The creepy English Defence League took their campaign to defend our land from the menace of creeping Islamification by getting drunk and shouting at people in Walthamstow this weekend. Nobody in London, East 17 was asking them to stay another day (ayooooo) after a fiasco that surely marks one of the far-right street mob’s lowest ebbs.
The couple of hundred EDL members and supporters that could be bothered to turn out arrived at King’s Cross and began upsetting the Paralympic Games Makers with their mating calls, before heading to various pubs for the pre-lash. One of the pubs was a strip joint. There was me thinking that their hatred of those bloody Muslamics made them de facto feminists.
Throughout the day, there was the usual combination of giving it large to the cameras...
...and then demanding the right to privacy while being on a public demonstration.
When everyone was suitably tanked up, they were escorted by the police to the tube. On the way they took the opportunity to defend England from Sharia law by calling confused rail passengers who had just disembarked at Euston “scum”.
Having arrived in Walthamstow, members of the EDL began telling members of the press that it is they who pay our benefits. Thanks, EDL!
And, seeing as though I'm a grammar Nazi whose trips to the pub are funded by real-life Nazis, I feel the need to ask: Do the basic laws of English grammar not apply to those claiming to defend English culture? It’s details like this that makes the EDL’s critique of Islam less Richard Dawkins and more Mein Kampf for the post 9/11 world. That and the fact that I overheard one of them call a black bystander a “nig-nog”. (I can’t believe I actually just had to write that. What is this, the 1950s?)
The march set off and local shopkeepers stood about looking miffed that they had to shut for business for the day. It’s a shame really, I’m sure they could have done a roaring trade in tins of Stella if they could bear to interact with them. With many of the shops owned by Asians it might have been an interesting social experiment – is a pissed up racist still racist when the guy in charge of the booze has brown skin?
It became pretty clear early on that the EDL were less than welcome, with locals of all ethnicities lining the roads to tell them to GTFO.
The EDL didn’t think much of Walthamstow either, one of them telling a local to “shag your seven year old daughter like you did last night, you cunt”. There seems to be a weird assumption among the members of the EDL that all Muslims are paedophiles. I don't know if that's something they've been scared into sincerely believing, or if it's the same hollow posturing that makes them threaten to burn down mosques all the time.
If it's the former, then I guess the people who pray here better invest in some fire extinguishers. I can see this is a Hindu temple – I’m not an idiot – but that didn’t stop some of the EDL shouting “Muslim paedos!” at it.
These women turned out to give the marchers an ironic welcome...
...whereas this woman preferred to give them an existential crisis and/or make them puke up their pineal glands with racist indignation.
This anti-EDL protester was arrested because he had something a little more potent than swear words up his sleeve.
Namely a claw hammer and a weird little knife. Maybe he saw himself as some sort of anti-fascist Blade. He probably figured that in a kamikaze attack he could’ve taken out enough of the racist goons to make it worth his while before their sheer weight of numbers told and he was bludgeoned to a bloody pulp.
Somewhere in between ironic waving and the carrying of offensive weapons comes unfurling an anti-fascist banner and throwing some bottles and cans, which is exactly what the local anti-fascists did when the EDL came within chucking distance.
The EDL saw the antifa’s bottles and raised them some noise bombs. Then the cops started arresting people and it was all pretty chaotic for a couple of minutes.
I’m not sure where flower pots fall on the spectrum of violence, but they were thrown too, presumably to the chagrin of a green-fingered resident.
As usual, a police medic was on hand to push an offender’s face into the pavement like a regular Florence Nightingale.
A little further up the road from this little fracas was a junction which was entirely blocked by anti-fascists. This was supposed to be part of the march, so to avoid an excrement/ventilator collision, the police took the EDL on a whistle-stop tour of the residential streets of Walthamstow as they tried to sneak them to their rally point.
Meanwhile, the anti-fascists scampered through the town and regrouped where the EDL were supposed to end up. It was kind of like when the villagers surround the castle and burn it to the ground in Frankenstein, except the EDL’s castle consisted of a gazebo decorated with some St George flags and a white Transit van.
This left the EDL’s bigwigs who had arrived early, apparently too good to march with the grunts, to stand about dodging flying bottles and masonry, getting really, really wound up while their security team flailed after them.
The guy on the left, Kevin Carroll, made a speech about how the anti-fascists were the real fascists for not letting them have their rally. This was put slightly into perspective when Tommy Robinson (blue jumper and shades, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) took to the mic and slagged everyone off for supporting Iraqis and Afghans who, he said, are inferior because they have apparently never once in their history put on a uniform. A lack of perspective, racism and a uniform fetish? Sounds like fascism to me, Stephen. Meanwhile, the baying antifa crowd chanted, “If it wasn’t for the coppers, you’d be dead.”
And the classic, “Follow your leader, shoot yourself like Adolf Hitler.”
After a while, with the foot soldiers in a kettle about 500 metres away and with no sign of the antifa giving up, the cops had little option but to ask the EDL führers if they wouldn’t mind fucking off, and the EDL führers had little option but to agree. They were then marched slowly back towards the station. For a while it was so quiet it felt a bit like a funeral march for the UK’s far-right street party scene.
But there was no hushed reverence from the locals, who began to emerge from side streets...
...and upon rooftops...
...to subject the beleaguered EDL to another round of missiles and insults.
Which, predictably, caused the EDL to throw their toys out of the pram once more. Which looked like this.
I’ve never seen people move shelves of fruit quicker than when they’re preventing a politicised street food fight.
Most determined to tell the EDL where to go were this gang of pissed off Muslim youths who sat in the road shouting: “Allahu akbar." It would have been interesting to see the EDL come into contact with their bête-noire, but the police, with their totalitarian efficiency, cleared the route.
The EDL were escorted back to the station and kettled for ages, the police seemingly aping the tactics they used against students and G20 protesters to make them mind-numbingly bored and miserable so that they think twice before demonstrating again. I left when it got to the point where, with no toilets provided and with their lager-fulled bladders about to explode, they started pissing in bottles. I wasn't about to get soaked in fascist piss for anything or anyone.
Like an ageing rock band that’s doing one last tour to fund their kids' paths through university, the EDL were pissed off that they didn’t sell any merch, while the fans found the whole thing embarrassing. A lot of them also blamed the police for not clearing the antifa out of the way, but frankly had the cops not been there, Walthamstow's gutters would have been running white with Nazi blood.
Future marches are planned, but it’ll be interesting to see if they go ahead after this debacle, and, if they do, how many people are willing to go through it all all over again. The far-right takes many forms, but as an organisation the EDL seems pretty spent.
More reports from knucklehead street parties: