English Defence League prepares to storm local elections

That’s the headline to a report in the Independent on the EDL’s pact with the British Freedom Party. Matthew Goodwin, author of The New British Fascism, is quoted as saying that the EDL/BFP lash-up has “clear potential” because there is widespread opposition to immigration. Well, we’ll see. Generally I adhere to the view that nobody ever went broke underestimating the consciousness of the masses, but I can’t see voters rallying in any large numbers to a political party they’ve never heard of, which is backed by a street movement consisting of a mob of violent hooligans.

Update:  A (rather old) discussion between leading figures in the British Freedom Party (all of them ex-members of the BNP) on prospects for an alliance between the BFP and EDL has been leaked. It contains the interesting revelation that former BNP webmaster Simon Bennett had been “doing some extremely good covert work with the EDL”.

The EDL have tried to limit the damage caused by this leak by posting a statement from Bennett on their Facebook page in which he confirms that extended secret negotiations preceded the announcement of an EDL-BFP partnership last week: “This ‘alliance’ was no spur of the moment idea. It was 18 months in the planning. A huge amount of discussion, planning, brain storming and thought went in to it.” And during that period the BFP was led by men who had previously held prominent positions in the BNP.

This underlines two points. First, claims by the EDL leadership that they have no links with fascism are a lie. Second, the recent resignation of ex-BNPers from leading positions in the BFP and their replacement by individuals with no record of involvement in the BNP was just a manoeuvre designed to deflect attention from the central role played by fascists in organising the EDL-BFP merger.

Bennett has an explanation for the BFP leaders’ discussion being leaked: “The opposition are terrified, absolutely mortified by the fact that a credible, non racist, non nazi political organisation in its embryonic stages is about to render all other party’s below the Lib-Dems null and void.” The idea that such a political organisation could be engineered by Bennett and other former leading members of the BNP, all of whom were happy to support that party’s politics until they fell out with Nick Griffin, is of course laughable.

Update 2:  See “Leaked call reveals ex-BNP cabal had EDL in its sights for months”, UAF news report, 28 November 2011