2012: Not the year of the infidel!Tagged as: anti-fascism anti-racism bnp edl
We’ve had an interesting first year here monitoring fascists across the East Midlands. In many ways it’s been a dreadful year for the far right with the EDL and BNP in dire straits and none of the smaller groups looking capable of “uniting the right” either. There have been many enjoyable fascist misadventures, failures and outright catastrophes making 2012 a year they’ll want to forget. The far right will be trying to start 2013 on a more positive note and it is up to anti-fascists to make sure they don’t even leave the starting blocks.
The EDL started 2012 with a demo in Leicester against a “two-tier justice system” that is prejudiced against whites apparently. Funnily enough, their claims that the Crown Prosecution Service is a left-wing conspiracy to let Muslims off fell to shreds on closer inspection. On the day, an estimated 400 turned up to trudge around the deserted streets in the snow. Although they can only dream of getting those numbers now, at the time it was their lowest turnout for years and EDL activists were overheard complaining that “We can’t organise shit anymore”.
The dwindling numbers have meant that only hardcore lunatics and racists are left in the flagging street movement. We exposed EDL members advocating nuclear war and genocide (Lee Tams, Leicester EDL), calling all Muslims “stinky dirty goat shagging bastards” (Ian Humphries, Leicester EDL), stringing up George Galloway by his bollocks and smashing his head in with a nailed baseball bat (Mark Dunn, Leicester EDL), calling Abu Hamza a “paki” who deserves waterboarding (Andy Catchpole, Hinckley EDL), threatening to “wipe out” an independent media site (Jay Clarke, Nottingham EDL), calling Leicester a town full of Pakis (Jack Stevens and Richard Carroll, Nottingham EDL) and making jokes about leaving dead pigs in a swimming pool running Muslim swimming sessions (Keith Finch & Ed Coates, Leicester EDL). We exposed nasty pieces of work like Newark EDL organiser Chris Conroy, a violent racist misogynist, EDL poster boy Glen Warren and Northants EDL’s love of Nazism.
One of the most tragic figures we’ve come across is Nottingham’s Tony Curtis, formerly big buddies with the EDL leadership and a regular speaker at demonstrations (although not known for accuracy or truthfulness), he was unceremoniously booted out in September after a misguided attempt to “unite the right” backfired. Curtis had been getting cosy with Bill Baker’s New Patriot Alliance but then decided they were racists. When he was then kicked out of the EDL as well he was left in the wilderness with only his Facebook “plastic patriot” friends for company. How the mighty have fallen!
Local EDLers managed to rack up an impressive number of convictions for racist attacks and violence in 2012. Two Derby EDL fans were sent to prison for their part in a racist attack on a taxi driver, a Northants EDL member was remanded for racist abuse, a Lincoln EDL member was banned from football games for 3 years after involvement in violence at Lincoln City games and being photographed giving a Nazi salute, two Bulwell EDL supporters were jailed for racially abusing an Asian family and Leicester EDL activist, James Elliot was convicted of drunkenly assaulting an anti-fascist.
The EDL spent the year desperate to find a cause that would get some traction with followers who were rapidly abandoning them. They tried to latch onto the manufactured phenomenon of Muslim grooming gangs in a bid to “save” (white) girls, but failed to ditch their own misogyny and casual sexism, making us think they were only in it for the racism. They made a late bid to “defend the gays” against a phantom army of Muslim homophobes, without ever questioning their own homophobia. Most recently they have been attempting to insinuate themselves into anti-immigration protests in Boston and the Fens, evidently having given up on “peacefully protesting Islamic extremism” and going for a more old school racist vibe. None of these efforts has done much to save their failing organisation.
At the end of 2012, the EDL is in a desperate position. Their leader is on remand in the nonce wing, looking at some considerable jail time for charges of mortgage fraud, assault and travelling with false documents, the numbers at their demos have dwindled to a tiny handful and Kev Carroll, who is flailing at the helm for now, has been doing a good job of alienating the few remaining activists who have stayed loyal. Only a miracle will bring back their former strength.
The BNP began the year still reeling from the mass exodus of activists caused by Nick Griffin’s chronic mismanagement, abuse of finances and absolute dictator leadership style. More major splits have occurred since then, most recently Andrew Brons and his supporters leaving, but it does look as though the worst may be over for the severely battered BNP ship. All the more reason to give them a hard time in 2013.
Locally, the BNP began the year with a hilarious personality clash in Derbyshire between rival factions of the Heanor group. Councillor Lewis Allsebrook threw his toys out of the pram, leaving the party whilst using various blogs that no one reads to slag off Heanor’s other BNP councillor, Cliff Roper, and his hapless Mrs, Emma. Ironically, not long before Roper had resigned the party whip in protest against Griffin whilst Allsebrook remained loyal, but Roper is still clinging in there in true opportunistic fascist fashion. The infighting didn’t do the Heanor Hitlers much good, resulting in them losing both their seats in the local elections.
Perhaps even more of a joker than those two was the Dictator of Derbyshire, Paul Hilliard. Clearly seeing himself as a bit of a player in nationalist politics, Hilliard spent the year engaging in activities he clearly saw as statesmanlike. He tidied up the atrocious fashion sense of his comrades by getting them all kitted out in black shirts, admitting a admiration for Mussolini’s fascist foot soldiers, and invested in the local answer to the BNP’s Lie Lorry, the Blackshirt Buggy. But funniest of all, he started a Facebook group called “Nationalists Must Unite as One to Achieve Victory” in yet another thwarted attempt to unite the right. Infighting between rival fascist groups and factions within the BNP has been rife on his page leading to some very Stalinist purging of his rivals by Hilliard. One of his main beefs seems to be any suspected support for the Jews, which he smothers with paranoid conspiracy theories.
Even Hilliard doesn’t win the crown for most crazed local activist. Nottingham’s organiser, Bob Brindley, must surely win that title with his barmy Twitter feed barking out paranoid rants and racist nonsense. Brindley seems to hate everyone who isn’t white, but has a particular hatred of anti-racist campaigner Doreen Lawrence and Nelson Mandela. He is quite keen on Jimmy Savile though. Brindley sometimes attempts a lone leafletting session in Nottingham city centre but has been chased out of town by locals.
With this bunch of lunatics as his local organisers, it’s no surprise that East Midlands organiser, Geoff Dickens, had a hard time pressing the dwindling band of pensioners that still turn up to BNP meetings for more cash for Griffin this year. Even his spine-chilling ghost stories about cultural Marxism haven’t been enough to keep the party going.
As a result, the BNP have faced the mass defection of former stronghold, North-West Leicestershire, to the English Democrats, as well as Wellingborough organiser and author of the Northants Patriot, Rob Walker, in the same direction. Indeed, there has been an extremely high drop-out rate of former activists and organisers within the local party over the past few years. They have not contested many elections in the region this year, but did badly in Towcester, Sileby and Corby.
Like the EDL, the BNP have had their share of censure for racism. Lincoln BNP candidate, Dean Lowther, was investigated by the police after racist and fascist posts from his Facebook site came to light. Former BNP councillor for Coalville, Graham Partner, was censured “in the strongest possible terms” by Leicestershire County Council after writing a racist leaflet. And Lincolnshire’s BNP’s “Reverend” Robert West had a hissy fit when the Church of England banned its clergy from joining racist organisations such as the BNP.
Like the EDL, the BNP have been eager to latch onto what they think will be populist causes in order to recruit and spread their fascist ideas. They expressed crocodile tears over child abuse, but only when Muslims were the perpetrators and suddenly became animal welfare advocates when locals expressed their anger over a halal slaughterhouse in Skegness (whilst munching on factory farmed sausages).
2012 was another bad year for the BNP, without a doubt, and locally they are relying on the dregs of the barrel to keep the party running. However, with the demise of the EDL there are a lot of new far right activists looking for a home whose energy the BNP could leech off. There are signs that the party is getting more confident again, and will be looking to revive itself in the new year. It is our job to turn them back.
Small parties and groups
Divisions on the far right have multiplied during 2012 which has seen yet more splits from the BNP form, defections to the English Democrats and the emergence of the English Volunteer Force and New Patriot Alliance from the corpse of the EDL. Not many of them have managed to do anything though!
The English Democrats earned themselves a reputation of being a half-fascist party when it emerged that almost 50% of their candidates in the May local elections had been members of the BNP. In the end they did moderately well in Daventry getting 20% of the vote in the Long Buckby ward, and far right rosette collector, Kevin Sills, got 14% of the vote in Desborough town council elections in July. The party has generally done well in Northants this year even though David Wickam only got 1.2% in the Corby by-election.
That’s far better than they’ve managed in Lincolnshire in the shaky grasp of all-round buffoon and neo-Nazi supporter, Elliott Fountain. Fountain did desperately badly in two local elections and despite talking up his candidacy for the Lincolnshire Police & Crime Commissioner post up to a few weeks before the election he was mysteriously withdrawn from the ballot after we exposed his links to far right groups, racist comments and love of class A drugs. He also treated us to some cracking far right infighting with anti-immigration protest organiser and fellow Boston bigot, Dean Everitt.
Veteran Nazis, the National Front, raised their heads out of their perpetual slumber on a couple of occasions during the year. Tim Knowles, who managed to fuck up getting himself elected unopposed a few years back, stood again in the Amber Valley local elections and came last with 99 votes. Then the NF tried to jump on the Skegness anti-halal slaughterhouse bandwagon by holding a poorly attended demo there in September featuring a mugs gallery of past-it fascists. They weren’t too pleased about us releasing the details of their re-direction point the night before. The Front have essentially no local backing in the East Midlands and it looks likely to stay that way.
As the EDL falls apart all manner of pompous little groups have been setting themselves up, each vying for the crown of being “the next EDL”. We’ve got bad news for them – there ain’t going to be one. The EDL’s one-trick pony was dragged as far as it could be and everyone got bored. It’s over lads!
2012 saw the emergence of the English Volunteer Force, run by a former EDL and BNP activist and trying to emulate a loyalist group responsible for murdering hundreds of Catholic civilians in Ireland. The organisation has miniscule support across the East Midlands and is yet to do anything although its front man does like posing with his pants on his head. We also saw the birth of our favourite pointless group, Leicester’s 212 Poison, who like to meet up for a drink and fantasise about beating up Muslims before going home to their mam.
Still hanging around like a bad smell are the infidels, teenage boys who are frustrated by the fact that the EDL isn’t racist enough and like tattooing the 14 words onto each others’ arses. Not to forget Leicester Casuals United who like to lie about how they’re going to kick off at UAF meetings and run the “muzzies” out of Leicester not to mention making up stories about poppy sellers being attacked. We did enjoy them slating the EDL though!
Year of the infidels? Pffft!
The far right is floundering, riven by infighting and held back by the incompetence of its leaders. It will take a long time for them to regroup and do anything of consequence again and we will see them trying to start that process over the next few months. But make no mistake, the rise of the EDL and BNP drew thousands of people towards reactionary politics. The organisations may be collapsing but racist and divisive attitudes remain for many of those whom they blighted and those people could get behind a more successful fascist organisation in the future. There is a lot of work ahead for anti-fascists.