Saturday, March 06, 2010

Merrie England

I've just been watching a news-video on the Guardian website English Defence League march in London.

The opposing, anti-facist marchers, are a mix of black and white, both genders and lots of non-accented voices, chanting:

We are black, we are white, together we are dynamite.

The EDL chant:

'England till I die, England till I die, I know I am I'm sure I am I'm England till I die.'

A black man in the anti-fascist camp on a megaphone addresses the anti-EDL crowd:

'If we don't stand out against them, then what happens is they start to grow, and when they grow they start to act like people did in the past, and one day people say, what happened? Why didn't people stand out? And that's why I'm proud to say...'

(shot cuts to EDL)

The EDL are all male, white, wearing lots of Burberry, baseball caps, sporting regional accents, left arms across their breast as they voice themselves publicly in unison, hands touching their hearts, wistful looks on their faces and cans of Carling clutched in their right hands.

'I'm with the EDL mate, yeah. There's thousands of us, all round the country', the first interviewee tells a person holding the camera, as he folds and rolls up a red-crossed white banner proudly sporting the name of his group, his accent sounding anywhere from Devon to Norfolk.

Do you feel part of a big movement? - he is asked:

'It's not a case of I feel part of a big movement, I am part of a big movement mate', he replies.

'E, E, EDL, E, E, EDL' they chant (aggressively), squaring up across the police lines against their opponents, who chant:

'There are many many more of us than you, there are many many more of us than you ...EDL go to hell, take your fascist place as well.'

The English Defence League are upset about 'Muslims'.

We will never submit to Islam, one of the placards reads, opposite a large burly thirties male on a loud-hailer administering political rhetoric in what sounds like an East midlands working class accent, the men, many of whom have shaven heads, bonding vocally in support:

' your brother, your son, your grandson, and I say to you now, don't worry, it's gonna be OK, the English Defence League is here, and we are here for yooooo (wild cheering) ...d'yer know what, even God bless the Muslims, they'll need it, when they're burning in fuckin hell.' (more wild cheers)

One young man, short, close cropped ginger hair, middle England working class accent, tells us:
'I'm not racist whatsoever, not one bit, but the thing is yeah, they're the racists, coming to our country and blowing the place up, yeah. How can I be racist?'

Another chap standing near him, more senior in years, the same sort of look and dress, hoodie, can of Carlsberg in his right hand, the alcohol bringing out his loquacity, in a heavily working class Manchester accent:

'The thing is yeah, if a white English Christian speaks up for White English Christians, we are branded racists. The Muslims can say what the hell they like, but if we say something bad about Islam, about the Pakistanis, about the Bangladeshis, we are branded racist scum.'

Another man standing with him, East Midlands accent, looks like he's had a few, interjects:

"What the fuck are they even doing in this country? Fuck 'em else where. Go back to your own country. Go back to your own country coz you're not welcome in this country."

'No, no, they are welcome, as long as they abide by English Christian rules -- the Manc philosopher counters in heavy nasal emphasis a la Liam Gallagher, turning 'christian rules' into kristeeaaan roooles -- ...they're welcome. They come here, but they scrounge and they plot to kill and bomb us at every occasion they can get..

With this final piece of insight, he shrugs his shoulders, the can waving upward and an EDL steward, his face covered by a scarf, whispers something into the ear of the Manc, who instinctively moves his left arm with the Carling can in it, across his breast and attempts to shift the emotional pitch of his voice into sombre and sober address, as the can touches his heart momentarily in a sign of respect:

'The fallen troops. God bless 'em. God bless the fallen troops.'