After all the tub thumping coming from Tommy Robinson, he should be grateful to Theresa May for banning the Tower Hamlets march. With ever decreasing demo attendance figures, their new Facebook group struggling to get more than 12,000 members (including trolls, police, European/American racists and journos) and the last couple of 'big one's' being a damp squib with less than a couple of thousand attendees bothering to turn up, the EDL would have been ran out of town by the massive opposition they would have faced from local people of all colours and religions. It would have been a humiliating experience for all concerned in the movement and possibly the end of the EDL.
This demo was to officially stated to be a protest against extremists in the East London Mosque, a mosque that has largely rid itself of it's extremists which you would have thought to be what the EDL wanted but in the real world it was to be a provocative demo in a Muslim against all Muslims. A chance to get beered up, march through the neighbourhoods of the perceived enemy and look ‘hard’ The average EDL member does not differentiate between a Muslim extremist and peaceful law abiding Muslim.
Tommy can now claim his free speech has been curtailed without actually having to risk his arse in the 'Lion's Den'. In the real world Tommy gets his free speech and so do his members. They are allowed to threaten violence, threaten to burn mosques, threaten to kill Muslims on their Facebook page and despite it being illegal to incite violence and racism, the police largely leave them to get on with it.
That does not mean they will not be run out of town by a lot of residents who do not want the EDL defending them. As with their last few demos up and down the country, the EDL have been penned into a car park and surrounded by huge metal fences. When they have not been able to fight with the police or the opposition they have fought amongst themselves.
The ban will almost certainly reduce the figures of EDL members attending dramatically . Many are disillusioned with having to stand pissed up in a car park and hear the same old speeches by the same old people. The hard core want a fight and the authorities won't let them. They are treated like the children they are and caged which serves the purpose of protecting the local people and minimising the negative effect they have on.
We have all seen what happened when the EDL are allowed to have a march. Just look for the videos of EDL members running amok, attacking people and smashing up property in Leicester and Dudley. Just look at the Plymouth Division's meet and greet where their members got drunk and violently attacked a local kebab house, purely because it was Muslim owned. The four members that were accused of the attack were charged with a variety of racially aggravated offences today and have to answer bail in Plymouth at 2pm on the day of the demonstration.
The Home Office's ban will not restrict the EDL's free speech. If they want to have another pointless drunken meeting in a car park they will get that and it will minimize the destruction and the violence aimed towards the peaceful local people who make Tower Hamlets the wonderful place it is.
Tommy intends to go anyway, in this video made shortly after the ban was announced by the Home Office, he states in his usual petulant way, that he will attend regardless and is happy to break his bail conditions. His conditions ban him from any EDL activity or demonstrations and he has to report to Luton police station at 2pm on Saturdays. This was put in place following him being charged for headbutting an ex-serviceman in Preston earlier this year.
The police have not been very strict with his bail conditions so far as he has been spotted attending various EDL meetings and currently has a Channel Four Despatches film crew following him around and the police have done nothing. One rule for the EDL and one for everyone else. We really can't see them ignoring him not turning up to answer bail on the day of the march so when he is arrested and remanded for breaking British law he will no doubt whine about it and claim a two tier system.
The EDL also claim that there are no go areas for white people in Tower Hamlets and anyone who has actually been there know that is patently rubbish. Tommy himself even had his stag night there. This is the sort of rubbish that likes of the EDL and other far right groups like to pedal in order to scare people into joining their crusade against an imaginary threat.
Whilst the EDL might have some sort of rightful concerns as stated in their mission statement, they should stick to that. If they removed all of their Nazis, football thugs and general run of the mill racists, stop getting drunk, fighting and smashing things up, people might take what will be a very small group of vocal people a bit more seriously and not see them as a bunch of racist petulant teenagers who are out for a fight with brown people.
Their last demo in Telford resulted in over fifty arrests for a variety of public order and racially aggregated offences and as with all EDL demonstrations, there is substantial threat to public order, we do not think the police and the Home Office had any choice, especially so soon after the riots.