Monday, 27 February 2012
Proud, not prejudiced: English Defence League
The Channel 4 documentary Prejudiced and Proud might easily have been depressing viewing: the English Defence League was referred to yet again as a "far-right" group, despite its eschewal of David Cameron’s “multiculturalism has failed” narrative putting its members to the left of over half of the MPs in Westminster. The narrator referred to founder/leader Tommy Robinson’s "misguided beliefs" with no corresponding disapprobation of fellow Lutonian Sayful Islam’s doctrines; and Islamist protesters’ faces were pixillated out, a courtesy not extended to EDL members. In short, the documentary observed the shibboleths of "liberal" media values which must have giants of political liberalism like Locke and Jefferson turning in their graves.
And yet, members of the EDL and its friends in the British Freedom Party were celebrating, some literally, at the unprecedented coverage of the EDL’s aims and methods, the League’s website nearly crashed through the volume of traffic and during the programme Tommy’s name trended internationally on Twitter.
It’s a programme the BBC simply couldn’t have commissioned. For one thing, not having attended public school or gained a degree, Tommy’s not somebody whom BBC bosses would call "one of us". For another, the Establishment worship of beard-and-burqa extremism is so entrenched that Jeremy Paxman, in his infamous Newsnight interrogation of Tommy, refused to accept that there was any more of a problem with Pakistani paedophiles than with those of any other ethnicity.
Tommy’s closing comments were invaluable, and it was brave of Channel 4 to broadcast them: "People are angry, and they need some way to express their anger...Take that away, and you’ll start to see things get blown up." I hope those politicians who were happy to let the IRA bomb its way to the negotiating table, and to watch Basque and Palestinian terorrists do the same, engrave those words on their hearts.
Click to find out more about Proud and Prejudiced and watch the documentary