With Apologies to Shakespeare’s ghost

A modern version of the ‘Hollow crown’ speech (Rich II Act 2 Sc 3) starring Tommy Robinson. Robinson’s shock resignation from the English defence League has been likened to the Pope leaving the Vatican after noticing it contained Catholics or Hitler denouncing National Socialism because some Nazis went a bit too far. It’s hard to believe that the presence of neoNazis among the EDL ‘footsoldiers’ surprised Tommy though. They’ve been a national joke for years as Russell Howard (among others) demonstrated beautifully:

Not that the rank and file of the EDL really need any help to make fools of themselves.

It’s worth remembering that the nonsensical rhetoric that these gullible people spout comes straight from the official EDL propaganda. It’s easy to laugh at the ignorance (and intoxication) of ordinary EDL members but lets not forget that this is the result of a strategy of misinformation deliberately aimed at the uneducated and disempowered. And the whole campaign since 2009 has been orchestrated by Tommy Robinson himself. It has been a campaign of hatred and bigotry that actively encouraged and glorified behaviour like this:

So like many people I find this Damascene epiphany difficult to believe. The idea that racism has come as a surprise to Tommy is quite impossible to believe. He knows the EDL is (and has always been) a racist, neoNazi organisation because he designed it that way. Robinson (whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) seems to be rewriting his own history despite the vast archive of evidence that always follows high profile public agitators.

Tommy Robinson wants us to believe he isn’t racist yet he courted racists for four years;
He wants us to believe he hates racists yet his official EDL social media pages have spouted blatant racism for years;
He wants us to believe he supports democracy yet as recently as two days ago he was busy attempting to intimidate those who disagreed with his anti Muslim sentiments;
He wants us to believe that he is leaving the EDL because he no longer supports street movements and yet he has been unvolved in organising such events right up until yesterday’s announcement;
He wants us to believe that this is about conscience when his stated reasons clearly demonstrate the immature motivation of a megalomaniac ‘spitting the dummy’ because he can’t keep personal control.

This is not a new phenomenon. Shakespeare described it well several hundred years ago. It’s remarkable how few changes are necessary to fit the speech below to Tommy’s own situation.

“No matter which thinktank. Of extremism no man speak.

Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs, make dust our paper and with rainy eyes write sorrow on the bosom of the EDL. Let’s choose journalists and talk of government subsidies.

And yet not so, for what can we betray, save our deposed footsoldiers to the ground? Our lands, our lives and all are Quilliam’s, and nothing can we call our own but publicity and that small model of the barren media which serves to ridicule and exploit our loyal supporters. 

For God’s sake, let us sit before Jeremy Paxman and tell sad stories of the death of racists; how some have been deposed. Some slain in war; Some haunted by the infidels they have deposed; Some poison’d by their Frauleins: some sleeping kill’d; All murder’d.
For within the hollow crown that rounds the mortal temples of an EDL attention whore keeps Death his court. And there the antic sits,scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp. Allowing him a breath, a little scene, to monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks, Infusing him with self and vain conceit, as if this flesh which walls about our life, were brass impregnable.

And humour’d thus comes at the last and with a little pin bores through his castle wall, and farewell Tommy!
 

Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood with solemn reverence. Throw away respect, religious hatred, street violence and ceremonious demonstrations, for you have but mistook me all this while.

I live with cocaine like you, feel paranoia, taste grief, need bodyguards. Subjected thus, how can you say to me, I am a bloke worth listening to?”

Islam, far right nationalists and the vicious God of Abraham

It really shouldn’t be necessary to write this post. But unfortunately it is. That’s the problem with fanatical extremists. They think only in black and white terms and so anyone who, for example doesn’t hate Muslims must be a Muslim themselves. As an atheist I thought that a particularly stupid assertion from an EDL supporter recently (see the comments).

So I’ve decided to be clear, once and for all…

Islam

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I am not a Muslim. I am not a believer in any deity. I consider all religions to be both silly and harmful. As the late, great Christopher Hitchins put it, religions belong to the ignorant “infancy of our species”. During those dark days of prehistory even the most learned people had no idea what the natural world was about. This led to an assumption that whatever people didn’t understand must have been the work of a magical supreme being. The notion of Gods was born.

So I think all religions are silly but…. and this is the important bit…. I am adamant that:

1 People have a right to disagree with me;
2 I may be wrong;
3 So long as people don’t try to impose their lifestyle upon me I am more than happy to return the compliment;
4 What consenting adults do amongst themselves is no business of mine.

And that last part really is an issue for me. But not just with Islam – with all religious groups from Islam to Judaeism, from Catholicism to Cargo cults. I believe that to inflict religious indoctrination of any kind on to children is abuse.

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● If an adult Christian wants to live his life in shame and assumptions about his own pathetic ‘unworthiness’ so be it;
● If a grown Muslim woman wants her ‘evil’ clitoris and labia removed (often causing infection and death), fair enough;
● If a mature Jewish man wishes to contract herpes by having a Rabbi remove his foreskin with his teeth that’s fine by me;
● And if a young Jehovah’s Witness mother chooses to bleed to death after giving birth rather than to accept a blood transfusion that’s fair enough too.

I think that all these things would be tragic but in every case it’d be their choice. It would have nothing to do with me.

So my only real beef with Islam is the same one I have with ALL religions. I wish they’d stop inflicting it upon helpless children. Other than that – it’s OK to be different. So long as you leave the rest of us alone.

Sharia courts

Which, of course, brings us to the notion of Sharia law and the vicious God of Abraham….

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I would oppose any attempt to impose Sharia law on myself or upon my society. Indeed, if I truly believed that there was any chance of that barbaric, Mosaic system being imposed I’d be the first to man the barricades. It’s a legal system based upon a moral compass that points straight back to the iron age.

But it’s no worse than the fundamentalist Christian ‘courts’ that also exist, equally informally in this country. In both cases people choose to submit to the ‘judgements’ of religious ‘courts’ but the law of the land still applies. Wife beating is still illegal in UK even though the ‘law of Moses’ says that it’s OK. Women subjected to such abuse can still prosecute their abusers regardless of religion.

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So you see Sharia is no more a threat to Western civilisation than Christianity and Judeaism (barbaric though all 3 undoubtedly are). No religious convention can be used to excuse rape, ethnic cleansing, slavery, murder, child abuse or arbitrary discrimination (whatever Christian ‘law’ says about these ‘duties’). European law is not religious law.

So far as I’m aware the only exception allowing abuse on religious grounds is the genital mutilation of infant boys whose parents are either Jewish or Muslim. I stress ‘whose parents are either Jewish or Muslim’ because let’s face it these babies are far too young to choose any religion (or to understand the mutilation imposed upon them). Along with many other atheists and humanists I’d love to see that made illegal in the same way that the genital mutilation of infant girls has been.

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I would oppose the imposition of Sharia, Levitical or Talmudic law in a heartbeat. They are all based upon the exact same, vicious God of the Israelites who seemed far more interested in ethnic cleansing, sexual slavery and blood sacrifice than anything modern civilisation might recognise as ‘justice’. Not that there’s anything unique about the God of Abraham in that respect – especially concerning women:
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But I don’t oppose individual Muslims any more than I oppose individual Jews, Christians, Hindus or, indeed anybody else. Except, of course for ….

The English Defence League (EDL)

Recently I’ve been criticised on my blog for opposing far right nationalists such as the EDL and BNP much more than other extremist groups such as Muslims Against Crusades (MAC). In truth I object to extremist, terrorist groups of all kinds but the only ones that claim to speak for me are the EDL and BNP. I’m a white, working class British man and as such I consider it a duty to oppose those fascist, racist groups who claim to represent my own culture and heritage.

To quote Edmund Burke (allegedly)…..

“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

I made this point more fully in a series of three posts which can be found here, here and here.

This doesn’t make me a Muslim (the very idea of me being religious in any way at all is both ridiculous and insulting to me). Nor does it make me a “traitor to my race” as another commenter recently described me. I’m a human being and that’s as sectarian as I’m ever going to be. All people are as valid and worthy of rights and respect as anyone else.

I’m not a fan of street violence from any quarter (be the perpetrators linked to EDL, BNP, Combat 18, MAC, UAF or IED). You’re all as bad as each other in my view.

In summary

My position is simple:

● I loathe sectarianism;
● I loathe ALL religion;
● I loathe child abuse and indoctrination;
● I loathe nationalism;
● I accept the right of all people to disagree with me;
● I would oppose ANY imposition of Mosaic law upon my society (be that Islamic, Christian or Jewish);

I believe that these views are echoed by many (although not all, alas) of my fellow working class Britons (of all colours and backgrounds).

The English Defence League does not speak for us!

Freedom of speech

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Yesterday I signed a petition calling upon the British government to proscribe, to ‘outlaw’ in other words, the English Defence League (EDL). I also advertised the petition on social media and suggested that others do the same. Shortly after I found myself embroiled in a Twitter conversation about freedom of speech as though opposing the EDL and their approach (not just to Islam but to all Muslims) was the same as opposing freedom of expression.

There’s a long and noble tradition of freedom of speech throughout the West dating back centuries:

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

John Milton, Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicens’d Printing (1644)

“Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.”

Samuel Johnson in James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)

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But there’s a huge difference between ‘freedom of speech’ and the freedom to do (or incite) violence. Many people criticise Islam but the EDL go further – much further. Just a few minutes worth of internet searching is enough to demonstrate the litany of assaults an intimidation, arson and victimisation that this far right group of Nazis is responsible for. That’s not free speech, it’s violent discrimination against an entire demographic. And that’s illegal.

The EDL is as much a terrorist group as was ‘Muslims Against Crusades’ (MAC), another Luton based hate group that was proscribed by the Home Office years ago. Just like the EDL they were violent, sectarian thugs and their proscription had nothing to do with freedom of speech.

Muslims Against Crusades was outlawed for reasons of national security. The terrorist EDL should be banned too – not because of their opinions (odious though those opinions are) but because of their violence.

BAN THE ENGLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE
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The best EDL

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Go and visit the English Disco Lovers website. This is the best use of the acronym ‘EDL’ I know of. A parody who turn up at rallies to disco dance and have fun without discrimination or violence – just dancin’!

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While you’re at it please link the website to your blog or website. Just stick it in a blog post or something. They’re trying to ‘out SEO’ the racists so when people google ‘EDL’ the first hit they see will be Disco.

Now that has to be a cause worth supporting!

BBC News – Abu Qatada due to be deported to stand trial in Jordan

Cool! Whichever ‘side’ of whatever ‘fence’ you’re on…… Extremist hate-mongers from Qatada to Griffin, from Choudhary to Robinson have no place in a civilised Britain. This is one gone at least. http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23213740

Still think the EDL isn’t racist?

Have a look at this report from EDLreview. http://edlreview.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/edl-is-not-racist.html?m=1

Oh dear – it just gets worse and worse

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It seems that the vicious thugs of the EDL have finally provoked a response from the Muslim community that is tailored to combat them specifically. And it’s easy to understand why given the regular attacks as well as the sort of stuff EDL members post on social media…..

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The EDL have succeeded only in creating a domestic conflict that would never have existed without them. But after years of anti Muslim rhetoric and violence, UK Muslims have finally set up their own response. I suspect that it won’t be pretty.

Ever since the EDL began it’s been clear that the only thing they could ever hope to achieve was division and increasing radicalisation of both Muslims and non Muslims. And now they have their wish.

The Islamic Emergency Defence (IED) looks to be a newly created national vigilante response organisation. Its website promises to deal with those who attack UK Muslims. The website states that these issues will be resolved in “an Islamic manner” although it’s not clear (at least not clear to me) precisely what that means. The emphasis the website places on the obligation of Muslims to defend other Muslims, together with the honour afforded to martyrs makes it all look very scary indeed.

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So well done EDL – you’ve managed to create the conflict you’ve so far had to be content only to imagine. I can’t help but wonder though if you might have bitten off a little more than you can chew in provoking this particular fight. You might want to consider having some of those tacky EDL tattoos lasered off.

And well done IED – you’ve just bought into the warped mindset of neofascists in a move that can only serve to fuel even greater hostilities.

So when you two groups set out to beat and murder each other on the streets of our towns and cities please remember this…

The vast majority of British citizens want nothing to do with either of you.

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