Went to “Salute!” in Swords (County Dublin) one weekend ion 2013 and was … well, let us say underwhelmed. Expected more and of what there was better quality. If I had travelled to Swords (just north of Dublin) just to see the show, I’d have been grumpy. So I shrugged it off as an additional extra because we were in the vicinity anyway, but probably would not make any effort to go again.
Anyway, with any of these shows it is a thin line between bringing history to life and catering for the nutcases with no grasp of the realities of war but an unstoppable urge to play soldiers. The latter category was out in force, never seen so many fantasy combat types (not as in “Sword and Sorcery” but as in “Don’t I look great in surplus gear or cheap knock-offs wielding a toy gun?”) and a good sprinkling of “historical reenactors” that abysmally failed to get the historical part right. Anybody who dons a Wehrmacht coal-scuttle helmet, a Fallschimjäger combat smock and Great War vintage British trousers and puttees should be quietly taken out the back and …
But I digress. Back to catering for the real nutcases. Like this dealer did:
While the t-shirt on the right might be debatable as to what sentiments are actually expressed here, the one on the left leaves nothing to the imagination or open to debate. The “lightning” symbol of the British Union of Fascists is combined with the coy inscription “British Union” (so as to not be too obvious, I suppose) and the not-so-subtle motto “This Flame Still Burns”. Fruit of the Loom. On a M&S hanger.
So, anybody wearing this t-shi(r)t could well be classified as a fascist.
Other paraphernalia on sale included the always popular t-shirts with SS emblems, pictures and busts of a certain Austrian who was quite popular in Germany between 1933 and 1945, stuff the US gun lobby likes (but which makes no sense in gun-controlled Ireland or the UK) etc.pp.
Obviously there is a market for this stuff, either with the unthinking many or with the really convinced few. But the display and sale of such rubbish suggests that this is not only a military-themed show, but also quite a convention for those of a far right persuasion.
Talk about sending a message …
Finally. I’ll add just a bunch of photos I took at the Salute 2013 military show in Swords. Here goes: