Well the Dispatches documentary on Mr Tommy and the radical Islamicists was a pretty dull do. The EDL came across as a bunch of pissed hooligans who see political protest in the same way as a soccer match and the radical Islamists were seen as a beardy bunch of funless fuckwits who appeal to about 25 people. Take away the women and kids that seemed to have been there under duress and it is a very small number indeed.
We saw Mr Tommy go out on the razzle the night before the Tower Hamlets fiasco and waking up in the spare room on his own. This was because Mrs Tommy doesn’t like his stupid EDL mates and he was banned from attending the demo and knew he would be jailed for breaking bail conditions – hence the bender. We saw Mr Tommy drunk, clutching a plastic bottle of cheap cider and throwing stuff at plod like a naughty teenager whilst making ‘edgy’ jokes about mass murderer Anders Breivik who admired the EDL. This is a married father of 3 in his mid 30s who is the ‘leader’ of a political group. He was continually surrounded by shouty yobs, very few of them who were seen without alcohol, who came across as a bunch of mouthy no-marks and who even he described as ‘uneducated.’ Oops! Dispatches say it took a year to make, well to be honest, you could have got the footage in a couple of days. There was little new said and much left out. Mr Tommy and Mr Islam are 2 sides of the extremists coin. Really?
Mr Tommy finally admitted that he had been a member of the BNP in 2004 and that he was only in it for a year – like most people to be fair who quickly realise that it is full of weirdoes and fanatics and organisationally rotten. Mind you, it has taken him about 2 years before he finally got round to saying so. He claimed that ‘loads of us’ went to the initial meeting along with ‘loads of black lads’ which is on the far side of believable. When he says ‘loads of black lads’ it means 1 maybe 2, like when he says that the EDL is made up of all races and yet we saw maybe 1 non-white EDL face in the whole programme last night. Mr Tommy, it’s called ‘tokenism.’
When asked about being a violent career criminal Mr Tommy said ‘I’m not a thug’ despite the fact he received a 3 year ban from football, head-butted someone at the Blackburn demo, was arrested for football violence and served a year inside for assaulting an off-duty plod. Sorry, but 3 convictions for violence a thug doth make Mr Tommy: he is ‘not a thug’ in the same way that Nixon was ‘not a crook.’ The Dispatches programme also showed lots of footage of the EDL fighting amongst themselves, with their stewards and plod. As Mr Tommy said ‘no-one has nothing to fear from the EDL.’ Exactly.
Meanwhile Saiful Islam was marching about preaching to the converted on his highly delusional campaign to bring the UK under Shariah promising it will stop drugs, alcoholism and deviant sexual behaviour! Thanks! Well as far as drugs is concerned it ain’t worked in Afghanistan mate! He came across as reasonable though deluded. A more moderate imam stated that he was a phoney with no scholastic credentials or understanding of the Koran. To many others who have seen this kind of stuff before, he looked like a way for the state to monitor radical Islamists.
Just before the programme aired Mr Tommy had a panic attack and claimed that ‘the programme had been edited by the government’ and during the documentary the forum mysteriously disappeared and was replaced by a large DONATE button! The EDL were anticipating millions to join but seeing as they don’t actually have a membership scheme all folk can really do is ‘like’ a Facebook page. He needn’t have panicked because he got off lightly though by no means clearly. He still came across as an Asian hating drunken hooligan.
Not mentioned in Dispatches were the fact that the EDL is riddled with nasty fascists and extremists: there is plenty of documentation out there and the Nazi element were airbrushed out of the picture. Mr Tommy lamely says that he can’t help what people write on Facebook but it doesn’t hide the fact that many fascists and BNP members are affiliated to the EDL. The Dispatches team did not adequately cover the violence against others that the EDL perpetrate such as the attack on Newcastle Irish Centre which saw several EDL members jailed or the 2 EDL members who got about 10 years each for setting fire to a mosque. They did not mention the arrests of people for drugs, drunkeness and violence on the demos or mention the 3 sex offenders that were associated with the EDL. The Dispatches journalists did not call Mr Tommy on the fact that 2 journalists were assaulted in Tower Hamlets, other journalists intimidated and a ‘fatwa’ was issued by the Casuals Jeff ‘Stabber’ Marsh against journalists either. Hope that comes up at the next NUJ branch meeting. However, Dispatches came across slightly better than the shrill Stacey Dooley ‘investigation’ last week which saw her fruitlessly arguing with radical Islamic women about her clothes and shrieking ‘don’t judge me! Don’t judge me!’ in the street like a heavily miffed teenager. If Dispatches and Dooley represent the current state of TV journalism then we’re doomed I tell ye, doooomed!