Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Paul Nuttall's 'Fairly Secret Army'

Older readers might recall the brilliant 1970s comedy The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. The show became famous for its savage satire on 1970s consumerism and what we used to call back then the 'rat race'. While on occasions - and very unusually for a sitcom - the show would stray into the political arena. I remember in one episode Reggie Perrin (played superbly by the late Leonard Rossiter) ruminated on the question of whether or not it was possible for a socialist government to be successful in a market economy (a question we on the left are arguably still wrestling with 4 decades on).

But the show's most striking foray into the world of politics came during a memorable exchange between Reggie and his brother-in law Jimmy. A former military man Jimmy was struggling to adapt to life on 'civvy street'. He frequently wore a regulation army sweater and peppered his conversation with military metaphors and phrases. Jimmy also held some extreme right wing view, basically regarding anyone to the left of Margaret Thatcher as a dangerous communist. And Jimmy's paranoid right wing take on life was superbly illustrated in this memorable exchange between Reggie and Himself.

Of course as amusing as this scene was it's important to remember that in Britain in the mid 70s there really were people around like Jimmy. The former SAS Commander David Stirling had formed the paramilitary group GB75, who's members included  a Jersey-based arms dealer, business leaders, civil servants, ex-soldiers and spies with links to the military  and people like Peter Wright in the intelligence services. While another 'private army' - Civil Assistance - was set up by the British General Sir Walter Walker. And we now know of course there were real and advanced plans to stage a coup against Harold Wilson's labour government of the 1970s

Meanwhile Jimmy's paranoid right wing character proved such a hit with audiences he would go on to enjoy his own comedy series 'Fairly Secret Army'. A series based in part on the private armies set up by the likes of Stirling and Walker.

Seen through contemporary eyes it's not very hard to see similarities between Jimmy's reactionary and alarming opinions and many of those in Ukip, and i don't think there's any doubt as to which side Jimmy would have been on during the EU referendum campaign. Indeed it's very likely that even as i type 'Jimmy' would be trying to set up another 'fairly secret army' to deal with 'remoaners' ie people who wanted the UK to remain in the EU and who have now apparently replaced 'communists' as the the greatest threat to 'the british way of life' among paranoid right wing fantasists.

All of which makes the statement made by Paul Nutter - er sorry i mean Nuttall - following his election as UKIP leader all the more disturbing, with Nuttall telling a journalist he would be 'coming after Remainers''

What then are we to make of Nuttall's extraordinary threat? (as a threat it surely is). Can those of us who campaigned to stay in the EU during the referendum expect to be accosted on the street or in our homes by balaclava clad right wing paramilitary gangs and bundled into the backs of vehicles never to be seen again? I think Nutter er sorry i mean Nuttall owes us all an explanation, and in light of the awful fate visited on Jo Cox by a right wing paramilitary surely an apology too.


  1. Something very odd about that Jo Cox business. Not only her murder but also the immediate reaction of her husband and her political colleagues. Was she a lamb marked out for slaughter by her own side in an ill-fated attempt to sway the referendum vote?

    Surely I can't be the only one who is still struggling to fit all the pieces together.

  2. You are entitled to your opinion Anon but the facts in this case do seem quite straight forward. Her murderer Thomas Mair was a long time associate of Neo Nazi groups who killed his local MP because of - among other things - her support for Britain's membership of the EU.

    Also im afraid there is no evidence her murder impacted on peoples voting intentions in the referendum.

    There are anon certainly instances where political killings would seem to be the result of conspiracies - the deaths of JFK, his brother bobby and Olaf Palme all spring to mind spring to mind in this respect. But to suggest Jo Cox's murder was the result of some grand conspiracy by people in the leave campaign does i'm afraid defy belief.

  3. ' ... to suggest Jo Cox's murder was the result of some grand conspiracy by people in the leave campaign does i'm afraid defy belief.'

    But this isn't what I suggested. I suggested her murder was the result of some grand conspiracy by the REMAIN campaign.

    Hopefully others can shed further light.