Friday, 26 October 2012

Will the real Norfolk EDL please stand up?

From Michael Walker of HnhNorfolk:

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!

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?
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.

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.

The meeting's success created major problems for the EDL. On the one hand they are obsessed with trying to portray anyone attending as extreme left scum. 

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 fighters
A 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?


  1. "We are Walthamstow", the 100-odd strong group stating that it was a 250,000-strong community, stated it had good intentions as well. The rest is history.

  2. Let's not beat about the bush.
    You don't get many naive peaceloving people joining an organisation like the EDL that habitually threatens Muslims and commits violent acts.
    A person who joins the EDL has made a choice, a choice for threats and violence.

  3. Thank you for your article and also thank you to Barbara for actually submitting my response (as many aren't!). You quite rightly stated, I had not planned on attending the meeting, but after your comment and some thought on the matter regarding the Chapelfield Mosque speaker, I thought it would be beneficial to attend (with of course the chocolate biscuits!).

    With regards to the claim of attending Chapelfield Mosque, I can categorically confirm that this is true, I approached a group of Muslims that were at The Forum in Norwich over a year ago with the intention of building relations with them, I was welcomed and have met regularly with one member for the past year including the two mentioned visits to the Mosque.

    No you do not get many people joining an organisation such as the EDL that are willing as I have done, to put themselves and their position at risk by forging relationships in this way but this is what I do.

    I do truly believe in the values of the EDL but I like to tackle things in a different way, whichever religion you choose to follow is your decision and we have many multi faith members. I feel that education, research and communication is what I believe is needed here in East Anglia as I know it does not have many of the problems that some areas of the UK posess.

    With regards to the comments on the eastanglian fan page, yes I am an admin but I cannot be held responsible for every item that is posted on there, any posts from myself are via the eastanglianblog. Just because a few people make inane comments, you cannot label all EDL members the same, just as we cannot label all Muslims the same!

  4. I see you deleted the obnoxious remarks about We Are Norwich on your site; that's a start. Thanks.

    How about showing some leadership in other ways by calling the Norwich November 10 EDL march off?

    For every one of us at the We Are Norwich meeting there are many more wanting to come to the counter demonstration to rally against the disruptive and destructive EDL. Why?

    Because despite your assurances, the EDL has a repulsive reputation, and has made wicked and illegal threats of violence against fellow citizens.

    Criminal threats that have often turned into criminal acts, causing real pain and misery.

    And yes, when a person chooses to join an outfit like the EDL it means that person chooses those policies of violence and despair. All of you EDL members are labelled the same because of that choice you made.

    EDL policies are of hatred and division, many EDL members are criminals, and EDL members routinely express rage, abuse and violence towards others.

    Why have anything to do with such creeps? Does it make you feel big or important to threaten others?

    It is far more big and important to do the right thing, and leave the sinking EDL ship.

    If half of what you say is true, you do not belong there.

  5. Barbara, you're right that the EDL has a repulsive reputation. This reputation has been manufactured by repulsive people, who are predominantly not members of the EDL.

    You'll find nasty pieces of stuff in any organisation, as (for example) a scan of the political parties represented in Parliament will reveal. But in the UAF and its feeder organisations the nasty pieces of stuff are becoming ever more concentrated as more moderate members leave, worried about the implications for their own civil liberties of policies being trialled in respect to EDL members, eg threats to remove children should people remain members and imprisonment for actions that are not offences.

    I respect your freedom of thought, conscience and expression which has led you to join Hope Not Hate, because acceptance of the rights of people whose views we oppose is necessary to maintain the democratic health of a nation. In that respect, acceptance of our rights on your part would be reassuring.

  6. Sorry Joe, your pleas for acceptance fall at your first assertion.
    You say that the repulsive reputation of the EDL is "manufactured". This is such an incredible statement I hardly know how to respond.
    If you honestly believe this you should seek help. Seriously.