In recent weeks I have been talking to Ivan Humble, one of the EDL’s most dedicated members in Norfolk and Suffolk, on Twitter. Our exchanges grew from the occasional mickey-taking by me on Tommy’s latest (mis)adventures to one where we were talking more seriously about how we both firmly believed that whatever our deep rooted differences, violence and intimidation are not the answer.
Ivan was very keen to point out that he strongly disproved of the threatening approach by other local EDL members. (Look at @pollitix and @EastAnglianEDL to see the often mundane exchanges.)
Ivan said that he wasn’t planning on attending the We are Norwich meeting last Wednesday and I suggested that he would be at no danger if he did attend.
I was surprised to see that in parallel with these discussions he was telling other EDL members such as Sam Burgess that he was planning on attending.
Yesterday on this local HnhNorfolk blog he posted:
In response to your post, yes two members of the public from Lowestoft were intending to attend the meeting, they didn't however due to personal reasons. They too had discussed with the police before attending, and had not hidden the fact that they would attend. There was no intention of causing disorder but only to listen to the speakers you had appointed. Please note that it was actually requested that no other members of EDL attend. If the administrator of the (main) Hope not Hate blog that posted the article yesterday raising concerns that 'EDL thugs' were planning an attack, had posted the comment we made in response you all would have been aware that the EDL were not attending!Barbara posted the response because it was a reasonable explanation as to what they were up to and it was very interesting in itself – they claimed to have been meeting with a local member of the Chapelfield Mosque for the last year and even broke their fast with them.
The reason for 2 people attending was that they had a particular interest, this being the speaker from Chapelfield Mosque. They have met with a prominent member of said Mosque regularly over the past year and have also attended twice to the breaking of fast during Ramadan and so, were interested as to the content of their speech, is this such a crime?
For this, if true, the EDL deserve credit – Barbara and I both believe strongly in dialogue over aggressive bombastic rhetoric. (I would love to have heard the exchanges).
Therefore, we were somewhat astonished to see the posts in the open EastAnglia EDL “fan page” concerning the successful We are Norwich meeting.
United for peace in Norwich
On the other hand, as the photograph shows, they can see that the We Are Norwich meeting had quite a few ordinary citizens of Norwich, of all ages and many walks of life, ordinary citizens looking as if they mean business, united in serious opposition to the EDL threats to march on the city 10 November.
Too perplexed to consider whether the audience might be genuinely representative of the broad multi-cultural community of Norfolk, one EDL member resorted to “..the fucking sad low life old bastards nothing better to do with their sad and lonely boring lives makes me fucking sick.”
So I have a direct question to Ivan Humble – are you the reasonable and peaceable individual who posted the response to our blog shown above or are you the EDL supporter that writes
I shit myself with fear when I look at this group of UAF freedom fightersA straight forward person can’t write such differing comments, can he?
So the question is, are you breaking bread with Chapelfield Mosque or looking forward to breaking heads with Anthony Bamford?