Even though what I am about to say is only indirectly related to the BBC, the presupposition is that the BBC is largely responsible for the politically correct constraints that stunt our thinking. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Melanie Phillips has written about Theresa May’s ill-advised decision to ban Geller and Spencer. It seems the government has caved in to pressure from the likes of Tony Lloyd and Nick Lowles, two of the most disreputable individuals ever to have influenced a Home Secretary.
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Melanie Phillips explains what a bad move this is, and I agree with her, but with one reservation. She says:
“I do not support the approach taken by either Geller or Spencer to the problem of Islamic extremism. Both have endorsed groups such as the EDL and others which at best do not deal with the thuggish elements in their ranks and at worst are truly racist or xenophobic.”
Many people think Geller is generally out of order and a loose cannon, and perhaps a slightly fewer number think Spencer goes too far, and in the process of denouncing him deliberately spin and re-interpret selected quotes of his, to strengthen their case and justify Theresa May’s ban. That is another matter.
Excluding the hard left who have adopted a bizarre political alliance with Islam and think banning Geller and Spencer the right thing to do even though they don’t encourage banning violent Jihadis, people who think the ban is ridiculous and who denounce radical Islam (or criticise Islam itself) yet religiously distance themselves from the EDL because of ‘thuggishness’, reveal their own ignorance of a particular type of “white working class”. This is where I take issue. Melanie says Geller and Spencer’s “endorsement” of the EDL wields a serious blow to both writers’ credibility, which has:
“split the defence against Islamic extremism, and handed a potent propaganda weapon to those who seek falsely to portray as bigoted extremists all who are engaged in the defence of the west against the Islamic jihad.”
It could be argued that her outright dismissal of Tommy Robinson and the EDL also “splits the defence against Islamic extremism etc etc.”
Despite the similarity between his arguments and their own, people who refuse to entertain the validity of Tommy Robinson’s position because he hasn’t succeeded in reining in his followers seem hypocritical. Particularly when that view comes from those of the left whose entire political views revolve around establishing equality for the working class.
They expect, nay demand, that poorly educated, relatively inarticulate so-called yobbos whose 'lifestyle choices' are blighted by inferior schooling and lack of opportunities - the very deprivations the political left specifically decry - behave like middle class liberals, forming an orderly queue and singing Kumbya. It’s as though they’re blaming them for what, in the next breath, they say is unfair. Condemned for being what they are, merely because of 'social immobility', lack of opportunity, bog standard education, etcetera.
In fact they’re highlighting their own insularity. Some members of the EDL do have tattoos and shaved heads. They can be crude, rude and boisterous. Some of them have been to prison. But that doesn’t alter the fact that they don’t like the change that has befallen towns like Luton and feel, understandably that the character of their hometown has been stolen from under their noses. They don’t see why they should tolerate the unfamiliarity, uncertainty and insecurity they foresee as the UK’s future, or be arrested for making a stand by cheekily walking through was has apparently been demarcated a “Muslim area” - “In our own country!”
The EDL are guilty of actively demonstrating as an expression of their frustration, unlike their passive detractors or counterparts like me who can only moan and blog.
They have taken the initiative and are doing something, therefore they deserve to be listened to rather than denounced by those who likewise bemoan the government’s capitulation, who argue nicely and politely against all institutional kowtowing to Islam, who also see the change that has befallen towns like Luton and cities like London and fear the unfamiliarity, uncertainty and insecurity that awaits us, but who nevertheless determinedly and yobbo-phobically distance themselves from the EDL.
There are also yobbo-phobes amongst politicians and the BBC/Guardian axis who, for the sake of social cohesion, insist that most Muslims are moderate and harmless.
For the sake of social cohesion they might also assert that violence, sexual grooming, misogyny and homophobia are a distortion of Islam, they might tolerate antisemitism because they believe it is understandable, they might overlook intolerance, rudeness and exploitative sexual practices from Muslims lest they offend any of them. This group objects only to what it calls “radical” Islam, and it insists that its opposition to the EDL is based on the inaccurate and disingenuous declaration that they “hate all Muslims”.
So the EDL and Tommy R are rejected and vilified as racists by people from all sides; defenders of free speech, opponents of the Islamization of the UK, deniers of the Islamization of the UK, people who support violence if it’s needed to defend, for example, Israel and people who oppose violence especially if it’s needed to defend Israel.
Certainly there are truly racist and xenophobic elements everywhere, but not necessarily exclusively confined to the the ranks of the EDL.