Print Story Newsnight.
By Breaker (Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 11:05:26 AM EST) (all tags)
Last night had a feature on the English Defence League (EDL), who are an anti extreme Islamic organisation.

Who are they?

On the programme, EDL supporters were burning a Nazi flag (once they'd doused it in petrol after an abortive attempt with just lighters).  Their banners proclaimed "black and white - unite!" or somesuch; their youth wing leader is half Jamaican and half English.  During the footage on Newsnight, some of the adult members at the meeting filmed by the BBC were black.

Against them is the Unite Against Fascism, who appear to be partly government funded. 

Police had to segregate the EDL from the UAF at a recent march the EDL held in Manchester.  I missed most of that in the news due to being out of the country, unfortunately.

The EDL leaders and some members protest in balaclavas "to protect themselves from reprisals when they are back at home".  The EDL leadership appear to be mostly based in Luton.

From the EDL website; we have nothing against British Asians. Indeed, we want above all to welcome them as fellow Englishmen, and deplore only hate preachers [...]  We understand that many Asians or their ancestors came here to escape oppressive laws in other countries, and we hope that in the future they will stand with us
against bringing those laws here to Britain.

So, the UAF shout them down as racist Nazis (from the UAF website- Anti-fascists in Manchester are busy mobilising against plans by the racist English Defence League (EDL)) and the press seem to be keen to portray them as a "far-right" organisation.

And yet - The EDL is firmly committed to peaceful protest, and has no intention to engage in violence in any form.

I'm confused as hell.  Ostensibly they are not a racist, violent organisation, or purport not to be.

There's something strange going on here; I can't put my finger on it yet though.  In short they look like a bunch of National Front skinheads, but everything they are saying is at odds with that.

What have I missed in the news the last couple of weeks?

Is it likely that they will politicise and start fielding candidates in council / general elections?  Are they BNP lite, and if they do politicise, will it shrink the BNP membership?

Interesting times indeed.  What are your thoughts on the EDL?  Racist nutters in disguise or peaceful protestors with bad PR?

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Newsnight. | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)
I have heard by gpig (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 11:52:42 AM EST
that there are links with ex-football hooligans.

I have also heard what they chant at demos (rather than their website stuff), and from that I'd say that they are an extreme anti-Islamic organisation, rather than an anti-extreme-Islamist organisation. It looks from the coverage that they are trying to start fights by protesting outside mosques, with the hope of blaming the resulting violence on Muslims.

Admittedly this mostly comes from Radio 4, I will stop being lazy at some point and check my primary sources.

Getting a bit philosophical, even if there are some well-intentioned people in their group, the problem that they'll have is that xenophobic or racist sentiment will draw people to the organisation. The name doesn't help, to be honest. I read their name and think 'fascist'. If they don't want people to think that, they should call themselves 'Stop Extreme Islamism' or similar.

To take an example I know well in a different sphere, the SNP has a relatively principled leadership that thinks that Scotland is a culturally distinct region which is economically viable, and so should have statehood if a majority of its people vote for it. On the other hand, many of their voters and not a few of their members just hate the English.
(,   ,') -- eep

Yeah by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 12:17:45 PM EST
Looks like a duck, walks like a duck but claims it isn't a duck...

[ Parent ]
I happened to post by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 6) #2 Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 12:09:30 PM EST
A tweet with a photo from their demo yesterday.


Yeah right. Sure they're just peaceful opposers of Islamic extremism, who all happened to be waving "Hi" to someone at an angle approximately 30 degrees downward of their sightline.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

Hmmm by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 12:16:58 PM EST
I've seen photies of football fans taken at the right angle that look like that too. 

But if they're trying to paint themselves as non-nazis gestures like that are not going to help, are they?

So, looking likely they are indeed neo nazi nutjobs.

Twitter, lol.

[ Parent ]
Good day for Twitter actually by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 12:20:56 PM EST
We were all over #trafigura.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
I saw that and LOL'd by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 05:14:02 AM EST
I believe Torybear got it pretty much bang on.

So will we now see some expensive lobbying going on to silence the blogs?

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 06:03:46 AM EST

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I'm not too sure about that one either by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 06:12:14 AM EST
But I believe that many political bloggers think they're the "new-new-media" with the scandals they've broken in the last year or so. 

Dead tree readerships are drying up in favour of online news, and the Grauniad is heavily dependent on public sector job ads for revenue.  That and heavy use of offshore holding companys to reduce their tax bills.

So yeah, not too sure that the Graun has signed their own death warrant but there are indications that online is where the news is at.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 07:31:05 AM EST

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[ Parent ]
I think the DTP will survive by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 09:10:17 AM EST
Just not in its current form.  Tighter revenues will bring about the real tragedy though - the death of quality investigative journalism.

I'm not so sure that the bloggers can step up so neatly on that though; see the recent newspaper expose of those Lords offering laws for cash.  That must've taken some cash to front up.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #3 Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 12:11:30 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth

I shall have a shufty. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 12:18:15 PM EST
From home.

[ Parent ]
The EDL is affiliated with Casuals United by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Oct 13, 2009 at 02:52:09 PM EST
Whose name says it all really. Wikipedia page

"A leading organiser of Casuals United is Jeff Marsh of Barry, South Wales, a former member of the Soul Crew football hooligan gang. He has said: "Hooligans from rival clubs are uniting on this and it is like a ready-made army...We are protesting against the preachers of hate who are actively encouraging young Muslims in this country to take part in a jihad against Britain."[

It's political correctness gone mad!

Is their leader also a secret lizardman? by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 05:59:53 AM EST
The whole MI5/6 infiltrate and agitate thing is interesting, if you're into tinfoil hattedness.

But reading the EDL press release, it was a far cry from the well crafted message there and the people I saw on Newsnight.

MI5/6 by Dr Thrustgood (4.00 / 0) #15 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 07:05:19 AM EST
Weren't they behind Combat 18 and a lot of their ilk?

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(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 07:32:21 AM EST

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[ Parent ]
Were they? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Oct 14, 2009 at 09:12:02 AM EST
Never heard that one.

[ Parent ]
Newsnight. | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)