Bullock opposes EDL London march

Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock is among the London politicians to have called for a planned march through Tower Hamlets by the English Defence League on September 3rd to be prevented from happening by the police.

In a letter published in the Guardian, they say:

We – representing communities across London – are calling on the acting commissioner of the Met to recognise that the planned march of the English Defence League in Tower Hamlets on 3 September is a drain on resources that London cannot now afford. While we have no doubt that the Met could contain this demonstration, the cost of policing it (up to £500,000 for previous EDL marches) would simply be too great. That's even before the cost of policing the heightened community tension that the EDL aims to leave in its wake.

Liberal Conspiracy criticises the argument that cost should be the determining factor and makes a very persuasive case for the march to be allowed:

First: every time an EDL rally descends into them fighting against the police, they lose supporters and get incredibly bad press. So, let the police deal with it.

Secondly, I don’t think far-right racism and violence should be swept under the carpet. Let’s have it out in the open. Let ordinary people see that racist thugs still do exist in Britain...

The third point is key. Civil liberties aren’t important just as a matter of principle – they ethnic impact minorities a lot. Remember how people forgot about them post 9/11?

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe the EDL are having this march hoping for support, in view of recent activities

Sue said...

I think it's a tough call for the home secretary, but it seems to me that using the cost argument to ban a protest is a slippery slope towards further erosion of civil liberties.

If it does go ahead, maybe residents should just line up along the street with their back to them and ignore them all, that would really annoy them.

kolp said...

Now really isn't the time for this march, assuming you don't want to see society unravel and tear itself apart along racial lines, but free speech, voltaire, civil liberties, yada yada.

Mb said...

I didn't think it was right to pre-arrest the mad professor and his guilotine and puppets during the royal wedding. This is perhaps more provocative, I suspect they WANT it to kick off and would love to claim they were attacked by "ethnics, oh sorry - it not about race I mean "radical islam" supporters. Perhaps I'm doing the cerebral folk of the EDL a deservice, and they simply want to defend....something.

I'm about 51% against a ban, I hope they are ignored but I understand if there is a vocal counter march. The whole thing could get out of hand though.

I'm English, they're not defending me or anything I like about living in London

Sue said...

"free speech, voltaire, civil liberties, yada yada."

@kolp was that in response to my comment or the article on Liberal Conspiracy?! Glad you feel so assured of your rights that you can be so dismissive of hard-fought for and easily lost civil liberties ;)

I'm genuinely in two minds about this, but currently veering marginally towards the 'it shouldn't be banned' stance, like MB. Maybe I'm over-estimating the ability of people in Tower Hamlets to rise above the deliberate provocation/peacefully make clear that the EDL are not welcome, but I hope not. Those living in the local community have a better idea of that.

kolp said...

Sue I was writing in response to Sunny and much repeated responses people come out with when these issues are discussed, I hadn't read your comment when I posted.

But good to see you focus on the real issue of what I wrote.

Anonymous said...

Let us have our xxxxxx demonstration you bunch of hypocrites!!!

Get over it! Not everyone agrees with you. What? You ask the Muslims in Tower Hamlets if we should march? What did you expect them to say?

Go and ask the indigenous community should we be able to march? Ask them privately as well haha.

The English Dogging League said...

The indigenous community? What, the pre-anglo saxon peoples who now mostly exist around Cornwall, Wales and Scotland?

patrick1971 said...

Of course this should be allowed. There's absolutely no question about it. It is quite amazing that people still don't realise how much legitimacy and kudos you give something by banning it.

This letter from mayors is mere posturing to show how "right on" they are.

mb said...

@patrick. Agree in principle but if there was credible evidence that they were planning to kick off or incite others to a ban would be legitimate. I don't think that test has been met here (although they are close to incitement in my view), banning them for being offensive would be wrong and as you say, simply giving them the martyr status [somewhat ironically] they would feed on.

On the same basis, pre-emptivley locking up the mad professor for an off colour prank and releasing him (he's not since been charged, surprise) was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Bullock should concentrate on running Lewisham.

Anonymous said...

How much will notting hill cost this weekend?

Not Oswald Mosley said...

A million people will attend Notting hill and have fun. Worth the money. A few hundred will attend the EDL march and spout guttural chants. They're not comparable, try again. This time with some kind of point.

Anonymous said...

Although I don't like the idea of the EDL stirring up trouble, I think that there's a double standard operating here.

I haven't seen any radical Islamists being banned from marching around London. In fact I have a vivid recollection of one particularly unpleasant group who were protected by the police from heckling as they marched through central London with banners bearing messages of hatred towards the wider community.

Consequently, there doesn't seem to be a huge justification for banning this march. (Imagine the furore if anybody dared to protest against a religious/ left wing/ ethnic minority group wishing to march!)

Anonymous said...

The crazy professor was locked up BEFORE he did his thing during the royal wedding. Yes, it does happen and it's a difficult balance between freedom of speech and deliberate incitement to violence. The EDL are right on that line, they claim to be "defending" someone from the threat of an apparent risk of islamification. I see them as a bunch of aggressive, ignorant, angry young men looking for an excuse for a fight. People get worked up for allegiance to a football team, postcode, bin colour, religion, colour or any other superficial category. On balance I don't think they should be banned but it's a close call, they are not a high minded political movement. They are a group full of simmering hate.

Erm.... G'night.

Paolo said...

To ban a march like this, whether its the EDL or some other equally repulsive lot is simply counter-productive

It plays right into the hands of the people beind it and gives their supporters a sense that their grievances are justified

The fact that we allow marches like this to happen is a plus point for this country not a negative one

BTW - EDL marches tend to be non-violent as they realise any violence just reinforces the opinion most people already have about them. I wish the same could be said about other protestors...

http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/student-protesters-can-behave-if-they-want-to/

Anonymous said...

Some student protestors were looking to kick off, no doubt some EDL suporters are too. As a proportion of each, I'd say that the EDL are popultated by more violent knobbers.

Paolo said...

Well anon, you may be right and my personal belief is that their ranks might have been swollen by the football hooligans who have nowhere else to go

However, until the EDL are responsible for trashing a large part of central london and injuring a number of police officers, it would seem apparent that the proportion of "violent knobbers" was much higher amongst the student protestors than the EDL

Anonymous said...

sorry, don't agree. how many EDL supporeter mass? a few hundred in one place? how many education supporters massed? several 10's thousand in several places. I abohr the violence but protesting against education cuts (whether or not you agree with the laternative) and 'demonstrating' based on racist or religious intolerance are two very different things. I've never felt intimidated walking around a university, I'd fee lindimidated entering a pub full of EDL supporters. Violence and intolerance is in the DNA of the organisation, look at the criminal and political past of their leadership.

Paolo said...

I think you are missing the point somewhat here Anon.

The debate is over whether they should be allowed to march, not whether they are a bunch of morons or whether you would feel intimidated by them (neither of which are good reasons for banning their march by the way)

My main point was that banning things like this is not a great idea as it plays to the persecution complex that organisations like the EDL seem to thrive on.

My sub-point was that one of the reasons given for banning the march was the threat of violence. However, as I pointed out, the EDL marches are generally non-violent (irrespective of their leaders' or followers' backgrounds) because any violence would be counter-productive to their cause - something that the student protestors badly failed to comprehend

Anonymous said...

I think you over estimate the resonableness of the EDL. I doubt the ofiicial organisers of the student demos were happy with the violence by a few hangers on. The EDL, the 'Defence' league march in the hope that it provokes violence, they seem to think a war is comming and they are the people who will defend all good english men.

But we esentially agree. They are a nasty bunch who are looking to create divisions where divisions don't exist and are best ignored.

name said...

It's seems to be a march designed to intimidate & provoke trouble, not some specific policy or principle. If the concern is the "Islamificaton of UK" march on Westminster that's where the power lies to ban burkhas and the like. Why go to Tower Hamlets, where a lot the residents who've just witnessed the riots really would just like some peace on the streets.

And more dangerously that guy who killed 80 people in Norway claims links to the EDL, facebook friends with up to 150. What is that about? Those connections need to be thoroughly investigated before i'll give the benefit of the doubt to the EDL.

Paolo said...

I don't think the EDL deserve the benefit of the doubt - links to the Norweigan fella or not.

However, trying to ban groups like this just gives more power to their agenda. By far the best way to combat them is to bring them out into the light and demonstrate the idiocies of their beliefs.

Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time did more to demonstrate the BNP's cretinous opinions that any amount of banning would have done

Anon, i think you give the students rather too much credit given the violence was perpetrated by far more than a few "hangers-on" and that the Students Union actively marketed it as "Demo-lition"

However, that's beside the point. If you read in the comments on the link I posted, at the Luton march, anyone who tried to cause trouble was immediately handed over to the police by the EDL themselves.

Yes, its provocative, marching in Tower Hamlets (although I would guess quite a few of their supporters will be from there or close by) but i would be very suprised if any violence came from the EDL. Whoever is behind them has the PR naus to realise it would be a disaster if they did kick off

name said...

With some relief the March has been banned for at least the next 30 days.

Home sec, Theresa May in Guardian is quoted as saying:

"Having carefully considered the legal tests in the Public Order Act and balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, I have given my consent to a ban on all marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs for a 30-day period."


"Legitimate protest is healthy. Violence and intimidation are not."

Anonymous said...

Well said Mayor Bullock. It seems the Green Party thinks fascists from god knows where, have an inalienable right to come to Lewisham and intimidate local people. Woolly and predictable, so glad I didn't vote for them.

A-non said...

To the last anon, I think you'll find that all the parties have differences in their ranks about whether or not the march should have gone ahead. Green, labour and conservative. It was a judgement about whether they it was a genuine demo or an incitement to violence. It cuts across party lines.

GOD said...

THE EDL ARE PROTESTING AT EXTREMIST ISLAM AND SHARIA LAW BEING SET UP IN ENGLAND AND THE U WITHOUT THE PEOPLES CONSENT..
THIS IS IN VIOLATION OF OUR COUNTRIES MAGNA CARTA AND THE ENGLISH AND THE UK HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO HIGHLIGHT THIS WITHOUT RIDICULE.. THIS IS THE PEOPLE SPEAKING UP FOR THEM SELVES, AND AT LONG LAST TO..
WE NEVER EVER AGREED TO ISLAM SETTING UP IN OUR COUNTRY, BUT AS WEVE ALWAYS HAVE DONE WITH MOST CULTURES, WE TOLERATED IT.. BUT THIS TIME THEY HAVE GONE TOO FAR... CALL EDL WHAT YOU LIKE, AS ITS NOT ENTIRELY TRUE WHATS SAID ABOUT THEM.. BUT THE TRUTH IS, WE ARE PRESERVING EVERY FREEDOM LOVING BRITISH PERSONS WAY OF LIFE, AND HIGHLIGHTING THE TYRANNY OF EXTREMIST ISLAM AND ITS SHARIA LAW THAT CONDONES THE STONING TO DEATH OF WOMEN, THIS IS WHAT THEY DO.. THEY ARE SICK IN THE HEAD.. AND ALL FOR AN INVISIBLE GOD..
WELL NOT IN OUR COUNTRY, NOT EVER.. WEVE COME A LONG WAY FROM THE BARBARIC DAYS OF OLD, AND WE SURE AINT GOING BACK THERE, NOT FOR NO ONES GOD, NOT NOW NOT EVER.. WE LIVE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS, NOT THE OPPRESSORS.

Not Nadine Dorries said...

Erm....thanks for the heads up. That was explains clearly and not at all with a hint of hysteria and barking insanity. Luckily we don't have MPs who allow the "invisible gods" from ancient middle eastern religions to guide them, that would be silly.

max said...

What a pile of crap.

You're a bunch of desperate losers that unable to face to your own inadequacy need someone to feel superior to.

Get a life.

Anonymous said...

@Not Nadine Dorries.
"Luckily we don't have MPs who allow the "invisible gods" from ancient middle eastern religions to guide them"

I hope that was ironic.

Tony Blair converted from being a devout Protestant to a devout Catholic, has set up a Faith Foundation and memorably tried to defend faith in a debate with Christopher Hitchens last year. Totally barking.

David Cameron has said that his politics are not faith-driven (thank goodness) but none the less believes in the protestant god and goes to church.

Nick Clegg said he was an atheist but, in the last election, said that Christian values were central to his policies (his wife is a Roman Catholic).

OK so we have a few who have said publically that they are atheists, but, even including closet atheists and those that believe in non-middle-eastern religions, are there enough of them?

REALLY Not Nadine Dorries said...

Yes....obviously I was being ironic. Those who criticise Islam often forget that Christianity, Judaism and Islam share the same root. They are all from the same region, share a history, share prophets and proclaim to be the true believers is the God dreamt up in the middle east.

Look up Nadine Dorries, she's says she's defending women but is actually imposing her chritianity on the rest of us.

At least we don't live in America, you'd never be a credible presidential candidate unless you are or pretend to believe in the supernatural. It's about the only thing ed milliband is to be admired for, being a card carrying atheist.

As an aside, I suspect that most EDL actually have more in common with militant believers than the rest of the population. Now THAT'S ironic

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