Alan Clark, the Tory MP who died in 1999, is often portrayed as an eccentric, lovable rogue. Everyone agrees he was lecherous, rude and arrogant. But the general view is that his diaries are tremendous achievements, and that he himself was cheeky but irresistible.
The second volume of Clark’s diaries recently came out in paperback. They reveal, even more explicitly than the earlier book, that he was an obscenely rich racist who wanted the Nazis to prosper in modern Britain. His very first speech after he was selected as an MP in 1972 was racist. ‘The Tory party should capitalise on the public outcry against the coming influx of Ugandan Asians and ban all further coloured immigration,’ he said. In private he was far worse.
Enoch Powell was a racist rabble rouser, notorious for predicting in 1968 that immigration would lead to ‘rivers of blood’. Clark thought Powell was ‘quite wonderful’, with ‘his living and incomparable patriotism’. But Clark went far further than backing Powell. At a dinner party he was asked if he was a vegetarian. He replied, ‘Yes, like the FŸhrer. He was ahead of his time in that as in so many other things like the genetic need for racial purity.’
Clark was interviewed by Frank Johnson of the Times in 1981. The diary reads, ‘Yes, I told him I was a Nazi. I really believed it to be the ideal system, and that it was a disaster for the Anglo-Saxon races and for the world that it was extinguished. I was completely committed to the whole philosophy. ‘The blood and the violence was an essential ingredient of its strength, the heroic tradition of cruelty.’ Clark more than once flirted with the idea of leaving the Tories and becoming a Nazi National Front MP.
He liked the NF thugs. ‘Earlier at my surgery two real NF members had come in for a chat. I thought how good they were and how brave is the minority who still keep alive the tribal essence.’ When his constituency association worried about the NF taking votes from the Conservatives, Clark was able to reassure his supporters:
‘There won’t be an NF candidate against me because they know I’m the nearest thing they’re ever likely to get to an MP.’ Clark was not just a Nazi-lover. He also hated those who might grab some of his extreme wealth.
In 1974 he was ‘gloomy about constant encroachment on parkland by public, growing tendency to think ‘amazing for one person to have so much land’. ‘I evicted three young persons this afternoon who went off shouting leftish slogans.’
Clark was not at all a marginal figure. He became an MP, was promoted to be minister for trade, and then lifted again to be a defence minister. He was consulted by people at the highest levels of the Tory party and emerged as one of its leading spokesmen during the Falklands War of 1982.
He was admired by many fellow MPs, including some Labour Party members. This book reveals with great clarity the people who are tolerated at the top of the Tory party. It shows the brutality and class hatred of the rich. It is a whisper of what the enemy say when they are not minding their words.
A quietly evocative film
Remaining true to Egypt’s revolution
A photo book that captures a fashion revolution
Shadow of #MeToo hangs over new BBC thriller