Tuesday, September 15, 2009


A British cabinet minister has raised the spectre of a return to pre-war fascism, warning of “parallels” bertween right-wing groups planning protests in Muslim neighbourhoods and Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts with their provocative marches through Jewish areas of east London in the 1930s. Announcing a government drive to address issues alienating white, working-class people at risk of being “exploited” by the far-right, John Denham (pictured above), the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, singled out protests being organised by the English Defence League (EDL). The group has organised a number of protests in recent months which have turned violent – and it is to hold events in Manchester, Leeds, London and Bristol in the coming weeks. Yesterday small groups of EDL supporters gathered for a protest outside a mosque in Harrow, north-west London. They were confronted by at least 1,000 anti-fascist protesters. Police arrested 10 people after clashes, 9 of them for allegedly possessing weapons. No injuries were reported.

Now I saw that “protest” on TV. It was a farce. There were about 20 neandrathal white blokes, probably BNP nutters, looking a bit sheepish and being protected by about 50 policemen. And of course there was the usual “spontaneous” Muslim rent-a-mob throwing rocks – sorry, defending their mosque - present too. For a cabinet minister to actually even bother equating this pantomime with 1930’s fascism and attendant riots is a joke. It’s also dangerous, in a time of growing youth unemployment and economic hardship, to be pouring petrol on the flames of what is essentially a race/religious divide. But the increasing number of these incidents does raise some questions : (1) Why don’t the authorities just ban these demonstrations by white racist knuckle-draggers if they know trouble is brewing ? (2) Why doesn’t the government defuse growing discontent amongst “alienated white working class people” by stopping pandering to Islamic extremists and thereby grubbing around for Muslim inner-city votes ? (3) Why if the EDL is planning violence are its leaders not arrested ? (4) Since when has perfectly reasonable and legitimate concern about the creeping Islamification of the UK been fascism ? (5) Since when has throwing rocks – even if they are being thrown by seemingly legally untouchable Muslims - been an acceptable