Those sensitive souls at the Football Lads Alliance, which is merely opposed to all kinds of terrorism and not at all racist, honestly, are looking to take their recent success in getting thousands of supporters to come to their London rally north of the border to Edinburgh. But many in the city are not at all keen to see their brand of enthusiasm rock up next weekend, and with good reason. So what has the FLA been up to since last month?
They have been complaining bitterly about the recent TV exposé of the far right, and in doing so have committed a rather basic gaffe. The good news for the FLA was that they were not highlighted as part of the far right, which one might have thought they would have taken as a positive. But for a publicity hungry group like that, not getting a mention set the person in charge of their Twitter feed off on a rant.
“CRAP TV TONIGHT … CUT ... LONG LIVE THE FLA … GOODNIGHT” it told. What was the problem? They didn’t get tarred with the same brush as the Islamophobes. But then came the spotlight shining on their proposed march in Scotland and things got a lot worse. “@AmySouthall … When are you free to discuss. You guys keep writing articles about @lads_alliance without any foundation” complained the Twitter feed.
And thus the sly threat: “Please feel free to drop Amy a polite note about her article … Firstly it's the vet's next weekend, and secondly it's in Edingburgh not Glasgow … Nothing factual about this article”. Yeah, it’s OK for thousands of blokes to pile in on a young journalist. And when Hope Not Hate Tweeted “The National Front will march to the cenotaph today, followed by the Football Lads Alliance” they went ballistic.
“These people are the real fascists … The FLA was made up of men, women and children yesterday and they fail to see how damaging they are … The FLA wants a safer place for future generations. Stop trying to pigeon hole us with a load of crap”. What was “crap” about HnH's statement? It was purely factual. And there are significant concerns about their march in Edinburgh which the group is so far failing to address.
As has been told, “FEARS have been raised that a Scottish protest inspired by a convicted hooligan who staged “the biggest far-right rally since World War II” in London is set to clash with anti-fascist St Andrew’s Day marches … A coalition of anti-racist campaigners, including the Scottish Trades Union Congress, MPs and MSPs, have raised concerns about the threat of a far-right linked group on the streets of Edinburgh this month”.
There was more in the Herald Scotland report: “Campaigners including Ian Murray, Edinburgh South Labour MP, and Tommy Sheppard, Edinburgh East SNP MP, joined a collective call warning of the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) group’s decision to rally in the Scottish capital on the day of a series of anti-racist St Andrew’s Day events”. Why is the FLA planning to march when there is an anti-racist march on the same day?
If the FLA wants to claim it isn’t racist, then marching in the same city and on the same day as an anti-racism event is not the way to do it. Just a thought.