Q1 – Hi, can you Introduce yourself to people reading this
NB – Hi, I’m Nigel Bromage and I’m a former far-right activist. I am the co-founder of Exit UK, which was established in 2017 with the aim of supporting people to leave the far right if they want to and help them to rebuild their lives. Exit also supports families with a loved one involved as well, as families also need support.
Q2 – What drove you to do this, it’s a big task.
NB – You are right, what was I thinking…
Honestly, I just wanted to help people in the far-right understand that they can leave, and life can be good.
Leaving the far-right, like leaving any extremist organisation, is not easy. It took me years to finally walk away. I stayed for as long as I did not because I believed in the ideology anymore, but because I just didn’t know or understand how to leave and what to do after.
When I finally decided to leave and walk away, everyone I knew, my entire world, only existed within the far-right bubble, and by walking away everything and I mean everything, just ceased. Leaving meant saying goodbye to more than just my friends. It meant leaving my job, my home and it meant starting again from scratch, and that’s really scary when you have always had a support network there for you, but it had to be done for my own sanity and safety.
Being honest it was the starting again from scratch that terrified me. It’s not like being a member of an extremist group pays well. Every penny I earnt went towards the cause. I even left my first wife because she asked me to choose between her and the cause and because I (wrongly) thought I was a soldier fighting a war, I put the cause first.
I suppose having been through it, knowing how hard it is and how people judge you by your past drove me to develop Exit UK with others and it still continues to drive me. Knowing others are going through the same struggle, formers understand how tough it is and this is why we want to support others to leave and get a better life, away from extremism, because this not only helps them, but it also creates a safer society, something we all want. To make sure people understand this and it’s really important, there are people right now, who want to leave the far-right but don’t know how. With the right support Exit know these people can be helped. But it has to be non-judgemental, long-term and be available when people need it.
Q3- Wow, that’s a lot for one question. What initially led you to get involved in the far-right?
NB – Initially, it was my hatred for the IRA. I saw people getting blown up and killed in the news and it sickened me. Being a proud Brummie, it made me angry and so when someone gave me a leaflet at my school gates, from an anti-IRA group, I felt like I had found my mission. I joined the group who had written the leaflet and initially I felt like I had joined a group of people I could relate to and they were doing a good thing, standing up to the IRA/Terrorism, but it was much deeper than that.
Q4 – What was it like when you first joined.
NB – Exciting, you were standing up for a cause, you were against extremism and fighting to stop people getting hurt and killed. It felt like we were doing something -while others were letting the IRA get away with murder, literally.
In reality, all we were doing was recruiting the vulnerable and lost to fight and cause arguments and trouble with people we saw as IRA supporters.
Q5 – How did your ideas develop?
NB – I went on from being just anti-IRA to joining the National Front (NF). Initially, I would never have joined them, but it was explained to me by the people who had recruited me into the anti-IRA group that the NF was actually pro worker, pro British and was the only voice out there for ordinary people, as the major parties didn’t care. They advocated British Jobs for British Workers and at the time three million people where unemployed, so it was a big issue. They stood against the Youth Training Scheme, an idea that both sides of the political spectrum were against. This helped me to settle into the NF, as I had been brought up by my parents to fight for worker’s rights, as they were socialists and union reps.
Q6 – What did you do?
NB – When I was a foot soldier in the NF, I was a bit of a maverick. I took part in paper sales, leafleting, stickering, attended meetings and went on marches. There were times when it was both exciting and boring. The local stuff didn’t achieve much, but it was great going away to different places. I was a working class lad and seeing different cities, with a group of people was fun.
Over time I got more involved, I branched out and started to get involved in the FR music scene. I helped to set up a Rock Against Communism band, called the After Births. Initially electro-punk, it later became Buzzard Bait and then more skinhead, playing gigs producing demo tapes etc, we had one track, People of the Lion on No Surrender Vol, 1.
Q7- Why did you leave the NF?
NB – A few reasons, but primarily I thought that trying to win elections was a waste of time. I didn’t like the way it was heading and found myself spending more time with the people talking about the need to be more militant. This led to me looking elsewhere. In my day you had to write a letter to the groups you want to join and then wait for a reply. Once I received some information back from a few groups, The British Movement (BM) seemed like a good home for me, they didn’t believe in elections, they were focused on long-term development and openly National Socialist. By this time, trapped in the bubble of hate, my views had hardened, and I had embraced National Socialism (Nazism) as my ideology, and I was prepared to fight for it. This I couldn’t do in the NF, so I left.
Q8 – What was it like in the BM?
NB – This is where things started to get serious. I became engrossed in it. Birmingham built up an active branch, and we went about making a name for ourselves. We sold papers in Birmingham city centre, covering the city in propaganda and even started our own newsletter Europe Awake. Things grew, and I became the West Midlands Organiser. I extended things to other cities which led to a fair amount of confrontations. Including ones with other nationalist groups, who didn’t like the BM becoming bigger and more influential. This was a bit of a shock, but the reality of far-right politics. Everyone wanted to be the biggest and the best.
Q9 – Why did you leave the BM?
NB – The BM supported a United Ireland; I never could, as I felt it was a betrayal of all those who had fought the IRA. It always bothered me, so when other National Socialists decided to set something else up, I got in touch. Advocating unity and action it seemed like an ideal home, I wanted all the hardcore Nazis in the UK to come together and become the most militant group ever. C18 (Combat 18) gave me this and after a while I and others joined from the BM, becoming West Midlands C18.
Phoenix Society produced hundreds of tapes.
Here are some examples of those we sold
Q10 – There has been some talk about how people have questioned your past, how do you feel about this?
NB – Everyone has the right to think what they like. People sometimes struggle because I can’t produce membership cards or photos. When I was involved, I did everything I could to hide my identity. No photos, always using false names and I would often not use the organisation’s name I was in, typically using the Phoenix Society as a cover, something we used throughout my involvement in various groups.
Being a Nazi in Birmingham was tough and the fewer people that knew, the better. You didn’t want the Police to know what you were up to, the Left to know who you were or where you lived and the less people from different ethnicities know the better, as I worked with the ethos – Operate like an iceberg, only let the tip show. This was something I had learned from an old British Movement organiser, it made sense and worked. I never thought I would be doing what I am now. So, when I left the far right, what I hadn’t destroyed while I was in the movement, I destroyed on leaving as I didn’t want anything to come back and haunt me in the future. People have to understand, membership cards, certificates, photos etc all aligned you to an ideology most people hate National Socialism (Nazism), so keeping things that affiliate you to this ideology is dangerous and we always taught people don’t keep anything and if you did, keep it at someone else’s house, not yours.
I understand, this might be difficult to understand, but the reality of the time is, the last thing you want to do as a far-right activist, is to go to prison, as you are ae hated, so doing things like this lessen the risk. Finally, if people do look, there are bits there and I do use some, but not all, as I do feel a lot of remorse when I look back at the things I did and said, but you have to own it and say – That was me then – This is me now and let people make their own minds up.
Q11 – Why did you leave the Far Right?
NB – That’s a biggie. In the end, I lost faith in the ideology as I began to see a lot of things I didn’t like – lots of violence, family break up’s, alcoholism and much, much more. I started to think about why I had joined – to stop terrorism and violence, yet in the end, I had become a believer that violence was the only way forward and that’s wrong.
The reality of involvement in the far-right is very different from the message the far-right put out. They promote the idea that when you join the far-right you are defending your family, women and children, your nation, saving your culture and it can all sound very noble, but the reality was very different.
While I may have felt I was a soldier, fighting a war, I wasn’t. I was lost and angry having lost my mum to cancer and my dad in a car accident when I was young, the far-right became my replacement family. People looked after me and at the time I thought they cared for me. But now I don’t see it that way.
I lost my youth to extremism, I spent time away from my family when I should have been there, and I walked away from people because they didn’t like me.
In the end I realised if I was ever going to do something positive, I had to get out and I did.
Q12 – How did you cope?
NB – After a few years away from Birmingham clearing my head I eventually came back to the West Midlands and fell into working in communities for a number of local councils. I felt it was a way of making things right by positively impacting communities, whereas before I was destroying them. I loved engaging with people from many different communities and simply doing the right thing. I didn’t care who someone was or where they came from, just that they needed help and I could do that.
Seeing the rise of the far right in recent years, I attended a Prevent training session and the trainer said if you can do anything to reduce extremism, you should do it. That stuck with me, I felt I needed to do something; so I started talking to people in my spare time about how and why people get involved in extremism.
I highlighted that these people shouldn’t be judged, that they were suffering and needed support. I have heard many times from people involved, that they never meet anyone in the movement who was happy, and I think in many cases that is true. People want a home, and the far right is very good at pretending to provide this.
Q13 – So what are you doing now?
NB – Talking a lot… No seriously, I am but in a good way. I am trying to let people know ALL EXTREMISM IS WRONG. It hurts not only the victims but also individuals involved, their families and the wider communities they live in. The ONLY answer is dialogue NOT EXTREMISM.
Q14 – Were you involved in any other groups?
NB – After my mother and father passed away, I was really angry. There was a hardcore USA based racist church just starting to pick up people in the UK called the Church of the Creator. It was militant from the off and initially set about recruiting extremists from other political parties, movements and everyday racists into the church.
Wanting something hardcore, I joined and started talking to others across the UK in various parties about the real need for militant action and community building. Here is a photo of a letter I had published in the March 1992 edition of their paper Racial Loyalty.
I also joined other hardcore groups as well, like the NSPUK (National Socialist Party UK), tiny in size, it helped me show my commitment to National Socialism, use the Swastika in propaganda and recruit a small number of hardcore National Socialists. I eventually became the Birmingham organiser, and it was a great way of confusing people as to how many groups were operating locally, it also opened up doors to connections in Europe, the USA & South Africa.
As someone who also hated the IRA, I also joined the UDA (Ulster Defence Association & ILOI (Independent Loyal Orange Institution) both introduced me to people from different ethnicities and this helped me look at things differently
Q15 – Anything else to add?
NB – Yes, firstly, it’s great to see Exit UK, interviewing our own. I think this is the way forward, straight questions from people who understand.
Secondly, people are sometimes sceptical about someone saying they were a Nazi and especially in today’s Facebook age, they expect loads of proof, but I want people to think about this; Why would extremists have membership cards or certificates or photos when you believe and advocate Leaderless Resistance? Why would you identify yourself to the Police, the Left wing who hate Nazis or people from different ethnic groups who believe you hate them? As stated, the more people who know your real identity, the more issues you get and the less effective you can be.
C18, operated as a national group, with strong local units in London, the West Midlands, Oldham, Bradford, East Sussex and Bridlington to name just a few. Operating as a movement, at the time it had 3 separate wings, each with its own job, but still one movement.
C18 = Militant, direct action wing
NSA = (National Socialist Alliance) operated as a National Socialist umbrella group to bring people in and basically acted like a political wing (A similar idea to how Sinn Fein operate with the IRA)
Blood + Honour = Social enterprise and moneymaking body to bring in money into the movement and keep people believing and motivated via music.
United as one, Combat 18 operations operated under various names such as:
Blood & Honor BCM Box 5608 London WC1N 3XX England
Blood And Honour Yorkshire P.O. Box 51 Bridlington YO16 5WZ England
Celtic Warrior P.O.Box 214 Cardiff CF17 UX Wales England
Church of Thorwould P.O.Box 3017 Barnet Herts EN4 9PY England
English Rose P.O.Box 19 Coalville Leicester LE67 1DS England
I.S.D. Records P.O.Box 249 Derby,DE21 9EG England
National Socialist P.O.Box 248 York, YO1 2YP England
Phoenix Society BM Box 3335 London WC1N 3XX England
Putsch BM Box 1933 London WC1N 3XX England
Razor’s Edge P.O.Box 3324 West Bromwich West Midlands B70 7NP England
Sigrun P.O.Box 350 Bradford BD2 OYX England
Spear of Woden P.O.Box 131 Polegate Sussex, BN26 51F England
Squadron Services BM Box 46 London WC1 3XX England
Target c/o A.Jones BM Box 4534 London WC1N 3XX England
The Irregular P.O.Box 10 Oldham 0L8 2WW England
The Order BM Box 5608 London WC1N 3XX England
Here the whole aim was to confuse people and have as many cover names as possible.
Comments of notable Nazis and information relating TO OUR BCM BOX 3335.
Covington-C18 USA Guru
14 Aug 1997 – The National Socialist Alliance may be contacted at BCM Box 3335, London WC1N 3XX, ENGLAND.
This shows how our BCM box operated as the national office of the NSA and why I was on the national coordinating council helping create strong Nazi movement in the UK.
David Copeland Membership card – This shows BCM Box 3335, as the national office of the NSM(National Socialist Movement.) The NSM was Charlie Sargent’s wing of C18, which eventually broke away and morphed into the NSM. This later closed with Copeland’s attacks in London and was thankfully closed down.
NB – Sadly, highlighting the danger far-right extremists will go to when pushed, this should show what I was involved in and how it developed to try and bring a race war to the streets of the UK.
We have to learn from the past and tackle extremism head-on, not through confrontation, but with reasoned education, compassion and understanding. We need to engage with people, listen to why people are angry and show people the reality of involvement with the far-right and help them walk away.
Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to Exit UK for asking me to be the first one to be interviewed, it’s a great honour and I look forward to reading more from others involved about their stories and ideas of how to reduce far-right extremism, in the UK.
For more information please view http://www.exituk.org
Want a chat? Please email – email@example.com