Communities should be given the final say over whether the EDL can march…
Despite strongly opposing ‘no platforming’ of the BNP I tend towards a harder line with regard to the English Defence League. I tend to view a force that can be wiped out and beaten at the polls (while still allowing its supporters to vent and vote) as being different to a travelling circus which seems to have ingrained criminal elements whose sole concern is riot and discontent. It’s hardly surprising there was violence in Leicester today.
The hooligan element is something that the main spokespeople in the EDL seem to positively revel in. Guramit told the Leicester Mercury;
“Most of the main football firms in the country are involved,” he says.
“It’s the only time football hooligans have come together. One Saturday they are kicking the s*** out of one another, the next weekend they are buying one another a drink.
He goes onto refer to the EDL as an ‘army’ and this again marks them out as an essentially a-political organisation of drunken thuggery. I am weary of the left asking the Home Secretary to go around banning marches but then again I think local communities that could potentially be ‘visited’ by the EDL have the right to refuse their presence and if they clearly do not want the EDL around they have every right to ask the police to disperse the EDL.
It seems to me that extensive effort was made by the authorities in this instance and this should be the model for future occurrences of the same problem. Rather than lobbying the Home Secretary, the left should urge consultation of communities be undertaken and they be allowed to decide. Beyond that the left needs to be equipped with arguments to reach out to impoverished communities deprived of resources and targeted by the EDL. This, along with insisting communities be consulted, is a way to empower people and communities to make their own stands that should be at the core of left-wing politics.