You must have heard about the theory of 6 Degrees of Separation - you know the idea that everyone in the world is personally connected to anyone else on Earth by on average only six people.
There was even a Hollywood film and a game - Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon - in which everyone in Hollywood is given a ‘Bacon Number’ depending on whether they have worked on a film directly with the actor Kevin Bacon (Bacon Number 1) or has worked with someone else who has (Bacon Number 2) or worked with someone who has worked with someone who has worked on a film with him (Bacon Number 3) etc etc etc.
So what’s Kevin Bacon got to do with politics you may be wondering?
Well I’m old enough to remember the rise of the far-right National Front in the 1970s and its subsequent decline in the 1980s – mainly the result of many of its activists joining the Tory Party which had become so right-wing that many of its policies were indistinguishable from those of the racist NF.
The memory of this got me wondering what links there are – if any – between today’s Conservative Party and other far-right organisations such as the British National Party and the English Defence League.
So I decided to play the Kevin Bacon game with them.
OK. The far-right English Defence League have been in the news in the past few days – let’s see if we can find an average score of 6 degrees of separation between them and the Tory Party. Any less than 6 degrees would be closer than average – more would be further removed than average
Here we go.
Millionaire Alan Ayling - the main financial backer of the EDL - has a company called Bridgewater RTM.
One of the other directors of Bridgewater RTM is Conservative Party activist and Tory councillor James Douglas Thornton.
Oh dear – that was quick. That’s a shockingly tiny degree of separation of just 1.
Alright – let’s try something more challenging.
How about this? How many degrees of separation are there between the Tory Party and Anders Breivik, the far-right wing Norwegian loony who massacred 69 children last year.
That’s got to be a much higher degree of separation, surely?
Just before he went on his murderous rampage, Breivik wrote a manifesto in which he mentioned several times he had a mentor - an Englishman by the name of Paul Ray - who writes a blog called ‘Lionheart’.
Paul Ray is a co-founder of the English Defence League.
Another founder of the EDL we now know is Alan Ayling who is co-director of a company with a Tory Party activist and councillor, Jim Thornton.
Hmm. I make that just a shockingly paltry 2 degrees of separation between Anders Breivik and the Tory Party.
Maybe just one more before I have to stop in case I start getting really paranoid.
How many degrees of separation between Nick Clegg and the Tory Party?
At exactly the same time Nick Clegg was at Cambridge University, records show someone by the name of N.Clegg joined the Cambridge University Conservative Association between 1986 and 1987. Clegg then worked for EU Trade Commissioner and senior Conservative Party member, Leon Brittan in his private office, as his speech writer and adviser. After the 2010 general election, Nick Clegg went into a coalition with the Conservative Party when he could have accepted a looser Confidence & Supply arrangement between the two parties. Since then he and his party have accepted every policy suggestion of the Conservative Party and helped make them law.
I make that ZERO degrees of separation between Nick Clegg and the Conservative Party.
For more information on the EDL, Breivik etc have a look at this excellent article from www.hopenothate.org.uk:
And here’s some more information about the theory of 6 degrees of separation:
Related articles by Tom Pride on this subject: