David Blackburn

John Denham’s Mosley comparison merely sensationalises race-tensions

John Denham’s Mosley comparison merely sensationalises race-tensions
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Communities Secretary John Denham has compared the English Defence League (EDL), the group that has organised protests against what it describes as the ‘Islamification of Britain’, to Oswald Mosley’s Union of British Fascists. Whilst announcing that the government plans to re-engage predominantly white working class voters who are being seduced by the BNP, Denham said:

“You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to - Cable Street and all of those types of things. The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right and among extremist groups.”

Denham is right to express concern that the EDL’s provocation tactics might incite extremism from the far-left, far-right and indeed militant Islam. Alhough Denham did point out that the situation is not on the scale of 1930s yet, comparing the EDL with Mosley’s ‘Blackshirts’ is scaremongering that sensationalises the issue of race-tension. The upshot of a Guardian investigation is that the EDL is spectacularly disorganised: the self-confessed football hooligans that run it have no agenda beyond the slogan of “Keep Britain British” and the desire to throw a few punches of an afternoon. Harrow might be difficult to get to and not much fun when you get there, but only 15 EDL activists turned up for yesterday’s protest. The EDL is nothing like the Union of British Fascists, why give it that kudos? It's rather like comparing Britain to Baltimore.