2006-09-19 19:02:13 UTC
By John G. Wood
Good times and bad times.
Local elections were given a prominent place in all branches and I well
remember my first introduction to them.
As Branch Leader, I was expected to set an example and after a brief word of
encouragement from my regional boss, I was persuaded to stand in my own
ward. The encouragement, if I recall, was something like "I've got your
nomination papers.. Go and get them filled!" Frank Hamley again!
I found this new experience exciting and the night after I had become an
official candidate, another member and I went out and I painted my first
wall! The fact that we had to paddle across a river to get to the wall
didn't dampen our resolve. We were spotted leaving the scene by a police
patrol and I found myself riding pillion on a small motor scooter with no
lights at two in the morning! We weren't caught, however; I think the police
were after bigger fish that night! We had used a rubberised road-marking
paint which one of the members had obtained and my companion, on looking at
our slogans said to me, "That will still be around for your children to
see." Little did we both realize that it would be still visible for my
grandchildren to see!
As I have said, it was my first election and when the press approached me, I
gladly gave them an interview baring my very soul in order to put the
message across. Silly, very silly! In those days I was naïve enough to trust
them! You won't be very surprised when I tell you that what I said to the
press was nothing on earth to that which was subsequently printed.
Although I didn't get the most votes in that particular poll, at least I
beat the communist candidate and I reckoned that was victory indeed. I stood
for election quite a few times after that; older, wiser and completely
distrustful of any reporter! My wife also stood as a U.M. candidate several
times; on one occasion, she was seven months pregnant! She was the first
woman to stand as a nationalist candidate since before the war and the first
to stand for either the BUF or UM.
These were good times; what happened next was certainly for me, a very bad
time. I had been campaigning for an election while on holiday from work.
When I returned, I was summoned into the Managing Director's office who told
me that my career prospects in the company were nil and that I had better
start looking for another job. I didn't give the man the satisfaction of
firing me; I quit. This situation repeated itself later three more times.How
could I fight for wrongful dismissal? Go to the Trade Union? I would have
been as popular as a pork pie at a Bar Mitzvah!
In 1961, we fielded eleven candidates in the local elections. We booked the
City Hall for a pre-election rally where OM spoke in Sheffield for the first
time since the war. The great day of the meeting came and we were supported
by a coach-load of London members. The meeting was reasonably quiet for
Sheffield where anyone to the right of Lenin was considered to be the Devil
incarnate! I found myself standing against Councillor Enid Hattersley, the
mother of Roy Hattersley, the Labour MP. She was a formidable dragon of a
woman and she stalked out as soon as I began my speech at the end of the
election count. I didn't do too badly as a matter of fact. I got a very
flattering 620 votes (22%) in a straight fight, as only Labour and the UM
I remember OM and I were crossing London one day from a meeting at the Great
Eastern Hotel adjacent to the railway terminal. We had to get over to the
headquarters in Vauxhall Bridge Road. OM strode out into the middle of the
taxi-rank, pulled open a door and got in. He shouted Wood! In here! (He
never used first name terms with anyone) I went to the cab and was hailed by
jeers and mutterings. We had jumped the queue and it was a big one! OM never
batted an eyelid. He looked at me and said "That's one fault the English
have got. They invented the bloody queue!"
A couple of years later, Jeffrey Hamm told me that OM was in the habit of
doing this regularly! That was OM though. Even in his sixties, he had the
charisma and panache of a man half his age. Men respected him for it; women
At one meeting, a member of the conservative Party asked him "If you saw a
little jewish baby in a pram, would you discriminate against it?" OM
replied, "Of course not, I'd wait until he grew up and was putting his hand
in my pocket. Then I would expose him for what he was!"
After one meeting in Sheffield, I had the honour of entertaining the Leader
at home after inviting him for a meal. Again, my old friend Frank was there
with us. This was the first of two visits to my home by the Leader. For many
years afterwards, the chair that O.M. used at the table was regarded by
fellow members with awe and pride. To be invited to sit on it was an offer
reserved for the elite few! That chair is about sixty years old now and the
seat has been recovered a couple of times since that memorable day. It is
well past its sell-by date and is currently in the spare bedroom at home but
it is referred to as O.M.s chair even to this day! That was a very good
A little time later, the leader reciprocated and we were invited to dinner
at Cliveden Court, his town flat in Maida Vale. Lady Diana and he made us
very welcome and it was an enjoyable evening.
An interesting note here. When John Tyndall came to us for a meal in the 80s
after we had been sharing a platform in Sheffield, we brought out the old
chair for him to sit on. He wondered why we had given him the oldest chair
at the table but after we had explained that the last nationalist leader to
sit in that chair had been OM, he said that he felt most honoured!
Very recently, we entertained the Sheffield BNP branch leader and his
daughter to dinner. The daughter is well-known on the BNP circuit as a very
able and talented speaker even though she is still only 15 years old. My
wife, to commemorate the occasion, prepared an almost identical meal to the
one she had prepared for OM forty-five years earlier!
Since those days, I have been a member of other parties and supported
similar organisations abroad. I have spoken at countless meetings up and
down the country and met with many political leaders. I have never, however,
found anyone to compare with the greatest of these leaders, O.M. and I know
that I never will. It is said that A.K. Chesterton's last words in his
biography, Portrait of a Leader, "Hail Mosley; patriot and leader of men,"
epitomised him. A description of him to me by an old fellow member, Fred
Bailey, now deceased unfortunately, said it all in just one word:
"Incorruptible!" Let that be his epitaph.
"There is only one start you can make, and that is a start toward being
England. A refusal to be a province of Israel, or an outpost of