Twilight Over England

[note: This post will be continually updated as I work my way through the book which means the title of the post will probably change at some point as well.]

Extracted from William Joyce's Twilight Over England.

Section I & II: Historical Background and Economic Development
I earned my living as a tutor and was fortunate enough to have a good employer.

In 1933, however, I joined Sir Oswald Mosley's new movement, the British Union of Fascists. In that movement I became one of the chief speakers and writers: and for three years, I was Sir Oswald's Director of Propaganda. We had some fine times in that movement - days which I shall never forget. What influence I had I used to promote a thoroughly anti-Jewish policy: and, in this respect I succeeded. Moreover, I did everything possible to stress the philosophical community of German and British National-Socialism. To anybody who could see, in the years 1934 and 1935, it was only a specially successful effort to spread National-Socialism widely in England that could avert the tragedy which has come to pass.

Here I should explain that in the course of years and experience the basis of my patriotism had changed. It was no longer the collection of sentimental abstractions that had satisfied me in my youth. Having seen how the poor lived and how they suffered, I had realized the impossibility of a patriotism which excluded them. On the one hand, the Tory politicians were ruining the Empire for the sake of international finance: on the other hand, the mere fact that the Conservatives claimed a monopoly of patriotism made millions of the working people to detest it. It became clear to me that it was vain presumption to talk about patriotism until the masses of the people were given some real reason to love their country: and the only real reason conceivable was that a new and scientific economic system should abolish unemployment, poverty, and social injustice. The more I investigated the facts, the more convinced I became that the old stereotyped patriotism was a hollow sham, designed to conceal the operations of financiers and preserve the privileges of an effete plutocratic caste. From the outset of my political career, I was always told how unwise it was to mention the Jews. One could condemn the King in public without any fear as to the consequences: but to mention the Jew was sacrilege. For some years I worked to break this evil superstition and I believe that I succeeded.
Joyce now, on Cromwell:
How much can be learnt from history has long been a matter speculation. Much depends on the capacity of the pupil. There is probably no branch of learning, except economics, in which conjecture plays so large a part. Almost any set of facts can be selected, in a partial fashion, to prove any theory, however absurd. In this chapter, no attempt will be made at philosophical generalization. Our only purpose is to show how England's historical development contributed to the fateful and fatal action which her Government took on September 3rd, 1939.

There is a certain dramatic irony in Mr. Chamberlain's choice of the date. For, September 3rd was the date of Oliver Cromwell's birth and also of his death. And how much the England of today owes to Cromwell is appreciated by very few. That crude, tough, ugly, self-righteous figure still has its admirers. Even scholars so discerning and so essentially honest as Thomas Carlyle have paid tribute to it. And most of the English Liberals, who eschew dictatorship, have worshiped at the shrine of this military autocrat because he was the first Englishman to achieve a complete metaphysical unity between Bible, cash, and sword.
Joyce on interest:
If only statesmen had been compelled to study the laws of Compound Interest, the fate of the whole human race might have been very different. Even a knowledge of simple interest would have helped in the this case. But the gentlemen of the eighteenth century eschewed mathematics that had no application to the card table. Certain persons, who were not gentlemen, profited by their simplicity.
Joyce on party politics:
Now with the recession of the monarchy into the realms of the obscure, [note: with the ascension of George I and the de facto reign of Robert Walpole] where it pathetically lingers today, party politics began to play a predominant role in English life. Whist the Whigs ruled England throughout almost the whole of the eighteenth century, they had to contend with opposition: and this opposition was often based on the grounds of ambition rather than policy. I doubt if anybody can really say what Bolingbroke wanted: but he certainly hated the Whigs. Long after the old Tories had been buried, a new Tory party sprang up in 1770 under Lord North, this time in support of the House of Hanover. It did not get very far: but it served to provide the prerequisite of Party Politics, namely that there should be more than one party. The more parties, the more opportunities for individuals. Politics came to be regarded as a lucrative profession, thanks to the system of patronage, whereby gentlemen who knew somebody in authority could secure command of a Regiment in the West Indies for colleagues upon whose wives they had definite if not honourable designs.
On the absurdities of what Joyce calls "liberal capitalism":
As there approached, during the last century [note: the 19th], the final struggle to eliminate everything that did not reek of materialism, it was only natural that the Liberal Industrialists should found a college of Propaganda. This was the Manchester School of Economics. Tenth rate philosophical hacks were bought and assembled with instructions to invent the science of economics and justify the abominations which the craw-thumping Radical plutocrats were each day practicing on the masses of the people. The doctrines of this so-called school were very simple. The great and eternal verity of economics was announced in the golden words: "Buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest." This commandment being devoutly accepted, every other grace necessary to salvation would follow of its own accord. Hallelujah! How Jewish it all sounds. It followed, of course, that human flesh and blood must also be purchased in the cheapest market and its products sold in the dearest - for the benefit of the dear kindly old employer who erected outside his sweat-shops a tin tabernacle to which his workers must, under pain of dismissal, go every Sunday to thank God they were poor and hear sermons on the blessedness of their simple condition and "station in life". Then, of course, another grand precept was that of Free Trade. England had a start of almost 50 years ahead of the Continental countries in the matter of this Industrial Revolution.

And one of her cardinal misfortunes is that she should have based so many of her calculations on this preliminary and transient advantage. For half a century she was practically without a rival in the manufacturing industries. Napoleon, despite his attempt to blockade England - an attempt as foolish as the English attempt to blockade Germany today - shaved with Sheffield razors at a couple of guineas a pair, his armies were clad in Yorkshire wool, and many thousands of his troops marched on English leather. It is indeed a matter for wonder that he was permitted to obtain these supplies: but the wonder vanishes when one asks whether the new plutocrats put their profits or their country first. As it is today; so it was then, and so it ever will be, whilst Liberal Capitalism lasts.
Section III: Political Development


  1. It's a great little book.

    A friend saw it on my bookshelf and literally, physically jumped: "that's Lord Haw-Haw isn't it?" -- made me laugh... I'd have been shocked at myself a few years ago.

    Archive.org has the recordings of his radio speeches available for download. I didn't get much out of them myself but they're worth having in one's collection. (Father Coughlin's broadcasts, also available at archive.org, I found quite interesting).