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The Courting of Agriculture by Fascists – a lesson from history.

Updated: Jun 2

Evil white Facscist bastard Oswald Mosely accompanied by British Nazis in black shirts and onlookers
Oswald Mosley and his Black Shirt Fascists outside the Wisbech Hippodrome where he gavea talk on agriculture in 1934

In the 1930’s Oswald Mosely and his Fascists courted the farmers of East Anglia for their support. Perhaps as you read this you may consider the need for vigilance against this evil.

World War 1 had accelerated the progress of American industry and agriculture into a globally dominant position that saw them enjoy a boom until the crash of 1929. In the same post war period Britain had experienced no boom. Rather it endured prolonged industrial decline and unemployment  coupled with an agricultural depression. The depression in agriculture saw smallholders and cottagers end up in workhouses in South Lincolnshire and some land left derelict. 1931 saw a brief minority Labour government fail and the formation of the first of a series of National coalition government formed by Ramsey McDonald. As such the National Government was able to draw upon experience and talent across all parties and develop a plan for the country.

The twin socialist evils of Fascism and Communism exploit deprivation and fear to further their agendas. Mosely was no different and sought to gain a foothold with the unemployed and also with struggling farmers. What made the Fascists attractive to some was the feeling that they were being put first. Some of the slogans will chime today and perhaps those chimes should ring a warning:

Food first.

No food without farmers.

British food first.


Home food only.

Fair pay for farmers.

Nutritious British food for all.

Produce local food.

All these slogans from the time sound noble and the Fascist policy was to concentrate on the increased production and modernization of agriculture focusing land use upon water, forestry and farming, with farming using primarily organic methods to ensure both self-sufficiency and best use of limited resources. It recognized that even British food was increasingly relying upon imported fertilizer, fuel and machinery. By August 1934 the British Union of Fascists were intending to have a Fascist candidate contest the Holland Division and these were the words of their spokesman Captain A.V. Collier:

“ We are concerned in this district with the agricultural industry. We do not come as politicians do and make you all sorts of promises; we are here to tell you exactly what we think about the situation and about your own industry in particular. Fascism says there will be no sacrifice of the agricultural industry; it shall be no longer considered as the Cinderella of industry. It shall have its opportunities, because we believe that a prosperous countryside is the very basis of our national revival which must be brought about. Today we find that our land is becoming more and more derelict; that farmers , the best of our race, are finding it increasingly difficult to earn their living, although they have placed their all in the land; we find them denied the chance of employing the agricultural labourer or giving the labourer in employment a reasonable wage.

It is impossible for a depressed industry such as agriculture to give better wages to the farm labourer. We agree the wages are scandalous; that it is impossible for the farm labourer to live at all in decency to get any real return for his energy and labour; but we say to farmers: ‘You shall have your chance under Fascism in Britain.’ The farmer will be told to double his production, and he will be given a market for his produce. In return, the Blackshirt Government will rigidly exclude from the shores of Britain the entry of foreign foodstuffs to which the British housewife is compelled to turn, because with depleted purchasing power she has no alternative but to buy cheap foreign food. We must place our own interests before the interests of other nations. It is our duty and responsibility to deal with our own situation, to put our house in order, to raise the purchasing power of our people, to build up a home market which will replace the foreign market which is contracting almost to vanishing point so much so that we will soon have to turn to some other planet if we want a market. It means dearer food, but the policy of the National Government (the coalition) also means dearer food, but at the same time there is no machinery for the raising of wages. It is another way of reducing your wages; it is a suicidal way, because it puts your own people out of employment and brings the farmer into the bankruptcy court. Under Fascism you pay more for your food, but get increasing purchasing power. There will be no holding to ransom of one section of the community for the benefit of the few.”

The words demonstrate the power of oratory, but also hid lies. He went on in the speech to say “Fascism means no dictatorship!” He omitted that farmers that did not farm as the state required would lose their land to be reallocated to more compliant farmers. He also failed that it was a clear Fascist policy to unite Europe and have a united Europe exploit African land for the benefit of food of Europeans. Along with abolishing the House of Commons, these were clear policies stated by Fascists in Britain and the rest of Europe. In contrast the National Government sought trade agreements and low levels of protectionism that were to hold it in good stead approaching the Second War.

It is to the credit of local farmers that attendance of these meetings tended to be low, in the scores rather than the hundreds. But some did attend and in both this pre-War period and even after the War we saw some  local farmers and Councillors of South Holland and even NFU officials espouse  Mosely’s Fascist policies.

The MP for Horncastle, Henry Haslam and Carrington farmer Mr. T. J. Ward called out the Fascists for what they were, a pretentious evil feeding false promises. But the pressures that gave farmers the ear of the Fascist are present in 2024 and we should be forever vigilant.

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