The Football Lads Alliance, which is supposed to be about opposition to extremism, and not just a bunch of thugs looking to protest against people in this country who are not white, was intending to hold a demonstration in Manchester yesterday. Sadly, this was a campaign which turned out not necessarily to their advantage, as no more than 300 of the so-called “lads” turned up, and they were outnumbered by a counter demonstration.
Someone at the FLA decided to organise the protest on the anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing last year, reasoning that this would show all those Scary Muslims (tm) and their pals that they meant business. But what that someone managed to miss was that this was the same day that both the Royal Wedding, and the F A Cup Final, were being held elsewhere. As a result, both turnout and spirits were at a low ebb.
On top of that, the someone who was organising the march did not get it cleared with the Police, and so it didn’t happen. But the counter demonstration, by Stand Up To Racism, went ahead: “Over 600 joined the rally against the racist group organised by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) Manchester. They rallied in St Peter's Square then marched down next to where the FLA had gathered to chants of ‘Whose streets - our streets’”.
It got worse. “In a sharp contrast to the confidence on the anti-racist side, the FLA supporters were dour, demoralised and divided. They turned out at most 300 - compared to 20,000 in London last October and 3,000 in Birmingham in March … The FLA had planned to march through the city centre on the anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing to whip up Islamophobia”. And then worse still.
“But, as their march wasn't allowed to go ahead, at most 250 rallied in a near-empty Castlefield Bowl. Over 50 remained drinking in the adjacent Castlefield Hotel balcony, noticeably disappointed by their numbers”. Some of the mirth-inducing comments from the FLA faithful show the frustration at their leaders’ ineptitude.
“It was good while it lasted” … “said this before Birmingham numbers will drastically drop and within 12 months the group will be finished” … “Everyone scattered all over what a shambles no March thought this was a sorted demonstration obv not who sorted the demo?” … “Shambles more lads in the pubs [than] at the speech as everyone thought there was a march there wasn’t but very bad timing on FA Cup day”.
The less than totally grammatical verdict? “I travelled from central London to both events & this was embarrassing … No excuses EMBARRASSING … All the speakers at both events were worthy of so many more numbers but where was everyone … Getting handed a piece of paper after 2 hours plus on a train by the old bill to say the march is off by the leftist scum turn up … Embarrassing”. So a bit embarrassing, then.
The FLA was for a time, but not for all time. Good thing too.