When the Manchester United football team play Manchester City, a physical crowd of 70,000 people is these days almost guaranteed. A similar number can be expected at other rivalrous matches like Everton Vs Liverpool, Celtic vs Glasgow Rangers, Tottenham vs Arsenal, and Chelsea vs Human Decency.
These crowds are not drawn by the promise of entertainment (or at least not by that alone) but by emotion and genuine sentimentality.
Tens of thousands of people, young and old, male and female, show up at football stadiums periodically to unload the kind of hatred, loyalty and aggression that was, perhaps only 70 years ago, confined entirely to the battlefield.
And as on the battlefield, the entrenchment of division over extended periods of time has spilled naturally over into personal animosity. Manchester United fans – for example – are known to detest their Manchester City rivals with a racial intensity, often leading to acts of deranged, pointless violence. The same is true of the other examples mentioned.
Every football club in Britain therefore has its own army fit and willing to engage in massive co-ordinated action. The genius of the English Defence League was to try and tap this enormous resource and redirect the energy expended on the irrational into something rational. To take, that is, the hollow love for a corporation (because that is all modern football teams are) and channel it into a love of country and culture.
Indeed, the original name for the EDL – ‘Casuals United’ – (‘Casual’ is an English phrase for a football hooligan hidden among ordinary supporters by the wearing of inconspicuous casual clothes) suggested a unification of the nation’s hooligans into a common formation; one in which all differences would be suspended under a single banner to combat a menace that recognises no distinctions.
And how it worked!… For while at least.
Crowds came out in thousands. Shivers trickled down the coward spines of Islamists in every city. Streets were, for a while, reclaimed – repatriated to the soil beneath their urban paving and all its socialist rot.
And then in Walthamstow, the Socialists fought back and by numbers the EDL was humiliated in a way it never recovered from.
Months later, sensing the ship he built beginning to waver, leader Tommy Robinson converted to moderation, leaving confused and betrayed masses scrambling for land and meaning.
They have since failed to find any.
The EDL is dead. Deader than the BNP, National Front or any other ‘far-right’ political body to which it was once erroneously compared.
Those armies the EDL plucked from the fancy of sport are now steadily returning to the terraces. All their anger will soon be again directed at millionaires booting a ball of leather on a green-grass pitch, and not spent on protesting the encroachment of a religious community who would forbid such gatherings altogether. A sad irony.
Those who still fancy a fight for cultural survival are turning their gaze to the cultureless Thatcherites of the United Kingdom Independence Party; a clique obsessed by money, Europe and rural freedoms.
I’ve mentioned elsewhere that as it relates to Jihadism, UKIP is a blunt sword. Nigel Farage, his oratorical brilliance aside, is nothing more than a corporate dandy, politically deep and ideologically shallow.
We would of course be better off under a UKIP regime in the short term, but the long term would likely emerge unaffected.
The search for a viable resistance continues. It is to accelerate that search that we should be frank about the EDL’s demise. It has ceased to motivate or to inspire and should now be disbanded.