By Dr Phil Edwards-It’s always been a mystery to me why the peaceful activities of the BNP are routinely vilified by the media yet there’s never a mention of the violent confrontational methods used by anti BNP groups like Unite Against Fascism (UAF).
I remember at the last Red, White and Blue Festival back in August 2009, in the fields of Derbyshire, the sheer hatred, noise and physical violence from anti BNP demonstrators, faced by our members as they tried to access the site.
One person who attended was Times reporter Fiona Hamilton who, having had the same trouble to get on site as the rest of us, couldn’t have failed to notice UAF’s tactics.
As National Press Officer at the time, I spoke to Miss Hamilton, saying something along the lines “If I came to London, stood mob handed outside your Times office, shouted abuse at you and tried to prevent your entry, you would – quite rightly – accuse me of violence and antisocial behaviour in any subsequent article, so will you mention the UAF activity here, in your forthcoming report?”
Naturally, no such mention appeared, although the story reinforced the negative image of the Party, as per usual.
But now, there’s a welcome change in the air – Andrew Gilligan writing in the Sunday Telegraph (June 16) under the headline “Anti-Fascists Fuel the Fire of Hate”, claims that “The self-appointed opponents of bigotry can be as ugly as the racist groups they oppose”!
Well, fancy that!
The piece centres round Tony Brett, a Liberal Democrat councillor in Oxford and the city’s deputy lord mayor, who found what he called a “disgraceful rabble” of people climbing on the city’s main war memorial — squashing, he said, the flowers that mourners had placed there, then trying to remove half of them altogether and “jeering” other visitors as they paid their respects.
That day, the memorial was supposed to be the scene of a wreath-laying by the English Defence League, but none of the people laying flowers and being jeered bore any kind of EDL insignia and none of the wreaths had any kind of card or message from the group.
Neither Mr Brett, nor a local newspaper reporter on the scene, saw any sign of any EDL presence.
All the aggro, Mr Brett said — he called it the “hate” — came from the self-appointed opponents of bigotry, Unite Against Fascism.
UAF’s response was to start an online petition saying that merely by criticising them Mr Brett had proved himself an EDL patsy, “not a fit representative for Oxford’s wonderful and multi-ethnic community”, and must resign immediately.
“It seemed to me they were doing exactly the kind of thing they were supposed to be protesting against,” said Mr Brett.
According to Andrew Gilligan:
“UAF, 10 years old this year, is one of Britain’s most prominent anti-fascist organisations. It has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the biggest trade unions, and support from dozens of mainstream politicians.
Its vice-chairmen include Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, and Hugh Lanning, the deputy general secretary of the PCS civil service union”.
“Even David Cameron, when a backbench MP, signed its founding statement. It has avoided substantial scrutiny because, as in the case of Mr Brett, anyone who criticises it risks being smeared as an ally of the groups it opposes”, adding “Unfortunately, UAF’s counter-demonstrations often seem to cause as much, if not more, trouble than those by the EDL and BNP”.
Since the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby last month, 69 “anti-fascists”, at least 58 of them UAF, have been arrested during BNP, EDL and UAF demonstrations.
A BNP supporter was attacked by some UAF demonstrators, suffering cuts to his face.
In 2010 UAF’s then national officer, Martin Smith, was given a 12-month community order after being convicted of assaulting a police officer on a demonstration, insisting his conviction was an “outrageous attack on the right to protest against fascists”.
A senior UAF official has recently been accused of rape and sexual assault by two women from the Socialist Workers’ Party (hasn’t he suffered enough?).
Homosexual activist Peter Tatchell has accused UAF of a selective approach, saying “UAF opposes the BNP and EDL but it is silent about Islamist fascists who promote anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism and sectarian attacks on non-extremist Muslims….It is time the UAF campaigned against the Islamist far Right as well as against the EDL and BNP far Right.”
One reason why UAF will not campaign against Islamist extremists is that one of its own vice-chairmen, Azad Ali, is one, community affairs coordinator of the Islamic Forum of Europe, a Muslim supremacist group dedicated to changing “the very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed from ignorance to Islam”.
Mr Ali “loves” Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda cleric closely linked to many terrorist plots, including the September 11 attacks, and used to attend talks by Abu Qatada, the extremist cleric whom Britain is seeking to deport.
He has described al-Qaeda as a “myth” and also advocated the killing of British troops in Iraq. He sued a newspaper for reporting that he had said this, and lost.
One of the alleged killers of Drummer Rigby, Michael Adebolajo, also spoke on the margins of a UAF rally in Harrow in 2009.
The Gilligan piece is yet another sign that the “Hidden Hand” controlling the media is losing some of its grip as the general public are waking up to the catastrophe of modern multiculti, decadent Britain.