Dom Alessio, Dean of International Programmes and Professor of History, publishes new work on the extreme right in the UK for the Taylor & Francis journal National Identities
“The dragon is not always red: the extreme right and ultra-nationalism in Wales”
By focusing on the ultra-nationalism of the recently defunct Welsh Defence League (WDL), which in turn had a direct influence on the formation of its more infamous relation the English Defence League, this paper re-examines the long-entrenched discourses of competing nationalisms in Wales. By doing so, it highlights a tendency to emphasise only left-leaning cultural and linguistic nationalist types in that country’s historiography, as opposed to the more violent, albeit minority, racist/new racist varieties to be found amongst recent extreme right groupings. Such extreme right antipathy in Wales is not Anglophobic but is directed rather at the ‘substantial numbers of immigrants and minorities … [who] have arrived as a result of empire and its postcolonial aftermath’, particularly those who are Islamic. By taking this new perspective on a heretofore generally ignored, but by no means insignificant Welsh subaltern group, this work further underlines the theoretical difficulties in understanding nationalism(s) generally. More importantly, the paper concludes by tracking the newer and smaller far right groups to have emerged in Wales in the wake of the WDL’s collapse. It argues that these derivative groups and the far right ideology which they represent are likely to remain marginalised but still need to be monitored closely.