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The political ideology of the far right has largely been associated with totalitarianism, anti-communism and ultra-nationalism. Many groups of the far right have also adopted (or tacitly approved of) anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic or racist creeds, which have stimulated the involvement in hate crimes by their supporters. Although far right regimes were established in Italy under Benito Mussolini (1921), Germany under Adolf Hitler (1933) and Spain under Francisco Franco (1939) during the interwar period in Europe, British democracy was never seriously threatened by politically extreme movements. Yet, the growth and activism of some far right movements has caused concerns from a public order perspective and has subsequently helped influence British law.

While early groups such as the British Fascisti and the Imperial Fascist League had harnessed some support, it was not until Sir Oswald Mosley formed the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932 that a government response became necessary. Like the other fascist movements in Britain that were inspired by Mussolini, the BUF also adopted the Blackshirt uniform. By 1934, BUF membership was estimated at 40,000 and their members organised public meetings and uniformed processions across the country (Thurlow, 2009). Although under instruction from Mosley to obey the law, members frequently provoked and engaged in disorder. Furthermore, anti-fascist movements were also formed in some communities and they interrupted far right activism with heckles, singing and stone throwing. Many of the anti-fascist movements had links with the Communist Party of Great Britain.

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