If you’ve picked up a newspaper or turned on the radio in the past week, you might have heard about Martyn Heale. He’s Ukip’s branch chairman and election agent in South Thanet – the constituency where one Nigel Farage hopes to be elected an MP next May. He’s also, you’ll probably have heard, a former National Front activist. As nice a little story as this is, it’s not news – it’s been public knowledge for some time. What might concern you more, and what none of the recent reports seem to have noticed, is that as recently as October, he was still defending the violent racist organisation.
This was revealed by James Meek in an epic report on “Farageland” in the London Review of Books. Meek met Heale and asked him about his past in the NF. “In view of Ukip’s insistence that it isn’t a racist party, I thought Heale might be defensive, or embarrassed, about being a member of the NF in 1978,” Meek writes. “To my surprise, he came to its defence.” Heale was clear enough: “There’s been an attempt by many people to associate the National Front with the far right. But that’s not fair, that’s not true. It was a bit of a social club. Initially the National Front was just a group of retired people and soldiers.” Continue reading