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“…The Unmentionable Life Of Arnold Spencer Leese” — reviewed

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

Ask anyone in these  islands who was Britain’s most notorious fascist, and most people who know something about history will answer Oswald Mosley.

Ask who was its most notorious anti-Semite, and you’ll probably get the same answer. Both are wrong.

Mosley is usually regarded as the founder of British fascism, but he wasn’t that either. The founder of the first British fascist party, the British Fascisti, was the eccentric Miss Lintorn-Orman, although as one historian pointed out, she imported the name and very little else from Italy. At that time, 1923, Mosley was a mainstream politician. And he was never an anti-Semite, although some would argue that his use of anti-Semitism after the Jewish establishment turned against him, was worse. For those who want to read an objective biography of Sir Osward, Robert Skidelsky’s Oswald Mosley is excellent. So if not Mosley, who was Britain’s most notorious anti-Semite?

There can be only one candidate for that, Mosley contemporary Arnold Leese.  Leese is a fascinating character, so fascinating in fact that there have been no fewer than three full length dissertations written about him, but to date the only book dedicated to his life and work has been his off-beat autobiography Out Of Step. Until now. Troy Southgate is a man of many talents, and has never been afraid to go where others venture only with trepidation if at all. In this book, he dispenses with ad hominem and the usual narratives to explore what made Leese tick, relying heavily on the words of the man himself.

While many politicians tell people what they want to hear, Leese told them what he thought they needed to hear. The early life of Arnold Leese was relatively free of politics; it was only after World War One, which he alluded to rightly as the first great slaughter, that he looked around for answers, and found the Jew. If it sounds simplistic or even absurd for intelligent people to blame all the evils of the world on a plot carried out by mysterious Jews behind the scenes, the reader should take a look at some of the fantasies currently being peddled in our universities – the great white supremacist conspiracy – the one that is importing untold numbers of non-white immigrants into America and Europe. Or the patriarchy, that fantasy so beloved of privileged and often talentless women who claim this ancient male conspiracy has sought to keep the fair sex “in their place” throughout history rather than protect them from a world in which every ruler feared a dagger in his back and in which all the dangerous work was performed by men.

Nor were such men simpletons; Leese himself was a distinguished veterinary surgeon whose textbook on the diseases of the one-humped camel was a standard work in India for half a century.

In his book, Troy Southgate traces the development of Leese’s stream of political thought from his introduction to the notorious Protocols Of Zion through the formation of the  Imperial Fascist League, his views on finance, many other subjects, and his three trials, the first being the most notorious, for thought crime, that resulted in the conviction of Leese and his printer, though for the lesser offence  of public mischief rather than seditious libel. His second trial was for harbouring German POWs after the Second World War, and again resulted in his imprisonment, something he appears to have been rather proud of.

His third trial was for criminal libel on the Police Commissioner, and resulted in his acquittal.

Leese was also detained during the Second World War under the notorious 18b regulation, this in spite of his rejection of Hitler after the invasion of Norway, something he regarded as sacrilege.

Southgate does not neglect the early career of the man either; had Leese died young, he would have been remembered only for his veterinary work. In the PREFACE to the 1986 book The Camel in Health and Disease, the Editor points out: “Many clinicians still rely on the comprehensive works of Leese (1927) or Curasson (1947)” – this is far from his most recent citation.

…The Unmentionable Life Of Arnold Spencer Leese” is published by Black Front Press.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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