| I have just received news that the leader of the English Defence League, Stephen Lennon, is set to join the far right British Freedom Party (BFP) and immediately become its deputy leader. This information was discovered following a joint research project between HOPE not hate and the bloggers at ‘EDL News’.
Lennon’s move is likely to be followed by many other EDL leaders. He wanted to announce this at the EDL rally in Luton on 5 May but we decided to blow his ‘surprise’ early.
The merging of the EDL into the BFP will change the face of the British far right. It also probably signals the end for the British National Party. Coming only days before the local and London elections, this is a hammer blow to Nick Griffin.
Our sources in the BFP have obtained the minutes of their last Executive Council meeting, which was held in Luton, and attended by both Stephen Lennon and his deputy, Kevin Carroll. The EDL leadership has been at great pains to deny it is a racist organisation but their demands on the BFP prove it is just that. Lennon has insisted the BFP adopts the following policies:
- Ban the Burqa/Niqab
- Stop the developments of all new mosques
- Halt new immigration except for “highly qualified positions”
- Promote Christian values
- Leave the European Union.
This sounds pretty much like the policies of the BNP. In fact, the British Freedom Party was set up by BNP members who had fallen out with Nick Griffin. Stephen Lennon used to be in the BNP.
So how should we respond? Our campaign against the BNP only succeeded because of your involvement and I fear that we’ll need to come together again in the months ahead. What do you think will be most effective?
I fear that the BFP/EDL threat is more dangerous than the BNP. Lennon has a better media presence than holocaust denying Nick Griffin. In focusing on Islam and the threat of Islamist extremists, the BFP/EDL can have a greater appeal than the simple racist agenda of the BNP. And by its demonstrations the BFP/EDL will increase tensions in our communities.
It would be easy to just copy the campaign we have successfully run against the BNP but perhaps we need to be a bit more creative. I’ve jotted down a few ideas but I would like to know your thoughts before we design a campaign plan:
Stephen Lennon hoped to break the news of his new position on 5 May. We have spoilt the surprise and hopefully we can put them on the defensive. Please fill out the survey and help us devise a campaign strategy