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  • The EDL and Bradford

    by Sunny
    29th July, 2010 at 2:21 pm    

    My latest article for the Guardian expands on the point I made a few days go about the EDL coming to Bradford: Let EDL thugs demonstrate in Bradford.

    I want to repeat a point I make in the article. I’ve had a fair bit of heat in the comments from people saying that the EDL demo will only raise tensions. I agree it will. That’s their whole aim of course.

    But the people of Bradford aren’t innocent bystanders who can’t do anything: if they want to tackle community tensions then they must get organised. They have to find ways to reach out to each other. Simply banning protests allows local politicians and self-appointed ‘community leaders’ to brush these problems under the carpet.

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    1. sunny hundal

      Blog post:: The EDL and Bradford

    2. Noxi

      The EDL and Bradford | Pickled Politics »

    3. june4th

      The EDL and Bradford | Pickled Politics »

    1. Doktorb — on 29th July, 2010 at 2:25 pm  

      Having seen some footage of EDL supporters recently, it is evident that the main purpose of them is to cause trouble, division and violence. There is a discussion to be made about migration and immigration into the UK; sadly the EDL prefers the retro charm of 1980s football hooligans; get tanked up on beer, ruckus in a High Street, wake up in a Cell.

      There is no insult in calling EDL supporters ignorant. When you hear them attempt to justify their extreme views, they rely on nothing but insults and groundless accusations. I would relish the opportunity to speak to EDL supporters if I felt there was any point. Having “You’re not English any more” chanted at me by drunken yobs isn’t my idea of a grown up discussion.

    2. Kismet Hardy — on 29th July, 2010 at 2:39 pm  

      I hate bloody EDL. I called them up and some bloody Indian on the other end of the line talked shit to me for a whole hour and despite begging him to understand my situation, he flatly refused to reconnect my electricity until I settled my bill. Bloody foreigners

    3. Boyo — on 29th July, 2010 at 7:19 pm  

      Heh.I googled them to see who came up first, and I’m surprised you ended up at an electricity co Kismet, cos this mob were top.

      Their website was far more advanced than I recalled before, and in the section “Is the EDL racist?” they have the following response. Interestingly the language they use echoes that over the Left over the years. Strange times…

      “Some organisations and media reports have branded the EDL as ‘racist,’ ‘fascist,’ ‘far-right,’ or even ‘Zionist.’ All of these accusations are flat out untrue. We take an actively anti-racist and anti-fascist stance. In addition, the EDL is non-political, taking no position on right-wing vs left-wing. We welcome members from all over the political spectrum, and with varying views on foreign policy, united against Islamic extremism and its influence on British life. Everyone from those whose ancestral roots are in pre-Roman Britain to immigrants just arrived yesterday will be welcomed into the EDL with open arms as long as they are willing to stand up with us for English values and against Islamist hate. Too many English are afraid to stand up and say “Enough!” because of the fear of being branded “racist.” We hope to change this.”

    4. Yakoub Islam — on 30th July, 2010 at 6:39 am  

      I’ll repeat my point on CiF. I’m 100% for peaceful demos. Thugs smashing stuff up, shouting racist abuse and committing random acts of violence I’m 100% against. And that’s what the EDL in protest in Bradford is going to amount to. It MUST be banned for the sake of public order. What is it going to take for you liberals to see sense? A racist murder?

    5. Boyo — on 30th July, 2010 at 7:47 am  

      Yakoub - you’re quite right (about the potential for violence). My own sense is that whatever the intentions of the organisers (and I have mixed feelings - I think it is wrong to dismiss them as simple racists, yet probably right to identify them as largely thugs) the racist element will grow by accident or design (the BNP will be desperate to discredit them) and result in violence. And if that doesn’t happen, the authorities (as with the Unions and various Left groups including no doubt UAF) will ensure it does via infiltration.

      It is really impossible to maintain a “grass roots” working class movement based on fisticuffs and not have the above result in the UK (where the elite has masterfully avoided revolt for many centuries), albeit their reaction against Islamic extremists is one I can understand - had I been at the Luton parade and witnessed those morons insulting the troops, I would have probably wanted to have laid in to them… but wouldn’t have had the bottle! So I do have some sympathy with the belligerent English spirit that does, even though I believe it is doomed.

    6. Yahya Birt — on 30th July, 2010 at 8:18 am  


      Why are you so confident that the EDL marching through Bradford won’t end up with people getting hurt, shops getting smashed, people getting intimidated?

      It’s a reasonable precaution to ban this march as any number of analyses have shown that the EDL is hardly a disciplined, cohesive movement, and there are elements in it that are looking for a ruck pure and simple.

      You’re right to say banning it won’t solve the wider political problems, but that’s not the point here. It’s a simple risk assessement about whether there will be trouble on the streets or not.

    7. cjcjc — on 30th July, 2010 at 8:37 am  

      “Thugs smashing stuff up, shouting abuse and committing random acts of violence I’m 100% against.”

      I agree with you. I don’t like UAF either.

    8. Rumbold — on 30th July, 2010 at 8:44 am  

      Sunny’s stance is admirable, as people often find it easy to argue for banning marches they dislike. I agree with him. You either support the right of people to march or your don’t.

      What needs to happen is a large police presence at the march, so that anyone causing trouble is quickly arrested and charged (from whatever poltiical group).

    9. Golam Murtaza — on 30th July, 2010 at 9:22 am  

      If the EDL REALLY wants to go after Islamic extremists (ie by demonstrating directly outside Anjem Choudhury’s house or the houses of his extremist mates) I wouldn’t have a problem! Guess that’s never going to happen though…

    10. Wibble — on 30th July, 2010 at 9:59 am  

      Of course not - the only inclusiveness the EDL have is whom to include in their (ahem) “inclusive” definition of who’s “Islamist”.

      Anyway, since a lot of them are Football supporters surely they’d see “English Defence” as an oxymoron ?

    11. boyo — on 30th July, 2010 at 10:22 am  

      @10 ha-ha.

    12. damon — on 30th July, 2010 at 2:22 pm  

      The march should not be banned and the pathetic UAF should either stay away, or learn some new tactics.
      The thing to do in the face of provocations like this is not to whip up emotion with talk of facists and nazis, and leading chants through a magaphone with the miserable call of ”Fascist scum, off our streets” - but to adopt a bit of dignity and calm in the this situation, and tell the young local people who might be up for a fight just to not rise to the provocation.

      Some EDL hooligan shoting ”no more mosques” or even mockingly wearing a burka-like outfit, does not mean that young muslims need to disolve into outraged ”jihad mode” and start throwing bricks all over the place to defend their hurt feelings and honour.

      And if the UAF were worth anything at all, it would be that kind of message and leadership they would be offering.
      Leave it to the police, and people can defend themselves and their communities as a last resort.

      ie, if racist thugs tried to smash up shops or attack and insult local muslims away from the police in some residential area, I’d have no problem with local youths defending their neighbourhood.

    13. Sunny — on 30th July, 2010 at 3:10 pm  

      Why are you so confident that the EDL marching through Bradford won’t end up with people getting hurt, shops getting smashed, people getting intimidated?

      I’m not confident at all. The EDL are violent thugs. And so I’d like to see a big UAF counter-demonstration and I’d like to see a big police presence.

      But I’d rather have that than just banning demonstrations.

    14. Sarah AB — on 30th July, 2010 at 7:46 pm  

      This is interesting!

    15. joe90 — on 30th July, 2010 at 11:30 pm  

      What are the Edl policies get drunk and abuse muslims wow really intelligent. Hooliganism is not tolerated at football matches so why are these thugs tolerated.

    16. Gerard — on 30th July, 2010 at 11:42 pm  

      If the home office(of old labour)didn’t ban from the streets Oswald Mosleys’ post war fascists who were brutal and openly anti semitic sieg Heilers from 1946 to 1949 then don’t expect a conservative gvt about to launch cuts on living standards to be any better. Asian youth in Bradford must show discipline. Don’t smash up your own town, don’t fight the police, but do support the united counter protest.

    17. halima — on 31st July, 2010 at 5:14 am  

      Well, I am sure if the people of Bradford show a united front, the EDF will run anyway. The anti-racist movement in Bradford just need to focus on getting a large counter-demonstration. The people of Tower Hamlets managed to show resolve, and I am sure this can also happen in Bradford. I dislike the EDL intensely, and this feeling overrides any abstract concerns about their right to free speech, and I don’t support the right of groups who incite and cause harm to others to demonstrate.

      I prefer the liberal definition of free speech - say and do whatever you like as long as it doesn’t cause any harm. The EDL does cause harm.

    18. damon — on 1st August, 2010 at 11:31 am  

      Halima @17 ”The anti-racist movement in Bradford just need to focus on getting a large counter-demonstration.”

      I would support that in principle, but in reality it will be dominated by the UAF who are not the right people to be leading such a demonstration in my opinion. There’s too much talk of ”Nazis” and ”fascists” with them.
      Just look at them goading the police when Nick Griffin went on Question Time.

      To me that’s ”lowest common denominator” kind of protesting. And they end up just being a pain in the arse.

    19. john — on 1st August, 2010 at 12:11 pm  

      “I would support that in principle, but in reality it will be dominated by the UAF who are not the right people to be leading such a demonstration in my opinion. There’s too much talk of ”Nazis” and ”fascists” with them.
      Just look at them goading the police when Nick Griffin went on Question Time.

      To me that’s ”lowest common denominator” kind of protesting. And they end up just being a pain in the arse.”

      Yeah but you’re a Nick Griffin fan so you would say that.

    20. damon — on 1st August, 2010 at 12:15 pm  

      Are you looking for a reaction or something john you tit?

    21. halima — on 1st August, 2010 at 12:38 pm  

      I don’t know who dominated the counter-demonstration in Tower Hamlets this June, but at the time there were lots of arguments put forward about potential clashes, violence, and some group dominating over others. In the end the EDL didn’t come to Tower Hamlets. Then the anti-racist groups wanted to organise a Unity march , even though the EDL had pulled out, and there were voices among them, including my own, that urged caution on grounds that if the primary objective is to deter the EDL, then no unity march is needed. In the end, though, I think it was right for the Unity march to go ahead. The voices that urge calm, perhaps like mine, are not the ones at the front line, facing the danger and risk, and they want to show defiance. The Unity march in particular wasn’t violent, and the coverage on the media just showed mostly Asian men, though there were lots of other people present. Just goes to show, we can advance all the arguments and theoretical points we like, but in the end the people who have to live the politics on the ground, will lead the way, and find a solution. Good on the people of Tower Hamlets.

    22. damon — on 1st August, 2010 at 1:02 pm  

      If a Gay Pride parade was proposed through Tower Hamlets and many of the same people came out against it because they felt it would be antagonistic towards the muslim community - what then?

      Because it would be antagonistic to conservative islam just by being so publicly gay and lesbian.
      Should something like that stay away from Whitechapel too?

    23. Bosnia's War Babies — on 1st August, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      One of the many charges faced by Radovan Karadži? at The Hague is that of organising the rape of 20,000 Bosnian Muslim women.
      Fourteen years after the conflict, many of these women remain traumatised, cast out from their communities, rejected by their husbands and families, and often ending up stigmatised and impoverished.
      Some had the additional humiliation of being raped in front of their parents or small children.
      Yet the psychological support that so many of them urgently need is inadequate and sporadic.
      Some women were kept for months and raped until they conceived.
      Those who became pregnant either abandoned their babies or had them adopted.
      Some decided to keep them, a constant reminder of their shame.
      These children – now in their teens – are beginning to ask questions about their fathers.
      The mothers now face a dilemma – should they tell the truth and risk damaging their child? Or keep their terrible secret?

    24. halima — on 2nd August, 2010 at 5:16 am  


      We host the Pride Festival in Victoria Park most years. As far as I am aware, gay , lesbian , bisexual or third gender groups don’t cause harm to others. Tower Hamlets is quite comfortable with its queer spaces actually - it happens to be one of the preferred places for gay men in London to live in.

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