Paul Ray on Chris Renton

One reason for scepticism about the “English Defence League”  has been the involvement of Chris Renton, who set up its website. Renton is a BNP activist, but EDL “spokesperson” Paul Ray shrugged this off as being his own business; Ray himself believes that God is working to turn the BNP into a non-racist nationalist group. Now, however, on the day of an “anti-Islamic extremist” protest in Birmingham, Ray announces he has fallen out with Renton:

The English Defence League that was originally built over many months and eventually set up by myself and others, was hijacked over the last couple of weeks leading up to tomorrow by a bunch of ‘Pirates’ led by Chris Renton, his brother and supported by their ‘Casual’ friends who all gathered around each other and stabbed me in the back.

I have spent the last few weeks trying to save the ‘English Defence League’ name from these people but to no avail, which amongst other things, is the reason why I will not be attending the protest tomorrow and do not want any link made with myself nor the EDL name in Birmingham on 8/8. Any ‘English Defence League’ banners that are visible on the day have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with me, and are the sole responsibility of Chris Renton & Co.

…The Renton brothers caused the initial division and eventual split with myself and ‘Casuals United’ after releasing a statement to a Birmingham newspaper stating the 8/8 protest was a ‘Casuals United’ event and not EDL & [Welsh Defence League] even though its was myself who put it in place. I then removed myself from the equation because I no longer believed in the new leadership or direction the protest was moving in. The Renton brothers (Pirates) subsequently hijacked the EDL name and have been pushing forward and promoting the protest for the past few weeks, using both of the names.

Ray also complains about the “significance of the date” for the protest; he does not elaborate, but Searchlight notes that some (not Renton) are interpreting “8/8” as “HH” – “Heil Hitler”. On the other hand, though, we’re told that

the ‘Casuals United’ movement has now been taken over by [United People of Luton’s] ‘Tommy Robinson’, who will be in charge on the ground in Birmingham tomorrow. He and those under his leadership, know about the threat of the far-right neo-Nazi movement trying to gatecrash the event and have had banners and placards made to counteract this and state ‘Casuals United’s’ position within modern British society.

“Tommy Robinson” is probably Wayne King; Jeff Marsh of the Welsh Defence League had been an organiser of today’s protest but he recently announced that he was handing over to King following police harrassment (Marsh was arrested a few days ago following a “scuffle” in a bar which he tells us was “was nothing to do with me”).

Ray adds that he will have nothing to do with neo-Nazis (although he does not accuse Renton of being one) because “I have Jewish friends, and friends with a different skin colour to my own.” The link to his “Jewish friends” takes us to an audio interview he had in 2007 with none other than Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs; Geller has continued to support Ray while other American conservatives (such as Phyllis Chesler) have repudicated him. Geller’s enthusiasm for one of Ray’s protests recently led to a spat with Charles Johnson.

As I blogged just yesterday, Ray has a habit of falling out with people.