“You’re a Nazi, with a Jewish background, who is gay,” said Wilshaw’s interviewer, Paraic O’Brien, evidently baffled by the contradictions.
Wilshaw joined the National Front, Britain’s far-right and fascist political party, soon after turning 18, and rose to become a prominent figure as an organizer for the party in the 1980s, according to Channel 4. He later joined the far-right British National Party.
As recently as this year, Wilshaw was speaking at extreme right events, and he was arrested in March for online race hate offenses, according to Channel 4 news.
So why the sudden shift in allegiances?
It all came down to getting a taste of his own medicine, Wilshaw said. Recently, he explained, he has been suspected of being gay, and had been subjected to abuse because of his sexuality.
“It’s a terribly selfish thing to say but it’s true,” said Wilshaw. “I saw people being abused, shouted at, spat at in the street. It’s not until it’s directed at you that you suddenly realize that it’s wrong.”
Wilshaw also revealed that his mother was part Jewish. But despite his Jewish ancestry, Wilshaw wrote in his application to the National Front that the war against the Jews — “enemies of my race” — “needs to be waged on a global scale to be effective.”
Wilshaw said that he feels “appallingly guilty” for his past.
“I really do feel guilty,” he said. “Not only that, this is also a barrier to me having a relationship with my own family, and I want to get rid of it, it’s too much of a weight.”
While the National Front has long since splintered off into various factions, the British National Party, founded in 1982, remains active, but has been in turmoil in recent years, with little national prominence or electoral success.
But Wilshaw is by no means offering an olive branch to his former comrades of the extremist far-right. In fact, he appears to want to teach them all a lesson.
“I want to do some damage to the people who are propagating this kind of rubbish,” he said. “I want to hurt them, I want to show what it’s like to actually live a lie and be on the receiving end of this sort of propaganda. I want to actually hurt them.”