Tommy Robinson left the EDL to save his own publicity-seeking career


9:30 am - October 9th 2013

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by Colin Ethelson

(A critic of extremism? Tommy (left, standing ) pictured with convicted Nazi thug, self-admitted “100% racist” and holocaust denier Richard Edmonds (right, speaking))

Some anti-fascists have claimed that we should be ‘cautiously optimistic’ about EDL leader Tommy Robinson’s and Co-leader Kevin Carroll’s leaving the organisation today. Some have greeted this as the defeat of the EDL. Forget Tommy’s whining about this being the most “most difficult day” of his life. It might just be his greatest victory.

For all their chants of ‘no surrender’ Nazis tend not to be particularly steadfast. It was recently reported that Europe’s most hard-line far-right leader, Nikos Michaloliakos of Golden Dawn, was in the past extremely quick to betray his fellow Nazis to police and prosecutors.

In 2010/2011 the EDL were a successful violent fascist street gang which terrorized non-whites and wreaked havoc on our streets. But they are no longer that political force .The last few EDL events hardly drew enough goons to fill even a smaller pub. The hopes of some of the EDL’s grief vultures to turn outrage Lee Rigby’s terrorist murder into a long term resurgence of violent street fascism have not materialised.

Even the tiny number of EDL supporters who remain are riven by infighting and ideological differences. Law enforcement too is starting to close in on the EDL: Robinson and Carol themselves are due to stand trial soon and one his their top EDL-colleagues is to hand himself to the police after a violent robbery.

Thus, by leaving the EDL Robinson is not really losing anything. In admitting that he can no longer restrain ‘extremist elements’ of the EDL, he is effectively conceding that he no longer held any real power as leader anyway. As he too seems to have realised, the EDL is finished as a political force; He stated “though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive”.

On the other hand Robinson’s gains through todays manoeuvre are massive.

He effectively rewrites his own political history and that of the EDL before his exit. He can portray himself as a hero of conscience; A man who risked his political future to oppose outrageous politically Islamist extremists like Anjem Choudhury. A man who was unjustly misunderstood and maligned as far-right only because of the actions of small number of extremists in the EDL.

The empathy circus has already begun. Robinson whined to the media about how he was unjustly demonised. He and Kevin Carroll even told a press conference his heroic fairy tale; “We had fought for three and a half years to keep racists out of the EDL”.

Since when is a bunch of racists getting drunk and shouting “whose streets, our streets “ a critique of Islamism. Since when is addressing a known terrorist, racist and mafia group an act of keeping racism out? Or what about the speaker at that prominent 2010 EDL demo who said “We’re still waiting for the Muslims to make peace with each other? They eat each other alive, like the dogs that they are”.

A real exit from the far-right feels and looks different. Andreas Molau, Germany’s top far-right ideologue and the most significant ‘exiter’ in past years gradually progressed from the overtly Nazi NPD to slightly more moderate far-right organizations before eventually quitting the far-right, rather than staging a glamorous one day shock maneuver. In interviews Molau makes clear that he is ‘no victim’, that his hateful views were “wrong at heart” and he has serious questions to answer over his lack of empathy for victims of the Nazi regime. He does not hide behind far-fetched self-justifications.

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Reader comments


1. organic cheeseboard

I doubt it’ll be a particularly long-lasting ‘victory’ if it even is that. It’s extremely unlikely that he’ll be able to follow people like Ed Husain in their media careers because his ‘conversion’ has been so quick – as a succession of commenters have pointed out, he was intimidating his opponents through threats of violence only last week. I’m sure that Douglas Murray will give him the time of day, but very few others will, especially because he doesn’t claim to have actually changed his mind about anything other than running street protests.

I was at kings Cross a while back when EDL members were coming back from som march or other. The chants of ‘Allah is a paedo’ sat pretty oddly with the supposed ‘anti-extremist’ views of the EDL.

Sorry, how the fuck do you know that Tommys turn around is anything but genuine?

Whatever reason he left he will have done so with a sizeable chunk of tax payer money gifted to him by QF which he will either use to retire on or to set up his new electoral project. We should remember that fascism is a business like any other. They are selling multi-national capitalism a service: a thug army spouting some populist racism to give it the appearance of having mass support in the petit bourgeois and amongst imperialist-infected workers but with the intention of inflicing a military defeat on organised labour and socialism. The problem of course as always when you hire private security is that when the job is done you will find you cannot get rid of them and their demands become all encompassing.

@2

“Sorry, how the fuck do you know that Tommys turn around is anything but genuine”?

Have you got the inside track on Yaxley-Lennon’s thinking? Come on, fess up.

I wonder if Tommy Robinson is planning a similar “career path” as has been enjoyed by some extremists in Northern Ireland. After a period of being in a paramilitary, they renounce all that activity and then after a few months they re-appear with a very well paid job in a tax payer funded anti-sectarian group.

So where exactly IS the Irishman Stephen Lynch (aka Tommy Ribinson) going to end up next? It’s not like he can fly off to the US on that fake passport of his now is it?

I think it is fantastic that Tommy Robinson has taken this step. Sure, he is not saying he is now a social democrat as some might want, but he has moved his rhetoric in a welcome direction. We all have to go through gradual processes to change ourselves, and he has shown an openness to learning from the Quilliam Foundation – an organization opposed to violent extremism, by which I take it to mean it will not support supremacists.

Sometimes changing course is opportunism, sometimes it is genuine, and yes we cannot be sure in his case, but if he is not welcomed to take tentative steps away from demonizing Muslims then we are effectively trying to maintain him as a bogeyman. It makes for a simpler goodies and baddies narrative to assume people do not change, but hopefully both he and we can get beyond that to see how we have a common agenda to promote solidarity, equal rights for every social group and peaceful relations between us instead of promoting fear.

For me this is a fantastic piece of news, and I have massive respect for how people at the Quilliam Foundation have made a space where it is possible. I can’t think of any better way that the EDL’s hatred could have been neutralised. Repression? Street fights? Censorship? Angry letters to newspapers? Pretending it will go away? We at least have to talk as well, and I think bringing him together with knowledgeable and respectful Muslims will do more to tackle hatred than stigmatising him and other EDL supporters forever more.

It may sound naive, but I’m just so happy to hear about this. The world feels a much better, more hopeful place. I understand how people may not want to reward Tommy Robinson with a platform after years spreading fear and hate. I don’t want that either right now. But it doesn’t help you leave destructive old beliefs, comrades and habits if you are put on the defensive at every step you take to make amends. I have no desire to sneer at his efforts, we should practice the respectfulness we preach. At least those of us who do preach that as an ideal!

8. organic cheeseboard

“Sorry, how the fuck do you know that Tommys turn around is anything but genuine”?

Because, if it were genuine, it would have had to happened in the space of c.25 minutes – but in any case, every interview he’s done since it’s happened has demonstrated that, in fact, he’s not changed any of his thinking, he’d jut lost control of the EDL and so couldn’t keep the extremism ‘hidden’ like he wanted. But the extremism was never hidden – as I’ve said, if you’re an ‘anti-extremist’ then you don’t have supporters chanting ‘allah is a paedo’.

If it were genuine, he also wouldn’t be using the ‘picking my kids up from school’ defence – it’s all about what he looks like, not what he is.

4. buddyhell- err… are you thick? I was asking this anonymous writer how he knew what the fuck. Does that imply any claim that I know what the fuck?

I don’t know and the anonymous author of this blog doesn’t know so why should we listen to anyones Tommy Robinson fantasies?

as far as I can see Tommy always said he wasn’t racist or anti Muslim and he was always misrepresented by smart arse middle class journalists who should know better and compromised by the “who the fuck is Allah” posse at the other extreme so this is quite an understandable move for him – in my opinion.

Also I know how much good enforced solitary confinement does so I can’t see it wouldn’t do Tommy some good. I have never liked the EDL but I think Tommy has always been a heart on the sleeve person and I don’t doubt he believes what he is saying. Lets see what happens.

All the Jihadi types I know laugh at Majid and Quilliam and think he is getting paid for nothing, with no influence in extremists circles.

When I went to their press launch it certainly seemed to be a bit glitzy and very little to do with the problem of Islamic Fundamentalism on street level.

When I heard what Majid said about his dealings with Tommy though, I though hats off to the guy and I look forward to see what Quilliam are actually doing in this coming doco.

For a bit of context, Majid and Tommy talking after Norway incident. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xOlhYuD1J4

It’s the left that gave Robinson and the EDL their platform in the first place. Sites like this one have built them up to be big scary bogymen, when all they ever were was ordinary people from the ‘football hooligan community.’ If it wasn’t for people like Sunny (and Jai), the anti-fascist obsessives and the rest of the twittering chatterers, no one would have paid the EDL much attention – and they wouldn’t have gained the amount of momentum and profile that they did achieve for a while there.

I work with people like Tommy Robinson. They can be deeply flawed as people, but still have some redeeming features. I was out doing deliveries with one such guy just the other day. He came from a travelling funfair/carnival family. Tattoos on his knuckles even, but was actually an OK guy. He hadn’t had a high level of education though.
My guess is that the people who have been most alarmed about the EDL, are people who don’t mix with that part of society very much.

12. organic cheeseboard

Just as another note – he’s supposedly renounced violence. But he still stands by things like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q96elyZaxq8

It’s a car crash of an interview, but herein he claims that the Muslim community, the police and the government have conspired to allow Muslim paedophile gangs to flourish – and that their paedophilia stems directly from the Koran which is in his eyes ‘an evil book’.

13. the a&e charge nurse

[12] the plain fact is quran based violence far exceeds anything the poor old EDL have ever mustered – take this plot to murder 2,000 passengers flying out of the UK
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6Dc02lN6uo&list=PLcvv03ugfC_EjfACL0RxgXJcNmMLfAE3h&index=1

While any trip to the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi will never be quite the same, will it?

And can it be true the LSE has banned Jesus & Mo t-shirts for fear of upsetting the mass ranks of the deluded?

Still, what does any of that matter when we have the minutiae of TR’s every move to fret over – first it was walking in a public place, then selfridges, and now this.

14. What a Burqa

Obviously a light touch interview conducted by Paxo on the Beeb’s flagship Newsnight programme was part of the package offered by 5 and brokered by QF. Money and a platform to kick off his new little movement.

But wasn’t it last week that Yaxley was tweeting his observation that the three politicians most responsible for an open door immigration policy were Jews? Clearly anti-semitism is the new Islamaphobia which was itself the new anti-semitism so it’s goodbye to the old Zionist backed EDL and forward to a new dawn. Political mobsterism has never been more profitable.

15. Charlieman

I’m less effusive than AT @7, and we have to wait and see how Robinson conducts himself.

Four years ago, Robinson and others established the EDL as a ‘street movement’ to challenge Islamism, or the ‘in your face’ expressions of political Islamism. You don’t have to be a historian of the 1930s to understand that ‘street movement’ methodology, irrespective of merits of the political case, is doomed from the start. I am surprised that the EDL has constrained extremists to any degree for so long; the organisation comprises so many unpleasant people that it would be impossible to control them; EDL history shows incidents of association and dissociation with the far right, demonstrating the naiivety of EDL leadership. The photo accompanying the OP shows Robinson not knowing where he was marching.

Robinson has determined that the organisation which he helped create is ugly and fuels the far right. Robinson’s decision to resign from the EDL is a good thing for him to do. For his soul, one hopes.

At this point, or maybe at any, it is impossible to determine Robinson’s sincerity. He gave his life for four years to the EDL and it will be difficult for him to acknowledge his wrongs. That is why he should be given time to reflect and get on with his life. The last thing he needs now is more politics.

Robinson’s words when leaving EDL are remorseful: ie typical of anyone resigning from a political organisation. Robinson worked and argued before his last day on behalf of the EDL; again that is typical of a resignee.

Like the mad scientist in a crass sci-fi film, Robinson worked out that his experiment had created a monster. Unlike in a film, Robinson cannot sacrifice himself to quell the terror.

16. flyingrodent

Tommy Robinson’s supposed conversion is laughably fake and anybody who even entertains the possibility that it’s genuine is a gabbling moron who should be kept away from sharp implements for their own safety.

17. Charlieman

@16. flyingrodent: “…anybody who even entertains the possibility that it’s genuine is a gabbling moron who should be kept away from sharp implements for their own safety.”

OK. That is your proposition.

How do I cut my cheese?

18. Charlieman

@16. flyingrodent: “Tommy Robinson’s supposed conversion is laughably fake…”

By your rules.

“But they are no longer that political force”.

This, and other parts of the OP make it sound as if the EDL mattered. They don’t and didn’t, and should have been ignored from the start. (Which is not to say that the Police should have ignored wrong-doing by its members).

Dressing-up these hooligan groups as successors to the Third Reich is ridiculous. Perhaps we’d all like to have been Spitfire pilots or tank commanders seeing off the Nazis. Identifying groups of yobs as Fascists, and claiming to be “fighting facism” is really not the same thing.

There’s only one interesting question here:

We’ve had the “National” Front, the “British” National Party, and now the “English” Defence League.

What will Version 4 be called?

My money is on “Albion” something. (“St George” loses points for being foreign).

21. the a&e charge nurse

[19] ‘Dressing-up these hooligan groups as successors to the Third Reich is ridiculous’ – I do not think even the most enthusiastic Tommy hater believes the EDL are a meaningful political force, no Tommy and is former EDL associates simply provide distraction therapy amongst those unwilling to address awkward questions about islam.
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/10/islamist-violence-and-a-war-of-ideas.html?utm_source=www&utm_medium=tw&utm_campaign=20131008

The Indy says ‘Kuwait and other states could conduct medical tests in an attempt to “detect” homosexuals trying to enter Gulf states’ – imagine the uproar if selfridges introduced such a policy!

Here’s a thought.

Maybe he realised that the EDL’s violence had become too much to manage and was the wrong answer…like he said.

23. Matthew Blott (@MatthewBlott)

The Taliban reissued another death threat against Malala Yousafzai this week and I haven’t found a word about this in the liberal blogosphere (goes much the same for Islamist violence in general). Yet Liberal Conspiracy is absolutely obsessed with Tommy Robinson and here we have another post about the celebrity lager lout. Pathetic.

24. Matthew Blott (@MatthewBlott)

Does the author of this piece actually know anything about Nazism?

Charlieman @15

Robinson has determined that the organisation which he helped create is ugly and fuels the far right. Robinson’s decision to resign from the EDL is a good thing for him to do. For his soul, one hopes.

Why the fixation of what this one man is up to?
He and his sad ragbag of fools never amounted to a whole lot. Only after they were highlighted and paid so much attention did they gain a certain notoriety.

I know now that people who obsessed on the EDL will never join in conversation with those of us who have constantly said that it was all an over the top reaction to a small street movement of football hooligans who had a Facebook page. But IMO, that’s all they ever really were.

They could certainly be a nuisance and a problem on any particular day when they all got together for one of their marches somewhere – but they could have been handled another way. The problem was that the left were either so cynical that they used the threat of what the EDL might do to stir things up and scare people to promote themselves, or that they were bereft of any ideas of how they could do anything else but crank out the old tired ”Nazi/Fascist” hyperbole.

LC has set out it’s stall on this long ago now, and that’s all it will do. Talk up the EDL as having been a serious threat to this country. I heard Sunny on the Radio doing just this yesterday. Tommy Robinson would have remained a nobody, but for all the free publicity he was given by the left.
I would imagine that some people need things like the EDL and ”Nazis” so they can rail against them and give their lives some meaning and a bit of excitement.

The more I learn about this dialogue between Tommy Robinson and the Quilliam Foundation, the more inspired I am by it. As I see it, Tommy Robinson is undermining any impression he gave his followers that Islam is a monolithic religion or that devout Muslims can never be trusted. He and the Quilliam Foundation are also acting like they believe the EDL and its followers can’t be categorically dismissed as interested only in hate.

At the base of a lot of this mutual hate I sense fear. And it seems to me Quilliam has helped Tommy Robinson overcome some of his fears, to see more clearly what the dangers are from both Muslim and anti-Muslim supremacists. We are also fighting our own fears – and as damon suggests, perhaps we also sometimes play our fears up for political reasons from time to time. But we also have hopes and positive visions, and I see a rare chance for something better for all of us here.

What Colin Ethelson in the original post calls an “empathy circus” I see as another positive sign. To call for empathy in place of demonisation seems completely appropriate here. That Tommy Robinson pleads for empathy rather than making a show of bravado and “I don’t care what you think” is an act of humility and even peacemaking. Yes, asking for empathy can be used by manipulative bullies to confuse us. But I think Colin misunderstands his plea – it is not for empathy for people supporting violent bigotry – but empathy for someone making steps to distance himself from it despite personal danger and recriminations.

We can always find positive or negative spins on other people’s intentions. I guess the spin we choose says more about us and our own hopes and fears than about the people we project it on. So I don’t expect to convince anyone else to share my perspective, it is personal. But I wanted to pipe up because otherwise, I don’t know, without hope that dialogue can sometimes make things better for everyone, all politics seems a bit soul-destroying.

27. Golam Murtaza

Agree with Damon and Jack C that the EDL has been massively over-hyped for the last few years. For example, The idea that this ‘organisation’ had British Muslims on the run and living in fear permanently is ridiculous. Take Bradford – a population of well over 100,000 Muslims and tomorrow the EDL is due to stage its SECOND demonstration ever in the city. Two demos by this lot in Bradford in four years. Pathetic.

As for the town I live in, it is roughly a quarter Muslim, and the EDL have demonstrated here….once. They made a moderate nuisance of themselves in one part of the town centre for half a day last year, then left.

26. AT nice one. well put

29. Polish Jenny

Yaxley hasn’t changed he’s just changed tack. Marching thugs up and down streets threatening pogrom against Muslim and ethnic minority communities got us where we are he says. It was a good method. But we need to go further. We need mass political support for our thuggery because so far we have been prevented from realising our goal by determined anti-fash opposition on the streets and a public opinion that still insists the police contain them. No doubt however the Nazi infiltration of the fascist EDL endagnered his Zionist backing and their mutual effort to spread Islamaphobia and portray themselves as the bulwark against Islamism. But of course if the soul reason for your existence is to oppose Islamism then the last thing in the world you want is for it to go away and it is obvious to anybody with eyes and honesty that the EDL made the work of the police in engaging with Muslim communities to weed out radical Islamists almost impossible as those communities were forced to close ranks for the sake of self-defence against their invasive marches. Islamists and the EDL: two groups of radicalised petit bourgs feeding off each others hatred and growing fat on it too.

30. Matthew Blott (@MatthewBlott)

Very interesting exchange here between “extremist” Tommy Robinson and “moderate” Chairman of the Islamic Centre in Luton. Sunny Hundal you really are one gullible fool.

@9

buddyhell- err… are you thick? I was asking this anonymous writer how he knew what the fuck. Does that imply any claim that I know what the fuck?

Given the state of your reply to me, I could ask you the same question, numpty.

Quilliam’s an MI5 front. Bravo for falling for it.

@25. damon: “He and his sad ragbag of fools never amounted to a whole lot. Only after they were highlighted and paid so much attention did they gain a certain notoriety.”

I agree with much of your analysis. However, it omits the internet factor; that internet communication removed debate, or a bit of it, from the private reserve of news editors. Fifteen years ago, newspaper editors would have laughed if you had said that pictures of kittens bring readers. The EDL worked the internet to its benefit, sufficient that without press feedback it could be a big nuisance.

The video link below shows EDL marchers attacking a cafe two miles from my home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7jox6Jo_sQ
Whilst it is true that the EDL comprises a ragbag of fools, the organisation can dump violence on your doorstep.

“…or that they were bereft of any ideas of how they could do anything else but crank out the old tired ”Nazi/Fascist” hyperbole.”

It should be a commonplace remark that UK (right, left and centre) does not understand the complications of immigration. It should be politely acknowledged that, on the whole, UK politicians and institutions are clueless on the subject.

When studying physics or history of art, we encounter things that we do not understand. Consequently, we read what experts have to say and conduct fresh research of our own; we recognise our ignorance and try to discover something new.

At the political level, the ‘intellectual state’ comprising politicians and think tankers is unable to distinguish between working migrants, criminally intended migrants and asylum seekers, or between Islamists and Moslems. The ‘intellectual state’ has not come up with new ideas to address new circumstances. There should be no wonder that EDL found a space.

Charlieman:

I agree with much of your analysis.

Everyone has different points of views, but just to higlight that mine have been extremly unwelcome on both this website and Sunny’s other website Pickled Politics. I fell out big time with one of the moderators who was the big EDL/far right ”expert”.

I’ve seem the video of the EDL thug/morons attacking that resturant in Leicester. It’s pretty bad. I’ve never said it was any different. On the day, the EDL could be a total nightmare. And they popularised that kind of backwardness. They were nothing but a bad development in society.
However, that was never my beef with the EDL obsessed anti-fascist left.
My point was one they have consistantly refused to engage with. It was deemed to be ”trolling” or making excuses or showing sympathy for the EDL.
My point was, that given how much society has changed and how multi-culturalism has allowed pockets of very different cultures and customs to live alongside each other without propper discussion about what’s going on – that givem that, that there was bound to be some kind of backward reaction some place or other. And the internet enabled the football hooligan culture people to express themselves about things they didn’t like or really understand, and meet up on-line and organise set peice away days where they all got together for a march and a drink-up.

And because of their ”couldn’t care less” culture of bravado, they were bound to fall into the kind of behavior that you might have expected anyway.
Right now as they drive about in their vans at work, they will be hearing of more terror arrests today involving Bristih people of Turkish, Algerian and Azerbaijani origin. This drip drip drip over the last couple of years has feuled their annoyance with the way society has gone. The kind of free-for-all where they think that their counry is having the micky taken out of it.

The left response to just focus on the inarticulate white working class blokes who hold such views has been a poor one in my opinion. The same reaction would happen anywhere in the world if people from an outside culture were thought to be disrespecting the indigenous one.
Two Leeds fans in Turkey were killed for showing their backsides in Istanbul a few years ago. A very grave insult. Our EDL types are not so different to people like themselves anywhere around the world. Macho men who feel they have to defend honor etc.

Btw, I don’t expect anyone to particualry have to agree with me on this – what I found most interesting was when I got so much flack and abuse for making such points.
Called an EDL lover etc. The real problem is the crass left IMO. The EDL were a far smaller problem.
Because the left wrecked any chance of civilised debate about such subjects.
(Well done for that Jai).

35. Churm Rincewind

@ 34 (Damon) You say you don’t particularly expect anyone to agree with you. Well, for the record, I do. An excellent post.

@34. damon: “Right now as they drive about in their vans at work, they will be hearing of more terror arrests today involving Bristih people of Turkish, Algerian and Azerbaijani origin. This drip drip drip over the last couple of years has feuled their annoyance with the way society has gone.”

Perhaps. More likely, seek a van where the blokes are vaguely sane.

Thanks for that Churm Rincewind. I sometimes wonder if I am missing things so badly that I’m wildly wrong about this. Most people on the left seem to take another view to me.
Like the kind of people who write the OPs/editorials on sites like this one. They wont even give you the time of day – you’re just barking up the wrong tree and not worth bothering with.

On that other website that I mentioned called Pickled Politics, these were the headlines of their last four shrill posts on the EDL:

”Sunday Times investigation unmasks EDL’s wealthy strategists”

”EDL leader agrees with Anders Breivik, but psychiatrists declare Breivik insane”

”EDL finally admit that their agenda is racially-motivated”

”EDL had threatened to shoot police on Remembrance Day”

You can see them all here.

The people who write that kind of nonsense just won’t talk to you. But will call you a troll and a troublemaker if you try to argue against their analysis.

Nearly all of the left is like this it seems.
My guess is that it’s partly because of a class and cultural divide and that many of the most ardent anti-fascists rarely mix with the kind of people that the EDL rank and file come from.
The kind of people I often go out with at work on rounds in a 7.5 ton truck doing deliveries to people’s houses. Their job title is ”van porter” and they are most often just your basic working class guy who only reads red top tabloids. Never The Guardian or Independent … and certainly not New Statesman or Liberal Conspiracy.

I know it might be hard for some people to imagine what’s that like – to be with people like that all day sitting in a van – one guy told me the other day that his brother ”was NF” and didn’t seem to think that was such a bad thing. I didn’t press him on it, as people are the way they are. I used to know some people in the NF too (many years ago).

Some of my co-workers are white, black or Asian English. Some are Polish or Turkish origin, or African, but they share a common culture – that of a van driver or driver’s mate. You don’t have discussions like this one when you’re out driving. That would be too weird.
But they have other qualities very often and are usually OK people. Even if they think it’s alright for their brother to be ”NF”.

Anyway, as I said, I think the most interesting thing about the whole EDL phenomenon has been the way that the left totally overreacted to them.
From Salma Yaqoob and Respect, to the SWP and UAF, Hope not Hate, to Sunny Hundal’s websites etc etc.
It’s been a joke IMO, and I’m actually quite proud to have been banned by that moderator from commenting on his threads, as it shows that I might have been saying something right.
Tommy Robinson is really a nobody, but even Paxman has been enthralled by him enough to interview him at least a couple of times. Maybe it’s like that time he interviewed Dizzee Rascal and called him ”Mr Rascal.”
That’s how out of touch some people can be.
I think they were out of touch about the EDL too.
The EDL were never a major problem in the country.

9 Dave
11damon

26 AT well said

It’s not like me to blow my own trumpet or anything …. but have a read of this.

Desperate leftists vs fantasy fascism

That was published today, but it’s what I’ve been saying for a couple of years now. And remember, mods on sites like this will just not engage with a view like that. They will call it trolling.

No matter how dire the fortunes of the far right in the UK might be, left-wing activists and others will continue to wring their hands over its ‘elegant deceit’ and its dangerous ‘headless’ spread into more areas of life. And there’s a good reason for this: leftists and mainstream politicians alike need groups such as the EDL and the British National Party (BNP) as patsies, as bogeymen they can posture against in order to imagine themselves as somehow similar to Second World War warriors defeating the dark forces of fascism all over again.

Will Sunny or Jai ever comment on views like that?

@39. damon: “That was published today, but it’s what I’ve been saying for a couple of years now.”

Let us all see how it works out. I hope that Robinson finds himself, a comfortable self — he isn’t coming from a privileged background and he has to find a place in ‘normality’. It will not be easy. He was the hero in an anti-establishment organisation, and evidently he finds it difficult to escape his past. That is normal.

As for the residual EDL, I presume that it will change. I do not know how.

The Spiked argument is flawed however. The far right will march again on our streets, because they believe that it is the road to power; what they comprehend comprises: muscle, bombs and bullets. This is not comforting for a softy liberal like me.

Perhaps farewell to the EDL, a soft right movement.

Charlieman

The far right will march again on our streets, because they believe that it is the road to power; what they comprehend comprises: muscle, bombs and bullets.

If that’s what you think fair enough, but I would disagree with your whole starting point there.
Maybe that’s why I faced so much opposition (or tactful ignoring) for what I said. If your point there is mainstream amongst the left, then no wonder mine and arguments like those in Spiked have bombed so badly.

But IMO, the far right have been a joke not a real threat. And the left has made a fool of itself by being so alarmist about ”the Nazis”.
But it’s what they do.

You’ll see that the ”Kick Racism Out Of Football” campaign also made a fool of itself today when they at first jumped on the England manager’s ”Monkeygate gaffe” …. and then backtracked when it became obvious that no one (but a couple of newspapers) were really pushing the story that Roy Hodgson had called a black player a monkey in a racist or ignorant way.
They had originally said that there should be ”an investigation”. Pathetic.
http://www.kickitout.org/news.php/news_id/6083

The far right were never going anywhere. They had a presence from time to time in England, but were never more than a bunch of oddballs and weirdos with a thuggish agenda.
Yes they should have been opposed. And sometimes even physically.
But you could say the same of street gangs which plague areas today.
Some of these are racially based gangs and are as unpleasant as the old NF ever were I might suggest. But we don’t get overly preoccupied by them. We usually just regard it as one of the downsides of urban living and take precautions not to cross their paths too much. Just to let them get on with it.

And the EDL weren’t even as ”sophisticated” as the political far right were. The EDL weren’t much more than a Facebook movement who met up for a hooligan day out now and again. There was no need for Muslim communities to really fear them for example. Because like the noisy groups of real football fans on match days, they would soon be going home and it would be back to normal in a few hours. In most places anyway. It might have been different in places up north that I don’t know so well. But even in Leeds when I was living there last year, I never saw a sign of them anywhere.
So why hype them up so much?

By the way Charlieman: Bad thoughts to you for dissing all van drivers like that 🙂
But as the Spiked people have suggested, there was more than a bit of ”chav class” loathing in the way that people reacted so strongly to the EDL idiots.
The EDL people don’t like Islamism and the way that it is so imbedded within Muslim communities. You’d expect that. Muslim communities are often ”led” (if that’s the right word) by conservative reactionary elements. To the point that some mosques will happily call themselves Salafists and explain in the UK media why they think that’s OK.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2011/jan/17/muslim-resistance-struggle-within-video

It’s always going to be hard for people who come from Tommy Robinson’s peer group to be able to understand things like that. They’re not middle class liberals.

I’ll just cross-post this piece from Harry’s Place by KB Player.

Waiting for the Fascists

I think the poem is particulary good.

What are we waiting for, assembled in the streets?

‘The Fascists are due here today’.

Why are we tense and bracing ourselves?
Why is everyone hiding stones and bottles?

‘Because the Fascists are coming today.
What else can we do but resist them?
Once the Fascists are here, then we’ll start the struggle’.

Why are they there, the newspaper sellers?
Just now, when no-one reads newspapers?
Crying, Smash Capitalism, Smash Fascism!

‘Because the Fascists are coming today
and this is a time for them to recruit.
It’s known that when the Fascists come
You can sign up so many supporters’.

Why have they come out, those speakers?
Crying Islamophobia and anti-imperialist?
Why do they shout, it’s Cable Street again
Why the raised clenched fists, the No Pasarans?

‘Because the Fascists are coming today
and things like that frighten the Fascists’.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

‘Because night has fallen and the Fascists have not come.
They are on Facebook and watching X-Factor,
they are in the pubs cheering football on Sky’.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without the Fascists?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

I’d love to hear some comment on that by the people who write the EDL OP/editorials on here and on Pickled Politics.

I have been following some of Tommy Robinson’s new-style advocacy, and while I do think there is some improvement, I admit it is very marginal.

I can forgive a continuing focus on bad things done by Muslims against non-Muslims, even though this kind of selective drip drip drip of one-way information promotes prejudice. His cause is to highlight bad things Muslims are doing and get Muslims to explain, justify or campaign against them.

I understand he will feel paranoid given how he has been physically attacked and his life threatened by Muslim supremacists. But he continues to misunderstand and therefore misrepresent innocuous things – making the worst possible interpretation of anything said by Muslims, and inviting his followers to get upset by them. In that sense, he is not really interested in countering anti-Muslim extremism in the same way as Muslim extremism. He doesn’t seem to be fact-checking with Quilliam, or admitting the possibility of other interpretations of things said by Muslims. Any concern for mutual empathy seems to be fading, as he plays to his gallery of supporters, rather than directly asking Muslims to explain what is going on when he is upset by something Muslims appear to have done.

I guess it is tough to try to maintain his public profile while also making a private journey. I still hope that he is challenging himself and learning that Islam is diverse and Muslims are not in a global conspiracy, any more than any other religion. But he has a long way to go to recognise that islamophobia should be put challenged just as much as racism, homophobia, anti-semitism and all the other unacceptable bigotries that he says drove him to leave the EDL. Maybe it is just too much to expect from someone under death threats from Muslims to do.

“The last few EDL events hardly drew enough goons to fill even a smaller pub.” Clearly the small pubs you visit can fit more than 2000 people.

EDL Newcastle Demo, May 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1tIUFPx1g4&feature=player_detailpage#t=21

EDL London Demo, May 2013.
http://metro.co.uk/2013/05/28/gallery-edl-protest-in-london-3810661/ay_110915694-jpg/

EDL London Demo, July 2013.
http://www.demotix.com/news/2271187/violence-erupts-english-defence-league-protest-birmingham#media-2272480

The leftwing counter-protests have been outnumbered at almost every single demonstration in the last 3 years. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_Defence_League_demonstrations


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