EDL to cash in on BNP incompetence ?

Matthew Collins - 30 05 13
Leader again: Stephen Lennon

Leader again: Stephen Lennon

A week on from the terrible events in Woolwich and the far-right continues to try and make gains from tragedy.

The EDL’s leadership of Stephen Lennon and Kevin Carroll had tried only a week before Woolwich at one last attempt to lift the organisation with a disgusting fabrication about a child being raped on school premises in Luton. Few of their declining number took the bait.

Before last Wednesday, the English Defence League (EDL) was limping around the country, a shadow of its former self. Tiny and squalid, it was a ship without a rudder, sinking further into Nazism and self-radicalisation. Cash from the troops below had stopped flowing up to the leadership and was instead being poured into a bottomless pit of brewer’s droop and shoddy self- merchandising.

For most of 2013 the EDL’s leadership has either been bailed or imprisoned away from their troops. Their absence did not make the heart grow any fonder. Lennon preferred to go caravanning than going to demonstrations and Carroll meekly claimed his bail conditions prohibited his attendance at EDL demonstrations and rallies

Back in April, the leadership did move to disable the EDL splinter group, the English Volunteer Force (EVF). They also belatedly took back control of the EDL’s social networking sites and ‘expelled’ those who had kept them running in their absence.

The other EDL splinter groups have found homes on the fringes of the more traditional far-right. The South East Alliance (SEA), led by former members of Essex EDL, has teamed up with both the English Democrats, Britain First and the British National Party (BNP), but only when it has suited their own agenda. Although a noisy demonstration in Woolwich last Sunday was accredited to the EDL, it was actually the SEA on the ground-though they had very little actual sway over the events that took place there.

How immediately the far-right responded to Woolwich is also telling. Like in the EDL, all has not been well in the BNP of late. Despite trading well reported on-line blows with the EDL’s leadership after the EDL’s failure to march in Walthamstow last year, BNP leader Nick Griffin has been “incredibly dismayed” with the inability of the party to recruit disillusioned EDL members. At a hastily convened meeting in Stoke, he even told his most trusted lieutenants that in the event of a total EDL collapse, it must be the BNP that fills the street protest void. The possibility of an outrage like what happened in Woolwich was even given as an example of why the BNP had to make this a priority.

Few of those in actual positions within the BNP to make this happen have bothered to do so. Attempts to convince the SEA to “merge” with the BNP, failed at the first hurdle, months ago.

We have written plenty about the ongoing troubles at BNP head office. They can hardly organise an election campaign, let alone a candidate these days. The party’s national organiser rarely leaves his home since his driving ban and instead writes articles on the party website sniping at his detractors in the withering regions. Demoralisation during the recent county council elections was still only a minor factor in the BNP’s poor showing. The party simply does not have enough activists on the ground in the key areas where the BNP sees possibilities for its desired “civil war” and the money it wants to collect off the back of it. For a party awash with inexperience, that the BNP only rediscovered social media in a blaze of glory earlier this month shows how little it is in touch with the ground.

When news broke of Woolwich, both the EDL and the BNP sprung into action. For the BNP, a financial appeal was sent out to its members while Griffin booked himself and his security team on planes and trains to southLondon. On the actual night, Stephen Lennon managed to consume enough alcohol to find the bravado to stand with a hundred or so other balaclava-clad fascists pelting the police with bottles on the ground in Woolwich.

Police across the country were already in the process of rounding up EDL supporters and activists forcing many EDL divisions to close their personal facebook pages, while at least one BNP member was also arrested for off line activities.

A BNP ring around of its London activists found few of them actually willing to go to Woolwich immediately, particularly at night. South London BNP members were particularly reticent. Griffin finally arrived in Woolwich on the Friday and with little new to offer, announced that the BNP would be marching there a week later. The march was to be thrown open to “all patriots”, a direct appeal to the EDL, NF, SEA and the Infidels. The next day in St Helens, he reiterated the same message, that the march would be open to everybody.

Both the EDL and the BNP have experienced huge increases in their on line support. Off line, some old life has returned to both organisations. Outside of Londonthe BNP has five minibuses confirmed for the trip to London and approximately 100 members and supporters prepared to march in Woolwich this Saturday. However,London activists have begun to panic that there is still no large scale campaign either for or against the march. The party demanded a “national day of action” for last Saturday, but it appears that only in Dorset was the party capable of mounting any kind of campaign with leaflets downloadable from the BNP’s website. The party has not revealed where in Dorset the day of action took place, but a Mosque was attacked in Poole the same day.

The EDL managed to put an estimated 2500 people onto the streets in both Newcastle and London over the long weekend. Lennon had absolutely no inkling to go to Newcastle previously, tweeting that his bail conditions would prohibit it. A number of EDL activists were quite prepared to throw the towel in if he did not make the effort.

A buoyant Carroll and Lennon were at both demonstrations. There was no attempt by the police at either demonstration to arrest either of the pair for their alleged breaches of bail. Putting their heads together, Lennon and Carroll decided to deal Griffin’s BNP a body blow.

Griffin has been trying to make himself available all week to the BBC in particular, in anticipation of a complaint followed by a financial appeal that his Woolwich march will be banned. As of yet, there is no campaign to ban his proposed 6 (six!) mile march.

While his members in the north are being told that there will be thousands of people on the march, his London activists are of a very different opinion.

Lennon and Carroll decided after Monday’s EDL demonstration in London that it would be better to rebuild the EDL rather than fuel Griffin’s ego and march through south London behind him.

For the last three days, rejuvenated EDL groups across the country have begun announcing local activities from wreath laying to patriotic drinking sessions. The EDL has even issued a warning that EDL activists should avoid being drunk before the pubs actually open, an extraordinary admission of the problems of squalor that their organisation ritually inflict upon members of the public.

For the BNP; their website, their emails and text messages are becoming more and more desperate to get members and supporters to Woolwich for Saturday, to a march they are beginning to actually believe and hope will not go ahead.

The reality is that most of those that the BNP’s march is aimed at will be at war memorials somewhere else, drunk, with the EDL.

Carroll: Rape liar

Carroll: Rape liar


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