As recently highlighted by The Guardian, the ugly reality of the English Defence League has been exposed in a newly-published report by Dr Matthew Feldman and Dr Paul Jackson at Northampton University’s Radicalism and New Media Research Group. The report was formally released during a major international conference recently hosted by the RNM; it is based on extensive independent research and is a truly brilliant analysis of all aspects of the EDL. The results are damning to say the least.
The full report can be downloaded for free as a PDF document via the RNM’s website here.
Some of the key findings are as follows (from p.56 of the report):
From the outset, among leaders and followers it is clear that the EDL has had sustained connections with the BNP and other extreme-right groups. Moreover, the EDL might profess itself a single issue, counter-jihadist movement, but its failure to adhere to this line leaves it looking like all previous racist extreme-right groups. This failure makes it even more difficult to ignore the neo-Nazi methods, antecedents and current connections of the EDL’s leaders and its followers.
Consequently, these profiles allow four conclusions. Firstly, the EDL is unarguably connected to the BNP and other far-right groups, whether by previous association or by shared interest. Secondly, some of these far-right individuals have possessed significant weaponry that identifies them as potential ‘lone wolf’ terrorists. Thirdly, EDL leaders and followers have engaged in criminality, especially racially aggravated incidents. Fourthly, the EDL engages in doublespeak that powerfully questions their claim to be a single-issue, non-racist movement.