Today I spoke to Tommy Robinson, the leader of the English Defence League, who told me that he believed that his organisation shared a platform with UKIP on immigration and on Islam.
It all started with social media… The official Facebook page for the English Defence League has declared that ‘all nationalist parties should stand aside in areas that UKIP have a good chance of winning.’ This association with the EDL will be viewed by many UKIP activists as deeply damaging as it reawakens the notion that UKIP are the ‘BNP lite,’ or ‘BNP in suits’; a slogan which will no doubt please the other major parties.
Extracts from the EDL’s Facebook page:
The EDL’s Facebook page has over 18,000 ‘likes’ and the post which endorsed UKIP was sent out on the 27th of March, and since then it has attracted a lot of positive attention from EDL supporters. Moreover since that occasion, the party’s Facebook has been active in promoting speeches Nigel Farage has given on Islam, and of tours that UKIP are doing around the UK. This will not be viewed as good news for most Kippers, and could stump the growth that the party has witnessed in recent by-elections and polling results.
I spoke to Tommy Robinson, the leader of The English Defence League, to find out why his organisation was endorsing UKIP on their Facebook page.
There is a quote on the EDL’s Facebook page which states: “I think all nationalist parties should stand aside in areas that UKIP have a good chance of winning. Lets not split their vote. We might take a couple or a few hundred votes of them, we don’t come no where and we’ve cost UKIP the win because they come 50,60 votes behind Labour.” Is that the EDL endorsing UKIP?
‘Yeah. What parties are there? I always get asked this about why the EDL got into politics. It is all set against you – it is impossible to do without millions of pounds funding, etc etc. Now who is going to change what is happening is this country from the point of immigration and Islam? I remember a speech Lord Pearson done 2 years ago, he was the ex leader of UKIP…(Google dialogue)…where he questioned about the EDL, and everything he said in his speech about what is happening to this country about the demographics of Islam, and the Muslim birth rate, and the threat to the nation – I remember watching that and thinking “bang he has got it on the head; he’s hitting every nail on the head, I agree with everything he is saying.” But to hear a well educated; say for example my own mother doesn’t agree with what I stand for; but when I show like Lord Pearson saying what we are saying, because they are saying exactly what we say, just in a different way – do you know what I mean?’
What do you feel the similarities are between your organisation and UKIP?
Europe, we want out of Europe – and also with regards to their manifesto around Islam. Well to be honest I am going on about when Lord Pearson was leader, now they have Nigel Farage and I think he is a bit more… he doesn’t really comment on it which is a bit disappointing to a lot of people who were supporting them – from what I hear.’
Full interview here:
A UKIP spokesperson had this to say on Robinson’s thoughts:
“We have nothing to do with the EDL, if you look at our website, those people who are active in the EDL are specifically excluded for membership of the party.”
The feeling is clearly not mutual, and the association of UKIP with a nationalist group will further add doubts to the justification of UKIP being a Libertarian party; especially as the EDL leader claims common ground on immigration and Islam. Keep an eye out on this one folks, it could get ugly – especially if UKIP are identified as similar to this: