You can say what you like about EDL, the English Defence League, and people do. Oh, how they do. The usual cries of “fascists” “racists” “islamophobes” (how can it be a phobia when they have stated clearly that they do want to kill you?) and “nazis” always and indiscriminately go up at the very mention of these letters , normally from people who have never bothered to find out what the EDL stands for.
Having listened to their speeches and read many of their manifestos, my only problem with them is they attract a lot of people who can’t spell very well and who seem to absolutely abhor the apostrophe.
Apart from that, I find they believe in the same things as me: Free speech for everybody, a belief in the democratic process and that the islamification of Europe (and the world) must be stopped. Unlike the islamists, however, EDL have stressed time and time again that everything they do must be through peaceful and democratic means. They have kicked out many members who have turned out to be a little too, shall we say skin-headed, in the Clockwork Orange kind of way.
Now their leader, Tommy Robinson, is in jail for having broken his bail conditions. He was charged with having assaulted a man at a demonstration, a charge he denies. You know what, I believe him. Wouldn’t it be too, too stupid for a man whose every single speech stresses the importance of peaceful demonstrations (I’ve watched at least ten of these speeches) and who is extremely media-savvy, to attack someone at a demonstration?
“On June 24th, Blackburn Magistrates Court heard that on April 2nd 2011 Tommy had assaulted a man at a demonstration in Luton – a charge he denies. The court granted bail, but subject to the following conditions:
He must not knowingly organise, travel to, or participate in any march, demonstration, protest or similar.
He must not send any article, letter, fax or email that seeks to promote or publicise any match, demonstration or protest in the open air.
He must report to Luton Police station every Saturday between midday and 2pm.”
Last week, Robinson exercised his right to free speech at another rally in Luton. He was promptly arrested and is now in prison.
I’m just thinking: It’s okay for a group of people to stand on a street corner screaming and holding up posters saying “behead those who insult islam!” but a man like Tommy Robinson can’t exercise his right to free speech to call for peaceful debate about that kind of hate-mongering?
Indeed, why is “we must have a debate about islam” seen to be hate-mongering, but “behead everyone who doesn’t agree with us” isn’t?
Why are bail conditions for one person charged with assault that he is not allowed to speak, but for another charged with for example killing his daughter because she looked at a boy, only to report at the police station?
Britain used to be a haven and a beacon for all oppressed people of Europe and the world. Now it’s become a place where you can’t open your mouth to speak completely non-violently about what you think is wrong.
I think Robinson didn’t assault anybody and that he was set up. But even if he did commit the crime, how does “not allowed to use his civil rights of free speech” suddenly come into it? Now the lowliest burglar, rapist or murderer – and of course islamofascist calling for the eradication of the country in which he lives, has more rights than Robinson. Just because the establishment, who used to be the radicals in the 70′s, doesn’t agree with his views.
Which, chances are, if they’re anything like the people who scream about the EDL being racists and nazis, haven’t bothered to listen to anyway.