8: I was a violent racist who became a spy and saved a politician's life


Manage episode 268109819 series 2764456
By Mike Newman and On the Edge with Andrew Gold. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Matthew F. Collins, a former racist turned spy and author. In 1993, he raided a town meeting in the Welling Library with the British National Party – not known to be very nice people. He found himself changed by the senseless violence, and became a mole for the Searchlight and Hope Not Hate anti-racist organisations. In 2018, it was in his role running the intelligence network and recruitment of far-right extremists for Hope not Hate that he helped to prevent the assassination of British politician Rosie Cooper – an attempted murder that reminded the UK of Joe Cox, who was tragically killed two years earlier. Jack Renshaw, the baby-faced spokesman of terrorist group National Action had bought a machete to carry out the murder, and will serve at least 20 years in prison.

I was interested in Matthew because he has some fascinating tales, but also because he encapsulates the human tendency to follow the stories we’re told about ourselves as well as our capacity for change. For a more detailed look at his life, read his books Hate: My Life in the British Far Right and Nazi Terrorist. I found him a no-nonsense mood that also reflects how we’re all beginning to feel after months of lockdown.

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43 episodes