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Wayne John Sturgeon of Alternative Green conducts an Interview with Pat Harrington

1. Could you please introduce yourself, your background and how you came to form ‘Third Way’.

I was born in Kennington, South London in 1964. I attended Pimlico Comprehensive and later Archbishop Tenison’s Grammar School. In 1979 I joined the National Front after a brief spell in the Young Communist League, and was at the centre of student disputes at the Polytechnic of North London in the 80s as an infantile faction of the “left” sought to deny me access to classes on account of my then political views. The court cases I initiated and won at that time form precedents which continue to protect the rights of all individuals. I graduated with a degree in Philosophy, but since then have obtained qualifications in advertising & marketing and computing. I am also a qualified teacher, but I currently work on Britain’s (much undervalued) Railway.

On March 1990 I joined with others to found Third Way, having radically altered many of my views and widened my base of social and political contacts; discussions with Rabbi Mayer Schiller had a particular influence on me. My outlook is nowadays pretty close to that of co-operative socialism. I serve on the National Executive of Third Way alongside Graham Williamson, David Kerr and John Field.

My published works include: The Third Way – An Answer to Blair ,The Third Way Manifesto 2001 (with Cliff Morrison), Catholic Social Teaching (with Anthony Cooney and John Medaille), Tolkien and Politics (with Anthony Cooney and David Kerr) and the Third Way Manifesto 2005 (Editor).

I am a life-long vegetarian with a strong interest in animal welfare

2. Do you regret your association and history with the national front for which you were persecuted at University by the authoritarian Left?

I voted for the disbandment of the National Front in 1980 which I think speaks for itself. Since that time I have worked with my Third Way colleagues for harmony and progress in our country. There are aspects of my involvement with the NF which I deeply regret. I wasted a lot of time trying to move people to more positive, inclusive positions. I should have broken with them earlier. The past, however, is gone and cannot be changed. I have rethought, rejected or refined many of my past positions. This is a process which has led me to where I am now. I hope that people would judge me on my current ideas and actions rather than re-fight the battles of the past.

3. What are the basic principles behind ‘Third Way’ and do you distinguish it from the ‘third way’ advocated by Tony Blair?

Third Way is a Patriotic Centre party rooted in the culture and traditions of these islands. We advocate Direct Democracy along Swiss lines using referenda and citizens’ initiatives. We support small business and co-operative ownership. Third Way opposes over-centralised government and promotes decision making at the lowest practical level.

The “third way” advocated by Blair is simply a revised form of social democracy. It fails to propose any radical restructuring of property relations or significant reform of our economy or institutions. The Third Way I envisage draws on early Socialism, Catholic Social Teaching, Distributism and Social Credit and has a vision of a radically different society. We are not interested in tinkering with the system but in root and branch reform.

4. What are your views on multiculturalism – can one be a ‘multiracialist’ but anti multiculturalist?
One of the most perceptive comments on this subject I have read was made in an Observer article (‘Fly the Flag’) :

“It is an idea that isn’t sure how to become a reality…So far no one has come up with a post-imperial identity for Britain that is broad enough to be inclusive but relevant enough to want to be included. There remains uncertainty about how to embrace cultural diversity without succumbing to cultural relativism.”

I believe that neatly sums up the challenge facing our society. Censorship and exclusion should play no part in this debate – we need input from all quarters to find a new consensus.

Despite the hatred and division I remain positive that the people of goodwill present in all cultures will find a solution.

5. You used to publish a magazine called Ulster Nation. What were the basic views behind it as regards the so-called ‘Irish problem’?

Ulster Nation is still published. It calls for an Independent Ulster and maintains that Ulster has a separate cultural identity from both the Republic and the UK. It is completely non-sectarian.

6. What do you think of the European new right – particularly people like Michael Walker of Scorpion magazine and Richard Lawson former editor of ‘Perspectives’ who now has a very interesting website ‘transeuropa’ etc.

It gives some interesting insights and I respect the intellect and talent of both Michael and Richard. We do not regard Third Way as of the ‘Right’, however. We don’t see the Third Way as ‘between’ ‘left’ and ‘right’ but reject such fake divisions entirely. We stand not ‘between’ ‘left’ and ‘right’ as some kind of fudged compromise but rather beyond them. We draw on many influences which some would characterise as being of the ‘left’.

7. Is the ‘far right’ finished in this country – does the BNP media profile in this Country rub off on other ‘nationalist’ groups and organisation in this country to their detriment, ie can any ‘nationalist’ party fight off accusations of being racist, antisemitic, homophoblic, anti women etc without falling prey to political correctness?

There is undoubtedly a ‘reactionary reservoir’ in our country. There will always be people who prefer to accentuate the negative and heap scorn on a variety of minorities be it homosexuals, single-mothers, ethnic minorities or some other group. In this they will be reinforced by the manipulative and self-seeking staff at some of our national newspapers. It is this that the ‘far right’ feeds on but there is more. The way in which our establishment politicians abandoned, ignored and showed contempt for elements of the white working class has led to great anger and bitterness. This is something that needs to be addressed. We need a leadership that is prepared not just to say it listens but shows real respect and does so. We need to remain positive and look for solutions to problems that command support from the greatest number of people possible. Bridges must be built. What is the alternative? Hatred and division will lead only to civil strife and the moral corruption of those who choose such a path.

We in Third Way have clearly supported the rights of unpopular minorities. We’ve condemned detention without trial for alleged Muslim terrorists. We’ve upheld Gay rights. We’ve supported the right of genuine asylum seekers to shelter from torture and harassment in our land. This isn’t about political correctness – it’s about Justice and the kind of society we want to live in. We’ve spoken out for the rights of the BNP too and been condemned for it by the last century left! We will fight for Justice, Liberty and Progress against attacks from any quarter.

8. Does Third Way advocate ‘Social Credit’ and ‘Distributism’ as its progressive economic platform?

We draw on these ideas. We recognise the central importance of credit within our economy. Money is simply a medium of exchange. By attributing real value to money Capitalists have stolen purchasing power from the individual and denied the cultural heritage which lies behind all productive creation. We reject the idea that Banks and Finance Houses should control the issue of credit. Third Way advocates a shift to Citizens Income for all, instead of the present complex, often anomalous and expensive to administer mess of benefits. Citizens Income (sometimes called “Basic Income”) is a sum, the same for all, payable through the State as an inalienable right to all citizens of the country, throughout their lives and sufficient to at least meet the cost of their basic needs. It is true “stakeholding” in the society and its economy. There would of course be some additional provision to cover exceptional needs or contingencies. This money would not be paid out of taxation revenue but from the control of credit creation which currently make the banks so much money. We will want a National Bank or Peoples’ Bank with the sole right to create credit.

I welcome the fact that at the last General Election the Green Party called for a Citizens Income (albeit financed from taxation revenue and incorporation of benefits and tax allowances alone rather than credit creation as well).

As for Distributism whether you call it by this name or speak of co-operative socialism doesn’t much matter to me. The reality is the same an economy based on small businesses, workers trusts and co-operative partnerships. That’s not to say that these would be the only elements in the economy as I see a role also for Nationalisation in Transport and Finance for example. Even there, however, I would envisage forms of industrial democracy giving workers power over decision making.

9. What are your views on the EU? To be anti-EU does not mean to be anti- European, can there be a third way for Europe neither Washington nor Moscow?
That phrase dates back to the Cold War era. I don’t have anything against Moscow particularly! I would like to see Russia accepted as the integral part of Europe it really is. As for Washington it is clear that they are our real rival and enemy. They represent a real threat to our interests and way of life. Don’t think that I’m crudely anti-American. I know there are fine Americans who are more interested in the living conditions of their fellows than running an Empire. Unfortunately they are not currently a determining interest.

I’d like to see a con-federal Europe with strong trading and political links with both Africa and the Middle-East. Maybe the UK could go it alone along Swiss lines but that wouldn’t be my ideal option. It’s a last resort if the EU continues its drive towards a Super State.

10. What future projects do you have?

We are discussing with other groups and individuals how to promote the kind of ideas I’ve outlined. We see rolling coalitions developing with different constituent groups according to the issue. We are very open minded and flexible and look forward to harnessing as many resources as possible to push for positive changes. I’m particularly interested in the possibilities offered by technological developments particularly in mass communication. I’d like to explore with others internet broadcasting, podcasting and print on demand. I don’t think our group (or any non-establishment group) has the ability on its own to fully exploit this. We need to look at co-operation through joint committees or limited companies formed for specific purposes.

At the same time we constantly look for new ways to promote our key concepts and ideology. The Third Way aims to influence all areas of national life – we are a small Party with big ideas!

11. How can people contact you and find out more about Third Way?

Check out the web page at http://www.thirdway.org, E-mail me at thirdwaycentre@aol.com or write to Third Way, PO Box 1243, London, SW7 3PB.

12. Anything more you would like to add?

Positive numbers (more members)!

This interview was published in Alternative Green No. 36 (Winter 2005-6). A sample copy may be ordered for £2 from PO Box 52838, London, SW11 1ZU.

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