A common opinion expressed since news that the self-styled English and Scottish Defence Leagues were planning a protest in Glasgow has been that we ignore them. By mobilising against them, the argument goes, we give them the oxygen of publicity.
This is unrealistic and ahistorical. Unrealistic, because no matter what, people are going to want to counterprotest against this mob. It’s just natural. Better then to make sure that this response is led peacefully, to avoid exactly the kind of ugly scenes that the EDL wish to provoke. Already there have been a number of novel ideas about what forms the counter protest, if needed, would take. More will be discussed at tonight’s public meeting.
The argument also doesn’t take into account how it is that the far-right have not held any marches in Glasgow for the last twenty years. Veteran anti-Nazi campaigners will tell you it is because they were driven from our streets in the 70s and 80s and haven’t dared show their faces since.
Even at times of tension over the years such as when Kriss Donald was murdered, the BNP claimed they were going to do something in Pollokshields only for them to later pull out when they saw that they were not welcome. This may well be the case again, but only if they see the scale of opposition to be massive, determined and diverse.
There are a number of hurdles before then. Lobbying of Glasgow City Council is taking place to have the march banned. This is if the EDL even put an application in. Their numbers at the Harrow Mosque protest were embarrassingly low and I suspect the same would be the case for any protest in Glasgow.
This is all hypothesis, but if it doesn’t go ahead, it will be a pitiful show for the far-right in Scotland once again, and will only be the case due to good people doing something.
Posted by Osama Saeed