When Britain became the first major western democracy to decriminalise homosexuality in 1967, it was only after decades of political and social upheaval that the white supremacist movement had begun to gain traction.
But the tide was changing.
It was in 1977, just a few months after Britain’s parliament passed a law allowing the use of condoms in public places, that the country’s white supremacist underground became the dominant force in British society.
“The rise of white supremacist ideology was a political reaction to the British political turmoil and the end of the Cold War,” says Jonathan Bloch, an expert on the British white supremacist scene at Lancaster University.
In Britain, the white supremacists were known as “nazis”, meaning “those who hate Jews, Muslims, homosexuals and other minorities”.
They were known for their brutal, anti-Semitic and anti-immigration campaigns and their refusal to accept that black people were capable of holding jobs or contributing to society.
Bloch says the rise of Britain’s right-wing right-leaning community is due to two factors: the arrival of immigrants, who have been drawn to Britain by the benefits of free labour and the success of the country as a manufacturing centre, and the arrival in the 1970s of the first British Muslims.
“There was a sense of migration into the country, and an increasing tolerance of other cultures,” Bloch said.
“These were the people who were most receptive to white supremacists and were most likely to be radicalised.”
As far back as 1974, the British National Party (BNP) had begun using the slogan “Britain first” to describe its views on race and immigration.
Its founder, Ian Black, who died in 1998, would become one of the architects of the modern white supremacist state, which, he said, was “not a white country, it is an Islamic one”.
“I believe that we are heading towards a time when we will not only be in danger of destroying our civilisation but we will be destroying our own society,” he said.
Black went on to create the BNP, which merged with the National Front in 1987.
But as the party grew, the rise in anti-Semitism and racism became so intense that it threatened to turn British society into a “parallel universe”, Bloch told the BBC.
“They saw the coming of a new dark age and they thought that it would be a good time to try to take over.”
“The Nazis and the far right are now the main political parties in Britain,” he says.
The rise of the white nationalists and their political allies, known as the “alt-right”, has had a profound impact on the way in which Britain deals with issues like racism and anti–Semitism. “
Britain is now a sort of laboratory for the global neo-Nazi movement, and we need to get to grips with that.”
The rise of the white nationalists and their political allies, known as the “alt-right”, has had a profound impact on the way in which Britain deals with issues like racism and anti–Semitism.
And it has been an important factor in the rise and fall of many right-winger politicians, including the current prime minister, Theresa May, who was once described by Bloch as “the worst leader Britain has had in decades”.
Bloch believes the rise to power of the alt-right has had far-reaching implications.
“I think it has had an effect on the political system and on how it functions, in that we have seen people who have a particular view of what the government is doing in the country become the face of the party,” he told BBC News.
“We have seen the rise now of an alt-lite, and they’re very much into the alt right, so it’s very much the alt left that is now being legitimised.” “
And the rise has been fuelled by the economic downturn and the rise – in Britain and around the world – of Islamic extremism. “
We have seen the rise now of an alt-lite, and they’re very much into the alt right, so it’s very much the alt left that is now being legitimised.”
And the rise has been fuelled by the economic downturn and the rise – in Britain and around the world – of Islamic extremism.
“It is no longer just the racist right, it’s the far-right right that is being legitimized,” Bloc says.
While the far left has also experienced a resurgence, it has not yet been as large a factor in Britain as in the United States.
“In the United Kingdom, the far leftist, anti–immigrant right is still the main force,” Blok says.
The British neo-fascist movement started as a group of white supremacists who felt marginalized in Britain, he says, and had been driven underground by the countrys political turmoil.
“But after the war ended, there was a change in the culture and society and the way things were organised.
And people wanted to have a voice and a voice was given to the far white supremacist right,” Bluch says.
And now, in Britain’s current political climate, Bloch thinks the alt media is the new political mainstream.
“This is where people are going