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The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march


8:46 am - August 24th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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Various Labour councillors and two MPs have signed a letter in the Guardian today, saying the proposed march by the English Defence League in Tower Hamlets should be banned on the basis that it is “a drain on resources that London cannot now afford”.

This is perhaps the worst reason to call for the banning of any march. It sets a precedent for the police to refuse marches or demonstrations in the future simply on the basis of cost. Is that what we want?

I’ve been arguing with various people on Twitter on why I don’t think the EDL march in Tower Hamlets should be banned at all.

I realise how nasty the English Defence LEague are; I also accept that violence breaks out at most EDL rallies (though the big one I went to in Luton was peaceful).

But here are my three key points. First: every time an EDL rally descends into them fighting against the police, they lose supporters and get incredibly bad press. So, let the police deal with it.

Secondly, I don’t think far-right racism and violence should be swept under the carpet. Let’s have it out in the open. Let ordinary people see that racist thugs still do exist in Britain. Banning these people rather than shining a light on them simply allows society to pretend that racism doesn’t exist. Exposing them also shows how similar their narratives are to mainstream commentators.

The third point is key. Civil liberties aren’t important just as a matter of principle – they ethnic impact minorities a lot. Remember how people forgot about them post 9/11?

In which other western democracy can you imagine a modern police force calling for citizens to report anarchists? The UK may be the home of democracy but we have a terrible cultural attitude to civil liberties. Our rights are not codified and constantly restricted; people keep calling for ‘extremists’ to be banned (mostly Muslims) without any regard for free speech or association.

I would like to see people care deeply about civil liberties and protecting the right to free speech and association, even for extremists. Especially since governments are in the habit of branding marginalised and powerless groups as ‘extremists’.

These calls for a ban will come back and bite us, without a shadow of doubt.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


I fully agree. I dislike the EDL, but that’s no reason to ban them unless they break the law.

Sunny this is the best thing you’ve ever wrote, I agree 100%, well done

3. tony walker

Agree regards Tower Hamlets but what do we do in Leicester where previous behaviour would suggest if they were to allow a march there the local community would rise up and turn it into a battlefield. EDL will want to march in the most sensitive places and take the most sensitive routes. EDL are not interested in marching along a route that is not challenged by the local community.

4. Chantelle West

This is one of the best pieces i’ve read from you, your absolutley right, allow the march and the bad press will follow, raise awareness! Lets not brush this under the carpet….. The EDL marched as community protecters during the riots but anyone that was there would of seen they were on the hunt for ethic blood

In which other western democracy can you imagine a modern police force calling for citizens to report anarchists?

I don’t think there’s much merit to the idea that the UK police are more authoritarian than those of Italy, France or Germany.

” I realise how nasty the English Defence League are; I also accept that violence breaks out at most EDL rallies (though the big one I went to in Luton was peaceful).”

Interesting that their Luton demo was peaceful. A case of not wanting to shit in your own back yard, perhaps?

Excellent article, Sunny, with one small quibble.

It is lazy to describe the EDL as racist. A cursory glance at their website will confirm that they are extremely anti-Islamic (Islam being a religion rather than a racial group) but there is no racism, even in the comments below the articles.

Consider the following for example.

Ethnicity can only ever be used to understand the causes of crime if there is a clear link between someone’s ethnic background and the culture that they grow up in, the beliefs that they have, and the situation that they find themselves in – all potential causes for an increased crime rate. If ethnicity is not shown to be linked to these things, then linking it to crime is most certainly racist, because it amounts to saying little more than ‘people of this ethnicity are criminals’, without looking into why there may be this correlation.

You could have written that.

3A: do not turn them into (self proclaimed) martyrs. A problem we seem not to be able to deal with here in the Netherlands with Wilders and his devotees. Every time someone opposes them , they jump into CryBaby martyrdom.

The cost based reason for banning is I agree by and far the worst argument to deploy, and also speaks of how those advancing such an argument have bought the whole ‘sacrifice everything you hold dear for austerity’ narrative wholesale.

I agree with you on this, Sunny, but I must say it is a bit rich of you to complain about threats to freedom of association when you have demonstrated a clear desire to crush it when it suits you.

unfortunately &10 is right

Excellent article.

Reminds me of Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s maxim: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

It’s when faced with the likes of the EDL and the BNP that our claimed beliefs in civil liberties, especially freedom of speech, are put to the test.

I’m also reminded of Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time. The BNP have never seemed the same since. Before that particular edition of the show, the BNP were regarded as a dangerous threat. But since that edition, the BNP have seemed more like a laughable joke. I’d like the EDL to be similarly exposed.

14. Shatterface

Agree that they should be allowed to march, as should Islamists, the SWP, the Nights Templar, whatever.

Using ‘cost’ as an excuse is pathetic.

Don’t agree about either the principle or the tactics.

I don’t see how banning violent racist thugs from trying to provoke a fight undermines civil liberties, and I don’t think that supporting the right of the EDL to have their march will do anything to reduce the likelihood that peaceful demos are banned in the future.

On the tactics, where is the evidence that they lose supporters after one of their marches? It seems like a totally unnecessary gamble to let them have their march and cross our fingers that this doesn’t lead to tragedy. Banning them is a quick and easy way of reinforcing the message that they are a bunch of violent thugs.

Simon,

I’m also reminded of Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time. The BNP have never seemed the same since. Before that particular edition of the show, the BNP were regarded as a dangerous threat. But since that edition, the BNP have seemed more like a laughable joke. I’d like the EDL to be similarly exposed.

I liked Barry Shitpeas on Griffin’s Question Time appearance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwrdDs0nmyg

Summed it up very well.

donpaskini,

I don’t see how banning violent racist thugs from trying to provoke a fight undermines civil liberties,…

Trying to provoke in what way?

… and I don’t think that supporting the right of the EDL to have their march will do anything to reduce the likelihood that peaceful demos are banned in the future.

If it is done on the basis of cost it sets a precedent for banning other demos on the basis of cost. If it is done on the basis of there being a genuine issue of disorder / violence then of course it doesn’t reduce the likelihood of peaceful demos being banned.

donpaskini: “Banning them is a quick and easy way of reinforcing the message that they are a bunch of violent thugs.”

Sounds like you’d be right at home in an authoritarian police state.

Sunny,

You are ‘spot on’ with this article.

Hi Don

Presumably if you are supporting the banning of demonstrations that pose threats to public order you would also support the prohibition of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah protesting at the funeral processions of British soldiers?

By the way, I think you would be quite wrong there too…….

Don @ 15:

As I recall, the anti-cuts marches were associated with a fair bit of violence. Should we have banned those too?

“As I recall, the anti-cuts marches were associated with a fair bit of violence. Should we have banned those too?”

The primary purpose of the EDL march is to enable racist thugs to provoke people to fight them. I fail to see any similarities with the anti-cuts demo.

“Trying to provoke in what way?”

They are “targeting” the East London Mosque.

As ever, Dave Hill is good on this http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/davehillblog/2011/aug/16/theresa-may-should-ban-edl-tower-hamlets-march

The march needs to be banned because left-wing extremists cant be trusted not to attack the police and provoke rioting. That’s what has happened in Birmingham and elsewhere when EDL protests have taken place.

Is Dave Hill’s article really good? It seems like the Gruan’s usual euphemistic tosh–“simplistic media mischaracterisations” indeed!

I’m fine with the idea of the government banning the EDL march, but I would just like them to apply the principle more consistently, so that the authorities feel equally free to disregard the “legitimate grievances” (another popular euphemism) of all sections of the populace, including Muslims and, God forbid, even middle class whites, and prevent anyone from marching if there is the least threat of trouble.

donpaskini,

“As I recall, the anti-cuts marches were associated with a fair bit of violence. Should we have banned those too?”

The primary purpose of the EDL march is to enable racist thugs to provoke people to fight them.

So the EDL should be banned from marching because other people, presumably lacking in self-discipline, will seek seek violent confrontation?

“So the EDL should be banned from marching because other people, presumably lacking in self-discipline, will seek seek violent confrontation?”

The EDL should be banned from marching because the purpose of their march is to fight other people, because they are a bunch of violent racist thugs.

And yet, why would other people seek a violent confrontation with the EDL? One wonders if there has been some sort of campaign in the area that has inflamed passions… Surely not–that would be irresponsible, after all.

“And yet, why would other people seek a violent confrontation with the EDL?”

Because the EDL chose the area to have their march on the basis that it would give the maximum opportunity for fighting.

donpaskini,

The EDL should be banned from marching because the purpose of their march is to fight other people, because they are a bunch of violent racist thugs.

Oh, are you now saying the EDL are going to physically confront people?

@Don,

All protests ever held, violent or not, are intentionally provocative.

The May Day, anti-globalisation riots/protests aim at the centre of consumerism in London.

The AFL counter-protest where-ever the EDL protest.

The anti-cuts marches culminated outside Parliament.

They are all designed to be provocative so complaining that another group who are intentionally being provocative it nonsense.

Plus the EDL aren’t racist, they are islamophobic, last time I checked, Islam is a religion, not a race. They’ve got plenty of black members.

31. Shatterface

‘The primary purpose of the EDL march is to enable racist thugs to provoke people to fight them.’

Like cartoonists ‘provoke’ Islamist violence, or women in short skirts ‘provoke’ rape, or protestors ‘provoke’ police violence by being a bit annoying.

The responsibility is on those who respond to ‘provocation’ with violence.

Because the EDL chose the area to have their march on the basis that it would give the maximum opportunity for fighting.

Are you sure that’s the main reason? I only ask because I thought there was another reason why the EDL might like to march in Tower Hamlets in particular, only it seems to have slipped my mind. Something about an atomic state? Or was it macroeconomic cake? Bionic plate? Tragicomic waste? No, no, it’s definitely gone. Probably just another simplistic media mischaracterisation, in any case.

33. donpaskini

“Oh, are you now saying the EDL are going to physically confront people?”

Yes, of course they are. They are violent racist thugs and “physically confronting people” is exactly what they will be doing unless banned from doing it. This is not similar to the anti-cuts demo or any other kind of peaceful protest.

“Plus the EDL aren’t racist”

Oh yes they are

http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/far-right-thugs-warn-%E2%80%98-nr-going-get-it%E2%80%99

@29 Well in fairness to Don, there are a number of vids on YouTube of previous EDL marches where they have done precisely that.

35. donpaskini

“Like cartoonists ‘provoke’ Islamist violence, or women in short skirts ‘provoke’ rape, or protestors ‘provoke’ police violence by being a bit annoying.”

No, not like any of those things.

@29 Well in fairness to Don, there are a number of vids on YouTube of previous EDL marches where they have done precisely that.

Earlier he seemed to be saying that other people would ‘start it’.

Plenty of violence at anti-cuts marches. For instance:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/mar/27/cuts-march-200-custody-violence

Plenty of violence from anti-EDL anti-fascist types. For instance:

http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/districtnews/districtatog/5074044.67_arrests_at_protests/

Consider the following thought experiment: Say that some Muslim pressure group, perhaps a nominally reactionary one, wanted to protest against a particular issue, and local white right-wingers threatened them with violence, would you consider the original march “provocative”, or would you consider that the white right-wingers could go hang?

While I agree with the OP in general, the more tricky issue is to what to do if the EDL march does go ahead. This is what happened last time. And I think it sucks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nf-CG3FEm4Q

Even though many people on the left think that an anti-EDL demonstration like that is wonderful, viewed by Tower Hamlets working class white people, it might come across as domineering and therefore, be divisive.

@36 Chances are it’ll be a little from column A and a little from column B. From what I’m aware the EDL is keen on provoking a violent response, particularly while their cameras are rolling, aids their narrative and all that, but there is also the fact that the EDL is made up of the football firms and so kicking off (often with one another depending on what team rivalries are present) isn’t usually far from the surface where they’re concerned.

What would the right reason be?

41. Torquil Macneil

“The EDL should be banned from marching because the purpose of their march is to fight other people, because they are a bunch of violent racist thugs.”

I agree wit the characterisation of the EDL but I don’t think it is up to the police to determine the ‘real purpose’ of any march. It is unquestionably true,for example, that sections of thee ant-cuts march were set on confrontational violence.

The EDL should be banned from marching because the purpose of their march is to fight other people, because they are a bunch of violent racist thugs.

And your not a violent racist thug so they should be banned from marching? Free speech to all as long as they agree with you?

43. Akkas Al-Ali

Compare my own blog for the Index on Censorship (published yesterday!) with Mr Hundal’s offering. Apart from the paragraph on shopping anarchists to the police, it’s practically identical!

http://blog.indexoncensorship.org/2011/08/23/no-pasaran-the-edl-should-be-allowed-to-march-in-the-east-end.

This is rich coming from someone who on Facebook called me an idiot.

@ Don

“Plus the EDL aren’t racist” Oh yes they are

From their mission statement.

” We recognise that culture is not static, that over time changes take place naturally, and that other cultures make contributions that make our shared culture stronger and more vibrant. However, this does not give license to policy-makers to deliberately undermine our culture and impose non-English cultures on the English people in their own land.

If people migrate to this country then they should be expected to respect our culture, its laws, and its traditions, and not expect their own cultures to be promoted by agencies of the state. The best of their cultures will be absorbed naturally and we will all be united by the enhanced culture that results. The onus should always be on foreign cultures to adapt and integrate. If said cultures promote anti-democratic ideas and refuse to accept the authority of our nation’s laws, then the host nation should not be bowing to these ideas in the name of ’cultural sensitivity’. Law enforcement personnel must be able to enforce the rule of law thoroughly without prejudice or fear. Everyone, after all, is supposed to be equal in the eyes of the law.

The EDL is therefore keen to draw its support from people of all races, all faiths, all political persuasions, and all lifestyle choices. Under its umbrella, all people in England, whatever their background, or origin, can stand united in a desire to stop the imposition of the rules of Islam on non-believers.”

Now you can argue with their interpretation of the world or point to unpleasant individuals in their organisation but calling them “racist”, when they avowedly are not, is unhelpful and actually devalues the epithet.

Akkas – you remain an idiot – and my article is a re-write of what I wrote earlier, with the point about cost not being an important factor thrown in.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/jul/28/let-edl-thugs-demonstrate-bradford

Roger thornhill but I must say it is a bit rich of you to complain about threats to freedom of association when you have demonstrated a clear desire to crush it when it suits you.

When?

donpaskini: I don’t think that supporting the right of the EDL to have their march will do anything to reduce the likelihood that peaceful demos are banned in the future.

It will, if you justify the ban on the basis of cost. Or potential threat of public disorder (on that basis the second, third and fourth student demos would be banned).

Well argued. I agree. We need to be challenging the far right openly else it will raise its ugly head worse later if it is forced underground. And yes The State will always use such precedents to ratchet forward its ongoing control agenda.

47. Comrade Tebbit

If they support banning upcoming MAC demonstrations, I will review my position on freedom of expression.

Because they will do no such things, I will ignore the hypocritical idiots.

I’m also uncertain if the EDL are a far-right organisation. They seem to be a mixed bunch, including British Jobs for British Workers lefties.
.

The EDL have broken the law. It’s members continue to break the law.

The Govt and Police refuse to act for entirely political reasons.

According to a Google search there was supposed to be an EDL march in the same area last year, which was called off. The anti-EDL march went ahead regardless and ended with protesters smashing car windows and eventually attacking the police!

I guess that’s a measure of how provocative these guys are, eh.

Don,

You seem to have lost your mind on this one a bit. When you say “The EDL should be banned from marching because the purpose of their march is to fight other people, because they are a bunch of violent racist thugs”, you are right.

Unfortunately, this is not the stated purpose of the march (whatever that is) and we have, unless we have convincing evidence otherwise, to accept the organisers’ point of view on this. If we have to accept yours instead, why not accept the view of the stereotypical Telegraph reader that marches against cuts have the purpose of fighting the police and smashing shops and government buildings as well rather than those of the organisers. After all, the hypothetical Telegraph reader is as close to the anti-cuts movement as you are to the EDL, so is equally well-qualified to comment on purpose.

Some of us prefer to live in a world governed by evidence and reason, not assumption and heresay, even if it does mean we have to let the EDL wander around (and please note, no-one has to pick a fight with them – if they start it and are unopposed, the police have reason to arrest them (and may be inclined to do so now)). If you prefer a world where ‘right-thinking’ people make the decisions about what is allowed, I can nominate a fair few for you – although Libya appears to be off the list for now.

51. theophrastus

Well said, Sunny!

The EDL are a nasty, racist rabble; but you are right to defend the right to protest.

Thank you.

52. theophrastus

CT @ 47:

“I’m also uncertain if the EDL are a far-right organisation. They seem to be a mixed bunch, including British Jobs for British Workers lefties.”

Indeed, like the BNP – which is basically a leftist party, like the nasty Nazis. The big clue is in national sociaism….
.

53. john P reid

18,19,21,24,26 well done

Observer, the EDl march should be banned becuase some left wing thugs may
fight them well then it’s the plice job to defend the EDl then.

33 the voice link gave no indication the EDL were racist and even if they had, the voice is a racist newpapper in itself

48 so the edl break the law so the march should be banned, well when the Labour party had anti cuts marches tehy should have been banned as various laobur M.P.s went to prison from the expences scandal

54. Charlieman

@3. tony walker: “Agree regards Tower Hamlets but what do we do in Leicester where previous behaviour would suggest if they were to allow a march there the local community would rise up and turn it into a battlefield. EDL will want to march in the most sensitive places and take the most sensitive routes.”

The last EDL demo in Leicester resulted in the EDL attempting to kick in the windows of Asian owned businesses and petty scuffles with police. I don’t recall any major confrontations with the counter demonstration. Disruption occurred when EDL marchers ducked off the approved route and the approved transport corridors away from the police.

Whilst it is likely that members of the local community may take a more robust approach to defending homes and shops at any future EDL demos, I’m not convinced that there is a greater likelihood of violence. Leicestershire police must know what went wrong and have ideas about how to prevent a repetition. This argument is supported by the way that police constrained the one night of criminal looting this month.

A further argument is that Leicestershire police have been managing street battles over the Punjab for 30 odd years and are experienced at sorting out young hotheads. There’ll be a lot of community relations preparation by the police in advance of any demo.

If they support banning upcoming MAC demonstrations

Well, its inevitable that MAC itself will be banned. In the past, Islam4UK and Al-Muhajiroun (previous incarnations of Muslims Against Crusades) also had their demos banned.

56. ana-rose phipps

Great article, clearly reminding us that if we want civil liberties and democracy, then need to be applied universally.

Several years ago i attended a Marxist conference called ‘No Platform for Fascists’. It struck me as somewhat hypocritical of the far left to attempt censorship of the far right. This actually plays right into the hands of the less extreme factions of the EDL who could reasonably argue that their voice isn’t being heard. They would come out of the debate as wronged martyrs, whilst future marches could equally be prevented
from taking place on similar flimsy excuses like the one that says the police have to keep costs down.

Whatever is wrong with the UK, the right to protest must be preserved at all costs. It is the thing i most love about this country.

57. Arthur Seaton

Agree with Sunny, banning them is counterproductive.

But please, piss off with the “they’re not racist, they’re not violent” rubbish. No, not officially, not on their offical website pronouncements……… on that basis neither are the BNP, and neither were the British Union of Fascists. The proof is in their actions, and every time the EDL show up its the same vicious scene, hundreds of thungs shouting about how much they hate “Pakis” before occasionally remembering that they should really say “Muslims.” And then demonstrating that hatred with their fists. Not all of them are ‘pure’ racists, not all of them are violent, but the majority tone is most decidely both.

Interesting also that the leadership have recently come out against anti-cuts protesters, and before that they opposed the Unite airport strikes. So basically, while posing as “apolitical”, they are morphing into a far more classic right-wing, proto-fascist movement. This before even mention their Facebook pal Breivik.

But yeah, don’t ban ’em.

And what if – Arthur Seaton – the EDL leadership came back and said that they can’t be responsible for everyone who turns up on their demonstrations, in the same way that anti-Globalisation protests attract people who just want to smash up McDonald’s and banks?

And that much of the violence with the police takes place because the police are using riot control tactics on them from the moment they turn up in a town. Kettling them and trying to hold them in pens etc. That is what they do. Without the counter protests it might only take a fraction of the police.
That’s how it works in Northern Ireland. It’s only the contentious parades there that require heavy policing.
UAF etc have decided to contest every EDL appearance. And this reaction to them has helped make the EDL what they are.

Absolutely correct. I would add that the far right must be defeated on the streets and in communities so let ’em march.

@ 13 – Simon. Mate, that quote is Voltaire’s – I googled Evelyn Beatrice Hall – seems she wrote a biog of said French genius!

60. Scooby, that’s a common misattribution, due to Evelyn Beatrice Hall wording it, with quotes, as if she was quoting Voltaire. But the words are her own.

@57 Im with you on that, so I am with Sunny too….Also I love seeing those righties getting slightly aroused by the prospect of having a group of ‘non-racist’ anti-islamic bovver boys taking on those annoying lefties of the UAF. ‘OH WHAT BRUTES! LOOK AT THEM! They aint racist though, so come here you scary men, look at you’.Bless dem righties They can barely keep it in their trousers when comes to the EDL.

63. francis ford granada

@52 Oh yeah, national socialism, must mean they are socialist. Like the Liberal Democrats in Russia are liberal and democratic and the Jamaican Labour Party arent in anyway conservitive….oh hang on, wait a minute…Anyway. I wish you wouldnt use the left wing political spectrum as a dumping ground for your own political shame. Live with it.

64. the a&e charge nurse

As other have said, if we accept the principle that the threat of violence (or cost) can be used as reasons to ban a marches or protest then there is a real danger that the EDL would become just the first in an ever growing list of suppressed political voices?

I mean what is the bigger threat to democracy – a few cartoon goons, or over zealous, and politically driven policing?

58, well said

@58 The Daily Star and the Express acting as cheerleaders might also have contributed somewhat to the EDL’s rise. Lest we forget the star’s attempts at encouraging the EDL to form a political party.

66 ,not sure about the Express ,bot the star has said it may have been accused of Islamaphobia but that’s becuse the GArian is anti semetic

I agree with Sunny that EDL demos shouldn’t be banned on this basis, and that they should generally be allowed so long as the police can control them. I’m a bit uneasy about making this an absolute principle, though.

The problem is that the EDL marches aren’t really normal demonstrations in that the purpose isn’t really to campaign for government to do something, or to campaign to change the general population’s mind about something. The intended audience of the marches is the Muslim population of the areas they march through. The prime purpose is to cause fear and damage property, and hopefully provoke sufficient terror among the population that they’ll consider emigrating.

Everyone knows what happens if someone Muslim-looking walks past an EDL demo, or indeed past a group of EDL supporters on their way to and from a demo, and the police aren’t there. Basically, local Muslims are well advised to avoid the entire area (and public transport) on EDL demo days in case they encounter marauding thugs outside the police cordon. I can’t think of any other demo which poses that sort of violent threat to people who don’t want to get involved. In Stoke it shut down virtually the entire taxi service when the EDL marched because non-white taxi drivers felt too vulnerable to leave their homes alone.

Maybe a community can reasonably take that sort of shutdown a few times; freedom of expression is a valuable thing. These movements also feed off the idea that they’re being oppressed. But should the EDL, for example, decide to march through the same Muslim residential streets in Tower Hamlets every Saturday for months, that would mean Muslims in that area who didn’t want a fight being practically confined to their homes every Saturday. It would wreck lives. There has to be some way of preventing that type of intimidation.

@67 Well if the Star, which had removed itself from the light-touch regulation of the PCC before the phone hacking scandal, finding even that pitiful amount of regulation chaffing, says something like that, then it must be true.

Cylux, I’d say that watching youtubes of EDL demonstrations, reading the Casuals United internet forum and their own football hooligan social circle is far more likely to have influence on who turns up than any newspaper. Does anyone even read the Daily Star these days, let alone take any notice of it? Even hooligans can be reasonably sophisticated today.

Even if they have never been on an EDL demo before, I think watching videos of UAF and black and asian youth chasing EDL through the streets of Birmingham last year thows down a challenge. An ”us verses them’ situation. And being the kind of people they are, they will resent being run out of town by (perhaps) some of the very people who were looting in Birmingham a couple weeks ago. Or at least it could look that way to those who are already a bit pig headed.

Of course they are going to want to ”slap” the UAF person on the megaphone shouting ”Nazi scum off our streets” at them. It’s their football hooligan culture to want to have a go at people who are having a go at them. It’s just like the football terraces fan rivalry that they enjoy so much.

They will look at youtubes such as this and think that today it’s Tower Hamlets, and in the future – where they live now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m1h25Qqgtg

71. Comrade Tebbit

“Well, its inevitable that MAC itself will be banned. In the past, Islam4UK and Al-Muhajiroun (previous incarnations of Muslims Against Crusades) also had their demos banned.”

Not what I said though. I’m talking about the lefty councilors and community representatives you cite. If they campaign to prevent MAC types from demonstrating I wont accuse of them of double standards.

Its always tough with calls to curb freedom of speech or freedom of association. Does one want to stop a march because they are genuinely concerned about the potential for violence and disorder? Or is the motivation the same as the SWP types, the ‘evil nazis’ have no right to speak etc.

72. Arthur Seaton

Jungle – you make some very good points. The basic aim of the EDL is to strike terror into the hearts of the Muslim population, and it is heartbreaking that these thugs get away with it. I am still very wary however of bans on their marches, as it feeds their pseudo-victim mentality. I don’t see any problems with them being directed away from particular areas, as long as the demo itself isn’t banned. No, they shouldn’t be allowed to harrass one residential area repeatedly. Even then though, I think counter demonstrations by residents and other activists are preferable to relying on the state to step in. As others have said, if they can get away with banning EDL demos, they can get away with banning UK Uncut demos.

73. john P reid

The EDL march has now been forced to be a static protest, But i’ve heard from a source that the MET feel this wil cause more EDL supporters to have other protest in other parts of london on the same day.

I’ve always agreed with this, no platform’s are a joke.

Does anyone even read the Daily Star these days, let alone take any notice of it?

Well it apparently maintained an estimated readership of 7.7m in twelve months to the end of 2010.

76. Chaise Guevara

@ 26 Don

“The EDL should be banned from marching because the purpose of their march is to fight other people, because they are a bunch of violent racist thugs.”

How did you reach the conclusion that the purpose of their march is fighting? Marches attract yobs, and that goes for EDL marches more than most, but that doesn’t mean that the purpose of everyone there is violence.

Similarly, while EDL members are often seen on TV shouting racist/Islamaphobic nonsense, that doesn’t mean that “they” are racist (whether “they” means “everyone in the organisation” or “the organisation itself”).

I don’t like the EDL, but they’ve got a right to express their views. You seem to be very happy to tar all of them with the same brush. And the logic behind your statements appears to argue that anyone who’s been in the same place as a violent person should have their opinions censored. So that’s anyone who went on the march over student fees, for example, or anyone who protested over poll tax.

What you’re doing here is very similar to the attempts by certain right-wing sources to portray all student protesters as “anarchists” and “thugs”.

Late to the party, but … excellent post, Sunny.

78. Chaise Guevara

“Late to the party, but … excellent post, Sunny.”

That reminds me: I’m also late to the party, Sunny, but this is one of your best posts yet.

79. Nathaniel Mathews

I think if they had let it go ahead there would have been a punch up. I admire your logic but let’s remember our history. Huge counter demo would have ensued.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  2. richardbrennan

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  3. Eugene Henry

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  4. Nemesis Republic

    Here's @sunny_hundal @libcon on why he thinks #TH #EDL march shouldn't be banned (ie exposure is a good thing) http://t.co/5RZABJ0

  5. Police State UK

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  6. Tory Outcast

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/pVtxIFp via @libcon <good piece, bad title

  7. Rikbut

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  8. Rikbut

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  9. Denny

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  10. Denny

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  11. di is in los angeles

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  12. Joan Lawson

    RT @libcon The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/syvylTa [Here here, or is it, hear hear]

  13. Rob Waller

    I think Sunny Hundal may have been kidnapped and replaced by an imposter… http://t.co/34QuJiZ

  14. Dylan

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  15. sunny hundal

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  16. Phil Gray

    RT @libcon: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/0i2uTrD <- That

  17. David Harney

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  18. .

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  19. Paul Stead

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  20. Craig Jones

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  21. Craig

    Send for the doctor, @sunny_hundal is being sensible http://t.co/TNlgbop

  22. Mariquon

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/BRrQCAW via @libcon

  23. Bansi Kara

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  24. Elpenor Dignam

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  25. Phil Gray

    Send for the doctor, @sunny_hundal is being sensible http://t.co/TNlgbop

  26. Toy

    RT @sunny_hundal: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/N8sxHZr < Sense!

  27. Ambrosine Shitrit

    "@sunny_hundal: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/79b1djo"/ i agree

  28. ?

    RT @sunny_hundal: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/N8sxHZr < Sense!

  29. ?

    "@sunny_hundal: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/79b1djo"/ i agree

  30. Chantelle West

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  31. Elpenor Dignam

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/9SU9b5a

  32. Anna

    RT @sunny_hundal: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/N8sxHZr < Sense!

  33. The Small Places

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  34. NemesisRepubIic

    RT @WelshToy RT @sunny_hundal The wrong reasons to ban English Defence League march.Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/ZChc7Jh < Sense! #edl

  35. NemesisRepubIic

    RT @AmbrosinShitrit "@sunny_hundal: The wrong reasons to ban #edl march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/ZChc7Jh"/ i agree

  36. AndreaUrbanFox ©

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  37. NemesisRepubIic

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  38. NemesisRepubIic

    #edl #uaf #hopenothate RT @sunny_hundal The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march.Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/ZChc7Jh

  39. Kensy Joseph SJ

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  40. victoria miley

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  41. NemesisRepubIic

    . @ukhomeoffice @metpoliceuk @MayorLutfur & cronies:The wrong reasons to ban #edl march http://t.co/fcgBTeQ #towerhamlets #uaf #hopenothate

  42. Paul Elvins

    RT @sunny_hundal: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/N8sxHZr < Sense!

  43. Mhairi McAlpine

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  44. Ms Anonymous

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  45. CyberGhost EN

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  46. Mark Trewavas

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  47. Gwilym Hardy

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/txwR99e

  48. Elliot

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  49. Ben Mitchell

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/hwsUVwN via @libcon

  50. Nicholas De Genova

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  51. June Russell

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/mXv5lmv via @libcon

  52. Irna Qureshi

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/mXv5lmv via @libcon

  53. Steven Baxter

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/mXv5lmv via @libcon

  54. missis aitch

    Reasons not to ban the EDL March http://t.co/Cj1FSIR

  55. Rosie

    Excellent reasons for not banning EDL march http://t.co/pCTK0aO via @libcon

  56. RobSimmons

    RT @sunny_hundal: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/I40sOt9

  57. sunny hundal

    @marcusaroberts @CllrJoshuaPeck unity is fine – but unity should be used to mobilise against EDL, not call for bans http://t.co/txwR99e

  58. NemesisRepubIic

    SENSE > RT @sunny_hundal The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march. Why I'm against a ban http://t.co/ZChc7Jh #edl #uaf

  59. Snowy

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  60. sunny hundal

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  61. Brendan O'Connell

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  62. Tony Kennick

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  63. James Lipscombe

    Excellent points from @Sunny_Hundal http://t.co/6IFxe4l #freespeech

  64. Mona Eltahawy

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  65. johnabrams

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  66. Roti Fan

    RT@sunny_hundal Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/SAN4RTF (from this morning)

  67. anna-rose phipps

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/ZTytyvw via @libcon

  68. K S Dhindsa

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  69. Tom Stevenson

    @Sunny_Hundal agrees with me about the EDL March http://t.co/BCP5ryV. (My article on the matter 20/8/11 http://t.co/ROesp7Z)

  70. K S Dhindsa

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/YDnRhH2 via @libcon

  71. Stephe Meloy

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  72. K S Dhindsa

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/YDnRhH2 via @libcon

  73. Stephe Meloy

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  74. Wail Qasim

    A very good argument on why the #EDL march shouldn't be banned, by @sunny_hundal http://t.co/b6SR6Kw (I disagree on civil liberties point.)

  75. Wail Qasim

    A very good argument on why the #EDL march shouldn't be banned, by @sunny_hundal http://t.co/b6SR6Kw (I disagree on civil liberties point.)

  76. Rupinduhhh

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  77. Robert Frost

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  78. Robert Frost

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  79. Annika Hamrud

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  80. Nicola Chan

    Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/txwR99e (from this morning)

  81. dianedalziel

    "@sunny_hundal: Why I'm against the ban on the English Defence League march in Tower Hamlets http://t.co/3rJnSgZ (fr
    did u post this?

  82. Ian

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/RdZJMX2 via @libcon

  83. M D

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  84. M D

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  85. Martin O'Neill

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  86. Martin O'Neill

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  87. Jonathan Freeman

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  88. Jonathan Freeman

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  89. Matt W.B. Plummer

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  90. Matt W.B. Plummer

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  91. Lee Hyde

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  92. Martin O'Neill

    I agree with Nick oh sorry I mean Sunny The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/DXPxrT4 via @libcon

  93. DanielPoxton

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  94. sunny hundal

    @neilmckt here you go http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  95. Jonathan Davis

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  96. Steven Maclean

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  97. Aaron Peters

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  98. Mark Hewerdine

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  99. TheCreativeCrip

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/ogqaE4j

  100. Catriona

    RT @libcon: The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march http://t.co/9wElwpV <agreed, EDL have right to be arses in public too

  101. StopWatch Campaign

    Two reasoned but opposing views on banning EDL march: http://t.co/z9lgAWR and http://t.co/pV51nhS from @sunny_hundal and @thethirdestate

  102. The Fat Councillor

    I agree with @Sunny_Hundal; it's wrong to ban an EDL march, especially on grounds as spurious as cost. http://j.mp/r2ai5t

  103. sunny hundal

    @SwindonG I did so yesterday http://t.co/txwR99e

  104. sunny hundal

    @singhdasa @PhilCane I don't want to any marches banned http://t.co/6RgomCI

  105. Philip Cane

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/i40m4ZN

  106. A Working Class Lad.

    The wrong reasons to ban the English Defence League march | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/93txrFe via @libcon

  107. sunny hundal

    @eshaanakbar I blogged this a couple of days ago http://t.co/6RgomCI





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