Newsnight correspondent Duncan Weldon denounced by Tories confesses to teenage flirtation with Oswald Mosley and his infamous Blackshirts

My Mosley moment, by ‘leftie’ BBC newsman

Media Editor

Only a couple of days ago Newsnight’s Duncan Weldon was being denounced by the Conservatives as another leftie in the ranks of BBC News - but tonight he was outing himself as an adolescent Mosleyite.

The new economics correspondent for the flagship BBC2 show confessed the dark secrets of his youthful political leanings in an outpouring on his website “Duncan’s Economic Blog”, a platform usually dedicated to such issues as credit easing and the Eurozone.

In a post titled “My Teenage Secrets”, Weldon revealed that “as an unusually geeky, politically-interested 16-year-old” he had developed an unhealthy fascination with the history of Sir Oswald Mosley and his infamous Blackshirts.

Weldon’s reason for placing this information in the public domain at this juncture appears to be the interest of a Sunday newspaper and the realisation that his teenage hobby had the potential to embarrass a programme which has suffered more than its share of reputational damage in the past two years.

Aware that he had once authored a student article – in the Oxford University paper Cherwell, no less – under the unequivocal heading “I was a Fascist”, he no doubt realised that his “teenage flirtation” and “far-right adventure” would be brought back into the spotlight soon enough.

For the Conservatives who had so recently seized on Weldon’s union activities – he is a former senior economist at the Trades Union Congress – as a “grade A BBC stitch up” by liberal elements in the Corporation’s news division, the blog must have made baffling reading.

Among surprised Tory MPs might be Andrew Bridgen who had written to the BBC’s Head of News James Harding to complain that “Mr Weldon follows in a long line of economics correspondents who have had clear links either to the Labour party or left-wing politics.”

Labour’s Deputy Leader Harriet Harman, for whom Weldon later worked as an advisor, may have looked on his plight with some sympathy, given that she has recently been the subject of newspaper censure over the archive records of her early career at the National Council for Civil Liberties.

But the BBC correspondent – whom Newsnight editor Ian Katz has described as “one of the most exciting and original economic thinkers around” – did not do himself many favours by seeking to contextualise his teenage sympathies for the “early Mosley” and his policies for tackling unemployment.

“There has been much academic debate over the years over whether this early incarnation of Mosley’s ‘New Party’ – which attracted interest from the likes of Harold Macmillan and Nye Bevan – can be separated from the later blackshirted British Union of Fascists,” he blogged, adding that by the age of 18 he had joined the Labour Party after being “horrified by the racism, homophobia and antisemitism” he had found in his right-wing reading material.

Weldon will know that other BBC journalists - including political editor Nick Robinson, who was a national chair of the Young Conservatives – have had to fight hard to demonstrate political neutrality in the face of their student pasts.

As for Newsnight, this latest affair is but a minor episode in comparison to its calamitous handling of its investigations into Jimmy Savile and Lord McAlpine, which almost caused the programme to be closed down.

Since starting as editor in September, Katz has been introducing different characters to the programme’s on-camera team. Weldon has certainly shown himself to be that. “Reflecting on the last week it’s hard to escape the irony that I have been accused of being a dangerous leftie and also a fascist within 48 hours,” he said. “I hope I’m neither.”

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

BI Analyst

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency in Central Lo...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little