The 50th Anniversary of Searchlight

Next April, Searchlight is celebrating “50 years as the leading anti-fascist periodical”. Here are a few things that won’t be on the menu at the University of Northampton.

Gerry Gable

This announcement was made on the magazine’s official website, November 18. What it will really be celebrating though is a half century of lies and hate. Only the first part of that sentence needs some qualification. Searchlight magazine was first published in 1975 rather than 1964. The following is a verified chronology:

An organisation called the Searchlight Association Limited was incorporated in March 1965.

Four issues of a crudely produced broadsheet called Searchlight were published dated Spring 1965 to May 1967.

In 1974, a small pamphlet called A Well-Oiled Nazi Machine was published; this is the publication that really launched Searchlight.

1975, February: the first issue of Searchlight was published, by subscription only.

1975, April: the magazine began monthly publication.

The reader will note that the word Searchlight under 1974 above has not been italicised; this is because it does not allude to the magazine but to the organisation, which goes or has gone under the name Searchlight Magazine Limited, Searchlight Information Services and the Searchlight Educational Trust in addition to the Searchlight Association Limited.

The smear pamphlet A Well-Oiled Nazi Machine was uncredited, but was written by Maurice Ludmer and Gerry Gable; Ludmer died of a heart attack in May 1981, and although he didn’t immediately come to the fore, Gable was clearly in control.

Their first venture and the April 1975 issue of the magazine landed Ludmer in court for criminal libel. Although the Stipendiary dismissed the charge, he had some strong words to say about the magazine.

This issue made a claim on which Gerry Gable would elaborate over the years, namely that the British Nazi leader Colin Jordan had been responsible for a series of arson attacks in the capital during the 1960s. This was actually not Jordan but his rabidly anti-Semitic wife. As often happens though, the tale grew in the retelling, and Gerry Gable would become - in his own eyes at any rate - the valliant detective who tracked down and brought the arsonists to justice, including for a fire in which a young trainee rabbi died. A fire that was entirely accidental.

Mr Gable would continue to parrot this shameless lie until 2009 when the police turned up on his doorstep and asked him why he had suppressed information about a 45 year old murder. It was only then that he came clean, albeit momentarily, and admitted he had told a pack of lies about the Mesifta Talmudical College fire.

Two people who are not likely to be mentioned at the forthcoming Northampton celebrations are Richard David Roberts and Manny Carpel, the latter because of his conviction for arson. Carpel was one of the backroom boys, on the other hand Dave Roberts is the forgotten hero of British “anti-fascism”, well, let’s say he has been airbrushed out of it. Although it cannot be corroborated, Roberts is believed to have actually edited Searchlight at one point. His dashing undercover work led to the exposure of what was once alluded to as an underground army, Column 88, but which was described more accurately in Parliament as a small drinking club of neo-Nazi nutcases.

After the death of Maurice Ludmer, Dave Roberts was disowned by Searchlight and is now never mentioned. Something Mr Gable has not been able to avoid over the years is the notorious Gable Memorandum, which was unearthed by the creeping left-wing New Statesman, the magazine that tells us we are now to have a “sensible” conversation about immigration.

The later activities of Searchlight magazine were no less reprehensible; they were also somewhat expensive and not only for Mr Gable and his gang. As a result of a number of defamation actions in the High Court, including the spectacular victory of Morris Riley, it is now available only on subscription.

Finally, as Mr Gable has discovered to his cost, the mythical international Nazi conspiracy is far less dangerous than a knife in the back from a supposed friend. Searchlight is now published only bi-monthly due to someone close to home, someone he had been grooming to take his place, who decided instead to take the mailing list and run off to start or rather to commandeer his own organisation. No names mentioned, but Mr Griffin is not the only Nick who won’t be invited to this celebration at Northampton University on April 7-8 next year.

[The above article was first published December 2, 2013; the original wasn’t archived.]

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