Despite its left-wing credentials, Manchester has some shady political connections. The most infamous figure in British fascist history was Oswald Mosley, 1930s leader of the British Union of Fascists. But he was also the 6th Baronet Mosley of Ancoats, no less, whose ancestors had been the lords of the manor of Manchester for hundreds of years.
Mosley often visited Manchester and would usually meet his deputy, William Joyce, who became the war-time traitor “Lord Haw-Haw”, at the Midland Hotel, a building the Nazis tried to avoid bombing during the second world war as they expected to capture the city and place their top brass therein once they had turned Manchester into a fascist city.
The fascists’ ’30s HQ was in Northumberland Street, Broughton, now, wonderfully, a yeshiva – a Jewish school.
But surely all that is in the long distant past and no fascist activity could happen here any more? Well, let’s not forget that Nick Griffin is an elected political representative in Manchester who won a local seat for the European Parliament in 2009 standing on a fascist platform.
“No Pasaran – they shall not pass” was the anti-fascist rallying cry in the 1930s and it’s still needed now.