You are viewing blog items for June 2010.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 11 June 2010, 18:42
The racist English Defence League has called off its planned protest in Tower Hamlets for Sunday 20 June after the Troxy cancelled a booking for a conference that was due to be addressed by radical Islamic clerics.
It appears that a lot of pressure was put on the Troxy to cancel the booking, particularly by the council. In a statement released last night the EDL announced that as a result of the cancellation they were calling off their own protest.
While this removes the prospect of confrontation and is a victory for common sense it also highlights the complete failure of the authorities to address the growing EDL threat. Over the past few years hundreds of millions of pounds have been ploughed into community cohesion and other such initiatives but then we are told that groups that are deliberately setting out to whip up tension and violence cannot be stopped.
The problem appears to stem from the Public Order Unit at the Home Office, who have taken it upon themselves to act as the champions of free speech in advising successive Ministers that EDL protests should be allowed to happen. Their analysis and advice has been so shallow that one Minister refused to accept one report they prepared on the EDL and another commented "I learn more about the EDL from Searchlight than I do from our own official briefings".
They currently hide behind the legal opinion that static protests cannot be prevented but their real reason is far more ideological and short-sighted. I shall be writing more about this in the July issue of Searchlight.
Posted: 11 Jun 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 9 June 2010, 16:03
The HOPE not hate campaign was the runner-up in the Orange Digital Election Awards for the best non-party political campaign of the recent elections. The awards, presented at the House of Commons yesterday, brought together new media teams from the political parties, journalists and bloggers. My old friend Anthony Painter, who wrote the accompanying report for Orange, outlined how new technology had shaped the elections but, he argued, it could not be described as Britain's first "internet election". Rather, he claimed, old media, in the form of the TV debates, had shaped the elections in a far more fundamental way than new technology.
There was a particularly interesting presentation from Rishi Saha, head of New Media at the Conservative Party. He explained how the Tories had built up an email list of 500,000 and had raised almost £500,000 online. Given that they were the victorious party and their donors are likely to be wealthier than ours, the £88,000 our online appeals raised in the first five months of this year compares quite favourably. If I heard Rishi correctly, the average online donation was £50 as opposed to our average of £16.
I also had an interesting but separate meeting with Maurice Glassman, a London academic who is heavily involved in London Citizens. While the community organising he advocates is different from the local organising we do, there was a shared interest in reconnecting with local communities. Bar Italia in Soho was perhaps a strange (and cramped) location for a meeting about community organising but you certainly can't knock the coffee and the awareness that the Italian football team will soon be defending the World Cup. Italian flags adorned the bar and there are even huge banners across the street.
A couple of my friends flew out to South Africa last night but in the absence of actually being there London is as good a place as any to watch it. The vibrancy and diversity of London will be on full display over the next few weeks but I am scratching my head over North Korea. Will there be a bar/restaurant displaying their national colours, I wonder.
Posted: 9 Jun 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 4 June 2010, 11:17
It is good to see Gary Dobson finally facing some time behind bars. According to today’s Daily Mail, Dobson faces several years in prison for trafficking cannabis worth £350,000.
Dobson was one of the five southeast London men accused by the Daily Mail of killing Stephen Lawrence in Eltham in 1993, a death that sparked a major debate about institutionalised racism in this country. I broke the story that Dobson had a brief relationship with Liz Hunt, an active Nazi and long-time partner of leading Combat 18 member Mark Atkinson.
While the failure to convict Dobson for Stephen’s murder remains a stain on our society this conviction will at least put him behind bars where he belongs.
Posted: 4 Jun 2010 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 1 June 2010, 22:48
I’m over in Brussels today speaking at a debate called ‘Migration, public opinion and politics: rhetoric or reality check?’ which was put on by the Barrow Cadbury Trust as part of the European Foundation week. It was a really fascinating meeting with some great presentations and interesting discussions.
I was particularly interested in some new research about the huge difference between the British public’s view of perceived attitudes amongst British Muslims and the actual attitudes of British Muslims. At a time when the EDL is taking to the streets, cheered on by the right-wing press, to claim that Islam is incompatible with Western values, this research will become really useful in dispelling this myth.
I used the journey over to go through some of the 1,200 people who have let us know their views on the recent HOPE not hate campaign and their suggestions about where we go from here. Several hundred have volunteered to organise HnH locally so an immediate task will be contacting them directly and setting up local meetings.
I’ve been really impressed with many of the suggestions. People have put a lot of thought into their answers and while I won’t have time to contact everyone individually I’ll certainly be taking on board the views expressed.
Posted: 1 Jun 2010 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments