The news of Tommy Robinson’s leaving the English Defence League has provoked a deluge of reactions, occupying all points between praise and outrage. And maybe the sheer amount of coverage is something we should look at as well as the direction of Tommy’s journey.
However the EDL emerges from this episode, I’m sure it will carry on, because patriots have arisen, made themselves known to each other up and down the country and beyond, and emerged energised. It has built up a head of steam that cannot simply dissipate.
Things previously unbelievable before 2009 have happened, such as:
- Victims of child-grooming gangs are no longer being labelled as promiscuous or borderline racists on the grounds of their rapists’ and traffickers’ identities.
- Politicians are not being seen as racists (except by the usual culprits) for concentrating on immigration.
- Blue-collar concerns over national identity are being aired much more by the media, even by the BBC.
This has all happened because EDL members have taken all of these and more literally into the public square and have not let politicians forget the inconvenient truth that each one of us has a vote.
But the complex nature of public opinion and debate has also come to the fore, and the full veil is a case in point. Whereas opposition to this identity-smothering garment was initially sidelined as a fringe issue, because of patriots preventing it from dropping from debate the loudest voices now protesting against the full veil are Muslim women. And now the subject is out, bodies such as UKIP – which opposed the full veil under all circumstances – are engaging with its adherents and saying they’ll tolerate it in limited circumstances.
And all because the EDL have not surrendered to bullies, bottles and bricks any more than to far right infiltration – and undoubtedly will continue thus. God bless them.