Sunday, 31 July 2011
EDL. Are they worth the bother?
Provided that they survive the contamination of the Ander Brevic connection, and provided also that the calls for a Home Office ban go unheeded, the EDL will march through Tower Hamlets on 3rd September to protest what they see as the "islamification" of their country. For many on the left it will be another opportunity to sell their boring papers, recruit new members and kid themselves that they are taking part in an "intervention". Some anarchist comrades will no doubt be gagging to recreate the Battle Of Cable Street. Local Asian youth will be rightly enraged at what they will see as an invasion of their turf. The Met will be hoping for a large turnout from all sides as both an opportunity to hone their head cracking skills and also as a public order budget justification. The ordinary people of Tower Hamlets will I imagine be concerned about getting the shopping done early and keeping their kids out of trouble.
Look, let me try and be really honest for a change. I have no great love of Islam. It's a repressive and reactionary faith but probably no more so than some branches of Christianity and Judaism. On the other hand I am no lover of the xenophobic nationalism and patriotism of the EDL and don't find mosques anymore of an imposition on the urban landscape than are most shopping centres. So how much of a threat are the Wetherspoons Cavalry? Well to me, sitting in my leafy West London suburb, not that much; probably a lot more if you are unfortunate enough to be a Muslim living along the route of one of their marches, but politically, compared to the vice like strangle hold of corporate power, they are but a gnat bite on the arse. Are they really worth the bother? And how much do some sections of the left need the EDL as an excuse for their own existence?