Tuesday 2 July 2024

David Hart (The Political Activist As Vanguardist), Wood, foam, hair, paint, dress shoes, Union of Democratic Mineworkers pin badge, fabric, Private members club tie 2024


David Hart, Thatcherite hatchet-man, eminence grise, whiff of sulphur, whose name rarely appeared in press without epithets shadowy/sinister & compared to Rasputin. Heir to the Ansbacher banking fortune. His Sun King lifestyle forced himself into early bankrupt by mid-1970s (condemned delusional by the official receiver). Previous levels of wealth were restored upon his father’s death in 1978. Counts Eric Clapton among his friends. Hart’s peak period of political influence was during the 1984-85 miners’ strike, a so-called ‘Downing Street irregular’, one of Thatcher’s unofficial advisors.

To report back on the dispute’s progress & enlist miners in a breakaway anti-strike group National Working Miners’ Committee ran from his suite in Claridge’s. Hart advised various Conservative governments on defence, amongst other activities founded the right-wing think tank ‘Committee for a Free Britain’ acted as Michael Portillo’s mentor writing the bellicose ‘who dares wins’ coda in 1995. By 2004, Hart was questioned in connection to an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea. Many of his libertarian credos can be located in the Thatcher archives released in 2013, one symptomatically entitled ‘Escaping the Tyranny of the Majority’ wherein he quotes Malthus liberally & finishes by stating: ‘The fundamental mistake is to look to compulsion to do the work of freedom. The State, the engine of compulsion, cannot create what can only be created by individuals acting on one another.’ After the strike Hart resumed his political activities & in 1988 took over a private intelligence operation called ‘British Briefing’. Edited and compiled by Charles Elwell, formidable MI5 officer, privately circulated magazine focused on what Hart described as “the enemy within”, notably left-wing Labour MPs. “It is far safer to be feared than loved”.