- The EDL consists of a diverse collection of people from many different religious, ethnic and political backgrounds. The EDL is committed to maintaining its non-political stance, and does not endorse any particular political party, but welcomes contributions from across the political spectrum. We are all united in our efforts against radical Islam.
…. The threat of Islamic extremism is one of the rare things we can't really blame Gordon for. But it is his Party's celebrated 'multicultural society' that has encouraged it to breed under our noses. Of course we all know what multiculturalism means:
i) It means giving a multitude of different, sometimes hostile, cultures the same standing as our own.
ii) It amounts to a lack of confidence or downright hostility to all those things which have made this country great, including, I should mention, our historic tolerance and readiness to embrace the best that foreign cultures have to offer.
iii) In effect, the ideology of multiculturalism means little more than surrender.
Multiculturalism is not an ideology of tolerance, but of puritanical self-loathing. Gordon's Labour Party announced to the world
"We have no faith in Great Britain, its culture, its ideals, and its people".
Is it any surprise that Islamic radicals flock to our once proud country, when this is the message that our government have been sending out? When flying the flag of St George is considered an antiquated or even shameful activity, is it no wonder that groups such as Islam4UK or Muslims Against the Crusades have a genuine conviction that Sharia law is just around the corner, and that soon Buckingham Palace will be converted into a Mosque?
Now that the election has passed and the Government shows no signs of crumbling apart quite yet, I feel that I can come clean and admit that I have voted Conservative all of my life. So my bias is clear. What I've discovered since joining the EDL is that this doesn't matter. All are truly welcome here. Through the EDL I've come to question some of the assumptions that I have may have made about certain groups of people, and perhaps tackle some of my prejudices. I've spoken to trade unionists, committed socialists, and all manner people from different political and social backgrounds; people, I'm sorry to admit, I've often held a dim view of in the past.
What I've learned from the EDL is that a great diversity of opinion can be a good thing (which is ironic given that the criticism that is often levelled at the EDL often focuses around the claim that we are fascists or racists).
Like many Conservative voters, I have my concerns and reservations about 'Dave'. And whilst I did end up voting for David Cameron's Conservatives, it was with only very cautious levels of enthusiasm. For me, the end of Gordon's reign was a cause for momentary relief rather than celebration, especially given the emergence of a coalition government.
The coalition has a vast number of problems to contend with, and in this context it could be all too easy for the threat of Islamic extremism to get swept under the carpet. What's worse is that the new government could be tempted to do what so many people seem to do nowadays when they don't have an answer to a problem: condemn those who won't let you forget about it.
We can't let them do this.
But, it does seem unavoidable that the threat of radical Islam will not be one of the big issues for some time yet. Whilst Islam seems to be in the news most days, the mainstream media isn’t yet ready to accept that the Government could have a hand in tackling the problems that we face. Part of the reason for this is that levelling criticism directly at one subset of the population is fraught with difficulties. Until the political establishment (not just in the UK) makes it clear that it seriously acknowledges the threat that radical Islam poses, we cannot expect the media to follow.
Before we can properly address the danger lurking within the Islamic Community (at home and abroad), we have to ensure that we have a political system that allows us to talk about it freely and openly, without fear of recriminations or wilful misrepresentation. At the same time, we have to ensure that the Islamic Community is not subjected to unfair or prejudiced criticism that could prove counterproductive.
But how can we realistically hope to achieve this, and what obstacles must we overcome?
Underlying many of the problems I listed above has been a shift in the way that we view politics. Part of the reason why we haven't had much of an opposition in the last decade is that the Labour Party has been so good at purposefully misrepresenting its opponents and at winning the public relations battle. However you view Conservative policy, reciting the line that the Tories are just the party for the rich does not constitute political debate. (In the same way that repeatedly calling the EDL ‘Nazis’ completely prevents the actual issues from being discussed.)
Modern politics is full of negative campaigning and personal attacks. The three main parties may have failed to distinguish themselves in the eyes of the voters, but part of this is due to the public relations politics that Tony Blair brought us back in 1997. How do you introduce something new and interesting when the Labour Party press officers are ready to tear you apart (regardless of the content of your suggestion)? Politics has become less about debating the issues, and more about political point scoring. Eventually, it seems, the opposition decided that if you can't beat them, join them. And perhaps David Cameron is the result.
During the election campaign we heard a lot about 'cleaning up politics'. But what faith can we have in Dave if he's a product of this PR-obsessed system? Given that the expenses scandal has left us all so fed up, Dave will have little option but to make some serious changes to the way British politics operates if he ever wants to gain the trust of the electorate. This does present him with an opportunity to turn his back on the type of strategy that sees spin doctors calling the shots, and which sees opponents demonised rather than engaged with.
As I've made abundantly clear, Dave already has a lot on his plate. With so many problems to address, I might not blame him if dealing with radical Islam isn't at the top of his to do list. It should be, but if everyone acknowledged the threat then there would be little need for the EDL. However, there is one thing he can do, one gesture he could make which we would demonstrate that he wishes to both abandon the personal attacks and purposeful misrepresentation that have plagued politics, as well demonstrating that he takes seriously the genuine dangers of Islamic extremism, radicalisation, fundamentalism, and Islamic Supremacism. He needs simply to denounce the one organisation that typifies the negative politics of the past: Unite Against Fascism (UAF).
It may alarm you to know that David Cameron is listed as a supporter of the UAF (see here < http://anonym.to/?http://uaf.org.uk/about/founding-signatories/%3E on their website). For anyone who is unaware, UAF stands for 'Unite Against Fascism'. A noble cause one would think. But the UAF have a strange definition of 'fascism', and of how best to 'unite against' it. But don’t take my word for it – have a look at their website and decide for yourself whether the UAF are inclined to give their opponents a fair trial. The UAF have run many successful campaigns of misrepresentation (ascribing views to individuals without any evidence, and describing organisations such as the EDL as ‘fascist’ despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary), as well as being no strangers to violent conduct. Naturally, this brings them into conflict with the EDL, and not surprisingly, you don’t need to do a lot of searching to find out what the UAF say about us. See here < http://anonym.to/?http://uaf.org.uk/2010/06/thousands-march-in-unity-against-racism-and-fascism/%3E for a typically odious example. The accusation of fascism is one that is particularly difficult to digest. On a personal level, fascism is an ideology that is completely opposed to my belief in the importance of free speech, and the value of free and open political discussion. Unfortunately the UAF organisation sees fascists everywhere, and has become highly militant in their efforts to 'stamp them out'. The UAF has not been immune from criticism (see here
At best they are misguided, but at worst they have got into bed with exactly the characters that genuine anti-fascists should be opposed to (including, but not limited to, Islamic radicals).
I can forgive Dave for falling for this con. But if he truly wants to mend ‘broken Britain’, he needs to start with broken politics. And to do this he has to give a clear indication that his government would never lend support to organisations such as UAF. To ensure that people remain interested in politics, David Cameron needs to clean up the political system. He can hardly do this whilst endorsing the bully-boys of the UAF.
Now obviously I do not expect David Cameron to suddenly endorse the EDL. Nor do I expect immediate progress in tackling Islamic extremism. But I do dare to hope that he can start laying the foundations for one of the most important debates that lies ahead.
So, please Dave, make me feel a little happier about having voted for you, renounce the UAF.