As the UK reels from a massive spike in hate crimes, a Neo-Nazi white supremacist has renounced his violent past while coming out as a gay man.
Speaking to Channel 4 News, Kevin Wilshaw – who was still active in the racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic hate movement earlier this year – also revealed that he has Jewish heritage.
“I didn’t have many friends at school, I wanted to be a member of a group of people that had an aim, and I thought getting involved in that kind of thing would be comradeship,” he said of why he originally joined the fascist National Front political party.
Wilshaw admitted that he was a hypocrite and of having a “remarkable lack of empathy” despite having personally faced abuse after it was suspected he was gay.
“It’s a terribly selfish thing to say but it’s true, I saw people being abused, shouted at, spat at in the street – it’s not until it’s directed at you that you suddenly realise that what you’re doing is wrong.”
Wilshaw has twice been arrested; once for vandalising a mosque in the 1990s and in March this year for online racist offences.
He said that he now regrets his actions. “I really do feel guilty, 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.”
The interview comes in the wake of new statistics that show a shocking 29% increase in hate crimes in England and Wales between the 2015/16 and 2016/17 periods.
The largest number of incidents (62,685) in the past year was based on race, followed by hate crimes based on sexual orientation (9,157, an increase of 27%). Transgender hate crimes (1,248 incidents) increased by 45%.
According to the UK’s Home Office, the spike in hate statistics is linked to the “time of the EU referendum and following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack, as well as ongoing improvements in crime reporting by police.”