The EDL are claiming they had thousands in attendance in Bradford but in reality there were about 700 at the start then more coaches turned up at most doubling the numbers. Some EDL sources have said 15 coaches arrived but if this was true and there were 40-50 on each coach that is still only 1,500 and nowhere near the 10,000 pagan dervishes they had been promising would descend on Bradford. There were 1,600 plod which meant that each EDL member had their own personal liaison officer with a few spare for later. The city was a tense place but the ‘race riot’ that many predicted or feared never happened.
What did happen was that plod had built a big play area for the EDL complete with metal detector gates and for some unfathomable reason allowed counter-demonstrators to stand near by. Early on there was a bit of a media huddle around an Asian EDL guy, apparently a Glaswegian called Abdul, who broke out, was swamped by snappers and hauled back to the playground. This will no doubt be used by the EDL as ‘evidence’ that they are multi-racial and not racist (BNP memberships aside) what with him, the mixed race youth feller and the Sikh chap. 3 out of 1,500 still works out as not very representative.
Later, scuffles broke out amongst the EDL which appears to have been some of the more rowdier members attacking the stewards and chucking stuff. There is a serious division in the ranks: the leadership want the stewards to maintain order and liaise with the cops; the more excitable just want to have it with plod and get through to the Asian community, counter-protestors or both. This is causing discipline problems. Despite all the lies and blether about not being Nazis or BNP there are members of fascist groups in attendance who are using the opportunity for their own agendas, i.e., to kick off, as well as an element who just turn up for a laugh – heart-warmingly referred to as ‘chav scrotes’ on the EDL forum.
The cops contained the EDL and there was a large number of riot cops on stand-by in town. According to the EDL forum, plod from Nottingham and Derby were also in attendance. 1 EDL jumped over the 8 foot fence, damaged his leg and lay there for some time in discomfort. Others broke out for a brief bit of exercise but they ended up being escorted back to the pig pen. After an escalation in tension the coaches arrived and plod started loading them on in 10s to take back to Halifax station. After what seemed like a couple of hours they eventually set off. On the way some coaches were bricked. On arrival at Halifax station the EDL had their details taken and were filmed by FIT squads. According to some websites, after the demos had been dispersed, a few EDL roaming in town got battered. Leeds EDL got into a scrap with plod and didn’t even get to the demo.
So what was the result? Well, they made a bit of a media splash reaching to Australia and Kansas but the majority of UK TV coverage was negative. The EDL forum posters complained of bias in the media not realising that a large percentage of people in this country find the idea of provocative, violent, racist street gangs a wee bit unpleasant and that loads of angry white blokes, drunk and chanting, is intimidating to many, whatever their message. So all in all, a bit of a disappointment for the EDL.
The leadership and stewards have no control over the unruly elements. There is an ideological split between those who want to remain legit and those Nazis who want a straight fight. There are the uncontrollable flotsam of local gangs and football crews who just go for the chance of a do now it is no longer possible at footie. And, despite their paper members on Facebook and the grandiose claims for their demos, the EDL simply do not have enough shoe leather on the cobbles and their demos are falling in numbers whilst the Dibble increasingly outnumber them.
ENA? Enough Already!
All of which means that bank holiday Monday’s demo by the English Nationalist Alliance (ENA) in Brighton is not going to be overtly impressive. Many potential supporters will have been to Bradford and not be able to afford to come down although there will be some of the local football ‘firm’ and sundry EDL supporters knocking around. The ENA is interchangeable with the EDL and the ‘leaders’ are capitalising on the EDL’s popularity. The ENA disguise their racism a little bit less than the EDL but utilise similarly provocative tactics. They are clearly going to be faced with serious opposition on the day. In the ENA, like the EDL, status is up for grabs. Many of these characters suffer from low esteem and seek to blame others for the impoverishment of their lives. By organising tiny grupuscules, giving themselves titles, and bleating away on internet forums they believe they are doing ‘something’ and are actually being ‘someone.’ Brighton is apparently getting organised for ‘Son of Little Big One’ which we hope will be even less impressive than Bradford.