More on March for England

Staying with the subject of nationalist protests (supposedly) against Islamic extremism, there has been an interesting exchange of views between a couple of commentators to this blog. One is Dave Smeeton, who organises “March for England” and is an associate of anti-Muslim blogger “Lionheart”, or Paul Ray. As I’ve blogged before, Smeeton has been keen to insist that March for England, despite a somewhat aggressive appearance, is peaceful and not anti-Muslim. When I noted that his Facebook profile shows an English flag advertising a football hooligan group (the “6.57 Crew”), he complained that it was of no significance:

March for England has members from all over the country. It has no links now or ever with the 6.57 crew. It fact March for England was started by a couple of Spurs supporters over 2 years ago. We are run by a commitee of 12 people who live in various parts of the country ranging from Blackpool in the North to the West Country London and Brighton etc.
we have have a broad cross section of members including ex srvicemen housewifes buisness men and yes god forbid football fans.
I hope this clears up the fact once and for all

Also:

Speaking for March for England we have had no problems in London or Brighton in putting on our marches. It has at times been made very difficult by the authorities. I repeat that there has never been one arrest on our marches.
What we all need to know is why when you go through proper channels why are you refused or why are hurdles put in our way? Also why are proscribed organisations allowed to march without permission and alowed to wear clothing promoting a proscribed organisation and flying the flags of this proscribed group. No arrests made? All we ask for is a level playing field. One law for all.
Untill these questions are answered by the authorities it looks like this will rumble on and on. There is a principle at stake that needs to be resolved one way or another.
We have sat back so far over the issue in Luton despite the cock and bull stories on here. I have even phoned Bedfordshire Police and refuted that we where going into Luton.
We need answers as to why Radical Islam can stage a protest that to any ones eyes is a threat to public
order. To many times the law is being waved in favour of extremist groups as in Luton,London ( Tamil Tigers} and the parade in Ulster by the C I.R.A The last two being banned groups. Is this a level playing field?

However, Smeeton was then asked some questions by another commentator:

On your Facebook site, why have you got a photo of a mock Dr Martens advert with skinheads kicking a man on the floor in the head ? The top of the photo says “Kicking the fuck out of you since 1960?. Underneath that you have written “those were the days.” Why have you written that if you, as you say you have, left violence behind you

Why have you got a poster also on Facebook with the words “Its the evil of our time – ISLAM – lets not leave it for our children.” Why do you display a poster that attacks all Islam and not Islamic extremists – the same line that Paul Ray folows ? How are you going to ensure Islam is not “left for your children?”

Luton has a significant muslim community. Now can you understand the reason why some people oppose March for England in this town ?

Hmm…

kicking-pic

Smeeton’s response:

As for my facebook you realy dont have a clue do you. I was a Skin head in the 70s. The caption says those WHERE the days. Got it yet? The 70s where the days. This is 2009 and i am an old man.
As for the picture of Islam. I will do i can within in the law to make sure Sharia law does not creep any further into our system. It is after all one law for one .one law for all. Am i not entitled to an opinion on religion? I thought we had freedom of thought and speach?

Whew, I was worried there for a moment…

US Anti-Islam Bloggers Argue over Luton Protests

Sadly No! draws attention to an interview with Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs:

Johnson worries, in conversation and on his blog, that his old allies have been duped by far-right European political parties and have bought into wild attacks on the president that discredit their own causes.

“I don’t think there is an anti-jihadist movement anymore,” Johnson said. “It’s all a bunch of kooks. I’ve watch some people who I thought were reputable, and who I trusted, hook up with racists and Nazis. I see a lot of them promoting stories and causes that I think are completely nuts.”

Sadly No! adds:

Noooooooooooooooooooo! What tipped it off? Was it Iron Fist’s fantasies of nuclear genocide? Was it your readers’ iron-clad belief that a crescent-shaped memorial to Flight 93 was really a secret plot to pay tribute to radical Islam? I don’t see how any of these not-at-all-crazy ideas could possibly change your opinion about anything.

Jeff Sharlet plumbed the unpleasantness of LGF and its commentators back in 2004.

One “anti-Jihadist” whom Johnson has fallen out with is Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, and on Monday he took aim at her for supporting a protest in Luton, UK:

Shrieking bigoted lunatic Pamela Geller has now graduated to promoting the skinheads of the neo-Nazi British National Party: Atlas Shrugs: PUSHBACK AGAINST MUSLIM EXTREMISTS IN THE UK.

One of the demonstrations she’s pimping was organized by pro-BNP blogger Paul Ray, aka “Lionheart.”

As I’ve blogged, last year Ray was investigated by the British police for incitement to racial hatred; for a while, he was lauded by US conservatives as a free-speech martyr, but when pro-BNP comments came to light he was quickly dropped – Johnson was among his critics, and Ray responded by calling him “the equivalent of a Second World War Nazi collaborator who would have been shot because of his treason”. The investigation seems to have been a formality – when a complaint is made to the police there have to be some enquiries, such as when blogger Neil Clark tried to set the police on Oliver Kamm. However, Ray has milked the incident ever since, as if he were under continuing police investigation/persecution – although in an argument with a commentator at his blog he recently finally revealed that he is no longer of interest to the police, and any suggestion otherwise was “unfounded and baseless, and could also be libelous”.

Johnson then refers his readers to (ahem) me:

Richard Bartholomew has more information on the skinheads behind this demonstration: Protest in Luton over St. George’s Day Event Decision

Geller responds:

I ran a video of folks supporting the troops in the UK. That’s it. Here’s the post. Nowhere is the BNP mentioned and never have I ever expressed any support for that group. I had no idea it’s BNP. Nothing at youtube says BNP. The name of the video is “People of Luton Protest against Muslim Extremists” – user name “lutonprotest”. Nutty as a fruitcake, I tell ya.

In fact, I was careful to point out in my posting that this was not a BNP event, that at least one protestor was black, and that there had been a banner attacking the far-right National Front. However, I also noted that a BNP activist had been drumming up discrete support for the event among the party, and that Ray continues to make pro-BNP comments, most recently that “you should not judge these people who God is doing a work with and through”. He also insists that the word “Paki” is not offensive, and he makes no distinction between Muslims and Islamic extremists.

Here’s the video, which is the only substantial footage of the event to appear online. It appears to have been an ugly and aggressive affair, with placards thrown at police to a chorus of the word “scum” at one point. As a defence of “English culture” it does not encourage, unless we include the kind of abuse and posturing that used to be seen around certain football matches.

Incidentally, there does not appear to have been any follow-up to the claim reported in the Daily Star that a black protestor had two teeth knocked out by the police. UPDATE: Paul Ray has posted a photo of a damaged mouth; there is no reason to doubt belongs on the protestor.