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On Tuesday, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley Lennon (otherwise known as ‘Tommy Robinson) announced that he and co-founder Kevin Carroll are to leave the organisation, in their words to pursue “better, democratic ideas” by which to continue the fight against Political Islam.
Generally speaking, this announcement came as a great surprise to those within the EDL, and the reasoning since given for it by Robinson has confounded much of the liberal press too. Only a month beforehand, he had been tweeting typically hostile comments toward Islam and Muslims, and yet suddenly the former hooligan appeared to have been tamed.
Why? Personally, I’m not sure. Nobody is more shocked by all this than me. According to many different gauges, the organisation seemed only recently in peak health. The EDL page on facebook has never been so popular, with roughly 161,000 ‘likes’ and a second unofficial page with 40.000 more. The demo in Tower Hamlets last month was hardly disastrous, and there is a large and popular outing planned for the coming weeks in Bradford.
But even if the ‘why’ remains shrouded in mystery, the ‘where next’ must now be addressed. Currently, the English Defence League is leaderless. Many thousands of activists face an anxious wait to see who replaces Robinson as their public representative. Some candidates (including the ‘pot-plant guy’ from UKIP) have already been ruled out. I have no nominations of my own.
But a leader must be found soon. The danger of a prolonged state of flux is mass defection. The BNP will almost certainly be eyeing this up. I’ve yet to check the BNP website (I haven’t got the stomach at the moment), but there will inevitably be a semi-literate post claiming the resignations as a ‘victory’ for Nick Griffin. They are, of course, nothing of the kind, but such is the nature of fascist solipsism.
When and if one arises, the most important question for a new EDL leader must not be “What went wrong?” but ‘What can yet be achieved?”
Although Robinson cited ideological reasons for his resignation, there were perhaps other factors involved, such as a declining turnout for demonstrations and lessening media profile. To attain greater victories in the future, significant changes to the core mission of the EDL will be required. To this end, here are five suggestions for the new leader:
1. Reduce the number of irregular demonstrations in favour of larger-scale demos to mark significant occasions (the aftermath of a terror attack/St George’s Day etc..). Make clear to members that their attendance is expected rather than merely desired. Make the rallies pleasant, static affairs with speeches and music, rather than kettling and confrontation.
2. Ensure a number of ethnic-minority spokespeople (especially ex-Muslims) to blunt the accusation of racism.
3. Get rid of the fascistic and irrelevant ‘In Hoc Signo Vinces’ slogan. It has connections with totalitarianism. As a replacement, consider something like the Luxembourgian National Motto ‘Mir wolle bleiwe wat mir sin’ – “We Want to Remain What We Are.”
4. Create a formal membership structure. This will make it possible to expel those who make fascist salutes or threats at rallies.
5. Stand firm on fundamental principles. This is a liberal-democratic country and Muslims are antithetical to our way of life.
Whatever approach is pursued, now is plainly not the time to throw in the towel. The current of Islamisation remains as strong as ever, and the methods hitherto employed by the EDL have borne real fruit. Thousands of patriotic souls have braved all kinds of inconvenience to make a fraternal stand against something toxic and dangerous to our country. They must not be betrayed, or left in want of hope.