Wearers of colored shirts expressive of militant party affiliations are becoming so frequent in Great Britain as to cause the Home Office to recognize them as a public danger.
And no wonder. A recent survey shows that there are at least eight differently shirted groups on the isle at present. They all have one thing in common–mortal hatred of each other.
Four of the groups are Fascist. Two wear black shirts, one blue, and the fourth grey. Sir Oswald Mosley, called the founder of British fascism, is leader of the British Fascist Union, largest and wealthiest of the groups of this ilk. Mosley’s followers wear black shirts, black caps and black belts. They want a corporate state, a national council and a senate. For propaganda purposes they maintain five bulletproof armored cars in which the proselytizing members are safe from flying pop-bottles and similar missiles. There are about 18,000 British Fascist Unionists.
The second black-shirt group is that established by Arnold Leese, who insists that his comrades were wearing the black haberdashery when Sir Oswald was still a social democrat plotting the ruin of the empire. Mr. Leese’s outfit, the Imperial Fascist League, is decidedly anti-Semitic. There are some 10,000 Imperial Fascists.
The Fascists of Kensington wear blue shirts so they will not be confused with the other Fascist organizations, they say. They are an offshoot of the Mosley outfit, having split with Mosley when they thought he was becoming too dictatorial. They are against “Jewish domination” and for a Fascist state. They claim a membership of 400,000. The official count gives them 10,000. They admit financial difficulties.
The members of the fourth Fascist group wear grey shirts. They were organized recently by Cecil Serokold Skeels as the Fascist Party of the United Kingdom.
Then there are the non-Fascist shirt wearers, chief among them the red-shirts. These are members of the Independent Workers Party, an organization apparently neither communistic nor socialistic. They number 10,000, and are mostly young people who are valuable for demonstrations. They wear grey trousers with their red shirts.
But surpassing all the others in elegance are the green-shirts. Their color is symbolic of the economic theory which their founder, Major Douglas, of Scotland, has formulated. One of their curious tenets reads: Would a maggot, lodged in an apple, die of hunger if the apple were too large?
There are about 3,000 green shirts, and they are prominent at all sorts of political meetings, where they ask questions and enter into discussions with the avowed purpose of presenting their point of view.
The communists wear khaki, the favorite color for workshirts in England.
Last but not least is the movement of white shirt wearers which was founded by a British Jew. White, in England, is the symbol of charity and benevolence, of brotherly love. While the number of white shirt wearers has not yet been established, it is said that their numbers are steadily increasing.