I cycle down the splendidly pretty road that is Castle Boulevard each morning, or afternoon depending on my level of oversleep, and often see the remnants of the previous days events: be it beercans and glasses after Castle-side parties or a million crushed Lucozade bottles in the gutter right after the Robin Hood Marathon, but this monday there was a new mess. Grooves ran deep across the road and onto the pavement, spotted with the cochineal brown of blood. Puzzled, I drew my aluminum stallion up to a weary looking street cleaner. ‘Knuckles’ he said ‘dragged knuckles’ . Ahhh. The EDL have been in town.
Who are the EDL? They seem to have sprang up from nowhere and already held angry marches in city centres across England. Predominantly crop-headed pasty males, they claim they are not, violent, not hateful, or racist (a journalist friend got the rather telling quote on Saturday ‘We’re not prejudice, we’d let coloured lads march with us’), are not nazis (in a rather feeble publicity stunt, they held a press conference where they burnt a Swastika flag. Or at least tried to. Watch it here. Its about a minute in:
They claim they are here to protect England from the threat of Sharia Law, as its well known that the Law Lords were pretty much on the edge of ditching the Magna Carta for Islamic statutes. Wigs are already being traded in for the Keffiyeh, didntchahear?
Then again, is it so bad to stand up against a series of laws that promote extreme punishment towards offenders, repress women, and push towards a Theocracy? Do we want this? Are the EDL, in fact, just defending our democratic rights? Are they, are they RIGHT?
Nope. Sorry, but no. Absolutely not. Quite the opposite of right. Want reasons? Ok.
I could point out the frequency of filmed and photographed Sieg Heils that emerged from the bobbing mass of stubbly heads on saturday, but you could counter that with every demo has its idiots. I myself stopped going on marches many years ago for just this reason, when some people seemed intent only to provoke a fight, or worse still, juggle.
I could also point out the fact that they are a coalition of various groups that include Casuals United, self-styled football thugs who think Danny Dyer is a top bloke, would read Loaded if the text was simplified somewhat and the tits were not so distracting, and hate the town and football club next to them with a venomous rage cos its full of blokes who are just like them and a football club just like theirs*.
I could point out that their rallies always seem to end in some violence, and the Nottingham march drew the following remark from Notts police: “The difference in the way we policed related to the way the groups were behaving. We escorted the UAF (Unite Against Fascism, who were holding a counter-rally), whereas we had to control the EDL.” But hey, the police were probably just a bunch of common-sense hating loony lefties, right?
Maybe we could pick up on the comments that were left on The Nottingham Evening Posts ‘Have Your Say’ boards after the event, which alternated between ‘We’re only trying to protect England’ and ‘Thro al ASEans and imigrents in the sea, lol’. But hey, thats probably just the far wing of the party, and not at all reminiscent of the leaked BNP member list whereby a non-renewal of membership was explained: ‘Did not like to be told to remove bomber-jacket at meetings’, no no no.
Maybe its because watching footage of the march and flicking through pages of potential suspects for my burglary (see Beestonia passim ) was an incredibly similar experience, I’m sure the majority of law abiding and never seen me in my underpants.
So what is it Lord Beestonia, you King Solomon of Reason, why do you still think that the EDL are not perfect examples of Patriotic British- sorry- English Heroes?
Eyes of Fear, Eyes of Love. I mentioned this concept two articles below, and stole it off Bill Hicks, who can’t sue on account of being quite dead. England has always had enemies. The French were once the bogeyman, the infamous story of residents of Hartlepool hanging a monkey on suspicion of it being a French spy a perfect anecdote to the rampant paranoia.
Catholics. They were big once. So much so relief at the foiling of a Papist plot is still celebrated every November the Fifth by standing outside in the icy cold cheering as a effigy of anti-reformism burns.
Jews. Ah, Jews. Pretty good scapegoats, having no real homeland for centuries, killing Jesus (though technically, a Christian, Judas, killed Jesus. Though its all too silly for me to think about). They are also too well organized, and as such were good with money, and no-one likes anyone more savvy than they. Pogroms, expulsions, and Holocausts follow. And still people think they run the world. Evidentially a masochist, your average Hebrew.
In the seventies and eighties, the Irish. Guildford Four, Birmingham Six should be nothing more than an unlikely football score, but no, its a shameful testament to the jumpiness that led to anyone who could drink more than three pints of stout at one sitting being incarcerated unjustly.
Now its the Muslim’s turn. Despite forming only 2.7% of the population ,of which the great majority are as related to extremism as the average Sunday Service Christian is related to murdering abortionists and hating ‘fags’, they are the new demons. I was working at the BBC on September Eleventh, 2001, and a Muslim colleague on ascertaining the religion of the terrorists, sighed deeply and said ‘Well, welcome to your new hate’. Highly prophetic.
Since then,, I’ve visited several Muslim cities, from the secular modernity of Istanbul to the more autocratic pious- Marrakech, Aswan; and talking to residents there, from the hardcoretechno loving Turk to the Kif-smoking Moroccan, have asked them if they feel Islam is invading the West. Each time, they have spluttered with laughter and pointed out that, with dodgy dossiers, ignorance of UN protocol and billions of dollars worth of armaments, the West’s invasions of the Islamic world is rather less subtle.
To some, fear is essential, for them to maintain control. Lock yourself in, disengage from society (you dont after all know were they have been), buy stuff, keep watching ITV, reading the Mail, cos its a cruel world out there, yet womblike in here, and isnt that after all what we all crave when we are finding the world a little too complex to understand.
Theres a great scene in the Terry Gilliam film ‘ The Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen’, where the besieged city throws open its gates, to the horror of the city elders, and finds the invading enemy simply isn’t there. Our minds need to do the same, and then we’ll see harmony kick in. Until then, the EDF, BNP and every other little fear-driven group will spread poison and intolerance which is as noxious as the opinions of those who they profess to oppose**.
Wow. That was a bit heavy. Normal glib and narcissistic service will be resumed soon. Its my birthday today, so allow me some seriousness, its just one day a year. Tarah, Beestonians, wherever you may be.
*I had a friend who lived in a remote valley in the Cairngorms for some years, who complained he hated having go to the same pubs weekend after weekend. Why not try the village a few miles down the road?, I suggested. ‘ Ah, its too dangerous, they hate us’ he replied. The two villages were the only two substantial conurbations in a twenty mile radius.
**Im a little worried now I may have cursed stuff. After writing similarly about crime, I was burgled, so if you wake up to find global Jihad kicking off, I’m really sorry.