Tag Archives: English Defence League

Hate Groups

Britain First

Britain First (BF) is the brainchild of James Dowson, the man who was once dubbed ‘the person who owned the BNP’.

A shadowy figure in the world of evangelical Protestantism and anti-abortion activity, Dowson made contact with the BNP in 2007 offering his services as a man with a record of get-rich-quick schemes. Originally from Scotland, he’d set himself up in Belfast, Northern Ireland where he took a keen advantage of religious fervour.

Jim Dowson on a Life League domonstrationJim Dowson on a Life League domonstration

Dowson’s anti-abortion activities and close relationship with Loyalist paramilitaries were seen as positive attributes by the BNP’s leadership, who were dazzled by Dowson’s patter and promises of riches.

Nick Griffin eventually moved the entire BNP operation to Belfast – under Dowson’s control – with Griffin’s daughter Jennifer entrusted to Dowson’s care. We dubbed Dowson as Griffin’s consiglieri in 2009 and meanwhile, as the party faltered after the 2010 local and government elections, anti-Griffin factions within the BNP saw Dowson as Griffin’s Achilles’ heel and began campaigning against him.

Dowson and the BNP parted company in October 2010 but it was another six months before BF was formed. In the intervening time Dowson preoccupied himself with trying to undermine the BNP at every opportunity.

In May 2011 Dowson, along with Paul Golding, a former BNP councillor and editor of the BNP’s flagship magazine, announced the formation of a campaign group to protect “British and Christian morality” and sent an internet and glossy mail shot to some 40,000 names that Dowson had allegedly acquired from his time with the BNP.

Hoping to gain an invitation to join rebel BNP MEP Andrew Brons in a new venture, Dowson also sent another glossy brochure attacking a number of high profile BNP officials during the BNP’s July 2011 leadership election. BF was born to attack Griffin.

Close to a thousand people responded to BF’s launch with either cash or membership, but very quickly, aside from a few regional meetings, it became apparent that the organisation was not interested in being the alternative to Griffin’s party. BF was more interested in fundamentally changing the direction of the far-right to a trajectory later followed by the British Freedom Party. BF is squeezed between its fascist roots and its religious ambitions.


Key Personnel

(left to right) Jim Dowson, Paul Golding, Andy McBride and Kevin Edwards (left to right) Jim Dowson, Paul Golding, Andy McBride, Gary Raikes and Kevin Edwards

Jim Dowson: Former Calvinist Minister who helped run the BNP between 2007-2010. Controversial businessman who has received funding from the European union in the past. Having built the BNP up, has made it his business to knock it down again. A powerful anti-Griffinite, if not an effective politician.

Paul Golding: The BF’s national chairman, Golding is former head of publicity for the BNP as well as a failed councillor in Sevenoaks, Kent. Golding was one of the high flyers in the BNP’s ‘Brat Pack’ during the last decade. Golding is the BF’s Chairman and a recent convert to Christianity which comes hand in hand with being a minor business partner of Dowson.

Andy McBride: Former South East regional organiser of the BNP, in 2010 McBride launched a series of factional attacks on Griffin’s enemies, before resigning in March 2011. McBride joined Dowson and Golding in plotting Griffin’s downfall and was a keynote speaker at last year’s “Way Forward” conference of the anti-Griffin crowd.

Kevin Edwards: Former BNP community councillor from Wales who quit the BNP over its violence.

The English Defence League

The English Defence League (EDL) is a racist organisation whose main activity is street demonstrations against the Muslim community. Although it claims only to oppose Islamic extremism it targets the entire Muslim community and its actions deliberately seek to whip up tensions and violence between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

Many of its protests have resulted in violence and it taps into wider anti-Muslim feeling. What started as a loose network of football hooligans is developing into a new social movement.

The EDL emerged in Luton in March 2009 in the aftermath of a protest by a handful of Islamist extremists at the homecoming parade of the Royal Anglian Regiment through the town.

It now has thousands of supporters across the country. What began as a loose alliance of people around various social networking websites is increasingly turning into an organisation with a national, regional and local structure.

Between 2009-2011 the EDL was without doubt the largest social movement in the country, often holding councils and local authorities to ransom with its demands carrying the threat of up to 3000 EDL members descending on towns and cities and bringing them to a standstill.

In 2011 however, the wheels of the EDL juggernaut appeared to come off. The Norwegian racist killer Anders Breivik cited the  EDL as an inspiration. Several high profile EDL activists were recorded admitting their support for Breivik’s actions in killing 77 people in two terror attacks, many of them teenagers.

The EDL’s leader Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) was later filmed seemingly admitting his admiration for the killer, though Lennon has denied he made these comments. Throughout 2011 a series of exposures in the national and international media exposed the heart of the EDL as part of an international network of extremists targeting Muslims around the world. This movement, the “Counter-Jihad” movement, had a number of small-time English businessmen and women at its heart, as well as the street army that is the EDL.

Many of its protests have resulted in violence and it taps into wider any-Muslim feeling

The leadership even had a very short-lived foray into politics that ended in disarray and humiliation.

After the Breivik exposures and a series of other exposures that seemed to tear away the EDL’s very thin veneer of not being a fascist or racist organisation, ordinary activists seemed to tire of the organisation and splits emerged. Some of the more damaging allegations included the engagement in paedophilia by one of its founding members.

Lennon, along with his co-leader and cousin Kevin Carroll are both natives of the town of Luton. They run the EDL and its lucrative merchandising arm ruthlessly. Those who show dissent are often violently removed from the organisation and as a result of this and growing frustration with the EDL’s direction, the organisation has been in a near terminal decline for over a year.

In September 2012 the group suffered a massive humiliation when it was prevented by locals from marching in Walthamstow, east London. The fallout from which reopened a festering sore with the rival BNP, whose leader Nick Griffin described the EDL’s leader as a “big girl’s blouse” in an appeal for the EDL activist base to move to the BNP. Many EDL activists broke away to form their own groups or quit the movement entirely.

In January 2013, Lennon pleaded guilty to “possession of a false identity document with improper intention” at Southwark Crown Court. He was sentenced to ten months imprisonment, but was released on electronic tag in February. Lennon had used the false passport to gain entry into the United States in late 2012.

A career criminal, Lennon has a number of criminal convictions, including football violence related convictions. The EDL is a non-membership organisation and so has often been viewed by Lennon and Carroll as their own private army. It is estimated that there are 700 criminal convictions directly linked to the EDL and its supporter base. This includes fire-bombings and even murder. The EDL is always quick to distance itself from the more heinous of these crimes.

EDL demonstrations, even after Lennon’s release from prison, dwindled to mere handfuls of alcohol-fuelled desperados’ intent on drinking and fighting their way into prison.

The murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south London, in May 2013  has been jumped upon by Lennon as a way of rebuilding the organisation. Until Rigby’s death, Lennon had shown no real interest in further EDL activities, but found his way to Newcastle on the 25th of May 2013 to address over 1500 people at an already planned march.

A social media led organisation, many people judge the size of the EDL primarily on its facebook page(s). The EDL has certainly gained a massive boost to its numbers on social media sites since Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder, but building an accurate picture of its “membership” has also proved difficult.

An estimate would be that there are now between 500-1500 people actively engaged in the day-to-day activities of the group. This is likely to decline again, in time. An offer from the BNP leader Nick Griffin for Lennon to join him on an illegal protest in Woolwich was rebuffed by Lennon out of hand and it is likely that the ongoing enmity between the two will also increase as their followers dwindle again.

The English Democrats Party (EDP)

The English Democrats Party (EDP) was founded on 17 September 2002 by the merger of the English National Party (ENP), which had been founded in 1997 by Robin Tilbrook, and several other small English nationalist parties. The EDP is attempting to position itself as the English equivalent of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru (PC) in Wales.

The party hopes to attract support ahead of the independence referendum in Scotland in the autumn of 2014.

In January 2005 the EDP absorbed the Reform UK Party, founded in 2000 as a breakaway from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and in February 2007 the EDP absorbed the Dartford-based New England Party (NEP), founded in 2003 by Mike Tibby.

The EDP has never won a Westminster parliamentary seat at a general election or by-election in its ten-year existence.

The EDP had one elected Mayor (Peter Davies in Doncaster) but he quit the party in 2013 because of what he felt was the party’s associations with racists and racism.

The party publishes the England Awake! magazine (2011-) and previously published The English Voice (EV) (May 2003-2010) quarterly magazine. The EDP claims 3,000 members, though in fact it is believed to be considerably lower in terms of actually paid up members.

The EDP stood 87 candidates in the 2012 local elections and averaged 10.3%.

Despite some promising signs for the EDP in the 2012 Police & Crime Commissioner elections, by the 2013 County Council Elections the party was another of the victims of the surge of UKip, and the party performed disastrously, coming last in many of the wards that they stood in. The party stood only 42 candidates, despite claiming internally that it would have over 300 candidates and achieve an election broadcast. The electoral commission and the police are also investigating alleged irregularities in regard to some EDP candidates.

The rot had been apparent for many, when the party achieved an appalling 70 votes (0.17%) at the Eastleigh by-election during February 2013. The party either tied with or lost to novelty candidates including “Elvis” and a candidate who liked beer!

Infusion of former BNP members into the EDP

Peter DaviesPeter Davies

Robin Tilbrook declared at the EDP’s 10th annual conference in Leicester on 24 September 2011: “BNP supporters are joining us. They will help us become an electorally credible party. We need to be sure they ascribe to civic or cultural nationalism and that they will be an asset to our party, but we do not need to be too defensive”.

The EDP passed a policy amendment at the same conference requiring “every candidate for any office in the party shall have been a paid-up member of this party for at least 2 years immediately preceding the date of application or nomination”. This has not prevented former members of the BNP becoming office bearers of the EDP immediately upon joining. The influx of so many BNP members led to the party’s most senior elected public official, Peter Davies-the Mayor of Doncaster, quitting in 2013.


The English Democrats Party: Profiles

Robin C. W. TilbrookRobin C. W. Tilbrook

Steven UnclesSteven Uncles

Robin C. W. Tilbrook: Co-founder and chairman, EDP, since 2002. Solicitor and the EDP’s principal funder. Tilbrook addressed a Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) No Sharia Here! demonstration outside Lambeth Palace, London on 11 September 2008.

Steven Uncles: Chairman, EDP South East and South West areas. EDP member since 2003, who runs the English Passport blog. Uncles has been the prime mover in attempts by the EDP to establish links with other like-minded nationalist parties and organisations, including the England First Party (EFP) ahead of the 2009 European Elections and separately with Sinn Féin (SF) in Northern Ireland.

Former EDP activists

Bill BakerBill Baker

Bill Baker: Founder and Leader, English Nationalist Alliance (ENA), since 2010; former member: BNP and EDP, 2009-2010. Baker co-organised an English Defence League (EDL) demonstration outside Harrow Central Mosque on 29 August 2009 which was cancelled, but eventually took place under the Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) banner thirteen days later on 11 September.

Stephen Gash: Founder and Organiser, Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) – England (originally No Sharia Here), since 2007; co-founder, Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), in 2007 and former EDP National Council member.

Ben Weald: Former EDP parliamentary candidate in Enfield and Southgate at the 2010 general election, and who has travelled extensively in support of the English Nationalist Alliance (ENA) and March for England (M4E). Weald resigned from the EDP in 2012.

Prominent BNP recruits to the EDP

Chris BeverleyChris Beverley

Eddy ButlerEddy Butler

Chris Beverley: Chairman, EDP Leeds branch, since 2011. Former BNP Regional Organiser for Yorkshire and Humber, 2009-2011 and BNP member, 1997-2011. Beverley continues to be employed as constituency office manager to Andrew Brons, BNP MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber. He runs the Morley Patriot blog.

Eddy Butler: Former member, National Front (NF), 1980-1986; Campaign Director, Freedom Party (FP), 2001-2003; BNP member, 1986-1996, 1998-2001 and 2003-2010; National Organiser, BNP, 2008-2010 and founder, BNP Reform Group, in 2010. Butler continues to be employed as a research assistant to Andrew Brons, BNP MEP. Butler’s membership application to the EDP was approved by the party’s National Council on 26 November 2011 by 8 votes to 1 with one abstention. Those voting in favour included Robin Tilbrook.

One could easily be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that this trio of Yorkshire-based European Parliament-funded employees of Andrew Brons are serving two masters, let alone hypocritically campaigning for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU while being paid via one of its institutions.

Front group

ENGLISH LOBBY (EL) The EDP co-founded the English Lobby (EL) in April 2004, together with the Freedom Party (FP) [since defunct] and Third Way (3W), [which has since become the National Liberal Party] as a cross-party loose umbrella lobby organisation to defend and promote English national identity, values and culture and the national interests of the ethnic English community. The FP and 3W both later withdrew from the English Lobby.

The Al-Muhajiroun network

Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) hit the headlines in November 2011 after the Home Secretary, Theresa May, proscribed the organisation on the eve of Remembrance Sunday. The year before, MACcaused public outrage when they burned two large poppies outside the Royal Albert Hall. MAC was founded in 2010 by Abu Assadullah and acts under the guidance of former solicitor Anjem Choudary. By Joe Mulhall

MAC was officially founded in 2010 but its true origins can be traced back to 1983 when Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical Islamist cleric, founded Al-Muhajiroun (AM) in the wake of an internal schism of the pan-Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT). Upon Bakri’s expulsion from Saudi Arabia he moved to England in early 1986 where he became the British leader of HT.

He simultaneously fostered Al-Muhajiroun until deciding to officially declare it as an independent organisation in 1996 with British born co-founder Anjem Choudary. Whereas HT only desired to establish the Khilafah (the creation of an Islamic state under sharia law) in Muslim countries, Bakri and Choudary wanted to establish it worldwide by twinning Daw’ah (the call to Islam) and Jihad (struggle).

Anjem ChoudaryAnjem Choudary

Al-Muhajiroun pursued these aims by spreading hate on the streets of Britain and aiding terrorism both domestically and around the world.

Anjem Choudary, raised in a semi-detached house in Welling, Kent, turned from his life as a solicitor to embrace radical Islam. His infamous reputation grew when he came to public attention in 1999 after The Daily Telegraph identified his role in recruiting British Muslims to fight abroad for groups like the International Islamic Front. In 2003 Al-Muhajiroun gained worldwide notoriety when they publicly advertised a conference called “The Magnificent 19” to celebrate the second anniversary of 9/11. In response to international condemnation Choudary said “Those individuals are Muslims, they were carrying out their Islamic responsibility and duty, so in that respect they were magnificent, […].”

The following year, under new anti-terrorism laws, the government proscribed the organisation and it soon disbanded.

Despite the Home Office’s best attempts to stifle Al-Muhajiroun, the organisation has continually re-emerged under different aliases. Ahl ul-Sunnah Wa al-Jamma, Al Ghurabaa and The Saviour Sect all emerged in 2005 as splinter groups, only to be proscribed by then Home Secretary John Reid in 2006. In 2008 Choudary launched Islam4UK, which caused widespread disgust with its attempt to hold a protest in Wootton Bassett (where military funeral repatriations took place) in 2010. The march was subsequently cancelled and days later the organisation was also proscribed.

After Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) was proscribed in 2011, Choudary and his followers immediately established a new group, Izhar Ud-Deen-il-Haq.

While it is easy to dismiss Al-Muhajiroun and its related groups as irrelevant, its actions feed anti-Muslim sentiments in the press and it acts as a conveyor belt for terrorism.


Al-Muhajiroun: Terrorist Links

Several Al-Muhajiroun (AM) activists have been involved in terrorism, with one estimate claiming that 18% of Islamist-related convictions in Britain in the last decade have had links with supporters of the group or one of its successors. They include:

Royal Wootton Bassett bomb plot. Three men were convicted for plotting to bomb Royal Wootton Bassett. Richard Dart (Ealing), Jahangir Alom (Stratford), Imran Mahmood (Northolt) were jailed for between six and nine years. Dart was radicalized by Anjem Choudary and involved in Al-Muhajiroun.

Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Syed Farhan Hussain and Umar Arshad Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Syed Farhan Hussain and Umar Arshad

TA bomb plotters. Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Umar Arshad, Syed Farhan Hussain, all from Luton, were convicted at Woolwich Crown Court for plotting to bomb a TA centre using remote controlled car. They were jailed for between five and eleven years. They were well known in Al-Muhajiroun circles in Luton.

(left to right) Mohammed Chowdhury, Abdul Miah, Gurukanth Desai and Shah Rahman (left to right) Mohammed Chowdhury, Abdul Miah, Gurukanth Desai and Shah Rahman

The London Stock Exchange Bomb Plot Four men (Mohammed Chowdhury, Shah Rahman, Gurukanth Desai and Abdul Miah) pleaded guilty in January 2011 for their part in a plot to blow up a variety of targets including, the London Stock Exchange, two Rabbi’s, the US Embassy and London Mayor Boris Johnson. The group was inspired by the recently killed US-born radical extremist Anwar Al-Awlaki, whose inflammatory lectures are available to download on Al-Ghurabaa’s website (a successor group of Al-Muhajiroun). All four of the men had formal links with Al-Muhajiroun and are known to have attended Islam4UK and Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) demonstrations.

7/7 bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the group behind the 7/7 London underground bombings, which killed 52 people, was linked to Al-Muhajiroun. He also used Al-Muhajiroun safe houses before carrying out the bombing.

The Fertilizer Bomb Plot In 2004 the police foiled a plot by five terrorists to blow up a shopping centre, a night club and the gas network with a huge bomb made of 1,300 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Four of the convicted terrorists had strong links with Al-Muhajiroun. Omar Khyam, leader of the foiled plot, was first introduced to extreme political Islam by Bakri Mohammed. He became involved with Al-Muhajiroun while studying for his A-levels and was reportedly sent by the group to fight in Kashmir in 2000.

Asif Hanif (left) and Omar Sharif (right) holding AK-47 rifles and a Koran. Asif Hanif (left) and Omar Sharif (right) holding AK-47 rifles and a Koran.

Mike’s Place Suicide Bombing In April 2003 three died and 50 were injured when Asif Muhammad Hanif blew himself up in a suicide attack in a bar in Tel Aviv, Israel. A second bomb, strapped to Derby-born Omar Khan Sharif failed to detonate. Just two weeks before leaving for Israel, Omar Khan Sharif was seen on the streets of Derby leafleting for Al-Muhajiroun.

Bilal Mohammed Believed to be Britain’s first suicide bomber, Bilal was responsible for the killing of nine people in Kashmir on Christmas Day 2000. Bakri Mohammed admitted that Al-Muhajiroun was engaged in sending British fighters to Kashmir and proudly announced that Bilal had been one of his recruits.

Amer Mirza Mirza was the first Al-Muhajiroun supporter to be convicted of an Islamist-related terrorism offence. In March 1999 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for petrol-bombing a West London Territorial Army base in protest at the resumed American bombing campaign in Iraq.

National Front

A History

The National Front (NF) was formed in 1967 by fairly obscure organisations on the far-right. They created one of the most notorious and longest running racist racist organisations in the world.

The NF began life as an uncomfortable coalition of the conservative right, old fashioned imperialists and Hitler admirers. After becoming Britain’s fourth largest party by the mid seventies, the election of the right wing Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1979 General Election, saw the NF begin a headfirst dive. Its misfortune took it into a seedy world of factional strife, violent splits and at times, incredible ideological oddities.

John Hutchins Tyndall is the best known of all NF leaders. He led the NF from 1972-1974 and again from 1976-1980, when Martin Webster accompanied him in a double act that made the National Front a household name, synonymous with violence and neo-nazism. The party went into the 1979 General Election with an impressive 303 candidates but gained a disastrous average vote of little over 0.5%. The NF finally split into three warring factions in 1980, eventually leading to Tyndall and his hardline followers forming the rival British National Party (BNP) in 1982.

It is near impossible to accurately put a figure on the number of splits and leaders that the NF has had in over forty five years. Even the party’s own online history is grossly inaccurate. But the NF has provided almost every other tiny far-right organisation in the UK with all of its senior members (past and present,) including the BNP’s current leader Nick Griffin and of course its founder, John Tyndall.

A return to year zero

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the NF came close to complete extinction. But it has proved itself as a survivor and even though it is a shell of the organisation it once was it still attracts a working class membership that embraces a fanaticism for racism, ultra-nationalism and outright nazism.

Such is the nature of its membership and history, the NF is driven simply by the will to survive and to agitate on the perimiters of the law to build a mass movement in preparation for what it sees as the inevitability of a race war.

Since a short lived but startling period of ideological deviations in the mid 1980s under the leadership of Nick Griffin and Patrick Harrington, the NF has actively shunned political modernisation or anything remotely dynamic that could affect or change its dour image. Surviving on a tiny budget provided by a membership of 400, the Equality and Human Rights Commission did not bother to pursue the organisation like it did the BNP over its similar policy of allowing white members only.

A key presence at a number of “unity meetings”, the NF has made little headway in recruiting the ten thousand ex-BNP members and officials who have deserted the BNP. One notable exception is the ageing Richard Edmonds, who last graced the party in 1980. Former chair and current BNP MEP Andrew Brons recently spoke at an NF meeting, but made it quite clear that although he had some emotional attachment to the party, he had very little political respect for the organisation he once led.

Whilst the BNP has been critical of the rise of the English Defence League, the NF has been vehemently critical of what it describes as the EDL’s ‘Zionism’ and of their supposed ‘Anti-racism’. As a result, the NF has been keen to cosy up to the EDL’s close rivals, The ‘Infidels’. Newcastle NF organiser Simon Biggs was quick to use their muscle to intimidate trade unionists in the city, while Liverpool’s Peter Tierney – another former BNP official who recently moved to the NF – has joined up with a variety of neo-nazis, Infidels and some EDL members to run similar campaigns of harassment and intimidation.

Political opportunities and recognition remain incredibly limited for the NF

Political pariahs

Political opportunities and recognition remain incredibly limited for the NF. Although avowedly ‘democratic’, the party puts little faith in the parliamentary process, athough it has remained a legal organisation allowing it to receive regular electoral humiliations. Many of its most senior members in the 1980s and 1990s were driven to violent desperation at the then hopeless outlook for the far-right electorally Britain. Most notably in relation to Northern Ireland, NF members gave very real and active support to those prepared to indulge in terrorism.

The NF stood 40 candidates at the 2012 elections in England, Scotland and Wales, including three candidates for the Greater London Assembly (GLA) elections and a candidate for the Liverpool Mayoral elections. Although the NF’s average vote was under 5%, they did achieve noticeably high votes in former BNP strongholds, in particular Tipton Green in Sandwell (11.5%) and Deputy Chair Kevin Bryan’s very respectable 16% in his home borough of Rossendale.

Both candidates were formerly BNP candidates in these same wards. In February of this year however, the NF managed only three votes in a by-election seven votes less than the number of people who signed the candidate’s nomination papers!


Membership & Activity

The party’s £10 membership fee has not changed in nearly twenty years. The estimated 400 members are encouraged to agitate in local communities by the use of protests, localised leaflets and sales of the bi-monthly newspaper Britain First.

Few of the NF’s branches have ready access to party materials and the party is often seen as a drinking club.

Party areas of activity are limited by its small size but include:

  • Sandwell and Dudley
  • Hull
  • Liverpool
  • Aberdeen
  • Oldham
  • Newcastle & North Tyneside
  • Thurrock

Internal Structures

The Party is led by an Executive Committee drawn from a Directorate, which advises the Chairman and Deputy Chairman. In 2010 both the Chair and Deputy Chair of the party were removed from their posts during a meeting held without their knowledge.


Key Players

(left to right) Ian Edward, Peter Tierney, Chris Jackson, Richard Edmonds and Simon Biggs (left to right) Ian Edward, Peter Tierney, Chris Jackson, Richard Edmonds and Simon Biggs

  • Ian Edward, Chairman. An ex-BNP official from West London. An unspectacular record in the far-right, mainly a figurehead.
  • Kevin Bryan, Deputy Chair. A loud middle aged street thug. Like Edward, a former low level BNP official.
  • Richard Edmonds. One of Britain’s most infamous neo-nazis and Holocaust deniers, he returned to the party in 2011 having previously been the BNP’s second in charge for most of the 80s and nineties.
  • Simon Biggs, Newcastle. Forty-something convicted burglar and race hater originally from south London. He has been in the NF and prison on and off since the 1980s. His rapid rise through the ranks was symptomatic of the NF’s overall decline.
  • Peter Tierney, Liverpool. Also known as Peter Quiggins, he was the official NF mayoral candidate in Liverpool in 2012. Tierney was convicted of ABH in 2009 after attacking an anti-fascist. He became a millionaire when he sold Liverpool’s Quiggins Centre in 2006.
  • Chris Jackson, North West. Ex North West regional organiser for the BNP, Jackson challenged Nick Griffin in a leadership election in 2007. Switching to the NF in 2009, Jackson is now the NF’s NW organiser.
  • Tess Culnane, London. Veteran fascist and former “Nit-Nurse” Culnane has jumped backwards and forwards between the BNP and NF over a number of years. Served as an aide to Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s one time Greater London Assembly member, where she was dubbed a “Nazi Granny” by the media.
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Together

EDL March With Muslims In Ipswich In Memory Of Lee Rigby

 

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It might seem a provocative pairing, but when the English Defence League marched with Islamic party Jimas to pay tribute to Lee Rigby, the protest was peaceful.

Since the Woolwich attack, the far-right group has clashed with anti-fascist organisations in marches organised in response to the killing.

Mosques have also been targeted with anti-Muslim graffiti sprayed on walls, and one place of worship was attacked with petrol bombs.

edl

He said: “We were strongly motivated to match for three reasons. Perhaps first it was to show our respect and offer our condolences to Lee Rigby’s family. We also wanted to support our troops in general and show respect for the job they do.

“The third reason was defiance. We wanted to send a message to the extremists that they are committing crimes against Islam. They are not doing these things in our name.

“Although we don’t support the far right, I don’t like to paint people in general terms. They happened to be there and marching alongside them was about bridge building and preventing other parts of the Muslim community from coming to harm.  By being there and opening up lines of communication we helped avoid a fracas.”

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Ivan Humble, regional co-ordinator for the East Anglia Branch of the EDL, told the Ipswich Star: “This is what we need. We need to be seen working together and talking together.

“If we can work together, that has got to be good.”

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Russell Brand on the Murder of Lee Rigby

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The best comment on the very sad killing of a soldier, Lee Rigby, at Woolwich last week was not from any politician, nor ideologue, nor media commentator, nor was it from a religious leader, but from Russell Brand. It deserves to be publicised widely. It is the antithesis of those who preach hate, whether religious hate, or from other kinds of fundamentalists, or from racists. Here’s what Russell said, please read every wise word: The news cycle moves so quickly now that often we learn of an event through other people’s reaction to it. So it was when I arrived in Los Angeles to find my twitter feed contorted with posts of fear and confusion. I caught up with the sad malice in Woolwich and felt compelled to tweet in casual defence of the Muslim community who were being haphazardly condemned by a few people on my time line. Perhaps a bit glibly (but what isn’t glib in 140 characters) I put “That bloke is a nut. A nut who happens to be Muslim. Blaming Muslims for this is like blaming Hitler’s moustache for the Holocaust”. As an analogy it is imperfect but I was frightened by how negative and incendiary the mood felt and I rushed. I’m not proposing we sit around trying to summons up cute analogies when Lee Rigby has lost his life in horrific circumstances I simply feel that it is important that our reaction is measured. Something about the arbitrary brutality, the humdrum high-street setting, the cool rhetoric of the blood stained murderer evoke a powerful and inherently irrational response. When I first heard the word “beheading” I felt the atavistic grumble that we all feel. This is inhumane, taboo, not a result of passion but of malice, ritualistic. “If this is happening to guiltless men on our streets it could happen to me” I thought. Then I watched the mobile phone clip. In spite of his dispassionate intoning the subject is not rational, of course he’s not rational, he’s just murdered a stranger in the street, he says, because of a book. In my view that man is severely mentally ill and has found a convenient conduit for his insanity, in this case the Quran. In the case of another mentally ill and desperate man, Mark Chapman, it was A Catcher In The Rye. This was the nominated text for his rationalisation of the murder of John Lennon. I’ve read that book and I’ve read some of the Quran and nothing in either of them has compelled me to do violence. Perhaps this is because I lack the other necessary ingredients for extreme anti social behaviour; mental illness and isolation; either economic, social or both. After my Hitler tweet I got involved in a bit of back and forth with a few people who said stuff like “the murderer said himself he did it for Islam”. Although I wouldn’t dismiss what he’s saying entirely I think he forfeited the right to have his views received unthinkingly when he murdered a stranger in the street. Someone else regarding my tweet said “Hitler’s moustache didn’t invent an ideology that sanctions murder”. That is thankfully true but Islam when practiced by normal people is not an advocacy for violence. “People all over the world are killing in the name of Islam” someone added. This is the most tricky bit to understand. What I think is that all over our country, all over our planet there are huge numbers of people who feel alienated and sometimes victimised by the privileged and the powerful, whether that’s rich people, powerful corporations or occupying nations. They feel that their interests are not being represented and, in many cases, know that their friends and families are being murdered by foreign soldiers. I suppose people like that may look to their indigenous theology for validation and to sanctify their, to some degree understandable, feelings of rage. Comparable, I suppose to the way that homophobes feel a prejudicial pang in their tummies then look to the bible to see if there’s anything in there to justify it. There is, a piddling little bit in Leviticus. The main narrative thrust of The Bible though, like most spiritual texts, including the Quran is; be nice to each other because we’re all the same. When some football fans smash up shops and beat each other up that isn’t because of football or football clubs. It’s because loads of white, working class men have been culturally neglected and their powerful tribal instincts end up getting sloshed about in riotous lager carnivals. I love football, I love West Ham, I’ve never been involved in football violence because I don’t feel that it’s my only access to social power. Also I’m not that hard and I’m worried I’d get my head kicked in down the New Den. What the English Defence League and other angry, confused people are doing and advocating now, violence against mosques, Muslims, proliferation of hateful rhetoric is exactly what that poor, sick, murderous man, blood soaked on a peaceful street, was hoping for in his desperate, muddled mind. The extremists on both sides have a shared agenda; cause division, distrust, anger and violence. Both sides have the same intention. We cannot allow them to distort our perception. The establishment too is relatively happy when different groups of desperate people point the finger at each other because it prevents blame being correctly directed at them. Whenever we are looking for the solution to a problem we must identify who has power. By power I mean influence and money. The answer is not for us to move further from one another, crouched in opposing fortresses constructed from vindictive words. We need now to move closer to one another, to understand one another. If we can take anything heartening from this dreadful attack it is of course the actions of the three women, it’s always women, that boldly guarded Lee Rigby’s body as he lay needlessly murdered. These women looked beyond the fear and chaos and desperation and attuned instead to a higher code. One of virtue, integrity and strength. To truly demonstrate defiance in the face of this sad violence, we must be loving and compassionate to one another. Let’s look beyond our superficial and fleeting differences. The murderers want angry patriots to desecrate mosques and perpetuate violence. How futile their actions seem if we instead leave flowers at each other’s because of football or football clubs. It’s because loads of white, working class men have been culturally neglected and their powerful tribal instincts end up getting sloshed about in riotous lager carnivals. I love football, I love West Ham, I’ve never been involved in football violence because I don’t feel that it’s my only access to social power. Also I’m not that hard and I’m worried I’d get my head kicked in down the New Den.

What the English Defence League and other angry, confused people are doing and advocating now, violence against mosques, Muslims, proliferation of hateful rhetoric is exactly what that poor, sick, murderous man, blood soaked on a peaceful street, was hoping for in his desperate, muddled mind.

The extremists on both sides have a shared agenda; cause division, distrust, anger and violence. Both sides have the same intention. We cannot allow them to distort our perception.

The establishment too is relatively happy when different groups of desperate people point the finger at each other because it prevents blame being correctly

Quran, Mus'haf_Al_Tajweed.

Quran, Mus’haf_Al_Tajweed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

directed at them. Whenever we are looking for the solution to a problem we must identify who has power. By power I mean influence and money. The answer is not for us to move further from one another, crouched in opposing fortresses constructed from vindictive words. We need now to move closer to one another, to understand one another. If we can take anything heartening from this dreadful attack it is of course the actions of the three women, it’s always women, that boldly guarded Lee Rigby’s body as he lay needlessly murdered. These women looked beyond the fear and chaos and desperation and attuned instead to a higher code. One of virtue, integrity and strength.

To truly demonstrate defiance in the face of this sad violence, we must be loving and compassionate to one another. Let’s look beyond our superficial and fleeting differences. The murderers want angry patriots to desecrate mosques and perpetuate violence. How futile their actions seem if we instead leave flowers at each other’s places of worship. Let’s reach out in the spirit of love and humanity and connect to one another, perhaps we will then see what is really behind this conflict, this division, this hatred and make that our focus.

Russell Brand
May 25th, 2013

 

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