William Morris (1834-1896) was one of the founder fathers of the Labour tradition in Britain. Today his legacy has been betrayed by New Labour, but thankfully his mantle is something which British Nationalists are very proud to uphold.
The principles he held dear were in complete contrast to those touted today by the political careerists, spin-doctors and fawners on big money who have now taken control of the Labour Movement that he helped found.
He was an architect, a weaver of carpets and tapestries, a designer of wallpapers and soft furnishings, a campaigner for the protection of ancient buildings and a defender of our natural environment. He manufactured stained glass, wrote poetry and was offered but declined the Poet Laureateship.
He translated Norse sagas and wrote novels of heroic fantasy in the Northern tradition which prefigured and helped inspire authors such as C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. In fact, anything Morris turned his hand to he excelled at.
But it was politics that became his motivation in later life. He was horrified by the ugliness, squalor and shoddiness of Victorian Capitalism and found himself increasingly in revolt against it. He saw working folk ground down by capitalist wage-slavery, trapped in a system of which there was no way out.
He came to prominence in political terms as one of the first voices in modern times raised to warn of the menace of Islam. He became Treasurer in 1876 of the Eastern Question Association, a body which existed to campaign for the Christians of the Balkans then suffering horrific atrocities at the hands of the Turks and their Muslim apostate collaborators such as the Bosnians and Albanians.
In 1883, having despaired of Gladstone’s Liberals, Morris “crossed the river of fire” as he put it and joined the Social Democratic Federation, led by patriotic Socialist leader H.M. Hyndman.
Morris set out his vision of an ideal Britain in his News from Nowhere, which appeared in instalments from 1889. Like many utopias, it is more of a visionary inspiration than a practical blueprint.
Its society of small, mostly rural, village communities running their own affairs; living in beautifully crafted homes amid unspoiled nature and enjoying a rich British cultural tradition gives a flavour of the future British Nationalists – not Labour New or Old – would seek to achieve.