August 31, 2011
Griffin is currently touring London and the South East with a group of Flemish ultra-nationalists from the far right Vlaams Belang (VB), the successor to the Vlaams Bloc which was dissolved in November 2004 as a result of a court case concerning its racism.
Griffin is hoping that by appearing on BNP TV flanked by foreign guests this will somehow make him appear more important than he is and help detract attention from the disintegration of his own party for which he and he alone is responsible.
In his latest video, recorded for the BNP website, Griffin outlines his recent jolly to Dover with Filip Dewinter, one of the VB MPs and a senior figure in the party. He and Griffin had just been enjoying a pint and some fish and chips. You would think that Griffin had more pressing concerns to attend to but there you go. Following their meal Griffin took Dewinter to the beach to show him some of the coastal defences that were erected to repel the Nazis in the event of an invasion which, in 1940, looked imminent. Dewinter tried to look interested whilst Griffin prattled on, puffed up with pretended pride. Griffin appears to have forgotten, however, that the VB has its roots in the politics of Nazi collaboration in Belgium. Doh!
Griffin’s newfound pride in the doughty defence of Britain undertaken in the dark days of 1940 stands in stark contrast to much of his early political career which had been spent praising the Waffen-SS and denying the Holocaust. So much for patriotism...
Hope not hate
The character in question is Storch Heinar, an anti-Nazi cartoon stork, whose image has appeared more than 5,000 times on anti far-right campaign posters in north-eastern Germany where state elections will be held on Sunday. The stork posters proclaiming "Stork Power instead of Nazis" have been deliberately placed beside the campaign placards of Germany's neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD).
The lampooned NPD is furious. Party workers have made frenzied efforts to rid the region's big cities of stork posters to avoid further ridicule. Hundreds of Stork Power placards have been ripped from lampposts in the port of Rostock. "We are on the home stretch. The stork is giving his all to keep out the extremist idiots," says creator and Social Democrat politician, Matthias Brodkorb.
Storch Heinar began life as a satirical anti-Nazi figure whose aim was to debunk the "Thor Steiner" clothing frequently worn as a status symbol by members of far-right and skinhead groups. Heinar's Hitler moustache and Mein Krampf biography is complemented by his penchant for steel helmets and egg nogs and a rabid intolerance of frogs.
Mediatex, the company which owns the "Thor Steiner" label, tried to get "Storch Heinar" banned for belittling its products. But last year a court in Bavaria threw out the case after a judge ruled that he could see no reasonable grounds for the complaint. Aping the language of Adolf Hitler, Storch Heinar boasted afterwards: "The enemy has been destructively defeated."
Storch Heinar has since gone from strength to strength. The cartoon character has toured Germany with his own rock band: "Storchkraft" (Stork Power). T-shirts and badges bearing his image are best-sellers. He has even travelled the country promoting Mein Krampf.
The Social Democrats' decision to use the stork for their election campaign in the north east is a new development, but has gained popular local support. Benjamin Weiss, a Rostock hotel owner, grew so irritated by the NPD's xenophobic propaganda in a region that depends heavily on tourism that he joined the "Storch Heinar Division" and organised his own team to put up some 300 stork posters around his hotel. "I am fed up with seeing my guests welcomed to Rostock with slogan such as: 'Tourists welcome – foreigners out,'" he said.
The NPD has parliamentary seats in the east German states of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Pomerania. The government's bid to ban the openly racist organisation was rejected by Germany's constitutional court in 2003 after it emerged that intelligence service moles were the source of incriminating evidence against the party.
The NPD's chances of retaining its north-east seats are considered so narrow it is toughto make an accurate prediction. "The far right gets particularly annoyed by humorous initiatives," said Gudrun Heinrich, a political scientist at Rostock university. "Because it doesn't know how to deal with them."
Right-wing Muslim-baiting nut-jobs the English Defence League have come in for a bit of a poking with a sharp stick wielded by hackers with a conscience.
#TeamPrinc3ss is credited with a part in the hack, though to be honest we don't really know what that means. Twitterer froobze, has something to do with it, describing him/herself as a 'Social engineer of Team Princess and media representative', as he twits from his 'secret bunker' somewhere.
The hack may have something to do with Anonymous, orTeamprinc3ss is a splinter group, or a separate gang with similar aims or something else entirely.
What we do know is that the website http://englishdefenceleague.org/ is currently offline in what is claimed as a take-down by someone or other.
We're guessing this is a UK-based initiative - who else has heard of the EDL? The group seems to have emerged from Luton and is proud to claim a selection of different races amongst their number. The outfit claims not to be racist - it just wants to get rid of the Muslims.
August 30, 2011
Collins was a full-time activist and administrator for the National Front for several years at the turn of the 1990s and his experience spans the disintegration of the NF and the rise of the British National Party. It is an engrossing chronicle of confrontation between the left and right and examines Collins’ relationship with prominent fascists including Ian Anderson, Richard Edmonds, Eddie Whicker, Tony Lecomber and Combat 18 leader Charlie Sargent.
The book – crude, brutal and savagely funny – charts Collins’ involvement with the National Front in his late teens through to his work as an informant with the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight. Collins was the principle source of Andy Bell’s World In Action documentary and was forced into hiding for 10 years in Australia before returning to the UK to work full-time as an anti-fascist campaigner.
Although Collins was never a fascist leader and his flirtation with the far right was relatively brief, he does provide a fascinating insight into the tactics and psychology of British Nazism. The right’s ability to mobilise coalitions of thugs – including violent fascists, barbaric football hooligans and brutish Loyalists – is truly chilling, but Collins also demonstrates the inherent contradictions and weakness of the movement.
The awkward alliance of various groups and factions is saturated with egotism and paranoia whilst deluded ideological warhorses – such as Anderson and Edmonds – rely on the muscle and numbers provided by football hooligans to further their political ends. Hooligan firms might echo the racist bile of the NF and the BNP, but they’re not interested in building a ‘movement’ or selling papers, they just want a ruck with some Reds. Collins’ terrifying description of a number of violent encounters with the left helps illustrate this implicit conflict.
Another highlight is the fascinating story of Mr X – a former Trotskyite turned Sun journalist who becomes increasingly cosy with leading British Nazis and violent Ulster Loyalists – which illustrates the incestuous relationships between the far right of the Conservative Party and the fascist movement. Until the emergence of some embarrassing photographs, Mr X plays an increasingly pivotal role in the National Front as he offers them access to the political establishment and writes for a number of NF publications.
Unlike similar accounts – such as Ray Hill’s The Other Face of Terror – there is no epiphany or eureka moment which converts Collins to fighting fascism. Rather it is a gradual disillusionment with the increasingly well-organised and escalating violence. This gradualism mirrors Collins’ first interaction with the National Front and his hesitant and wary engagement of Searchlight.
Although the primary focus is on the National Front, as a historical document charting the rise of the BNP – detailing its violent, Nazi and anti-parliamentary origins – the book is truly significant. Much of what Collins says is hardly revelatory, but it is an important resource to demonstrate the true colours of the BNP when many of its supporters – and even members – are ignorant of the reality.
Hate does not provide a blueprint for fighting fascism, but it does show how the far right attracts working-class people damaged by the system and encourages them to express their anger at other members of society. It shows how fascists exploit some of the most vulnerable people in society – young working-class men with limited prospects – and gives them a sense of belonging, worth and comradeship. The most important lesson of Collins’ book is that as long as the mainstream political establishment continues to restrict employment opportunities and housing prospects for the inner-city youth, the far right will continue to be a frightening menace. As a first-hand account of this menace – and for anyone concerned about the rise of the far right and the emergence of the EDL – this is a must read.
Click here to buy Hate from Hope Not Hate with all proceeds going to Searchlight or you can buy it from The Guardian Bookshop
Thanks to Eyes on Power
EDIT - I'm sorry that we cannot publish the various guesses that people have sent through regarding the ID of Mr X. Legally it's a bit dodgy, well a lot dodgy really.
Despite claiming that his organisation had no official contacts with Breivik and that he condemned the actions of the mass murderer, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon claimed in a number of interviews with journalists that in his opinion, the UK was only five years away from the same sort of right wing outrage happening here.
Up and down the country for the last two years we have witnessed dozens of attacks on Muslim and progressive communities as Lennon's private army of racists grew further and further out of control even encouraged fleetingly, by sections of the national media.
News broke last week that finally, the EDL was to be monitored by the same counter terror unit set up after the 7/7 terror attacks. Hope Not Hate has long called for the EDL to be monitored in the same way that Islamic terror groups are.
We are now publishing these photographs of senior EDL members and activists to prove once and for all for any doubters, that the EDL are not just a pressure group with legitimate concerns about radical Islam. They are the flip side of the same coin.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon says we are five years away from a Breivik styled massacre here. We believe they are already a terror group in the making.
Thanks to Searchlight / HOPE not Hate
Walking Down The Manny Road tells the story of Bolton’s various “firms” or gangs, uniting under the name of The Cuckoo Boys, and their clashes with rival groups attached to other football clubs. It also describes the hooligans’ links with the English Defence League and their presence at EDL rallies, including the protest in Bolton town centre in March last year.
The book is written by Doug Mitchell, who claims to have been a member of The Cuckoo Boys for 30 years. He describes how mobs such as the Tonge Moor Stanley Boys, The Horwich Casuals, The Halliwell Cutters Crew and the Billy Whizz Fan Club united under The Cuckoo Boys banner.
A story in The Bolton Evening News, from May 19, 1990, is quoted in the opening pages, describing the hooligans as “Thugs who peddle terror in the name of Bolton Wanderers”.
Mr Mitchell moved to Bolton from Edinburgh when he was eight, and grew up in Farnworth. He first found a taste for “recreational violence”, he says, when he took part in organised fights between schools — as a pupil at George Tomlinson’s he says he regularly fought with groups from St James’s and Harper Green.
The book charts hooliganism from several decades ago, right up to the present day While the book defends the EDL, claiming it is not a racist organisation, it also describes some of the hooligans who support the organisation as openly racist.
A spokesman for Bolton Wanderers said he had not heard of the book. Bolton Wanderers Supporters Association secretary Christopher Peacock said: “Hooligan is a prehistoric and outdated phenomenon and anything that glorifies it should be considered with the same disdain as hooliganism itself.”
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up
Emergency services were called to reports of an explosion at a shop in Narborough Road about 02:20 BST and found the building demolished. The cause of the explosion was being investigated but was being treated as suspicious, police said. Fire crews said it was "incredibly lucky" passers-by had not been caught by flying debris.
A police spokesman confirmed a criminal investigation was under way. The fire service said a search and rescue dog was used to check for casualties but it is not believed anyone was in the shop.
Station manager Dave Watson said: "It is incredibly lucky that we have not had more injuries and more damage caused. The force of the explosion has blown objects for some distance and we have been very lucky that passers-by did not get caught by debris."
Several adjoining properties were evacuated as a safety precaution. Parts of Narborough Road were closed while investigations were carried out. Nearby resident Julie Bourton described the moment the explosion happened.
"I was in bed," she said. "There was a massive bang and I ran downstairs to see my dad was up and I asked him whether there had been an earthquake. He said 'No' and looked out of the window and there was just smoke. We went out to have a look and the shop was just gone."
Leicestershire Constabulary have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact them.
Thanks to Flash for the heads-up
August 28, 2011
Anthony Donald Smith, 24, and 32-year-old Steven James Vasey yesterday both pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit racially aggravated criminal damage, between November 1 and 17, last year.
It relates, specifically, to spray painting offensive messages on the Nasir mosque, in Brougham Place, Hartlepool, as well as at the Milko store, in Potto Street, and at the Albert Guest House, in Front Street, both in Shotton Colliery, County Durham, all said to have taken place on November 11. Smith, of Neptune Way, Easington Colliery, and Vasey, of Prior’s Grange, High Pittington, near Durham, entered their pleas at a short hearing at Durham Crown Court, yesterday.
Barristers Shaun Dryden, for Vasey, and Stephen Constantine, for Smith, requested reports be prepared by the Probation Service before the men are sentenced. Judge John Evans agreed and adjourned the hearing for sentence on a day to be agreed in the week of October 3. Bailing the two men, he warned them: “The fact I’m adjourning mustn’t be taken by either of you as any indication as to the way you are sentenced. That will up to the judge who sentences you in October.”
They will be sentenced alongside a third defendant, co-accused Charlotte Christina Davies. The 19-year-old single mother, of Irving Path, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, is facing the same charge. She appeared in the court on Friday, August 19, when the hearing was told that she intends to plead guilty.
Davies was said to have sent text messages suggesting pork scratchings should be thrown at the mosque, or a pig’s head could be left there, with “Merry Christmas” daubed above the door, on the day before the start of the Muslim festival of Eid.
Jane Waugh, for Davies, told that hearing she would be pleading guilty on the basis that whatever she suggested was not carried out by any of the others. Her case was adjourned, and probation reports were requested for her next hearing, when she will appear with Vasey and Smith, in the week of October 3.
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.
August 27, 2011
James Stacey, 18, of Ashhurst Drive, Shepperton, is one of nine defendants facing trial at Kingston Crown Court in September for the attack on November 21 last year. He was among six men at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, August 25, who have denied charges of affray and religiously aggravated criminal damage.
Three men have already been committed to the Crown Court. All nine men were banned from entering the borough of Kingston at an earlier hearing as part of their bail conditions.
Jordan Ellingham, 21, of Camden Avenue, Feltham, Martin Pottle, 22, of Eldridge Close, Feltham, Karl Mathews, 20, of High Street, Brentford, Terence Earl, 31, of Aspen Lane, Northolt and Adam Khalfan, Feltham Road, Ashford, will have a hearing on September 22 before a trial. They will be joined by Paul Abley, 24, of Hounslow Road, Shepperton, Alfie Wallace, 18, of Hetherington Road, Shepperton and David Morris, 20, of Elm Way, Epsom.
The mosque was urinated on and beer bottles thrown at it following a peaceful march by the English Defence League (EDL).
This is Local London
Nick Lowles, director of the campaign group Searchlight, said the revealed links between EDL and Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian Christian terrorist that killed 77 people in Oslo last month should prompt officials to take a more decisive action against the far-right EDL. The terrorist has repeatedly admired the far-right extremists in his manifesto and has claimed he has hundreds of EDL supporters as Facebook friends.
The EDL has insisted Breivik's praise of the group is a one way matter and that the group does not endorse his views, a claim disputed by Lowles.
“Indeed, several EDL supporters have written approvingly of the car bomb that ripped through the administrative heart of Oslo. Even its leader, Stephen Lennon, while distancing himself from the murders of young people, claimed that Breivik was articulating legitimate concerns,” Lowles wrote in an article on Searchlight's webpage.
Lowles also said the Home Office has so far refused to classify EDL as a far-right extremist organization and is treating it with complete leniency as “a law and order issue”.
Lennon told the media in the aftermath of the Norway massacre that it is a sign of “growing anger in Europe”.
“People should look at what happened in Oslo and understand that there is growing anger in Europe,” he told the press. “You suppress people's rights you suppress people's voices and people will just continue to go underground - but that doesn't make the problem go away,” he added.
According to Lowles, the EDL are a “dangerous” anti-Muslim organization threatening the lives of Muslims in Britain.
“It opposes all new mosques and other Islamic buildings, its slogans and chants abuse the Muslim faith and its supporters have increasingly been involved in violent attacks,” he said warning that the group “shares much of the same ideology … with the Norwegian killer.”
Lowles said officials are letting the EDL get away with murder despite their “growing militancy” in recent months quoting the description of the group by Deputy Director of Communications at the Community Security Trust Dave Rich as a “gateway organization to terrorism” as evidence of mounting fears about the EDL threat to Britain.
Lowles said a number of EDL supporters have even “called for the taking of arms” against Muslims in Britain with others actively demanding a more confrontational and violent approach.
“A cursory study of the Facebook pages of EDL supporters reveals many posing with guns and other weapons,” Lowles said. “The EDL arguably presents the biggest threat to community cohesion in the UK today. Its strategy of provocative marches and physical attacks on political opponents is designed to increase tensions and divisions in communities with a large Muslim population,” he added.
Lowles said the Home Office needs to monitor EDL activities “as an extremist organization” and instruct the police to allocate “the same manpower and resources on monitoring its activity as they would in relation to other extremist groups.”
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up
The four were arrested on the afternoon of July 31 after police were called to the Istanbul Kebab shop in Exeter Street. The four, who were said to have previously been at the nearby Wild Coyote pub – which has since been renamed the East End Bar – returned to answer their bail yesterday when they were charged.
Hayley Well, aged 27, from Shell Close, Leigham has been charged with racially aggravated common assault by beating.
Kelly Watterson, aged 28, from St Peters Road in Manadon, is charged with racially aggravated affray and racially aggravated common assault by beating.
Michael Rafferty, aged 33, from Queen Street, Devonport has been charged with obstructing or resisting a constable in the execution of his duty.
Ricky Burley, aged 43, from High Street, Stonehouse has been charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour and obstructing or resisting a constable in the execution of his duty.
All four have been released on bail to reappear at Plymouth Magistrates Court on September 7. Until their appearance, they have been given conditions which include not going within 100 metres of the Istanbul Kebab Takeaway in Exeter Street.
This is Plymouth
The home secretary has agreed to a police request to ban the far-right English Defence League from staging a march through one of the UK's biggest Muslim communities in east London. Theresa May said she would outlaw any marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs – whether by the EDL or any other groups – for the next 30 days, having "balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected".
She added: "I know that the Metropolitan police are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected."
Police sought the ban after the EDL – which has seen widespread public disorder at earlier rallies – planned to march on 3 September through Tower Hamlets, which has a significant Muslim community, many of Bangladeshi origin. In a statement the force said it made the request following information that prompted fears that the march could cause "serious public disorder, violence and damage". It added: "Tactically we believe this is the best option to prevent this."
Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry warned EDL supporters to stay away. "We have made this decision [to seek the ban] based on specific intelligence and information, and our message is clear: we do not want people coming into the areas to attend these events."
The march had been vehemently opposed by community leaders, among them the two local MPs and the borough's mayor, as well as a series of Muslim and Jewish groups. Fears that it could spark violence were exacerbated following this month's rioting in many parts of London.
The EDL emerged in Luton, another strongly Muslim area, in 2009. While it purports to oppose "Islamic extremism" the group insists it is not racist. However, its marches, aimed mainly at Muslim communities, have been seen as extremely provocative. A Guardian investigation into the EDL found repeated racism and threats of violence among supporters.
Nick Lowles, director of the anti-extremist campaign group Searchlight, called May's decision a victory for common sense. He said: "The EDL clearly intended to use the proposed march to bring violence and disorder to the streets of Tower Hamlets. Their plan has been foiled."
The veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell said that while he abhorred the EDL, he believed the blanket 30-day ban was a "complete overreaction" and would prove counter-productive. He said: "I'm not sure we can defeat anti-democratic groups like the EDL using anti-democratic methods like banning marches. A far better tactic would be mass counter protests and exposing the bigoted and violent views of the EDL."
Earlier this month May banned an EDL march through Telford, although the group was still able to congregate. Opponents urged the home secretary to follow suit in east London, particularly after links emerged between the EDL and the Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.
The gunman repeatedly praised the group in his rambling manifesto and claimed he had hundreds of EDL supporters as Facebook friends.
The EDL insisted any admiration was one way and it did not condone his views.
The group has struggled for legitimacy, even amid evidence it has picked up supporters as the better established far-right British National Party has been beset by internal divisions. According to Searchlight, the EDL has active support from people involved in earlier far-right groups, including the even more extreme Combat 18 and National Front.
In February it attracted some unexpected support from the Daily Star, which tacitly endorsed its views and said 98% of its readers supported them. But this lasted less than a week, with the paper's owner, Richard Desmond, saying it had been done without his knowledge.
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up
The controversial historian has been the subject of ferocious debate recently after a Newsnight appearance saw him argue that "whites have become blacks" in the wake of the riots. Now over 100 historians from across Britain's universities have demanded the BBC stop describing him as a historian at all and lambasted the sometimeTV presenter for his lack of "professionalism".
The letter, written by 102 academics to the Times Higher Education Magazine, reads: "His crass generalisations about black culture and white culture as oppositional, monolithic entities demonstrate a failure to grasp the subtleties of race and class that would disgrace a first-year history undergraduate. In fact, it appears to us that the BBC was more interested in employing him for his on-screen persona and tendency to make comments that viewers find offensive than for his skills as a historian.
The letter continued: "In addition to noting that a historian should argue from evidence rather than assumption, we are also disappointed by Starkey's lack of professionalism on Newsnight. Instead of thoughtfully responding to criticism, he simply shouted it down; instead of debating his fellow panellists from a position of knowledge, he belittled and derided them.
"On Newsnight, as on other appearances for the BBC, Starkey displayed some of the worst practices of an academic, practices that most of us have been working hard to change."
The letter demands that the BBC stop referring to Starkey as a historian on anything but his specialist subject, the Tudors. Among the signatories are academics from Cambridge and the London School of Economics, where Mr Starkey has previously taught. It also criticises the BBC for choosing to feature Mr Starkey in the first place.
"In our opinion, it was a singularly poor choice," the letter reads.
"The poverty of his reductionist argument... reflected his lack of understanding of the history of ordinary life in modern Britain. It was evidentially insupportable and factually wrong. The problem lies in the BBC's representation of Starkey's views as those of a 'historian', which implies that they have some basis in research and evidence: but as even the most basic grasp of cultural history would show, Starkey's views as presented on Newsnight have no basis in either."
Mr Starkey left viewers aghast when he appeared on Newsnight to express critical admiration for Enoch Powell's 'river of blood' speech and said Labour MP David Lammy sounded like a 'white man'.
Asked about the cause of the riots, he said: "What has happened is that a substantial section of the chavs... have become black. The whites have become black. A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion."
The appearance has subsequently been parodied in several YouTube videos setting his comments to a rap soundtrack.
Thanks to Greg for the heads-up
August 26, 2011
Paul Ray, a blogger and former member of the English Defence League, told Norway's NTB news agency that police were "very interested" in British far-right cells mentioned by the attacker, Anders Behring Breivik.
"I don't believe Breivik is a lone wolf ... he is part of a larger movement which has its own agenda," Mr Ray said, without going into detail. "They (the police) were very interested in the British cells," added Ray. "They asked me if I was (head of) a cell."
In a statement he released shortly before embarking on his July 22 killing spree, Behring Breivik had spoken of the existence of secret cells that he said came under a new order of Knights Templar. The police were not available to comment.
Mr Ray, who lives in Malta, came to Norway voluntarily to speak to police investigating the twin attacks in Oslo and a nearby island. He is widely considered to be the unnamed "mentor" mentioned by the 32-year-old Behring Breivik in the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online shortly before carrying out the attacks.
Describing himself as a crusader at war against multiculturalism and Islam, Behring Breivik explained in the document that he once had "a relatively close relationship" with an Englishman he gave the pseudonym "Richard", "who became my mentor."
Mr Ray, who heads the "Knights Templar" movement and runs a "Richard the Lionhearted" blog, has said he recognised himself in the Norwegian right-wing extremist's description. Asked in an interview with Norway's NRK television station if he had any contact with Behring Breivik, including online, Mr Ray said "never". He has called the July 22 attacks "pure evil".
Behring Breivik has confessed to setting off a bomb outside government offices in Oslo killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utoeya, where the ruling Labour Party's youth wing was hosting a summer camp, killing 69 others, many of them teenagers. He is currently being held in solitary confinement at a high-security prison near Oslo, and has claimed he acted alone.
Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up
Clearly, the EDL intention is not to raise questions of theological dispute with Islam. It is to swagger through areas hosting large communities of Bangladeshi and other Asian descent, stirring up hatred.
There is no reason why the good people of Tower Hamlets and neighbouring boroughs should have to put up with the EDL and its ignorant, bigoted followers. Anti-fascist campaigners Hope Not Hate, civic leaders and local community organisations are to be congratulated on securing police support for a ban, backed by a 25,000-strong petition.
Doubtless the EDL will now try to organise a "static" demonstration which would still pose a threat to public safety. If so, the duty of trade unionists, socialists, anti-racists and anti-fascists will be to stand in solidarity with the local people of Tower Hamlets and east London on September 3. The duty of the police will be to deny EDL supporters any opportunity to disturb the peace with their provocative, racist behaviour.
But the Met application also seeks to ban all marches in five London boroughs over a 30-day period. This could include anti-fascist, trade union and other progressive marches. Whether the blanket will be thrown over the proposed Cable Street 75th anniversary events is not yet clear.
Police permission has already been granted for a march on October 2 from Aldgate East to Cable Street, supported by more than 40 organisations including national trade unions, trades councils, Searchlight, the Communist Party, the Jewish Socialist Group and a host of Bangladeshi and other local community bodies.
In October 1936, the police refused local pleas to stop Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts from marching through the area. Hundreds of thousands of people took their lead from local communist, socialist and Jewish bodies to block the way. Their slogan, borrowed from the defence of Madrid in Spain's anti-fascist war, was "No Pasaran!" - the fascists shall not pass.
The EDL cannot be allowed to pass on September 3. But nothing should stop thousands of people turning out on October 2 to celebrate a famous victory over the British Union of Fascists in 1936 and, it has to be remembered, over the Metropolitan Police too.
When confronted with social protest or upheaval, the gut instinct of the Britain's ruling class politicians and commentators is to reach for the big stick.
In the aftermath of the recent riots, Prime Minister David Cameron led the way with calls for social networking media to be more tightly policed if not shut down altogether. It seems that cyberspace freedom is an essential accoutrement of democracy in north Africa or China, while in Britain it is a threat to be suppressed.
Wiser heads appear to have prevailed in Thursday's meeting between Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry bosses and Home Secretary Theresa May. There will be no shutdown in times of unrest. Even so, proposals to monitor such communications more closely could mean that demonstrators organising the peaceful occupation of a tax-dodging chain store, say, or trying to avoid oppressive police kettling, will be shopped to the authorities. That's democracy, British-style.
The incident is the latest in a chain of arson and vandalism attacks on mosques and the property of many Muslims in Luton – a town where the English Defence League (EDL), anti Muslim, anti Islam group - is largely active.
Imam Shahid Ahmed from the Medina mosque related to The Muslim News about the attack. “When I locked the mosque up at 11pm everything was okay. When I returned at 4am for morning prayers I found two windows smashed and the words ‘EDL’ and a swastika painted on the walls.”
Ahmed said the “racists who attacked the mosque are ignorant.” He added, “This is a place of worship. They have no understanding for people of any religion.”
Maqsood Anwar, a member of the mosques’ committee and a local, describes the attacks as “disgusting” and told The Muslim News that this was not the first time a mosque in Luton has been attacked. “Last year, petrol bombs were thrown into a local mosque causing considerable damage. Many cars have been scratched and spray painted with words such as ‘EDL,’ he said.
A spokesman for Luton Council told The Muslim News that the Council “is appalled by this action and condemns it in the strongest possible terms.” The spokesman said they will be looking into having “additional lighting in the area – to help provide further reassurance to everyone.”
A Bedfordshire Police spokesman told The Muslim News that investigation “is still on-going as we take these kinds of crimes very seriously indeed and we know that all communities find them offensive and frightening.” However, the police refused to to say whether the attack was Islamophobic. “At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest who is responsible for this incident or what the person's motive may have been,” the Spokesman said.
The Muslim News
I have had my differences with East London Mosque and believe that it is a pernicious political influence in the area. But there are many decent people who attend the mosque and no one deserves to be threatened with violence by these extremist thugs.
Hats off to Hope Not Hate, the anti-fascist organisation, which has been lobbying hard to persuade the authorities to see sense on this issue.
Oddly, Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy thought the march should go ahead. His argument that EDL violence loses it supporters is very peculiar and I can’t believe he really means it, predicated as it is on other people being hurt or having their property damaged.
Dave Hill gives some good context in his blog. In particular he claims that Lutfur Rahman, the mayor of Tower Hamlets, who has previously been a deeply divisive figure, has worked with his political rivals to bring the community together in opposition to the march. If true, this is a welcome development.
Unfortunately, however, Hill makes the mistake of suggesting that the EDL has been influenced by journalists who have warned about Islamist politics in East London. He provides no evidence for this line of thinking, which veers dangerously close to the nonsense touted by Socialist Worker. In an extract from a new book published on Multiculturalism published in the Trot paper Dilowar Khan, the director of East London Mosque, has even made the outrageous claim that the EDL has been inspired by my journalism and that of Andrew Gilligan.
This would be laughable if it weren’t so irresponsible.
For now, however, let’s be glad that the police have done the right thing and hope that Teresa May does so too.
August 25, 2011
This decision is a victory for common sense. The EDL clearly intended to use the proposed march to bring violence and disorder to the streets of Tower Hamlets. Their plan has been foiled.
While the EDL might still decide to hold a static protest they will not now be able to march through residential areas and, most importantly, march past the East London mosque. A static protest will be far easier to police and it will probably also discourage a lot of EDL supporters from travelling.
While we await the formal decision from the Home Secretary I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the 25,300 people who signed our petition, the hundreds of people who donated to the campaign fund and the dozens of people who came out campaigning with us in Tower Hamlets.
Hope not hate
“Paul Ray is an interesting person for the police because Anders Behring Breivik says he is his mentor. We would have wanted to question him anyway if he had not come to Norway,” said prosecutor Christian Hatlo to NRK.
Breivik has claimed that he and Ray – or “Richard the Lionhearted” as he calls him in the manifesto he sent to 250 British contacts – met in London nine years ago when they co-founded the Knights Templar organisation. The EDL member contests having met Breivik.
“I have never spoken to him or had contact with him in any other way, and I have in no way been his mentor,” said Ray upon his arrival at Oslo Gardermoen Airport yesterday.
It is also suspected that Ray was a role model for Breivik, and the EDL blogger has previously admitted he could have been the influence behind the mass murderer’s antics.
“It does worry me that he got inspiration from my blog and it does look that way,” he said.
Ray, whose real name is Paul Sonato, confessed that he was against the attacks, though, declaring, “I am horrified that I am linked to what happened here. How can anyone in a sane mind condone what he did? The mind boggles at it and you cannot comprehend what he has done…What he did was pure evil. I could never use what he has done to further my own beliefs.”
Before his initial questioning yesterday, Ray claimed he was sure his name would be cleared. Talking of “tremendous strain” because of media pressure, he also suggested “they should focus on [the blogger] ‘Fjordman’ instead.
Police have previously interviewed ‘Fjordman’ after he came forward voluntarily to distance himself from Breivik.
Whilst several foreign police forces are assisting the Norwegians with their investigations, Paul Ray now tells Dagbladet he has evidence Anders Behring Breivik wanted to lay the blame on him. Referring to Breivik’s YouTube video, uploaded only a few hours before the attack, Ray says, “I have studied it. Breivik only mentions Lionheart to defame me. That is the only reason why the picture [of Richard the Lionhearted] is there,” he alleges.
Thanks to Greg for the heads-up
It follows threats by Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman that he will take the Met Police to the High Court if they do not make the application.
Chief Insp Paul Rickett is due at the Town Hall today (Thursday) for a meeting of the Community Contingency Planning and Tension monitoring group. It follows a meeting yesterday with the Independent Police Advisory group held at his Bethnal Green office.
“The EDL tell us if they’re banned they’ll implement a series of unannounced, sporadic demonstrations,” he told the Advertiser. “A ban could mean an EDL demo in the East End that would be a massive challenge to the police – I don’t know if I have the resources to cope.”
The EDL applied weeks ago under the law to demonstrate and is currently negotiating the route and how the march will be managed.
“We can request the Home Office for a ban only if they refuse our conditions,” Mr Rickett warned. “The EDL say they’ll submit application after application to stage a march if we seek a ban – there could be a sustained challenge.”
But he warned a Home Office ban on an EDL march would be an “own goal” which would also stop United East End coalition’s counter march against the EDL planned for the same day.
The mayor of Tower Hamlets has been negotiating with Scotland Yard this week after he publicly warned the Metropolitan Commissioner on Friday that he will go to court unless an application is made by Monday.
Mr Rahman said: “I will instruct lawyers to go to the High Court and seek injunctive relief if the police fail to act. We will not let the EDL or any other bunch of extremists divide our community.”
He challenged Home Secretary Theresa May to use her powers to stop the EDL coming to Whitechapel on grounds of public safety. But no decision had been made by yesterday (Wednesday) by Scotland Yard’s Public Order Office on a ban – despite a 25,000-name petition to stop the EDL handed in last week.
The Town Hall yesterday said: “We are still negotiating with the police and our own lawyers.”
Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up
“On behalf of all the people in Britain, we in Barking have not just beaten but we have smashed the attempt of extremist outsiders,” Hodge said after retaining her seat. “The message of Barking to the BNP is clear, get out and stay out. You are not wanted here and your vile politics have no place in British democracy.”
But events of recent weeks suggest that, although the BNP bogeyman may have been hobbled at the ballot box, the firebrands have not yet flamed out. Far from it. Two weeks ago, as the country was convulsed by riots, the English Defence League (EDL), a far-right ‘street protest movement’, seized on public outrage to reinforce its hardline anti-immigration stance. On September 3, another flashpoint looms, with the EDL planning a march through Tower Hamlets, organisers promising to take “our message into the heart of militant Islam within our own country”.
According to Matthew Goodwin, author of New British Fascism: The Rise Of The British National Party, there remains strong grassroots support for policies espoused by the BNP and its ilk, even if it has not been mobilised effectively.
“In Britain, we’ve never had an organisation that’s taken advantage of it, that’s presented itself as a modern, credible alternative – the BNP tried but failed miserably,” Goodwin says. “The traditional weakness in Britain is that these parties have shot themselves in the foot.“
According to Goodwin, the key driver of support for far-right parties like the BNP and, its apparent successor, the EDL, is opposition to immigration and the sense that the government is out of touch on this issue. In particular, though, those on the far-right are obsessed with the ‘cultural threat’ posed by Muslims, homegrown or otherwise.
“Even though the BNP is pretty much finished, the trends that fuelled its support remain in place,” Goodwin says. “That section of the public remains concerned about Muslim communities and the way they integrate and the way the major parties approach that.
“So while some people, especially on the left, were celebrating the failure of the BNP, I would be far more cautious because it’s not going to suddenly disappear. Where do all these ideologically committed activists go? Some of them are so committed that they won’t just withdraw, they won’t just decide that the time has passed. They’re more likely to conclude that direct action is the answer.”
The rise of anti-Islamic sentiment is not a peculiarly British phenomena. And, unavoidably, any discussion of its European counterpoints recalls Anders Breivik, who murdered 69 people in Norway last month. Breivik was a rabid Islamophobe who frequented hard-right websites and whose online manifesto fetishised a coming ‘clash of civilisations’. In discussing the resilience and ideological oomph of the British far-right, Goodwin ponders an uncomfortable hypothetical: what if Breivik had grown up in Leeds or Bradford or Birmingham, instead of Oslo?
“Breivik is not unique; the scale of violence was unique but his motivation was not unique. I must have sat down with 50 activists who talked about the same kind of direct action and the threat of Islam,” Goodwin says.
“So if Breivik was to implant himself in the British far-right or if there was a British equivalent, there’s no doubt the groups over here offer a climate for people like him and the frames to justify acts of violence.”
According to Goodwin, the internet and its seething miasma of hard-right proselytisation is a crucial factor in establishing these so-called frames – the fundamentals men like Breivik embrace, the prism through which they come to see the world.
“The internet enables the far-right to offer their view, their diagnosis with what’s wrong with the country, without interference from other media. It’s a process called ‘narrowcasting’, where people no longer tune in to BBC or CNN – they begin to get all their information from one forum, one source.
“These sites, like The Brussels Journal or the Gates Of Vienna, bring like-minded people together to exchange ideas and exchange tactics. The far-right has been one of the quickest movements to realise the potential of the internet.”
The robustness of this online community, broiling away in the corners of cyberspace, bolsters Goodwin’s conviction that, with or without the BNP, the sun is unlikely to set on these far-right groups any time soon; not unless governments can engage and ameliorate the grievances of those drawn to the right-wing fringe.
“I think the far-right will basically go in two directions,” Goodwin says. “You’ll have the organised parties who try to influence policy, but you’ll also have these groups, movements, lone wolves, who reject the ballot box, who come to the conclusion that the political parties haven’t made any progress. Where do those activists go? Do they just withdraw or do they adopt a more confrontational approach?”
Thanks to Greg for the heads-up
Rome Jewish community president Riccardo Pacifici joined political leaders in condemning Gaetano Saya's weekend announcement of a recruitment rally Sept. 24 and Sept. 25 in Genoa for a "homeland defense legion." Meanwhile, Italy's minister of equal opportunity opened an investigation into Saya's declarations against gays, immigrants and Roma, or Gypsies.
Pacifici called on Italy's interior minister and local authorities to take action against Saya's planned rally, threatening a counter-protest if it wasn't blocked. If nothing is done, he said in a statement, "We Jews will make our voices heard by promoting, on the same day and in the same place, a demonstration against this xenophobic and racist initiative."
Two years ago, Saya sparked outrage when his Italian Nationalist Party, a neo-fascist movement modeled on Britain's National Front, launched a paramilitary group. It came under immediate investigation for promoting fascism, which is illegal in Italy. A Nationalist party video that is still online shows Saya and other members giving the stiff-armed fascist salute and wearing uniforms reminiscent of those from pre-World War II fascist militias.
Thanks to Italia Antifa for the heads-up
August 24, 2011
Walker who was the press officer to the two BNP MEPs had already resigned from the party in disgust at the behaviour of Nick Griffin and others in the leadership apparently received his marching orders via an email sent from party manager Adam Walker.
John Walker claims his dismissal followed revelations made by himself relating to the the ever growing influence Pat Harrington held over the BNP.
Labelling the BNP leadership as cretins earlier this month,Walker claims he has referred the matter for legal advice with the intention of taking the matter further.
This appears to be just the start of yet another "Night of the Long Knives" within the BNP, following the recent leadership election,which Nick Griffin won by a narrow nine votes.
Walker was a critic of the Griffin leadership,and laid his support firmly behind the challenger Andrew Brons.
Another Griffin critic due before the BNP disciplinary team in none other than far right veteran Martin Wingfield.
Wingfield,European Communications & Campaigns Officer and former editor of the BNP newspaper Voice of Freedom is due for his disciplinary hearing at the end of this month.
Watch this space.
Thanks to Nick Lowles at HOPE not Hate
That is why we – representing communities across London – are calling on the acting commissioner of the Met to recognise that the planned march of the English Defence League in Tower Hamlets on 3 September is a drain on resources that London cannot now afford. While we have no doubt that the Met could contain this demonstration, the cost of policing it (up to £500,000 for previous EDL marches) would simply be too great. That's even before the cost of policing the heightened community tension that the EDL aims to leave in its wake.
As we continue the clean-up, let's make sure that the long-term impact on London isn't unnecessarily compounded.The Met should request that the EDL march in Tower Hamlets on 3 September be banned and the home secretary should agree.
Rushanara Ali MP Lab, Bethnal Green and Bow
Jim Fitzpatrick MP Lab, Poplar and Limehouse
John Biggs AM Lab, City and East London
Cllr Joshua Peck Labour group leader, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Jules Pipe Mayor of Hackney
Sir Robin Wales Mayor of Newham
Cllr Nasim Ali Leader, London Borough of Camden
Cllr Chris Roberts Leader, London Borough of Greenwich
Cllr Bill Stephenson Leader, London Borough of Harrow
Cllr Jagdish Sharma Leader, London Borough of Hounslow
Sir Steve Bullock Mayor of Lewisham
Cllr Stephen Alambritis Leader, London Borough of Merton
Cllr Peter John Leader, London Borough of Southwark
Cllr Catherine West Leader, London Borough of Islington
Cllr Doug Taylor Leader, London Borough of Enfield
Cllr Julian Bell Leader, London Borough of Ealing
Cllr Jackie Meldrum Deputy leader, London Borough of Lambeth
District Judge David Robertson ruled that Adam Walker, of Spennymoor, County Durham, must pay £21,000 out of his own pocket to the party’s former graphic designer, Mark Adrian Collett.
A case brought by Mr Collett against the BNP itself, thought to be £700,000 in debt, was dismissed, but the judgement against Mr Walker could still spell disaster for the party. It paves the way for other creditors to take action against activists, who could be declared bankrupt and therefore barred or even stopped from holding political office at any level.
Durham County Court heard on Monday that Mr Collett, 30, was employed as the extreme far right party’s principal graphic designer and Mr Walker was a senior officer and staff manager.
The BNP was described as an unincorporated association with no corporate identity which left senior officers responsible for contracts.
An agreement was made on September 9, last year, between Mr Collett and both Mr Walker and the BNP, which Mr Collett said had been breached. Mr Collett said he only received £750 from the BNP, instead of the £7,500 he claimed was due at the time and, as a result, said the full amount of £15,750 was now liable.
District Judge Robertson awarded Mr Collett £14,250 plus £7,333.60 costs against Mr Walker, but dismissed Mr Collett’s claim against the party.
The BNP’s money woes were highlighted last year when former chief fundraiser James Downson wrote letters to creditors, seen by The Northern Echo, offering 20 per cent settlements. Mr Dowson told Newton Press, a printing firm in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which is owed £16,500 for printing its newsletters, that the finances were like a “shipwreck”.
Newton Press confirmed last night that the debt was still outstanding.
Mr Walker, 42, of Winchester Court, Spennymoor, said last night he respected the judge’s decision and would do his utmost to comply with the judgement.
He added: “The contract was signed in good faith as party manager and at that time that was my job. I’m not the treasurer and I don’t decide where the money goes.”
Mr Walker, who represented himself against a barrister and a senior solicitor, said he was grateful the judge dismissed an application for the senior solicitor’s fees.
The former teacher said: “To anybody else in a similar position, I would say they should be very cautious about legal fees.”
Paul Ray will travel to Norway today where he will voluntarily submit himself to police investigating the twin attacks on July 22 that killed 77 people, a spokesperson said.
"(He) wants to explain himself to police and the police want to hear his explanations," said Unni Turid Groendal, Oslo police spokesperson.
"He is set to come to Norway tomorrow (Wednesday) and will be questioned by police the same day," she added.
Mr Ray is widely considered to be the unnamed "mentor" mentioned by Breivik in the 1,500-page manifesto he posted online shortly before carrying out his deadly attacks. Describing himself as a crusader at war against multiculturalism and Islam, Breivik, 32, explained in the document that he had had "a relatively close relationship" with an Englishman he gave the pseudonym "Richard", "who became my mentor."
Mr Ray, who heads the "Knights Templar" movement and runs a "Richard the Lionhearted" blog, has said he recognised himself in the Norwegian right wing extremist's description and worried that he was Breivik's inspiration.
Mr Ray has called the attacks "pure evil", and had told Norwegian media he planned to come to the Scandinavian country to clear his name, saying he did not know the Norwegian killer.
Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up
August 23, 2011
Photograph: Mirrorimage Photos/Demotix
Conservative thinktanks are in a bit of a bind when it comes to responding to the rise of Islamophobia. On the one hand they want to condemn the BNP and the English Defence League for their racism and violence, but on the other they want to downplay the extent and existence of anti-Muslim racism because it might deflect attention from "Islamism" – the catch-all term for politically active Muslims, which they see as the main problem facing the UK. The difficulty with their position is that they end up condemning the peaceful political activism of Muslim groups, while downplaying and even excusing the violent modus operandi of racist and Islamophobic groups such as the EDL.
In our report we examine two of the most prominent British thinktanks engaged in work on the role of Islam in UK politics. The Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) is the smaller of the two, focusing mainly on Islam, while Policy Exchange has a wider remit. Nevertheless, their work has followed quite similar lines. They have both rejected counter-terrorism policies based on public safety and have instead sought to revive discredited counter-subversion policies from the cold war era – policies that targeted a generation of trade union leaders and peace activists, including future Labour ministers.
The counter-subversion thinking of this earlier period undermined civil liberties and had a problematic influence on counter-terrorism policy; they risked repressing those engaged in legitimate political activity, while misunderstanding those who present a genuine threat of violence. As a result of following this highly ideological approach, both thinktanks have regularly attacked politically active Muslims, Muslim organisations and traditional liberal institutions such as churches, universities, schools and libraries. In one report, The Hijacking of British Islam, Policy Exchange famously attacked mosques alleging that they were selling extremist literature. The report was subsequently removed from the thinktank's website after the BBC discovered evidence suggesting that the report's findings had been fabricated.
The record of these thinktanks is that their publications at best exaggerate the threat posed by "Islamists" and the supposed Islamisation of public institutions. Their concern is not over the threat of terrorism or even of any illegality. Rather it is based on their counter-subversion analysis. This leads them into suggesting – as Policy Exchange has in a report titled Living Apart Together – that experiences of Islamophobia and discrimination faced by Muslims in Britain are simply "myths" attributable to a "victim mentality".
This downplaying of Islamophobia is also seen in the thinktanks' analysis of the far right. The CSC has produced two reports on the British far right. One, on the BNP, in particular underplays the extent to which it has been influenced by other Islamophobic currents. The BNP's alliance with the counterjihad movement and the subsequent emergence of the EDL were among the most significant developments on the British far right in recent years. Yet neither of the CSC's reports on the far right adequately addressed them. This is, perhaps, not surprising in the light of the CSC's own contacts with members of the counterjihad movement, such as the US-based Robert Spencer. In marked contrast to the CSC's analysis of other forms of political extremism, its director, Douglas Murray, has characterised the EDL as a predictable response to political failure and has recently described the EDL as a "grassroots response from non-Muslims to Islamism".
Events in Norway have now directed attention to the violence of the far right and in particular serve to highlight the danger presented by the spread of Islamophobic ideas. It would be a mistake to replace an exaggerated fear of Islam with a mirror image fear of the far right. However, the double standards at the heart of the approach taken by Policy Exchange and the CSC suggests that any policymaker or politician genuinely interested in public safety and the health of the democratic system should recognise that Islamophobic ideas are not just a product of violent far right groups, but equally can be fostered even by apparently respectable thinktanks.
Comment is free
Thanks to Zaahid for the heads-up
August 22, 2011
I'm hearing reports that unlike his political hero Colonel Gaddafi, Nick Griffin has managed to survive another day- but not such good news for the BNP's party manager Adam Walker.
Walker is currently up on charges relating to alleged drink driving and chasing youngsters around with a knife. Not bad for a former teacher some might say!
Today I've heard from a good source that Walker's elevation to the higher echelons of the sycophants' who currently surround and protect their glorious leader finally found its price.
Approximately £21,000 it has just cost Walker I'm told, including costs. A court ruled that it was Walker who should foot the bill for the outstanding monies owed to the BNP's former pin-up boy Mark Collet.
People may recall the circumstances surrounding Collet's departure from the party last year, when it was alleged by the Griffin camp that he had among other things, conspired to murder Griffin.
Today Collet had his day in court. Durham County Court to be precise. Poor Adam Walker, facing a possible driving ban was told he now has to foot the bill for the BNP's gung-ho attitude towards the law. After his other "incident", he does not even have his old teaching job to fall back on.
Cheers to @everythingedl over on Twitter
- John McCririck claims former BNP donor should be shunned
- Wentworth calls McCririck's intervention 'vindictive and spiteful'
McCririck used Channel 4's The Morning Line programme on Saturday to draw attention to Wentworth's past association with the far-right political group, to which the owner admits having made donations over a period of "six or seven" years. However, Wentworth insists that he has not donated for four years and is no longer a member of the BNP. Quoted in the Racing Post, he described McCririck's intervention as "unnecessary, vindictive and spiteful".
"He will be invited in his capacity as an owner," said James Brennan, head of marketing for York racecourse, which organises the dinner. "If you wanted to delve into the private lives of owners or racecourse executives or, heaven forfend, journalists, you might often find something to offend your personal moral code or compass." He pointed out that Wentworth must have passed the fit-and-proper-person test which the British Horseracing Authority applies to all owners.
Brennan stressed that the dinner is a racing occasion and he does not expect the content of the speech to stray beyond the sport's narrow confines into anything that the outside world might recognise as politics. "The owner in question quite often says: 'Great horse, great trainer, great race, great dinner,' and sits down," he said.
"At other times, they might say: 'I don't know where we're going to run him next year because he's not good enough for the Guineas and there's a gap in the pattern for horses like him.' It's that sort of speech. Sheikh Mohammed used the opportunity, many years ago, to express some strong views on racing that were acted upon and there have been other impressive and significant, racing-related addresses. We're proud of it as a racing occasion."
The dinner takes place each December and attendance is limited to 119 guests. Brennan said that past attendees include Prince Charles and Sir Alex Ferguson. McCririck expects that his boycott threat will mean he is not asked this time, but Brennan was coy on the subject.
"The job of compiling the list is not one that falls to me," he said. "So many people like to be invited that there is a bit of natural rotation every year." Asked if anyone else had expressed concern over Wentworth, he said that he had been kept busy through Saturday, dealing with the final day of the track's Ebor meeting.
McCririck maintained his stance on Sunday, describing the Gimcrack speech as "the No1 public-speaking slot in the sport" and saying that Wentworth's involvement "shames the whole of racing". Though happily admitting to holding right-wing views himself, he described the BNP as "a repugnant, vile organisation" and said his concern was for the sport's good name.
"It's how racing will look, as if we're prepared to tolerate this man's views and give him a platform at a prestigious occasion. It's just one little thing but we, in our little world, can show that we're not going to stand for this. The only control I've got is that, if I'm invited, I'm not going to go. I don't want to listen to a man like this."
Caspar Netscher is trained by Alan McCabe at Averham Park outside Newark, also the base for David Brown, whose Frederick Engels was a disappointing fifth of seven behind Dabirsim in the Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday. David Redvers, an agent for the horse's owner, said the horse was feeling the effects of recent international travel, having raced in Ireland a fortnight ago.
"Johnny Murtagh said he coughed once at the stalls and six times after the race," Redvers reported. "If he had won the Phoenix [at The Curragh], we would never have brought him here, but we thought it was worth a chance. It turns out to have been a mistake. He looked magnificent but when you travel abroad, it's like having a run in itself. We'll give him a long break and bring him back for the Middle Park Stakes."
Mark Johnston had a better day, winning the Prix Kergorlay with Jukebox Jury, on whom Neil Callan rode an intelligent race from the front. Sir Henry Cecil's Timepiece was collared close home by Announce in the Prix Jean Romanet.