The English Defence League’s protest in London yesterday can hardly have boosted the organisation’s appeal to the wider public, even among those who share its general Islamophobic viewpoint and inclination to blame the Muslim community as a whole for the death of Lee Rigby.
Still, not everyone was put off by the sight of drunken thugs giving fascist salutes, shouting abuse, throwing bottles and fighting with the police. The Civil Liberty website today posted a report hailing EDL leader Stephen Lennon’s speech at the Downing Street demonstration and claiming an astonishing 5,000 participants at the earlier EDL protest in Newcastle.
Indeed, the Civil Liberty author could scarcely restrain their enthusiasm for the latter event: “According to eye witness reports, many off-duty soldiers attended the protest, along with military veterans of all ages, some of them wearing their medals. Numerous women and young people also attended, though the main bulk of the demo was made up of white working class males between the ages of twenty and fifty.”
Civil Liberty is run by former British National Party organiser Kevin Scott, who is now chairman of the British Democratic Party, which was launched in February this year as a breakaway from the BNP, under the leadership of veteran fascist Andrew Brons, following his failure to unseat Nick Griffin as BNP chairman.
Whereas the BNP has always expressed its contempt for the leadership of the EDL, with Griffin going so far as to paint them as pawns in a Zionist conspiracy to marginalise genuine nationalists, it appears that Scott at least is adopting a more conciliatory approach. Whether this represents a tactical turn towards the EDL on the part of the BDP itself is unclear.