.

What we could do if we were committed . . . think of the things that we could do. We don’t have to say to people: “Imagine what our school system would be like if we were in charge.” What we should be doing is saying: “We are going to have our own school.”

We are not alive as a true community. We are in a kind of embryonic stage, where community could come from, where we are now. But there is a lot work to be done. What we need to work on is a broad base, a broad spectrum of different groups, catering to different peoples’ individual tastes and wants and personalities. And to that effect I have created several of these kinds of breakaway groups. And I’d like to say that BNP was quite good with this, although they didn’t particularly deliver very well. They had the Christian Council of Britain, which was a group — obviously — for Christians who were of traditional mindset in Britain. It was aligned to the party but not of the party. And there were other groups like the Solidarity Workers’ Union and other things like that. They had begun to broaden the movement beyond the political party. And I support that 100%, even if the way they did it in the end did not work particularly well.

Now I’d like to share with you the video from the Legion Martial Arts Group which I run. The idea of the group is to get people together and get them outside. Most of the people who come have never been involved in political parties, and they wouldn’t be interested in coming and sitting in the room, listening to talks. But, they are interested in coming out to the woods and learning how to defend themselves, learning how to build fires, to skin rabbits, and to do the things that their ancestors used to do — and in self-improvement, the message of our group really is based upon two quotes: one from Gandhi – “Be the change you wish see in the world.” – and also of Leo Tolstoy. “Many people dream of changing the world, few dream of changing themselves.” So let’s have a look at the video please.

Our next event is coming up in a couple of months and we’re looking to grow this every time. We’re getting people inquiring from all around the world actually, and one of the fighters in there was actually from Brazil.

My particular organization that I’m representing really is Western Spring and our website is and in there is “About Us” section where we have a series of quite lengthy articles which discuss the reasons why we believe that the way things were done in the past were unsuccessful and also why we believe that these other methods we advocate will be successful and it’s the only way of achieving what we wish to achieve. So I’d ask you to read those for more information if you’d like.

My lasting message to you really is that our message is our messenger. We need to lead by example. All too often I hear people saying about how fantastic we are; isn’t our average IQ so high? Yeah, that’s great. But what are we doing? We need to go out there and create; we need to go out there and live and produce things, like the people who we’d like to aspire to did. And first of all you have to overcome certain amount of individualism and your own particular taste. We have to start working as a group. There’s very little you can do on your own.

So now I’m going to make a plea to you to be tolerant. Try to tolerate each other, you know, however awful the person sitting next to you might be and however much you might not want to talk to him, try to be friends. Because in doing so, you may find that you can actually achieve something and really look back on that with pride.

This is not a hobby, this is a life, a life and death struggle. And my duty is to tell you that you aren’t doing enough. And that counts for me as well. I’m not doing enough. I’m not doing enough. But none of us are. We need to get serious, and I don’t want to just tell you off; I don’t want to just tell to get serious – I want to say: we need to discuss seriously why we aren’t committed enough. We need to decide what we need to do to make us committed. And personally I think it’s that community spirit. Because when I’ve been to different churches around the country, in my own country, and I’ve seen the spirit that they have, and the community feeling that they have, and the things that they can achieve together. To me, that’s what it’s based on. It’s very hard to give up something without having something to replace it. And in these kinds of situations they would say, “I don’t have a problem not drinking alcohol; I don’t have a problem fasting.” They are happy to pay their tithes of 20% or whatever to their church, because they have the Holy Spirit. And that’s what we need. We need our own spirit of the Aryan mindset, of the creator, of the great ancestor who we look to. We need to find that spirit and fill ourselves with that. And it’s not something that can be done once a year. This kind of thing needs to happen very regularly. It needs to be weekly. In fact it needs to be more than once a week. I think it’s got to be at least twice a week. We should have “church,” church for our cause, that is. Other church can be chosen at will.

I’d like to leave you with a quote from John Tyndall, who was the founder of the British National Party. I’ve carried this quote in my wallet for a number of years, and I’d like to share it with you as my close and then leave time for questions from you:

Today from out of the chaos and the ruin, wrought by the old politics, new men are rising. These new men of the new age are working nights and day across the land to forge the sinews of the movement, to which their lives and mine are dedicated. Above them they work, are the spirits of legions of mighty ancestors, whose bones lie at the bottom of the oceans and beneath the soil of five continents, where the men and women of our blood have borne the British flag and stamped the mark of British genius. Today we feel the voices of these past generations, calling down to us in sacred union — urging us to be worthy of their example and their sacrifice. To them we owe it, to fight on and to dare all, so that a great land and a great race may live again in splendor.

Thank you.

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