A group calling itself the Football Lads’ Alliance (FLA) is holding a rally today in central London, which is claimed “to demonstrate their views against extremism … to protect their children, grandchildren and families from the extremist threat prevalent throughout the world today”. One of the organisers has added a little more detail.
“We all wish to show our concern at the recent upsurge in terror attacks taking place across the UK and Europe. We will be remembering the victims and calling on the Government to take decisive action against the extremist threat. Both of these groups are opposed to all extremism and racism and totally committed to making a positive contribution to the great challenge we all face”. Not everyone is convinced of their motives.
One of those is Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott. As the Stand Up To Racism campaign has told, “Leading trade union and labour movement figures including Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Lord Peter Hain, trade union leaders and others have signed a statement expressing concerns about Saturday’s Football Lads Alliance (FLA) demonstration in central London”. And there is more.
“The FLA group claims it is simply opposed to terrorism and extremism. However anti-racist campaigners are concerned that the event will attract far right and racist organisations … In recent weeks there has been sustained racist and Islamophobic postings on the FLA Facebook page, including by people who openly admit to being linked to groups like the English Defence League”. The EDL is not yet dead.
Being “opposed to extremism” is all too often used as cover for Islamophobia. You think I exaggerate? One look at sites like Defend Europa shows what I mean. “Around 30,000 patriotic Football fans from all across the UK will put aside team rivalries to march in London tomorrow (Saturday 7th), the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) has reported” it tells.
We read of “the UK government’s failure to deal with Islamic terrorism”. The victimhood and smear machine is in full swing, too: “Communist groups have threatened to field many counter-protestors, with the extremist newspaper, Socialist Worker, urging members of the far-left to ‘sound the alarm, go on the streets’ and confront the peaceful marchers”.
This from a website which uses heading descriptions such as “Migrants”, “Islamisation of Europe”, “Population Replacement” and “Heritage and Identity”. Moreover, while the FLA Twitter feed wants you to know “And they say racist as a cheap shot … All together on this one … All faiths, colour No racisim No VIOLENCE … Together We Are Stronger”, the mask does not take long to slip and show us the nature of this particular beast.
“Talk about stand up to racism. Time to stand up to the Diane Abbott welcoming committie [sic] Saturday … We'll show enoughs [sic] enough … A show of force!” Yeah, that’s peaceful, inclusive and not at all racist. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.
Diane Abbott was right once again. Getting to be a habit of hers, isn’t it?