Jul 22 2016

EDL plan day at the seaside in Nottingham

The EDL’s “Nottingham Division” has announced a demonstration in Nottingham on Saturday August 6th.

This hasn’t exactly gone down well with city council leader Jon Collins who has called on the police to ban the march.

The city’s Market Square is currently the site of a beach, complete with sand, water and fairground rides. A horde of drunken fascists doesn’t exactly fit with the intended ambiance.

Collins says:

“We’re extremely concerned about the prospect of an event of this kind taking place in the heart of the city centre during the school holidays.

“That can’t be right when families are enjoying the beach, the water feature and everything else Nottingham has to offer during the summer holidays.”

Banning the march is unlikely to be very effective. Under the Public Order Act, it’s only possible to ban marches, not static demos. Whatever the police decide, the EDL will likely turn up anyway.

That said, they aren’t likely to get many people out. The EDL is a drink-addled shadow of the organisation that brought several hundred members to Nottingham in 2009.

On Saturday they held a national demonstration in London. It wasn’t a great success, as EDL News explain: “Only 50 turned up and those that did were staggering around drunk and high on drugs.” The latest EDL split (ironically using the moniker United People of Britain) followed days later.

Recent protests in Nottingham by the Notts Casuals Infidels have hardly been major victories for the far-right and suggest the the inevitable handful of drunken fascists are unlikely to be get a warm welcome.


Jul 1 2016

Britain First protest against non-existent migrant camp

Britain First apparently think they are some kind of low-rent Sheriff of Nottingham and have travelled to Sherwood Forest to search for an alleged “migrant camp”. Except there’s no migrants. And there never were.

In a video posted online, the group’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen (who has a fascinating family tree) says:

“You may have seen reports in the media that migrants have set up illegal camps and within these camps they’ve been causing a huge amount of destruction and disturbance.

“There’s litter everywhere, they’ve been cutting, hacking at trees, cutting bushes down.

“They’ve got knives and locals have been threatened by these migrants occupying these illegal camps.

“It really is an issue around here.”

Sounds scary right? Except she’s talking utter bollocks.

There is an abandoned camp in the forest. But it has bugger all to do with migrants.

The claims about a “migrant camp” in the forest originated on Facebook and were reported in local rag the Mansfield Chad. As a neat fit with their anti-immigrant agenda it was uncritically repeated by the Daily Express and probably elsewhere.

It quickly turned out that the camp had in fact been built by local teenagers in 2010. Brad Dury told the Chad:

“The truth is me and a few friends just decided to build it in 2010 when we were bored in the summer. We wanted somewhere to camp and have a party, as you do.

“We never chopped down any of the trees we used ones that had already been knocked down and pieced it all together. It took about five of us to put the arched trunk up there!”

Assorted detailed claims about the supposed inhabitants of the camp were made to the Chad by a local man who refused to give his real name. Whether he made them up or actually believed his own bullshit isn’t clear. He certainly wasn’t pleased to get called up on it. Chad reporter Nick Charity told the Huffington Post:

“The source also claimed a very elaborate treehouse was built by migrants. When we confronted him with the knowledge it was actually built by local teens in the summer of 2010, he argued with this presuming they were lying and must ‘be with some immigration protection outfit’. Eventually he submitted but asked if our contact was foreign.”

Fascists have never troubled themselves greatly about facts. It probably shouldn’t be a great surprise that despite an overwhelming body of evidence that this isn’t an issue they decided to try and build a campaign around it.

This latest instance of stupidity by the party comes only a week after they released a video of themselves harassing a homeless couple in Mansfield.

All of this is amusing in it’s own way. Everybody enjoys a chance to watch fascists making tits of themselves. But it should also stand as a warning to anti-fascists. They clearly feel confident to openly throw their weight around in Nottinghamshire and elsewhere. If they ever get their shit together enough to identify a real target they could prove to be a genuine threat.


Jun 29 2016

Resist post-Brexit racism

Since the results of the EU Referendum were announced on Friday, there has been a surge in racist incidents across the country.

In Nottinghamshire the police had received 14 reports of hate crime between Friday and Monday. In Mansfield they say that tensions are being “closely monitored”. (Figures for elsewhere in the region are harder to come by.)

There has always been a level of racially motivated incidents in the UK, widely assumed to be under-reported. However what is happening now seems to both quantitatively and qualitatively different (i.e. there’s more of it and it’s worse). Victims report abuse of a type they haven’t experienced in decades.

This all comes after a deeply divisive campaign. While campaigners briefly tried focussing on the economic arguments (“your boss says vote X”), the “debate” quickly switched to immigration. There were an array of sensationalist claims about Turkey joining the EU and exploitation of the refugee crisis. This was clearly a key factor mobilising the leave vote.

This is not too suggest that all 17 million people who voted to leave are racist. They clearly are not. However, a small, racist minority have interpreted the vote as meaning that a majority of people agree with them. We must now prove them wrong.

There is already a movement to challenge this racist surge. On Tuesday evening hundreds of people gathered in Nottingham’s Market Square to call for unity.


Jun 24 2016

Charity boxing match cancelled because of Casual Infidels comments

A charity boxing match has been canceled following the comments made by one of the Notts Casual Infidels about the murder of Jo Cox MP.

Jamie Ray Upton AKA Daniel Hall from Mansfield, is the group’s spokesman and runs their Facebook page.

In the aftermath of Cox’s murder while others were expressing shock and disgust, Upton – presumably worse for wear after England’s victory over Wales in the Euros – responded by posting:

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we take it to the next level. We have been mugged off for Far to (sic) long.”

By the next day Upton was busily backtracking, claiming he’d been misunderstood, but the damage had already been done. His comments made the group instant national hate figures – even in the blackshirt-supporting Daily Mail. (The Nottingham Casuals rugby club had to put out a statement distancing themselves from their fascist namesakes.)

Jamie Ray Upton

Jamie Ray Upton AKA Daniel Hall from Mansfield

Upton was set to fight in the Ultra White Collar Boxing event at The Village Hotel in Chilwell on Sunday. The event was intended to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, but has been cancelled by the organisers.

A spokesman for Cancer Research UK said:

“Everyone at Cancer Research UK was absolutely shocked and saddened to hear the news of Labour MP Jo Cox. Our thoughts are with her colleagues, friends and family.

“It has been brought to our attention that a member of a group condoning this tragic incident was due to take part in a fundraising event in aid of Cancer Research UK.

“We have alerted the event organisers and the decision has been made not to allow his participation to ensure that the event remains a safe and positive environment.”

The decision to cancel the fight may also have been influenced by a planned anti-fascist demonstration outside the event.

The other fights at the event are still going ahead and the organisers are better off without Upton anyway. His record when it comes to fund-raising isn’t great. While a member of the EDL he was  accused of “ripping off” the organisation by pocketing  funds from the sales of EDL merchandise, as well as profiteering on travel to and from demonstrations. He was also accused of  taking EDL money donated to his “North Notts” division, and investing it in a new charitable front called “stand together”.


Jun 21 2016

Who are the Casual Infidels?

It’s been an exciting week for the Notts Casual Infidels. Their uncensored Facebook “banter” delighting in the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by a ‘lone wolf’ fascist made them instant national hate figures – even in the blackshirt-supporting Daily Mail.  No doubt there will be many angry people demanding to know who is behind their online hate campaign.

First, their spokesman who runs their Facebook page, Jamie Ray Upton AKA Daniel Hall from Mansfield. Jamie was accused of pocketing the cash he made from sales of EDL merchandise when he was a member as well as using it to fund his own projects, and was subsequently booted out of the organisation. Keen to keep on the gravy train he started his own project, the Casual Infidels. Before becoming infamous for inciting the murder of Labour MPs, he was last seen collecting donations in a Cancer Research bucket in Market Square on his way to the Casual Infidels disaster of a demo. Draw your own conclusions as to where the money was really going. The latest news is that Upton’s Facebook post is under investigation by the police so he may we may not see him again for a while.

DanielHall-Mansfield

Jamie Ray Upton AKA Daniel Hall

No chancer like Upton can operate without a sidekick, preferably one who can provide some muscle (or, at least, some bulk) without asking difficult questions. The Notts Casual Infidels lieutenant is Craig Burridge, a racist Worksop Town fan who (sometimes) brings a small mob of others to the demos.

Craig Burridge

Craig Burridge

Jimmi Rae - Worksop

Jimmi Rae – Worksop

Andrew Shaw - Worksop

Andrew Shaw – Worksop

At NCI’s latest flop demo, Upton brought some lads along from Mansfield with him too. Unfortunately, the only ones he could find were fresh out of their first year of GCSEs. But then, he clearly has no qualms about grooming them for a role in his far right organisation.

Outside of these two towns, there is no solid support for the Casual Infidels. A few younger ex-EDL from Nottingham seemed interested, notably Jack Stevens and Adam Repton, but there are tensions between fascists from out of town and the city that will only have been exacerbated by the recent loose cannon comments on Facebook.

Jack Stevens - Nottingham EDL

Jack Stevens – Nottingham EDL

Paul Jeffery – Nottingham

Ian Kellett (Nottingham) and Wayne Grisenthwaite (Manchester) - both were at recent NCI demo

Ian Kellett (Nottingham) and Wayne Grisenthwaite (Fleetwood, Lancashire) – both were at recent NCI demo

Steven Morgan - Nottingham

Steven Morgan – Nottingham

Of course, this small handful of Notts ex-EDLers are not enough to hold even the tiniest demo in Nottingham, given the overwhelming opposition. They rely on the EDL tactic of bussing people in from all over the country to get their numbers up to more than a car-load. For their recent demo there was a sizeable contingent from the North-West (Gaz Jones – Manchester, Spencer Shirley and Melissa Lewins – Colne, Wayne Grisenthwaite – Fleetwood) as well as Halifax (Conrad Ayscough – accused of assaulting a muslim woman in the street on his visit to Nottingham), London (Lucas Phelan) and Littlehampton (Pete Gillett).

Spencer Shirley (Colne), Lucas Phelan (London), Pete Gillett (Sussex)

Spencer Shirley (Colne), Lucas Phelan (London), Pete Gillett (Littlehampton)

 

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Conrad Ayscough

Finally here’s a few more faces from that demo:

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Jun 20 2016

Murder of Jo Cox MP

The brutal murder of Jo Cox MP is a tragic reminder of the very real physical threat fascism poses.

The British media have been hesitant to describe Thomas Mair as a terrorist. Early reports emphasised what a good neighbour he was, or that he was known locally as a loner.

There is overwhelming evidence that Thomas Mair was inspired by fascist politics:

  • Eyewitness reports suggest that he shouted, Britain First” as he launched the attack
  • The Southern Poverty Law Centre, a hatewatch group in the US, have uncovered receipts showing that he purchased $620 of books from the neo-Nazi Nationalist Alliance including fascist propaganda and guides to making improvised weapons.
  • The far-right Springbok Club described him as “one of the earliest subscribers and supporters of ‘S.A. Patriot'”.
  • He had at least two letters published in the South African Patriot in Exile (which succeeded the SA Patriot)  in 1991 and 1999. In these he condemned “White liberals and traitors” who he blamed for the downfall of Apartheid. He stated that he had “faith that the White Race will prevail, both in Britain and in South Africa, but I fear that it’s going to be a very long and very bloody struggle.”
  • According the the Southern Poverty Law Centre, in 2000 Mair attended a meeting with members of the BNP and William Pierce, then leader of the Nationalist Alliance. They also suggest that John Tyndall (former BNP leader) was aware of Mair.
  • Police searching his house are reported to have discovered Nazi regalia and far-right literature.
  • A photo on the website of Britain First appears to show Mair alongside other members of the group’s “Northern Division”.
  • At his first court appearance he gave his name as “death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”

Lone wolves

Mair is unusual amongst wannabe fascist terrorists in that he actually managed to kill somebody. However, there have been no shortage of attempts over the last few years. Here are just a few we know about:

  • In September 2015, Mark Colborne was found guilty of preparing terrorist acts. He had purchased the ingredients for making cyanide. His politics appear to have been… unique, but notes expressed hatred for “non-Aryans” whom he referred to as “blacks and Caucasian idiots”.
  • In January 2015, Zack Davies attacked Sarandev Bhambra, a Sikh, with a machete and hammer shouting “white supremacy”, “this is revenge” and “this is for Lee Rigby.”
  • In 2014, Bret Atkins and Jamie Snow, has their sentences extended after they tried to send a letter bomb to a Halifax solicitors from prison. According to the police,they chose “victims purely on the grounds of their race or religion… expressed deeply racist and anti-Muslim views and sent a series of threatening letters designed to instil fear in their recipients” before moving beyond mere threats.
  • In March 2014, Ian Forman was found guilty of a plot to blow up mosques in Merseyside. Forman frequently expressed his racist ideology and views against the disabled to friends and workmates.
  • In 2013 the three members of the “United Rebel Army” were arrested in Loughborough. They had stockplied materials to make weapons to carry out a “new Colombine” (more on this below).
  • In 2013, Pavlo Lapshyn placed bombs outside three mosques in the West Midlands. The only reason nobody died was because he’d got the timing wrong. It later emerged that he’d stabbed Mohammed Saleem, an 82 year-old Muslim grandfather in April of that year.
  • In 2010, father and son Nicky and Ian Davison were both found guilty of terrorist offences. The pair were members of the neo-Nazi “Aryan Strike Force”.

We can thank a very British amateurishness for the failure of these groups and individuals to do more damage and kill more people.  Mair demonstrates that we can’t rely on that.

Mental illness

It has also been widely reported that Mair was mentally ill. We are not in a position to comment on these reports. If true, it would not be the first time that vulnerable people had been drawn in by fascist ideas.

In 2014, Michael Piggin a teenager from Loughborough was tried at the Old Bailey accused of planning a “new Colombine”.

Piggin was a self-proclaimed member of the English Defence League. His bedroom was decorated with a swastika and newspaper cuttings about Norweigan fascist terrorist Anders Breivik. His plans were detailed in a Che Guevara notebook, the cover of which he had supplemented with a swastika, SS runes and the slogan “EDL no surrender British and proud”.

When he was arrested in February 2013, police discovered an arsenal of bombs and weapons including partially assembled petrol bombs and pipe bombs.

The fellow members of his “United Rebel Army,” later named as Jacob Crouch and Ryan Towell, both pled guilty to possessing explosives. However, following his arrest, Piggin was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome (a form of autism). His defence argued that his plans were never serious and his condition “was the lens through which they must view his behaviour”.

After two trials failed to reach a verdict, the judge ordered that Piggin be detained under the Mental Health Act.

None of this is to suggest that there is some simple correlation between mental illness or non-neuro-typical individuals and violence. The real world is very different to a slasher movie or a Batman comic. One in four of us will experience mental illness at some point in our lives. Only a tiny fraction of mentally ill people become violent.

Clearly, however, some vulnerable people are susceptible to racist ideology. Anti-immigrant racism is being pushed ever more loudly, reaching new lows in the EU Referendum campaign. At the same time the impact of austerity and government-imposed NHS restructuring is hitting mental health services hard. That could prove to be a toxic combination.

What now?

Defeating lone wolf fascists is tough. There are no easy answers and we’re not going to pretend there are.

Our fundamental task remains challenging fascists whenever they show their heads. This may reduce the risk from lone wolves. (As “radicalisation” requires somebody to do the radicalising, this can’t hurt.) Even if it doesn’t, organised fascism in and of itself remains a real physical threat both to those on the left and to ethnic minorities.


Jun 14 2016

Antifa 3 Casual Infidels 0

It was their third attempt to “take back” the streets of Nottingham, and Notts Casual Infidels had threatened to “smash the reds”. On their first demo in October last year, the Market Square was taken by antifascists and refugees before they could leave the pub. They came back with 15 pitiful racists to be humiliated again later in the year but this time they had been building for months to make Saturday their big one. It was not to be.

SpotTheFash

Spot the fash: Where are ya?

Despite calling favours from mates from all round the country (fascists travelled from Halifax, London and Sussex), less than 20 bothered to turn up. Despite the presence of hundreds of police to facilitate their march they were forced to hold their rally in an alley, about 50 yards from their pub, penned in at both ends by antifa and other pissed-off members of the local population. They waved a UKIP placard, and were bundled onto a bus by police anxious to get them to the station and out of town before any of them was seriously injured. It was all over by 3.

Casuals Infidels sounding very much like they're about to surrender

Casuals Infidels sounding very much like they’re about to surrender

It wasn’t long before recrimations were flying. Nottingham EDL’s Jack Stevens and Adam Repton were spotted by antifascists staggering out of an off-licence, moaning about how it was all organised by Nazis from out of town.  Incidentally, Repton, who didn’t go to the demo, was also seen having a long and involved chat with a suspected undercover cop.  I hope he knew what he was doing!

Then Chesterfield EDL’s John Bryan slagged off the demo’s “star attraction”, Pete Gillett, a racist bedroom ranter who came all the way from West Sussex. Bryan claimed Gillett was only in it for the money (no change for the far right there then!) and Gillett swore he wouldn’t do any more demos because “I do not want to rub shoulders with cunts like them“. Oh dear.  if you’re short of cash, perhaps you’ll have to take up the drug dealing again Pete – or try working as a Matt Lucas impersonator?

PeteGillettNotPlaying

BackStabbing

Speaking of scamming, what were the – doubtless unlicensed – Casual Infidels doing collecting donations in a Cancer Research bucket all day? Let’s just say it wouldn’t be the first time that ‘patriots’ have been involved in bogus collections of money.

Mansfield infidel Jamie Upton (‘Daniel Hall’) shows some schoolkids how to scam the public when you run out of beer money

Meanwhile, antifascists had another morale-boosting day. The fascists were out-manouvered and out-numbered for the third time in a row. Their march was stopped, and no one heard their poisonous message or even saw them. Antifascists had the run of the streets and the opportunity to engage with the public whilst the fascists hid behind rows of police. It was another public demonstration that militant antifascism works and keeps Nazi scum off the streets.


Dec 13 2015

Casuals flop in Nottingham

After their underwhelming protest in Nottingham in October, the Notts Casual Infidels had another go on December 5th, under  the guise of ‘Nottingham Against Mass Immigration’.  This time the ex-EDL rump organised with more notice and agreed a march route with the police – as so often, “we go where we want” translates as “we go where the police tell us“.  They were clearly hoping to attract more than the 20-odd they attracted on their first foray.  It didn’t go so well for them….

They met up at the Waterfront pub on the side of the canal near the railway station, for the usual pre-demo dutch courage. 

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As the area around the pub quickly became occupied by a sizeable crowd of antifascists, the police spent some time working out how they would get the Casual Infidels on to the march route.  A surprisingly small group of hapless fascists soon lined up behind heavy police numbers, and off they went.

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The Casual Infidels numbered around 15 – even less than their previous effort.  A large anti-fascist crowd quickly blocked the street in front of the fascists, and attempted to prevent the fascist march from progressing.  However, a huge and concerted police effort saw the march pushed through, and on to the busy main road near the pub.  After much push-and-pull with antifascists, and kettling some of them in a side-street, the police managed to escort the tiny Casual Infidel march towards the town centre, harassed and harangued by antifascists all the way.

The end point of the march brought home how lame the Casual Infidels day out in Nottingham was; about 10 of them (some having slunk off already!) corralled behind fencing and a large number of police in a side street, and essentially invisible to the public; meanwhile a much larger number of antifascists leafletted the main shopping street and taunted the minature fascist mobilization.

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All in all, a good result for the antifascists, and a reverse for the Notts Casual Infidels – time to give it up lads….

 


Nov 27 2015

Anti-immigration protest in Nottingham

On the evening of October the 19th, a group calling itself Notts Casual Infidels organised a protest in Nottingham against “Uncontrolled Immigration” (the fact that immigration is ‘uncontrolled’ in the UK will come as a surprise to migrants imprisoned in detention centres, but let’s leave that aside for now).  A group of about 20 fascists spent a while drinking themselves brave in a Wetherspoons pub on the City’s Market Square, before venturing out to wave a large St.George’s Flag and a home-made banner.

They stood on the edge of the square with their flag for a while, opposed by a much larger anti-fascist group, mobilized at short notice.  When the anti-fascists, numbering about 100, moved towards the pub, the police formed lines to keep the two groups separate.

A familiar face on the demo was Jimmy Saville fan Bob Brindley, aka “Nottingham BNP”.  He stood at the edge of the NCI contingent, waving his grubby Union Jack.  He quickly scuttled off when the antifascist demo moved closer.

 

 

It seems the NCI are linked to the remains of Nottinghamshre EDL – note the rotund guy on the left in this photo from the evening…

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Craig Burridge

He’s Craig Burridge, from Worksop EDL.  Here he is again at the anti-mosque march in Lincoln in July…..

In the gutter, gazing at the bars…

 

Also from Worksop EDL was Andrew Shaw….

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Andrew Shaw

 

Here’s an ex-Nottingham EDL activist – melancholic chauvinist Adam Repton (in the cap):

The NCI spokesperson on the evening was Jamie Upton…

‘Honest Jamie’

Upton also used to be a prominent local EDL activist, but fell foul of the EDL hierarchy in January, accused of stealing funds.  So, it looks like the NCI is another of the many little splinter groups that have emerged from the remains of the EDL (in this case, perhaps with suspiciously full pockets….).  It could be said that they are, ironically, themselves refugees from the wreck of the EDL.

 

Some more photos of the NCI on the evening…

 

After a while, the NCI dispersed, and after being shepherded around the market square by the police, went back into the pub, to enjoy the traditional far-right pastime of drinking beer under the watchful eye of the constabulary.

The antifascist counter-protest subsequently dispersed, with one arrest as someone tried to break through police lines.   Some time later, the NCI finally emerged from the warm shelter of the pub and took a photo of themselves on the empty steps of the Council House.  They had an abandoned UAF placard with them as a ‘trophy’….recovered from a bin on the market square!

We go where we want (as long as all the antifascists have gone home)

It’s fair to say that the NCI’s first demo was hardly a success – they were heavily outnumbered, and spent most of the evening being slowly pushed back into the pub by police.  The highlight of their evening’s political activity seems to be a sign found in a bin – whatever floats your boat, lads….


Aug 14 2015

EDL march against Lincoln mosque

On Sat July 25th, the EDL held a demo against construction of Lincoln’s first mosque.  This had been the subject of previous far-right protest in 2013, and the EDL have jumped on the issue in an attempt to boost their flagging support.

About 120 attended the EDL event, marching from The Anchor pub to Cornhill…

Another town, another pub, usual muppets

 

A counter-demo organised by Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism attracted about 100 anti-fascists, who marched to the City Square.

lincoln

Police kept the two marches apart, and there were no arrests.