The English Defence League (EDL), and their offshoots the Scottish Defence League(SDL) and the Welsh Defence League (WDL), have long been at pains to claim they are not “extremists” or “neo-Nazis”. To quote one backside-covering statement:
We will not associate with any individual or group that does not reject extremism. If any such group does decide to attend our demonstration, they will be swiftly removed. We want to make it clear to racists, neo-Nazis and any other extremists – you are not welcome.
All of which makes the behaviour of the SDL at an Edinburgh protest on Saturday rather awkward.
Here they are spotted by CrashBangWallace reader @Mr_Mark_Brown:
— Mark A Brown (@Mr_Mark_Brown) January 19, 2013
That placard they’re holding is the logo of the Golden Dawn, whose name they were also reportedly chanting. Golden Dawn are the Greek neo-nazi movement which alarmingly secured Parliamentary Seats during the country’s ongoing Euro crisis.
As you can see, the Golden Dawn logo the SDL waved on Saturday is absolutely in no way similar to the swastika – no sirree:
And the Golden Dawn definitely haven’t openly adopted the Nazi salute, one of their MPs definitely didn’t quote from classic anti-semitic fraud “The Protocols Of The Elders of Zion” in the Greek Parliament last year, while another Golden Dawn MP definitely doesn’t have a tattoo of the party’s logo alongside the slogan “SIEG HEIL” on his arm.
So by parading the Golden Dawn logo, and chanting their name, in Edinburgh this weekend the Scottish Defence Leage definitely aren’t neo-nazi. Got it?
The problem with fighting in the gutter is that everyone tends to get covered in muck.
So it is with the latest set-to around Aidan Burley, the MP who became notorious for attending a stag do where someone wore a Nazi costume.
This week, a schoolkid on a trip to Auschwitz tweeted:
aiden burley seen texting and dozing whilst listening to an concentration camp survivor
Burley denied dozing or being disrespectful, a position that was given quite a bit of credibility by a statement from Dr James Smith, the Director of the Holocaust Centre, who sat next to him at the talk in question.
Something seemed a little fishy, particularly given that teenagers on school trips aren’t normally that big on recognising backbench Tory MPs, so perhaps it wasn’t a huge surprise that the teacher leading the group of school children turned out to be a Labour councillor, Suzannah Reeves. According to PoliticsHome it was she who recognised Burley and “confronted” him.
The problem for Councillor Reeves (other than the appalling grammar of her pupils) is that she’s not exactly in a position to preach about controversies involving alleged anti-semitism.
As well as being a teacher and a Labour councillor, she’s also the Chair of Governors at Parrs Wood High School. Only last week, she and the school’s Headmaster were called to a meeting with Jewish community leaders angry that the school was hosting an event run by a Hamas-linked charity, Human Appeal International, listed by the US State Department as being linked to terrorism.
The school has since had to cancel the event, which was particularly embarassing given previous controversies over a pupil’s skewed perspectives on the Middle East.
Now, I’m sure Cllr Reeves isn’t anti-semitic in any way, the school trip she was running shows that she must have an understanding of the importance of Holocaust education, and there’s no suggestion she personally played any part in organising the HAI event.
But should she really be attacking Aidan Burley when the school she is meant to Govern has drawn the attention Department of Education’s extremism experts due to agreeing to host an event for a charity which is linked to funding Hamas, an anti-semitic terrorist movement dedicated to destroying Israel?
My point is simply this – perhaps the gutter isn’t the best place to fight, if you want to stay clean.