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“I know this won't go down well with the trendy-fashionable Guardianistas of metropolitan so-called London but Sir Oswald was right about everything ever. And you can't say that these days without being called a "fascist". It's the Cannon and Ball Show gone mad!”
“I opened for him at the Bolton Empire in July 1936. The crowd kept calling for When I'm Cleaning Windows. They weren't satisfied with Aunty Maggie's Remedy. One of them shot the piano player.”
“Not a friendly crowd.”
Baronet Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley (16 November 1896 – 3 December 1980) was a well groomed British comedian who rose to fame during the popularity of 1920s and 1930s fascist movement which challenged both conventional comedy as well as being a reaction against the "politically correct" material of the socialists and communists. Mosley became famous for his stand-up shows and later radio shows, and could be seen screaming his head off up and down the British Isles for many years, until he dropped dead of course.
Mosley was born in London, England to aristocrats. His childhood years were spent associating with other children from various ethnic backgrounds or "natural inferiors" as little Oswald was taught to call them. Oswald enjoyed playing games such as "Squarebashing" and "Who can goosestep the highest?". Local people found him cute and charming, but then they said the same about Caligula when he was a nipper.
World War I
Mosley joined the British Army in 1914 and saw a great deal of action at the rear in France. He also fought in the war. After the end of hostilities in 1918 he left the army, disillusioned with how peaceful it had become and looked for an alternative way to make a living.
Young Oswald stood for parliament, initially winning a seat as a Conservative (which came with a free knighthood) in 1920 he became disillusioned with postwar tory policies and defected to Labour in 1921. He got sick of them too and defected to the Liberals in 1923 but found them a bit wet, really and defected to the German-Takeover Now! Party later that year who were subsequently banned following the passing of the 1923 Obvious Foreign Agents In Parliament Act, losing him his seat and his income.
Having had little success standing for Parliament, Mosley decided to try a different kind of stand-up. Starting in 1924, Mosley began touring both exclusive gentlemen's clubs and working mens' pubs with his comedy act. Initially billed as "Ooh, Oswald, You Are Awful!", his routine, centred around humourous, often satirical characters he created, such as "Chalkie the Communist" (with his popular, if overlong, catchphrase "How I yearn to destroy Britain, property, the King and Western Civilisation") and "Thieving Jew Who Controls All The Money" He was extremely popular with some English audiences who said he was "telling it like it is" but caused extreme animosity from others, especially ethnic minorities and the political groups he mocked on-stage. As a result, there were often fights between Mosley's fans (dubbed "blackshirts" on account of the outfits they wore to reduce stains from all the beer and spit thrown their way) and Mosley's opponents (called "International Bolshevism" by Mosley).
Mosley's popularity lead to him doing several controversial radio broadcasts entitled Sir Oswald's Laughter Hour, a mixture of jokes, sketches, songs and racial slurs in which he worked alongside his "straight man" Arthur Askey. These jokes frequently had a political edge. For example one character, "Terrence the Tory", a hapless upper-class man in a top hat, was constantly berated by Mosley with the catchphrase "Once again, you have done nothing to stem the red tide flowing from Moscow!". Some of the later shows became overly-political, even for fans, with one episode from 1932 devoting ten minutes to its star explaining how corporatism would prevent the crises of laissez-faire capitalism and protect Britain from communist revolution. "That must have been tough on the audience", chuckles fan Jim Davidson.
The radio show was nonetheless a success, attracted around 4,000,000 listeners, and became so popular that he could command paying audiences of 20,000 at the Royal Albert Hall. Amongst his greatest fans was Lord Rothmans, the editor of the Daily Mail who wrote an article titled "HURRAH FOR THE BLACKSHIRTS" in which he praised Mosley's "Sound, commonsense, Conservative humour" after Mosley's fans bought him a whole pint of piping-hot beer. The Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, was also an early admirer. "I say, I do like what that Mosley fellow says about kykes and nig-nogs, what?" brayed the Prince, showing his obvious breeding.
Relationship with Mussolini
Controversy occurred in 1928 when Benito Mussolini, the Italian stand-up tyrant, accused Mosley of "stealing [his] material". However, Mosley merely claimed to be paying tribute to the Futurist Manifesto which he also claimed Mussolini had based much of his act on. Mosley criticised Mussolini's popular show Fascist Manifesto accusing it of being a "sell out", claiming that Mussolini had "gone mainstream" and shocked the short, fat Italian by suggesting he "go back to the Socialists". However, once Mussolini actually implemented his policies Mosley admitted he had been wrong in his regular column in the Daily Express stating "Mr Mussolini's material is actually deeply subversive, under the guise of giving the Italian people something mainstream and comfortable, he has actually made them enjoy pro-war and pro-imperialist material."
British Union Of Fascist Bastards
Eventually, Mosley started referring to his shows as "rallies" and in 1930 organised his supporters into a new political party, the British Union Of Fascist Bastards. This new party pledged to "revitalise" Britain and the British Empire through a policy of dressing in black jumpsuits, wearing peaked caps at a silly angle and beating-up Jews and socialists. The latter policy eventually lead to a big streetbrawl called "The Battle Of Cable Street" against bearded communists and Jews (also bearded) which Mosley (moustache only) and his Blackshirts (clean shaven) lost. This was intensely embarrasing for the BUoFB as fascists took pride in the notion that they always won battles and if they were going to lose it certainly wouldn't be to a gaggle of Guardian readers. Showing the "can do" spirit of fascism, Mosley continued to hold rallies although his fanbase was starting to shrink and he was forced to play pubs and working mens' clubs rather than the stadiums he'd used to. In 1939, with the declaration of war against Nazi Germany, there were concerns in Whitehall about Mosley. A senior civil servant wrote to Neville Chamberlain declaring:
"I know Sir Oswald's a bit of a lark, and I know you like his early standup stuff but frankly this later stuff isn't just unfunny, it's quite possibly pro-German. I suggest we have him locked up. He was better on the radio too."
Chamberlain's government agreed and Oswald was duly imprisoned along with his fans under the emergency "Possible Traitors" powers. This wasn't a violation of their human rights, though, because they were fascists.
After World War II
Following the war, Mosley and his fans were released and he returned to standup. During the late 1940s, he played several benefit gigs for the "Send 'Em Home" movement (later the UK Independence Party) where he brought-back some old favourites as well as introducing new characters such as "Scheming Indian Whose Independent Country Will Side With Soviet Russia". He also revitalised his radio career in the 1950s, appearing regularly on Tony Hancock's famous sitcom Hancock's Half Hour playing angry neighbour "Mr Nazi". Hancock had Mosley's character dropped before the move to TV although this was apparently "nothing personal" since Hancock did that with everyone.
In the early 1970s, he appeared several times on the Radio 4 panel gameshow Just A Minute but was eventually banned after constantly deviating from the subject to the "international jew-negro-marxist conspiracy" within ten seconds, castigating Clement Freud as "a filthy liberal pulling the strings of this show and the country!" and trying to have "mincing deviant" Kenneth Williams shot.
Later life and death
Towards the end of his life, Mosley became a regular on talk shows and, in the 1970s, continued to make money as a "warm up man" for Conservative Party conferences following Margaret Thatcher's rise to Conservative leader. He died in 1979 whilst having a tribute song, "Good Old Oswald Mosley", sung at him by Mel Smith on Not The Nine O'Clock News. (lyrics shown below) The smell of Mel's digesting BBC canteen dinner which inevitably blasted towards him during this performance was too much for the old racist's heart.
- "Good Old Oswald Mosley"
- written by Peter Brewis
- sung by Margaret Thatcher, Pamela Stephenson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones
They didn’t understand ‘im, some people called ‘im mad But any friend of ‘Itler’s can’t have been all bad Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley! Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley! He was popular and handsome as Richard Burton 'Cause I seen on the box once with his black shirt on And though I cannot claim to be any great authority As far as I’m concerned the sun shone out of his oratory He could have been a great dictator given ‘alf a chance But they treated ‘im like a traitor So he went to live in France (where else would a traitor live?) Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley! Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley!
Sir Oswald Mosley's contribution to the world of far-right politics and standup comedy remains influential. He has been claimed as an inspiration by Jim Davidson, Nick Griffin and Hezbolaughs (the comedy wing of Hezbollah). Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also been quoted as being "a big fan of the English zionist-hater" and is pushing for the release of a box-set of Mosley's early routines and radio shows. He also leaves behind a son; Max Mosley who also happens to be the current president of the FIA, another far-right, authoritarian organisation allied to Italy. Mosley Jr is said to base his running of the organization on a business model developed by his late Father. Nigel Farrago of UKIP has also praised Mosley as "a fine libertarian".
Whilst Mosley's "subversive" and "dark" comedy was frowned-upon in the postwar years and the "right-on" eighties and nineties it has increasingly come back into fashion and, although modern practitioners of his particular brand of "alternative" are reluctant to pay open tribute to pioneers like Mosley his influence can be seen in modern publications such as the Daily Express and in the columns of Richard Littlejohn and "Mad" Melanie Philips.
Latter Day Critism
By Population Anti-Mosley: Britain Including Cabbies: 20% Britain Excluding Cabbies: 80% Everywhere Else: 100%