The two things that plod hate most are political demonstrations and football crowds and today in Brighton they got both. March for England held a Saint George’s day demo – which they claimed was neither a parade nor a protest – and gathered a toothless retinue of football hooligans who put a crimp in a few people’s weekend. The cops responded in a heavy handed manner and despite outnumbering the March for Little Englanders by 2:1were visibly nervous. Your correspondent got questioned, frisked and shoved by a cop accusing us of throwing stuff at the MfE in the space of 20 minutes. The cops were hot and bothered, sweating beneath their riot helmets and 3 layers of uniform and with the abuse from the MfE – ‘Harry Roberts is our friend’ – it all added up to a frustrating bank holiday weekend for them, overtime notwithstanding. Shame. Plod was being very careful about arresting any of the MfE knowing how volatile they can be when denied beer and toilets. The MfE were optimistically hoping to mobilise similar numbers to the English Defence League demos but they were very disappointed: they got about 100 from a rough head count. They also seemed to be joined by the EDLs Weightwatchers Division.
Before the march, the MfE claimed 2 things that they subsequently forgot on the day: they said that it was to be a St. George march and not ‘political’ but ended up chanting ‘no surrender to the Taliban’? Not being local to Brighton we can safely assume that there are very few Taliban knocking around Kemp Town. They also said that this was nothing to do with the English Defence League but then, on the way back to the train station, they unfurled EDL flags. Oops! There is a photo of someone holding an Essex Infidels flag which has been seen on EDL demos before. On their website they had asked people not to display any EDL insignia. The MfE demo had known EDL members on it and the majority were not local. There were people from Essex, Eastbourne and Portsmouth thus proving that Brighton EDL is very weak indeed and that signing up to a Facebook page does not translate into shoe leather on the cobbles. Any half pissed moron can do that. Local numbers have had to be supplemented from other ‘divisions’ from afar. The cops had expected more and had drafted in bobbies from around the south east. They held a thin blue line between the MfE and the counter-protestors who hadn’t been kettled in. The counter-protest gathered at the train station and was contained by plod whilst other anarchists and anti-fascists kept well out of the cordon.
The march was all-white and obese, fat bellies wobbling in the sunshine and many ‘had strong drink taken.’ They sang the usual garbage about ‘English Til I Die’ (hurry up, please!), ‘You’re not English anymore’ and ‘No surrender to the Taliban’ to the general bemusement of Brightonians. They will of course see this as a great victory having ‘taken liberties’ in Brighton but, as with the EDL, they achieve nothing apart from annoying people. They had to ask permission to march and were heavily surrounded by plod, they were then marched to their meeting point and marched back again. All the publicity they have received is negative and they come across as unwanted irritants and outsiders on an otherwise pleasant bank holiday weekend. There have been other Saint George’s day marches in Brighton that featured war veterans. With the MfE hijacking the demo, the veterans wisely stayed away. The MfE were also supposed to end up in the King and Queen boozer but they had closed for the duration.
The March for England were very wary of being seen as EDL and had stated that the EDL, BNP etc were barred. But they showed anyway. There have been some interesting schisms in these nationalist grupuscules of late in case you don’t know. At the EDL’s Blackburn demo recently leader Steven Caxley-Trousers outed one of his online critics which led to a rather amusing brawl between the varying factions and stewards. This caused a rift in the north and 2 splinter groups – the North West and North East Infidels – were created. Also, the English Nationalist Alliance has been proscribed by the EDL after ENA head cheese Billy ‘Bunter’ Baker appeared on TV claiming to speak for the EDL. This annoyed Caxley-Trousers and ‘Cocaine’ Kev Carol who booted big Billy out. The March for England, although having a membership overlap with the BNP, EDL, ENA etc, try to distance themselves from such behaviour and the leadership remain relatively anonymous. However, the leaders of these various grupuscules have realised that there be money to make here. On their little websites, alongside some appalling ‘poetry,’ there is always a section entitled ‘Merchandise’ from which they sell a variety of nationalist tat. Caxley-Trousers clearly made a mint out of flogging his funny little burkahs and hoodies and there have been questions asked over where the proceeds have gone. There were also accusations of financial mismanagement from various quarters. Richard Price was a former EDL ‘leader’ who was arrested last year. Caxley and Cocaine Kev started raising money for this ‘political prisoner’ until it was revealed that Pricey had in fact been nicked for downloading child pornography – as well as cocaine and crack possession. Some of the disenfranchised EDL members are now asking what happened to the defence fund. There is a website set up by former EDL leader Paul Ray, a bizarre racist Christian who is bitter over being toed out of the EDL. His blog is full of ravings ‘exposing’ Cocaine Kev and Caxley Trousers over their dodgy doings – some of which is pretty believable. Caxley-Trousers is also facing charges of fraud which can’t help his case. Like with Nick Griffclops of the BNP the money may be the undoing of the EDL leadership: they just can’t keep their hands off the cash can they?
So although the far right are getting increasingly cocky with their flash demos there are too many schisms amongst them to form any coherent political block. And that is not including the usual football rivalries. The money and ego-trips are too tempting and the ‘leaders’ love showing off in the pub to their mates. These ‘English’ defenders and marchers also represent a minority of what many of us see as Englishness, i.e., tolerance, plurality and peace, cause local bother and have achieved very little politically beyond a good day out for ageing hooligans trying to relive their former ‘glory.’