January 12, 2012

It's time for LU to say goodbye

103 Comment (s)
For seven years, first on my own server then on Blogger, Lancaster Unity (formerly Lancaster UAF) has been fighting fascism and racism as embodied in such groups as the BNP and the EDL. From originally being set up to accompany local anti-fascist activity, the blog spread itself wider until it became a national resource with, over the years, many excellent contributors and countless thousands of readers.

When LU began, there was a gap in the market for a continually updated blog that has now been closed by a number of anti-fascist organisations elsewhere, some of which are listed below. Also, the advent and popularity of Twitter and Facebook (both easily accessible and updatable via smartphones) has made the anti-fascist presence on the internet much larger and more effective than it has ever been before. While the bad guys use technology to humiliate and embarrass themselves, anti-fascists have used it to inform and organise.

Because of ongoing health problems which are drastically eating into the time I can devote to Lancaster Unity, it has gradually become a copy and paste blog with very few original articles. This is no bad thing because it's always useful to have one type of news that appeals to a certain group located in a single place. This role though, is rapidly being superceded by Twitter, which does the same job very well. Better, in fact, than we ever could. Thus, it's time for Lancaster Unity to stand down, though the blog as it is will remain here as an archive and a resource for anti-fascists.

It's not too bad a time to be going. The EDL, although it has political ambitions, seems incapable of keeping itself from fragmenting in all directions, while the BNP at the moment appears to be shrinking by the day while Nick Griffin spends half his time in the European Parliament participating in the gravy train that he once professed to despise, and the other half boring us all to death with his tedious stories about smoked salmon.

Even better, it's a real pleasure to be leaving in the week that two of the killers of Stephen Lawrence have finally been convicted. We look forward to the day that the rest of them get banged up.

Big thanks to Denise and John, both of whom helped make LU what it was, and very many thanks to our contributors: Andy Minion, Iliacus, Roddy, Larry and all the rest of them. Special mentions go to NewsHound and Zaahid, both excellent news-spotters who should get their own sites together and keep up the good work. Naturally, a site such as this is useless without readers, and we've had a loyal and feisty readership over the years whose contributions have easily been as interesting as ours. Thank you to all of you (except the nazis, who are just complete morons).

We've been helped since the blog began by a number of organisations. Principal among these are Searchlight (who gave us essential help to get started in the first place, and who we worked closely with on numerous occasions), Hope not hate and Unite Against Fascism. Special thanks to those three and to all the other people who have helped out in one way or another.

It's been (at times) great fun, interesting and bloody hard work (especially on the all-night election specials). Thank you to everyone for all your input.

Although I have a good deal less time and energy these days, I shall be posting occasionally at my own blog space on Searchlight's new website. Thanks to Searchlight for offering me both the opportunity and the space. John has moved over to Anti-Fascists Online.

Lancaster Unity

This is not a comprehensive list of anti-fascist resources. If you think I've left anyone out who should be included, email me or make a comment and I'll add them.

Hope not hate
Unite Against Fascism
Anti-Fascists Online
EDL News
Everything EDL
Malatesta's Blog
Love Music Hate Racism
Show Racism the Red Card
EDL Watch at Urban75
Love Music Hate Homophobia
Liverpool Antifascists
Kick It Out

January 11, 2012

Racism doesn’t belong in the 21st Century

2 Comment (s)
The slave trade was abolished in 1807. Viv Anderson became the first black footballer to play for England in 1978. In this Olympic year, our three big gold medals hopes – Mo Farah, Philips Idowu and Jessica Ennis – are all from ethnic minorities. These are just three, among a whole host of others, reasons why it staggers, and saddens, me that the question of race still pops up in the media on a regular basis.

Leaving sporting examples for a moment – Luis Suarez and John Terry, you can have a breather – recently there has been a flux of media reports that has racism under the microscope. The Stephen Lawrence verdict, and Diane Abbott’s Twitter gaffe has given us more unwanted reasons to have to address the issue of race.

It’s fair to say that these two first and foremost should not be categorised together – but it is a sign and a shame that they are, just because they mention race. One is about a murder of an innocent and promising man, which exposed police failings and institutionalised racism in the force. The other is an out-of-context 140 character statement from an MP to one of her followers. They are hardly in the same basket.

The real shame is that we still have to talk about it. Do I think this country is racist? Absolutely not. Do I think there are morons who judge people purely on the colour of their skin? Certainly.

To analyse the Lawrence verdict is far too complex in terms of how race was involved, but it is definitely worth remembering that this happened in 1993 – and the problem with racism has moved on a great deal. It would be appalling if it hadn’t in 20 years, so it is good to see that progress has been made in this country.

“The whites have become black” was the statement from one-time decent presenter David Starkey in the aftermath of the riots last summer. I’ve seen this compared to what Diane Abbott put on her Twitter this week. How these two are in any way similar I have no idea, but there’s clear distinctions. For those unfamiliar with it, Diane Abbott MP tweeted “White people love playing divide & rule”. I highly recommend before you have an opinion on the issue, read the full conversation. It has clearly been taken out of context, and in context it is obvious that Abbott was not addressing white people in general, but those who address black communities as an entire group, with no individuals.

Not only is it a severe reminder that MPs need to be aware of firstly the twitter character limit, but careful of how they use language. The difference between Abbott and Starkey is that the latter used being black as a derogatory term, and implies that it was only ethnic minorities responsible for the rioting last summer.

It angers me, upsets me, makes me despair that there are those who still judge on the colour of the skin. I found a sickening Facebook page run by the EDL about Stephen Lawrence. The nasty head of racism still rears its head, but as a country we are better than that.

If those that want to be racist still harbour 19th century attitudes, fine. But you should have to live a 19th century lifestyle. Women, you can’t have a job, or the vote, and a sub-standard education. Men, most of you can’t vote, 80% of you will be working class, and if you have TB you’ll be buried alive.

Your choice.

Andrew Butler at Platform

Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up

January 10, 2012

Immigration does not cause unemployment

1 Comment (s)
Study refutes claim that foreign nationals are depriving British-born workers of jobs

There is no link between rising immigration and rising unemployment, independent economists have found – contradicting persistent claims from anti-immigration activists and politicians that an influx of foreign nationals into the UK in recent years has led to more British-born workers on the dole.

The respected National Institute of Economic and Social Research found that there was "no association" between higher immigration and joblessness – even at times of recession or low growth of the sort that Britain is experiencing at the moment. In fact, the Institute's researchers suggested that the opposite might be the case and that immigration acts as an economic stimulus, pushing total employment levels higher and dole claimant numbers lower than they would otherwise have been.

"Perhaps surprisingly," their economists said, "the interaction between migrant inflows and GDP emerges as positive, indicating that during periods of lower growth, migrant inflows are associated with ... slower [dole] claimant growth than would otherwise have occurred." The researchers did concede that the stimulating effects of migration on the overall labour market at a time of recession are likely to be small.

The anti-immigration pressure group MigrationWatch claimed yesterday that rising immigration from Eastern and Central Europe since European Union enlargement in 2004 had contributed to a surge in youth unemployment in Britain, which is now above 1 million. MigrationWatch released its own report, saying: "Youth unemployment in the UK increased by almost 450,000 in the period from 2004 Q1 to 2011 Q3. Over the same period, numbers of workers from the A8 countries grew by 600,000.

"Correlation is not, of course, proof of causation but, given the positive employability characteristics and relative youth of migrants from these countries, it is implausible and counter-intuitive to conclude ... that A8 migration has had virtually no impact on UK youth unemployment."

However, critics of MigrationWatch pointed out that youth unemployment started rising before 2004, the point when Polish and other former Soviet bloc nationals were freely permitted to enter the UK to work.

And Jonathan Portes, the director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and former chief economist at the Cabinet Office, also argues today that most of the rise in youth unemployment took place in 2008 and 2009, a period during which the number of Eastern European workers entering Britain to seek employment dipped. Government ministers have implied a link between immigration and joblessness. "Controlling immigration is critical or we will risk losing another generation to dependency and hopelessness," said Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in a speech last July.

The Coalition has imposed a cap on immigration from outside the European Union and has pledged to reduce net migration to "the tens of thousands" a year by the end of this parliament in 2015. The Office for Budget Responsibility, however, has cast doubt on whether the Government will succeed in meeting this goal, with the Coalition's fiscal watchdog estimating that average annual migration until 2016 will be 140,000.

Net migration hit a record high of 252,000 in 2010, although this was mainly due to a sharp fall in the number of Britons leaving the country rather than an increase in immigration.

To analyse the impact of migration on the labour market, the Institute's researchers compared the overseas nationals who were allocated national insurance numbers in an area with the number of people claiming the dole locally.

Case studies: immigrant success stories

"I came with nothing. Now I employ four people" - Datsa Gaile, 39, Northampton

In seven years I have gone from living in a single room, scouring the country for a job – to editing my own newspaper and employing people. When I came to live in the UK in 2006, a friend and I arranged accommodation and work with an agency in Latvia. But when we arrived in London there was nothing. We thought we would have to stay on the streets. I realised I had to do things for myself. I made a CV and got a job. Then I brought my children to the UK. In 2009 I began studying for a BA in business studies at Northampton. At university, I began a paper for the Latvian community. We print 10,000 copies per month.

"I don't believe I'm taking someone else's job" - Agata Wasziewicz-Schmidt Dos Santos, 29, interpreter, Newquay

My husband and I came here in 2008 from Poland. First I worked at Starbucks because I couldn't get work in languages, even though I speak Polish, Portuguese and English. As soon as I changed my email address to a less foreign name, I started getting invited to interviews. I don't believe I'm taking someone else's job, because there aren't many people who speak Polish and Portuguese. I give back to the community, by working in schools and hospitals. My husband owns a martial arts business. He trains other instructors – one of them is an unemployed Brit.


January 09, 2012

Paedophile still active within EDL leadership

4 Comment (s)
EDL paedophile and founding member, Richard Price
An English Defence League convicted paedophile is still active within the senior ranks of the EDL according to screenshots that have been released.

The organisation's original Facebook group with 15,000 members was hacked recently by ZHC Hacking company and a screenshot of the admin list was released,. One of the admins was Paul Lancashire and the other was Richard Price. Price was one of the founding members of the organisation.

Price was outed by the Sunday Times earlier last year after being convicted of processing indecent photographs of children and The EDL's leadership tried to cover it up. The organisation originally tried to claim he was not part of the EDL but soon backtracked when a previous statement by Tommy Robinson was found EDL Paedophile Michael Coates [pictured, right] contradicting this. He was also convicted of possession of cocaine and crack cocaine. Price was banned from owning a computer for a year, given a three-year community supervision order and placed on the sex offenders register for five years.

Price recently contacted EDL News to claim he was innocent and the only reason he pleaded guilty was so he would be quietly put on the sex offenders register without anyone finding out about his charges.

The EDL have spent a lot of their time demonstrating against Asian only paedophiles with several demonstrations in Blackpool against Asian takeaway workers who they claimed murdered Charlene Downes. After a failed court case the police have failed to provide any link with any Asian gangs.

ZHC have destroyed the EDL's presence on social networking groups. In June last year they took their main 100,000 members page and many of their regional divisional pages. Their new page is struggling to get more than 2,000 members with many of those being trolls, antifa, journalists and security services.

The far right organisation have had further paedophile scandals since with the recent jailing of Michael Coates aka Mickey Blueeyes and Brett Moses who was convicted of trying to groom a 13 year old Canadian schoolgirl after travelling to meet her.
Click on image for full-size
With thanks to ZHC Hacking Crew and Paul Stearnes

EDL News

Clarkson in new race row

3 Comment (s)
Gobby Jeremy Clarkson stormed into another race row last night after making fun of drowned Chinese cockle pickers.

And his latest outburst came after the Daily Star Sunday discovered he had posed for a snap with the leader of the racist English Defence League.

The 51-year-old was slammed after joking about dead Chinese immigrants in his regular newspaper column. He tastelessly compared synchronised swimmers to the 21 cockle pickers who were killed in rising tides in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, in 2004.

The Top Gear presenter was last night branded “out of touch” by anti-racism groups. Matt Collins, from Hope Not Hate, said: “Why does Jeremy Clarkson constantly have to be so tasteless and offensive? He is not funny and all he proves is that he is out of touch with modern Britain and that he belongs in the Dark Ages. He has no right to offend communities in this country who live and work here and provide more to Britain than he does.”

The latest outrage came as a picture of Clarkson and far-right English Defence League head Stephen Lennon emerged. Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, claims he talked about Islam with Clarkson.

The 28-year-old convicted thug, who also founded the anti-Islamic movement, said: “He knew who I was. We talked about Islam. I don’t want to say anything else because he will just get stitched up. But I’m a big fan of him.”

The picture is thought to have been taken in September outside a pub in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, where EDL members were holding a meeting.

But last night Jeremy Clarkson said he did not have a clue who Lennon was. He told the Daily Star Sunday: “I have no recollection of talking to this man and have no idea who Stephen Lennon is.”

This is the latest in a long line of scandals involving the TV car fanatic. Before the New Year Clarkson was accused of mocking Indian culture in a Top Gear Christmas special. More than 20 viewers complained to the BBC after he made a series of controversial remarks about the country’s clothing, trains, food and history. At one point Clarkson rode around the country’s worst slums in a Jaguar with a toilet fitted to the boot, joking: “This is perfect because everyone here gets the trots.”

That furore followed an incident on BBC’s The One Show when Clarkson claimed striking public workers should be “executed in front of their families”.

Lennon has previously posed with glamour girl Katie Price and bad boy footballer Joey Barton and claimed that they had joined his group. But both Price and Barton were quick to deny any links with the EDL and claimed they had no idea who Lennon was.

Lennon was convicted of assault in November after headbutting a member of his group during a rally in Blackburn, Lancashire. And in July he was found guilty of using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour during a football brawl in August 2010


Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up

January 08, 2012

The BNP's little hidey-hole

15 Comment (s)
Watch it full-screen - it's better
A few weeks ago, one of our readers asked if anyone had ever actually seen the BNP's Wigton office - the centre of its activities. My reply was that yes, we had taken a very brief look a few months ago, and were not overly impressed. Much to our surprise, a number of readers wanted to see the (very) short piece of film we took at the time.

Fair enough. The film though, doesn't er, show the whole picture, so to speak. The industrial estate which houses both the BNP's storage unit/office and Nick Griffin's official NW office as MEP, is tucked away at the edge of Wigton, a tiny and attractive little market town deep in the heart of Cumbria. It is believed that Griffin only managed to get the two units on the estate because one of the people who works in management happens to be one of his entourage - or at least used to be. In common with most of Griffin's chums, she seems to have fallen out with him recently.

We made two visits to the industrial estate; one at about 10.30am, when both units were closed, and the other sometime after lunch, when almost everyone in the BNP seemed to have woken up or sobered up and arrived to do something. As we drove into the gated estate, we were very aware that we were closely watched by at least four people: two outside Griffin's office, one directly ahead of us and another opposite the office. The latter two are not shown on the film.

We drove around the corner into a stretch of empty units. To be honest, more units were empty than were occupied and frankly the industrial estate looked like it was on its last legs (which is probably why it allowed Griffin and his ever-dwindling party to establish a base there).

As you can see from the film, we were treated to a glimpse of Clive Jefferson's crappy old Jaguar (still using the illegal number plate, are you, Clive?) and even spotted Porky himself getting something out of his car. As you watch the film, the BNP's centre of operations is on the left, and Griffin's NW MEP base is on the right - the building with the two bodyguards outside. Quite why Porky needs bodyguards, we've never fathomed. Apart from a pint of beer and an egg being thrown at him (separately), he's never been at risk of attack, despite his constant claims of violent anti-fascists always being on the lookout for him.

Because his mob ARE a bunch of violent freaks and psycho's, we didn't hang around, particularly when we realised that the camera had obviously been spotted.

So there you have it. The centre of the BNP's operations happens to be a couple of small industrial units on a run-down industrial estate in the middle of, well, not nowhere, because Wigton's actually a pretty nice place, but certainly nowhere significant. The main question I'd like to ask is why doesn't the MEP for the North West have an office in a place where he can be easily visited by the public whom he was elected to serve? Is he afraid to meet the voters? I think you know the answer to that one.

The EDL's Dick of the Week

13 Comment (s)
Click on image for full-size
And this week, he's a real dick being one Richard Rovetto, of Nottingham EDL. Well done, Dick!

Cheers to Everything EDL for the pic

Man arrested over alleged abuse of Oldham footballer Tom Adeyemi

0 Comment (s)
Tom Adeyemi was visibly upset after the incident at Anfield
Police investigating an incident of alleged racist abuse by fans at Anfield towards Oldham Athletic defender Tom Adeyemi have arrested a man.

An investigation was launched after Friday night's Liverpool v Oldham FA Cup third-round game. Merseyside Police said a 20-year-old man from Aintree, Merseyside, was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence. The man is being held in custody and being interviewed by detectives.

The game was stopped briefly while Adeyemi - on loan from Norwich - alerted referee Neil Swarbrick to the incident.

On Saturday evening, Liverpool issued a statement, saying: "Liverpool Football Club continue to work closely with Merseyside Police to establish all the facts surrounding the incident that occurred during last night's game. We take this matter extremely seriously and have today provided the police with the evidence we currently have available to us."

The incident compounds a difficult few weeks for Liverpool, who were without Luis Suarez for the match against the Oldham as the striker serves an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield in October.


Man accused of Collymore race abuse

0 Comment (s)
Stan Collymore
A 21-year-old man has been charged with racially abusing ex-Premier League star and football pundit Stan Collymore on Twitter.

Northumbria Police said Joshua Cryer, of Jesmond, Newcastle, is charged with "a Section Five racial public order offence and a Section Five public order offence". The force spokesman said Cryer would appear before Newcastle magistrates on Monday January 23.

Northumbria Police began an investigation in the early hours of Saturday after an allegation was passed on from colleagues in Staffordshire.

Collymore, 40, originally from Cannock, Staffordshire, played for a string of top clubs, including Liverpool, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest. He works as a broadcaster for talkSport and campaigns against racism and is a supporter of charity the Depression Alliance.


January 07, 2012

Race rant Camden Road manhunt by police

3 Comment (s)
A man who racially abused two children and punched a wheelchair– bound man in the head is being hunted by police.

A 53-year-old disabled man was waiting at the bus stop opposite Kwik Fit on Camden Raod, Holloway, at around 2.15pm on October 4 when he saw a suspect racially abusing two Asian school children.

When the disabled man, who is also Asian, got on the bus the suspect then approached him and began to shout racist abuse. The victim pushed him away but the suspect punched him in the head. He continued his racist tirade before delivering a final blow and jumping off the bus near Holloway Prison.

The suspect is a tanned white man, about 40-years-old, clean shaven with short dark hair and a medium build. When he made the attack he was wearing a black suit jacket and dark coloured trousers. He also spoke with a mock West Indian accent.

Police ask anyone with information to call Pc Rachel Hallam on 0207 421 0296 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

London 24

Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up

January 06, 2012

Calls grow for ban on Vergès

0 Comment (s)
The Jewish Chronicle has reported Searchlight’s campaign to ban the visit of Jacques Vergès to London, where he has been invited to take part in a debate at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

The paper reports that Mike Freer MP, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, hopes to raise the visit of French-Vietnamese lawyer Jacques Vergès with Home Secretary Theresa May.

Others are adding their voices to the campaign. A spokesperson for the Community Security Trust, which represents and advises the Jewish community on security and antisemitism, said: “It is hard to see how Jacques Vergès’ record of defending Nazis, Holocaust Deniers, mass murderers and terrorists can contribute anything worthwhile to a debate on international justice. This invitation smacks of the kind of attention-seeking sensationalism that can only damage the reputation of an institution like SOAS.”

And Karen Pollock, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust told Searchlight: “It seems perverse that any prestigious institution would welcome Jacques Vergès, a notorious figure, who over the decades has defended Nazi war criminals and Holocaust deniers with apparent relish – and whose extremely controversial views would surely undermine any serious academic debate.”

More information here


Three men sentenced over arson attack on Sussex mosque

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James Everley, James Smith and Joshua Morris were sentenced to three years for the arson attack
Three men have been sentenced for an arson attack on a newly-renovated mosque in West Sussex.

James Everley, 20, of Crawley, James Smith, 20, of Burgess Hill, and Joshua Morris, 20, of Haywards Heath, were all sentenced to three years at a young offenders institute.

The fire at the mosque in Wivelsfield Road, Haywards Heath, was started at about 02:10 GMT on 13 February. Police believe the attack was a religiously-aggravated hate crime.

The men had pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to arson, theft of paraffin and a public order offence, which involved racially or religiously aggravated fear of violence.

Ch Insp Jon Hull, district commander for Mid Sussex, said: "The mosque was occupied at the time this fire was started and it could have had devastating consequences if it hadn't been put out quickly. Thankfully only damage was caused to the building.

"Everyone who lives, works or visits Sussex has a right to go about their lives without becoming the victim of a hate crime because of their disability, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or gender identity."

The mosque had been renovated and had reopened three months before the attack.