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More on Marches in Luton

From Bedford Today:

A blogger arrested for inciting racial hatred last year has had his request to hold a St George’s Day march rejected by Luton Borough Council.

Dunstable man Paul Ray was arrested last year by Bedfordshire Police for allegedly inflammatory comments made on his online diary website, Lionheart, and is currently on bail.

…A spokesperson for the authority said Mr Ray had provided scant information about the organisation of the event.

As I blogged at the time, Ray’s arrest briefly made him a  “free-speech martyr” for American Conservatives obsessed with the idea that the UK is under Muslim control; alas, however, he was quickly dropped when pro-BNP sentiments (which he has since supposedly repudiated, although see below) came to light. He has made much of his supposed persecution since his arrest, and he apparently sought political asylum in the USA and at one point relocated to Cyprus.

However, according to a comment he recently made on his blog responding to another commentator, he’s not on police bail after all:

I think you will find i am no longer under investigation or on police bail so that statement is unfounded and baseless, and could also be libelous…

So why did the paper think he was? And why does his blog carry a longer version of the Bedford Today article without adding any correction on this point?

Ray’s request for a march came in the wake of the cancellation of an event planned to demonstrate support for British troops who had been verbally abused by a small group of Islamic extremists during a parade last month. The organiser, James Yeomans, changed his mind when he came to believe that far-right elements intended to hijack it for their own purposes.

In particular, Yeomans was unhappy with support from “March for England”, a group which I blogged on here, and with which Ray has links. Last autumn, March for England took part in a counter-protest against an Islamist rally in London; both the Islamists and an anti-Islamist far-left group claim there were some racist comments, although this was denied by Potkin Azarmehr, the counter-protest’s Iranian dissident organiser. March for England’s organiser, Dave Smeeton, left comments on this blog also denying any racism:

March for England are not anti Muslim. We only protest against extremists who threaten our country. Be that Radical Islam , or any other terror groups.

We where going to luton to show our support to our troops.Our members turn out in there home towns to welcome home our Heroes. Most of your report is bases on hearsay. Never once has any chant or shout on our marches or protests included the word white!!!..

…As stated we have nothing against main stream muslims or any other religion. We have links with sihks and asians etc. But we will not stand idle as Choudry Hamza Bakri and co seek to use terror and unrest on our streets. The same as we opposed the IRA and there splinter groups in the 80s

…From what i know of Far right groups in this Country none would be seen next to or holding the Star of david Flag,or working with Potkin or fighting to get an ethnic group to stay in this country and to have have the same rights as British servicmen that ethnic group being the Gurkhas, To be honest i am offended by your half truths and lies in the above artical. But as usual anybody proud of there troops,Country,history and identity are fair game to be slandered.

Smeeton also promised to “look into” a pro-BNP link on the group’s website that I had noted. Of course, it’s quite possible that the racist comments reported were made up or misheard, or were made by rogue elements. I should also add that I have no wish to “slander” or tell “half truths and lies” about anyone, and that any concerns I raise are I think those that any outside observer might reasonably make.

However, there’s still cause for alarm: Smeeton’s Facebook profile features him standing in front of an England flag on which is inscribed: “Pompey 657 No Surrender”. “Pompey” is a reference to Portsmouth, and “657” is a reference to the “6.57 Crew”, a group of local football supporters who would catch the earliest train out of Portsmouth (at 6.57 am) to away matches. While I am sure that Smeeton is completely law-abiding and would be opposed to any excesses [UPDATE: he clarifies this to some extent in a comment below], it should be noted that the 6.57 Crew has a reputation for violent football hooliganism, and it has been the subject of three books. Here’s the cover of one:

657

Charming.

According to the blurb:

6.57…three numbers that are synonymous with the dark world of football hooliganism.

The 6.57 crew were the violent faction that attached itself to Portsmouth Football Club during the 1980’s and reeked havoc the length and breadth of the country…

And here’s the first part of a documentary on the subject. I wonder why Yeomans and authorities in Luton might be feeling rather hesitant?

Meanwhile, PaulRay/Lionheart explains the Christian basis for his belligerence against Muslims (and unlike Smeeton he makes no “extremist” distinction) in his comments, in an argument against a liberal remonstrator:

When I see that Moslem selling heroin to my neighbour as part of their Jihad to rule the World what do i do

Turn the other cheek and walk on the other side of the road like you?

Or do i take the good Samaritan approach?

That’s a rather unusual New Testament mash-up, although Ray goes on to explain that he does not need to be “accountable to a Church”. He also praises Nick Griffin’s Easter message, which he describes “very very good and inspirational”, and goes on to commend the BNP:

It seems that they are the only ones willing to defend and uphold Christianity in this country, as for me i will trust in God to bring about the changes within them to make them the people He wants them to be. As you know there is nothing impossible with Him, and you should not judge these people who God is doing a work with and through.

Griffin’s message is an Easter Sunday call for British Christians to revive their Crusader past in order to oppose Muslims. “Jesus”, “Christ”, and “Resurrection” do not appear to be subjects of interest, and these words are absent from his sermon. Ray also expresses sympathy with a local football hooligan group, the “MIGs” (widely known as the “Men in Gear”, although “MIG” apparently actually refers to the Russian fighter plane):

With regards to the MIG’s, they are born and bred Luton, and this is their community where this is unfolding, and i would rather stand on their side of the fence than your side of the fence any day of the week because they see the World around them the same as I do, only i now have my faith in Jesus Christ.

18 Responses

  1. This now 2009. The books cover a period of history in Portsmouth and gives a detailed account of the fashion and way of life of the times. The period covered is up to the 90s.Football violence is over CTV and harsh prison sentences put an end to it. Onl a fool would still be involved and risk loosing everything.
    You will find the 6,57 are part of history,
    I do not see how my aleged involvment with the 6,57. A picture of a me and a flag does not mean i was 6,57.
    March for England atracts fans from many teams the length and bredth of England, also many non football fans. If you want any information just ask me. Please dont make asumptions and half truths.
    We as a group have nothing to hide. I think you fear asking and being shown that.

  2. There are a couple of other websites that link you with 6.57. However, I am sure that for you football supporting is a peaceful hobby either way.

    But as you say, football violence is now too risky – and that means there will be some people with a hooligan background looking for other ways to let off steam. I accept that you have nothing to hide, but even with good intentions can you really control others who might get out of hand? How many of them really understand or accept the difference between a moderate Muslim and an extremist?

    I also try not to make assumptions, but I do have reasonable concerns based on what I have seen – and I haven’t tried to mislead anyone with a “half-truth”.

  3. IWhat web sites link me with the 6,57?
    As for controling others,the answer is simple,Yes we can. All our events over the last two and half years there has not been one arrest!!!!!
    You are still under the delusion we are anti muslim. We have only ever turned up to protest at one event which has attracted Radical Islam. The Al Quds event had and was part organised by an extremist group both Blair and Brown said they would ban. But no suprise they never did.
    99% of March for Englands events have nothing to do with Islam but are directed at the Goverment or are in support of our troops. Our Rememberance at the Cenetaph in London every Nov.Our St Georges Parades is used to raise money for forces charities.
    You say yu have concerns on what you see? Does it concern you that we lay wreaths in honour of our troops and involve the children that are there. Involving the children in the wreath laying at the cenataph, womens momorial and the Gurkhas momorial ensures they respect ALL who have paid the ultimate price for this Country. These pictures are as available as the one of me and the flag,Why is it you dont mention these? I know a photo of Me or any one else from March for England laying a wreath in honour or of us next to the bravest of the brave the Gurkhas does not suit the impression you want to give about us.
    Your spin is as good as the Labour Goverments !!!
    Like i say nothing to hide but you dont want the truth do you? or you would ask me direct.

  4. IWhat web sites link me with the 6,57?

    There was this on a discussion forum:

    MFE is (or was) ran by a bloke called Dave Smeeton from Portsmouth, he’s part of the old 6.57 crew…Oddly enough I don’t think they are racist, Smeeton often used to bang on about Gurkha’s rights. I think it’s more of a reminiscent thing for “England’s past might and glory”, there’s loads of it in Portsmouth with being a naval town…

    The author seems to know you. Someone also raised the connection in the comments on “Lionheart’s” blog. It seems to me very weird that you would choose a Facebook profile picture which identifies you with this group if you don’t want people to think you’re a member or associate.

    I mentioned your support for Gurkhas in my previous post, once again I haven’t tried to hide anything. But the fact remains that MFE gives an alarming impression – I noted in particular a picture on the MFE site that said: “Does My English Flag Offend You? Good…Now Fuck Off”. Surely whoever created that hopes that immigrants will fail to integrate, so that he or she has a justification for hostility?

  5. Research my friend is the key!!!! That picture is not on OUR web site. It is on a face book group we have no control who puts pictures on the face book group.
    I defy you to find any thing on our web site like that?
    Yet again there is no web site that links me to the 6,57 as you falsly stated these are just discussion boards with no fact involved in them!!!
    If you wish to write about me or March for England please use the truth!! as said before you must fear the truth

  6. …but it’s a Facebook group of which you are an administrator. Surely items which are unsuitable can be removed? And how will you “control” whoever put it online if they show up at a demo?

    You’ve told me that no websites link you to 6.57 (despite your own Facebook profile picture!), but I note you haven’t actually denied having been a member/associate, either in the past or now. If you would like to confim that you have no links to this group, I would be more than happy to make that clear. If, further, you wish to confirm that you are opposed to any kind of “football hooliganism” I would also be happy to publicise that.

  7. reading this is like reading the sun… digging and joining bits together makes a good story for the sun… as it looks here… whats has someones past got to do with the present ??

    and the image of “doe’s my flag offend you” comment… you seem to think that 100% of the people in this country are not offended.. well ask anjem choudary and his brain-washed followers why they love to burn it and why they hate the St George flag… also ask the lefty government and councils why they refuse to fly it from every flag pole allowed… why is it illegal to have it on your number plate.. but the E.U is okay ??? that comment should be asked by the person whom uploaded it… to me thats what i make of it… i do not percieve it to be aimed at people (general public)….

    immigration to your linking with that comment is untrue… to come and live and find a better life is great for the economy e.t.c.. and their own life.. but to have un-controlled immigration.. especially those here not to work is putting a strain on the system.. now that is not the folks entering fault.. but the governments and this blasted abused “human rights” that is more abused than properly used.. common sense is never used it seems…. lets just hope sheep dont read blogs and have an open mind these days…

  8. I can safely say we have controled all our marches and protests. There has never been an arrest on one of our events. Myself and our Stewards monitor our events carefully. We also work closely with the Police to ensure we steward our events as they ask. This is the reason why we to date have had no problem putting on our events.
    To make it crystal clear we do everything within the law informing the Police and gaining all relevent permission. If we where a violent group the {Police would not allow our events due to public order concerns.
    You are making a story out of nothing.
    Does me being in the Cubs or Boys Brigade long ago i know. Have any relevence to your spin? NO. I am in my 50s with 5 grown up children and 8 granchildren. If i had any connections to the 6,57 that would have been 30 years ago.So if i had what relevence is 30 years ago?

  9. Thank you for this clarification.

    So, to make sure I understand: you have had no links with 6,57 for 30 years, and your decision to use a 6,57 flag as your “Facebook” profile picture does not indicate that you are associated with this group today. Further, MFE has no links with football hooligans and no hooligan activities will be tolerated at MFE events. Is that right?

    I am more than happy to put the record straight, but you need to understand that you have a PR problem. Obviously when a new organisation appears outsiders will wonder what it’s for and what kind of people are behind it.

    I’m reasonably fair-minded, but a graphic saying “Does my English flag offend you? Good – Now fuck off!” sets off alarm bells. It looks like MFE wants a fight.

    Using a 6,57 flag as your profile picture is going to make people think you’re a supporter of that group – if you saw someone using a hammer and sickle flag as their profile picture would you not think they were probably Communist?

    MFE’s links to Paul Ray (“Lionheart”), who is pro-BNP and who is opposed to all Muslims (and who talks about “Paki Muslims”), also makes outsiders wonder if MFE is really non-political and non-racist.

    It’s not just me – that’s why there have been negative reports in newspapers and that’s why James Yeomans decided to drop his event in support of the Anglian Regiment. Rather than complaining that this is unfair, ask yourself why this is happening. It’s not some left-wing or pro-extremist Muslim or anti-English conspiracy – like it or not, the way you and MFE come across is off-putting to a lot of people.

  10. March for England is non political and non racist. It is on police record we have informed and told BNP members they are not welcome at our event.
    I myself have many friends from all backrounds and races.

  11. Would a racist group work with and support Iranian exiles in this country? Would a racist group not only support the Gurkhas fight to have the right to settle here but also invite them to one of our St georges day marches? Would a racist group donate money to the Gurkhas charity? A racist group would not invite people of any race or colour to join them but we do.
    As for Facebook that is my own personal page and has nothing to do with MfE.Although i do see your point if it was linked to MfE.
    To clear up the hooligan bit concerning MfE. April this year there where to marches in Brighton.
    MfE St Georges parade which was stewarded by myself and other commitee members of MfE with a wide crooss section of the public in attendance. No arrests,good humoured, Praised by the Police over our handling of the march, praised by the landlord of the pub we retired to for lunch etc.landlord said he had no trouble and was suprised how well every one behaved.
    The following week an anti war march in Brighton, property attacked,police attacked, public injured.
    Both these marches are on Utube.
    This proves we can control our events i repeat once again there have been not one arrest on any of our many events.
    If you can not see by now that we are not a violent bunch of racist thugs,ask yourself this Why do we have no problem gaining Police permission to put on marches or parades. If the Police thought as you do we would be banned from marching under the Public Order Act!!!
    My past life is my past life and has no relevence on the person i am today.

  12. […] pointed this out a few weeks ago here and here; Smeeton has left a number of comments disassociating himself from violence and claiming […]

  13. when is there another march for england?

  14. […] get on well with Theodore Shoebat. However, Ray’s Christianity is not well-informed – he thinks the phrase “turn the other cheek” refers to those who ignored the injured man in the […]

  15. […] that some National Front characters took part in the protest in Luton on 13 April (which I blogged here) and there were “familiar faces from the pro-nazi football crews from the time when the nazi […]

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