Monday, 1 July 2013

letter: the EDL and multiculturalism

What follows is a letter published by the Cambridge News on Saturday 29 June; the parts in italics never made it into the paper. I've changed the name of the lady I was responding to, who asked what the EDL does that is multicultural.

Dear Sir,

Like Jane Smith (letters 25 June), I am glad to write about something other than cycling. And I am also pleased that the English Defence League wreath-laying ceremony in honour of Gunner Lee Rigby at Cambridge War Memorial passed off peacefully.

I ahve a Dream: click for text and audio
Ms Smith wishes to know what we do that is multicultural, so I am writing because the Cambridge News was quoting myself saying that the EDL is a multicultural organisation. But the question as it is posed is difficult to answer, as you don't "do" multicultural, you "are" multicultural. A case in point comes at the end of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech, in which he indicates that freedom has no bounds and looks forward to the day "when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics" are free. He understood that when one sector of society is in chains, those chains threaten us all.

When David Cameron said in his Munich speech of February 2011 that multiculturalism was a failure, our founder Tommy Robinson distanced the EDL from that view the same day. Multiculturalism refers to a state when all of us, regardless of background, stand as equals in the context of the law of the land. In the United Kingdom, the constituent parts of this law tell the story of more than a millenium's evolution, still ongoing, seeking - often unhappily - to resolve the contradictions between the might of the rulers and the anger of the ruled. Despite high points such as the Magna Carta, Habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights, this process, almost unbelievably, only produced universal suffrage in 1928. Thus any British citizen, regardless of gender or ethnic origin, is enfranchised.

We are therefore alarmed at the growth of Sharia Courts, inhabiting a legal area negligently left grey, dispensing misogynist judgements that are often disenfranchising. Despite what our detractors say we do not oppose Muslims, many of whom are a credit to Great Britain. We oppose Sharia, which is what many Muslims came here to escape and make a new life for themselves. Among the abuses that have been uncovered are primary-school girls in forced marriages and countless cases of honour-based violence. In the case of the latter I would say the EDL is definitely more multicultural than the BBC, whose Panorama wasn't interested in HBV until a white girl was killed.

The starting point of multiculturalism is that we are all equal, and that empowers us all. The problem is Diversity, which with its (often hidden) calculations and quotas delivers an Orwellian rider that some are more equal than others.

Personally, I find it difficult to envisage any circumstance in which the EDL would drop its commitment to multiculturalism. I apologise to Ms Smith for the length of this answer, but as I hope I've demonstrated it's a complex issue.

Yours etc

Gerry Dorrian

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