2013 will be memorable for many reasons for me; personally I have started my journey to a new life in the South East of France with the sale of my home in Manchester. The money is in the bank, I have a nice house on the outskirts of a town in Northern England and a house rented near Grasse from which to conduct my search for a new permanent home.
But what of one of the reasons I despair so much about Britain – the far right!
Well 2013 was a bad year for the EDL, it cannot be denied. They lost their charismatic leader Tommy Robinson in an exit facilitated by the Quilliam Foundation and a BBC documentary. But the organisation’s demise could have come sooner, had it not been for one key factor, the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich.
The killing, in broad daylight near Rigby’s army barracks, gifting Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a new impetus. In dire financial straits and concerned about neo-Nazi elements in his midst, the EDL leader had wanted a way out for some time, say those close to matter.
“Prior to Lee Rigby’s murder, the EDL was finished. It was physically dead…” said Matthew Collins of Hope not Hate the anti-Fascist movement. The founder and leader, Lennon (Robinson) had absolutely no interest, he was worried about going to prison. The EDL had radicalised people, however, people who thought they had no way of expressing what they didn’t like. So 2,500 people came out in Newcastle after Lee Rigby’s murder.
No such response to 7/7 and no response either from the numerous Muslim Organisations. The EDL gave people a branch on which to cling in what they thought were desperate times. But no longer I think. Social integration never really existed in Britain and the EDL spoke to those who believe that the country is being over-run by immigration, the EDL feeds those fears to its own ends based on hatred.
Since Robinsons departure the EDL has become quiet but insists it will go on, but how without the media friendly (well media worthy is probably more accurate) Robinson it is difficult to say. The EDL may pass but the ideology will not. The EDL has radicalised around 3000ish working class men into counter-jihadists who will be looking for a new home, new leadership at the very least. They may (re)turn to the BNP who have a political foothold in the European Parliament through their leader Nick Griffin or they may find solace in UKIP (unlikely though, these are working class men not high rolling bankers).
It would appear however distressing that the tattooed working class racist thug is here to stay and should the Muslim community remain separate; alien to some, then these thugs will persist and may go on to kill in kind.
2014 is probably the last year we will hear that chant of E – E – EDL! but if our French cousins are anything to go by then the far-right will re-emerge again and again in ever more nasty and ugly guises I fear. Helped in recruitment no doubt by the gutter press media and acts of plain stupidity in public by those in the eye of the media. Take for example yesterday where Nicolas Anelka made a goal celebration which appeared to be the quenelle salute made famous by the French comedian Dieudonne. The gesture is strongly linked to anti-Semitism in France. The perfect example of why tensions will be persistent.
The end of the EDL? I think yes. The end of racial hatred and the far right? definitely not I’m very sad to say.
- EDL Leader Steps Down (soasspirit.com)
- EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon admits mortgage fraud (edlcriminals.com)
- Anti-Muslim hate crimes ‘soared’ after murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich (standard.co.uk)
- The criminal convictions of Stephen Yaxley Lennon. (edlcriminals.com)
- The EDL Walsall victims named #edl #footballcasuals #nwi (ufohunterorguk.com)
- Tommy Robinson, Kevin Carroll, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer Breaking with EDL (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- EDL Humiliated in Exeter (exeteredlnews.wordpress.com)
- EDL is humiliated in Exeter as anti-racists take to the streets (socialistworker.co.uk)
- “Beheading the EDL” (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)