Liberals use the EDL to express contempt for the white working class:
I’m implacably opposed to the EDL. My attitude towards immigration is probably enough to make many Telegraph readers wince (it can be summed up in two words: “open door”). [The EDL is not anti-immigration. This writer is sometimes as guilty as those he rightly criticises. The EDL is a single-issue group. However, yes, many EDL will have positions on immigration. But not the brainless ones liberals ascribe to everyone who actually lives in or near Islamic ghettoes.] However, I’m also made deeply uncomfortable by the speed and gritty determination with which groups like the EDL are transformed into whipping boys for the liberal elite, held up as evidence that there are vast swathes of Britain (whisper it: Bermondsey) where people have outdated views and use un-PC lingo and never read the Guardian. Fretting over the EDL, a very small political movement, is becoming a coded way of fretting over those insufficiently educated, insufficiently cosmopolitan lower orders.
So on the achingly right-on Channel 4 show 10 O’Clock Live – a kind of Newsnight without laughs – the presenters contrasted the EDL’s claims that it has a sophisticated position on the problems of extreme Islam with a photograph of an “average EDL supporter”: a leering man with massive moobs and Union Jack tattoos. Rough translation: the outlook of these kinds of people is laughably illegitimate and deserving of ridicule only.
When David Cameron made his recent speech on the failings of multiculturalism many concerned politicos and commentators accused him of “writing propaganda for the EDL” and of having a “chilling and poisonous” impact in those parts of Britain where the EDL has support. This was seen by some as an unfair slur on Cameron – but in truth it was an all-out attack on working-class bits of Britain, on inner-city estates and poor boroughs, where commentators assume that people are so fickle and fantastically impressionable that one speech by Cameron is enough to turn them into Muslim-hunting maniacs. Politicians are implored to keep their speeches polite and uncontroversial – that is, to censor themselves – in order not to antagonise the savages.
And of course, today’s fear of the EDL goes hand in hand with fear of the tabloids and their “toxic” influence on their dumb readers. So in the Guardian Charlie Brooker worries about the fact that the Daily Star seems to be siding with the EDL, arguing that its coverage of Muslim issues has left its readers “gripped with anti-Muslim fervour”. Well, as we know, these consumers of red-top rubbish, these non-latte-drinking classes, are incapable of deciphering right from wrong. Unlike us broadsheet readers, they are devoid of free will and intellect, of the capacity to make moral choices; they simply hear words and act on them, like dogs.
Far more worrying than the Daily Star’s supposed flirtation with the EDL is the liberal commentariat’s reliance on the EDL as proof that modern British values are under a threat from a homegrown, violence-prone, tattoo-sporting underclass. The EDL is utterly wrong to argue that there is a massive cultural divide between ordinary Brits and Muslims. Yet liberal observers would have us believe that the real cultural divide, a gaping moral chasm no less, exists between the educated and the uneducated, the PC and the un-PC, the consumers of proper politics and the consumers and actors-upon tabloid trash. Is that fantasy politics really any better than the EDL’s?