Fascism and Constitutional Conflict. Loughlin, James (9781800854765). Paperback.

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This work makes an original and important contribution both to the field of British fascist/extreme Right studies and to the Ulster question. Given that British fascism was a phenomenon of the inter-war period, first making its appearance shortly after the Irish question had been constitutionally settled by the creation of the Irish Free State and the autonomous entity of Northern Ireland, it has been understandable that British historians should focus chiefly on developments in Britain. In the process, however, Northern Ireland as a site of fascist interest and activity has been largely overlooked; yet it engaged the attention of all the significant fascist movements, from Rotha Lintorn-Orman’s British Fascists and Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists to the less significant Imperial Fascist League in the inter-war period, Mosley’s Union Movement in the post-war period and the National Front and British National Party during the period of the Troubles, together with smaller formations thereafter. In focusing on Northern Ireland, this study provides insights into the strengths and weaknesses of British fascist organisations throughout the twentieth century. It also demonstrates that the region was an extremely difficult terrain for those organisations to cultivate, whether they were supportive of nationalism/republicanism or Unionism/loyalism.


‘[A] lively and stimulating survey… This saga is expertly detailed by Loughlin, whose focus on Enoch Powell indicates one route to far-right success in the North: become a unionist.’
Niall Meehan, History Ireland
'Very well-researched and well-written, this is an original study that breaks new ground.'
Professor Nigel Copsey, Teesside University

'Building upon his established expertise on Ulster political history, Loughlin examines the succession of far-right parties with roots in Britain.... [He] explores the fascinating dynamic between Mosleyite appeals to Catholic communities in Britain and analysis of the north'
James Greer, Irish Historical Studies

'This is a comprehensive, well-written and lively account of the British far-right's interest in Northern Ireland [discussing] organisations such as the British Fascists, the Ulster Fascists, the Union Movement, the National Front, the British National Party and Combat-18.  [Loughlin's] fine book… makes useful reading for anyone observing the emergence of… toxic politics in Ireland today.'
Brian Hanley, Saothar

‘[Fascism and Constitutional Conflict] corrects simplistic assessments of the relationship between British fascism and Northern Ireland. In bridging these discrete historiographies, Loughlin has provided an original and valuable contribution to both.’
English Historical Review


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