There is a modern proverb:
Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
The English Defence League went to Walsall on 15 August to criticise the ideas of Islam including sharia law, jihad, Muslim self-arrogated superiority and Islamo-fascism, and to condemn the expression of those ideas in the events of Muslim grooming gangs, Islamic terrorism, mosque expansion, female genital mutilation, contempt for British values and uncontrolled immigration into the UK. We haven’t invented these ideas and events. We join the dots and ask our fellow-citizens to take them as seriously as the Islamists do – and as we do, in response.
We didn’t criticise individual people, although we expressed firm and clear opinions on behaviour by classes of people – politicians, criminals, negligent or suborned officials and groups within Britain’s Muslim community.
Our Walsall demonstration (our ‘demo’ as we like to call it) took the usual form: a mustering and get-together at a venue where our march would begin, our march with flags, banners and placards through the streets, our gathering to learn from, encourage and applaud speeches to our supporters and the people of Walsall.
Little did we know we had been infiltrated by an undercover team
The reports were published after their “team of undercover reporters … mingled with demonstrators”. We were described as “ugly people”, who “proudly displayed their tattoo-covered flesh” and wore “toothless smiles”. The undercover reporters even documented the designer labels we wore. Pathetic.
English Defence League demos are not closed. Anyone can attend. Going undercover at and EDL demo is about as clever and brave as going undercover at a Man United match. Risible, Walter Mitty stuff.
The Express and Star reports: downhill all the way
The Express and Star is known locally as the “Guess and Stir”. Probably for not unrelated reasons its circulation has more than halved over the last decade.
The newspaper has a proud tradition, but it appears to have ditched its honourable past to join the tabloid race to the bottom. The Express and Star might have had some credibility if it had critqued our Walsall demo in terms of its serious purpose. Did the undercover team find our arguments unassailable and so resorted to an agenda they invented for themselves: criticising our appearance?
We in the EDL don’t claim to be pretty, so calling us “ugly” and “toothless” washes right over us. What does upset us is when journalists, presumably graduates on middle-class salaries, deliberately make gossip-level observations and niggling personal jibes to duck the issues we raise. What were these issues in Walsall?
The issues we raised at Walsall
Here are a few messages from our video of the demo:
No place in Walsall,
No place in England
& racist child abusers (at 0 minutes 7 seconds)
Islam: a warning from history
EDL a question of time (at 0:27)
We’ll demonstrate till:
• Muslims stop abuse
• Police investigate
• Muslim communities stop covering up (at 0:38)
That’s what it is when
Muslim men abuse
The next generation
Of English mothers (at 0:44)
No more mosques (at 0:56)
600 new victims of FGM in West Midlands in 7 months
• 600 crimes!
• 600 prosecutions? (at 2:12)
West Midlands Police hid Muslim abuse gang report
– to sacrifice our girls for “community cohesion” (at 2:30)
Rochdale, Rotherham, Oldham, Derby, Bradford, Leeds, Newcastle, Dewsbury
Put an end to the grooming epidemic (at 4:08)
Even “We Are Walsall” agree 100% with the English Defence League:
Keep Muslim grooming out of Walsall (at 4:38)
Our slogans raise ideas and issues
We don’t claim that these are well-argued policy positions. That is not their purpose. We do our best to raise the issues – the ideas and events – to get them considered and discussed across British society. We avoid focusing on individual people. As the Express and Star chose to criticise us on their terms – at the “small minds discuss people” level – is it any wonder that our leaders on the day refused to be interviewed by Express and Star journalists? As well as that, our demo organisers had their hands full with demo logistics.
That’s why we had a member wearing a hi-vis sign “EDL MEDIA” at the mustering point, on the march and at the speeches. The Express and Star did not approach him. And that’s why we sent out a media briefing two days before the march with a contact e-mail. The Express and Star reported on the briefing but they chose not to respond to the contact address before or after the demo. That’s their choice: it’s our demo and we set the rules. We won’t be distracted by arrogant media expecting us to conduct our event to suit them.
It would descend to the gossipy level of the Express and Star to deal with the many minor weaknesses and misrepresentations in their articles. Let’s just say that by their focus on people at the informal mustering point, and their ignoring of the ideas in the speeches, the Express and Star pretty much condemn themselves. They miss the point. Simple as that. But millions of British people don’t miss the point. And they are grateful to us for making it on their behalf.
Next stops for the English Defence League:
Dover on 5 September: https://www.facebook.com/events/429490307235547/
Colchester on 26 September: https://www.facebook.com/events/1454622371525695/
Aylesbury on 17 October: https://www.facebook.com/events/1649747015245397/