British Union of Fascists - Character - Relationship With The Suffragettes

Relationship With The Suffragettes

In a January 2010 BBC documentary, Mother Was A Blackshirt, James Maw reported on how in 1914 Norah Elam was placed in a Holloway prison cell with Emmeline Pankhurst for her involvement with the Suffragette movement, yet in 1940 she returned to the same prison with Diana Mosley, but this time for her involvement with the fascist movement. Another leading suffragette, Mary Richardson, became head of the women's section of the BUF.

The report described how Elam's fascist philosophy grew from her suffragette experiences, how the British fascist movement became largely driven by women, how they targeted young women from an early age, how the first British fascist movement was founded by a woman, and how the leading lights of the Suffragettes had, with Oswald Mosley, founded the BUF.

Mosley's electoral strategy had been to prepare for the election after 1935, and in 1936 he announced a list of BUF candidates for that election, with Elam nominated to stand for Northampton. Mosley accompanied Elam to Northampton to introduce her to her electorate at a meeting in the Town Hall. At that meeting Mosley announced that "He was glad indeed to have the opportunity of introducing the first candidate, and it killed for all time the suggestion that National Socialism proposed putting British women back into the home, this is simply not true. Mrs Elam, he went on, had fought in the past for women's suffrage ... and was a great example of the emancipation of women in Britain".

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