Tony Curtis is making it up

Because Nottingham’s Tony Curtis has recently risen to become an unofficial third in command of the EDL after Tommy & Kev, we thought we’d better take a bit more notice of him. Seeing as these days Tommy seems to prefer appearing as British Freedom Party deputy, Steven  Lennon, to bothering to turn up to EDL demos, and Kev Carroll is standing for police commissioner in Bedfordshire, Curtis might get a promotion any day now.

So you don’t have to, I’ve sat through Tony’s speech from the EDL’s latest demo in Bristol to see what he’s all about.

What struck me immediately was how Curtis’ speeches make all kind of vague emotional claims, designed to whip up anger, but are totally free of any factual information. He makes all kinds of outrageous statements without once backing them up with any concrete examples because he doesn’t need to. The crowd he is playing for has already made up its mind. It blindly follows the men on the platform because questioning is not encouraged. A lot of the anger and hatred that EDL demos thrive on is manufactured by its leadership who willfully overlook the wider context and fall back on prejudice and bigotry. Curtis’ speeches are just a tick list of EDL clichés for the crowd to reaffirm with a drunken burst of singing at the appropriate moment.

Curtis’ Bristol speech starts with a rant about other EDL members who have accused him of being “Old Bill”. “When you’ve got evidence”, he challenged, “come and see me”. We could say the same about pretty much every single thing he said in his speech.

He went on to make the following statement about Islam:

This is the same religion of peace that shot a woman dead last week for adultery. They shot a woman dead. She was on her knees. We have a right to say we’re not having this in our country. We have a right to say no without being opposed by individuals that can’t be bothered to have a wash.

We are left completely in the dark about who he’s talking about, where in the world this incident happened, and why “the religion of peace” rather than the individual who shot the woman is to blame. But we know she was on her knees – we are painted an emotional picture to make us angry about the supposed perpetrator, Islam itself. Then we are supposed to ignore the fact that murder is already prohibited by the law and custom in the UK and think that it is only the EDL who are preventing this situation from happening here. Anyone who opposes the EDL is to be derided with the tired old fascist cliché of being a soap dodging dole scrounger (“unwashed students who can’t be bothered to get a job”).

This kind of gibberish only makes sense if you’ve been following the EDL’s mythical narrative, that Islam is the cause of all evil in the world and only the crusading knight of the EDL can stop it. Anyone who tries to stop them is siding with evil (and probably smells as well).

This massively heightened sense of their own importance, and a growing sense of insecurity, leads to Curtis making preposterous statements like this: “Remember, what you’re doing today you’re doing nothing wrong. History will be written on events like today.” This was said about a 10 minute march by 300 people around an area totally barricaded off by the police from the general public. It was hardly the Battle of Britain, however addled by booze and coke you were.

Now Curtis switches to a new line of attack:

In every city in this country there are Muslim only areas. The frightening thing is the local government are letting them get away with it. They’re saying ‘We can’t go down there because it’s a Muslim only area.’ Bollocks! I’m an Englishmen, I can walk down any street I like. I’m an Englishman and I’m a taxpayer and I can walk down any street I like.

This is a popular EDL myth, the idea that there are Muslim only areas where presumably any non-believer is descended on by a pack of zombie Muslims and has their brains eaten on sight. It’s total bollocks of course. I mean, if these areas exist, I challenge Mr Curtis and his comrades to tell me where these areas are in Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln and Northampton? I’ve been able to travel freely around the city I’ve lived in all my life without ever being hit by a muslamic raygun. I think you’re making shit up to scare people.

I also want to know the source for the ridiculous claim that “local government” are refusing to go to certain areas because they’re Muslim only. It sounds pretty unbelievable that local authorities the length and breadth of the UK are leaving entire neighbourhoods of their cities without services because the “Islamics” have taken over. I suspect there is no source. It’s just another myth to scare the easily-led.

But there’s more rather unlikely and unsubstantiated rumour-mongering to come:

How can they cut police numbers when the crime rate is so high? Especially in Muslim areas. How can they do that?

“Especially in Muslim areas”? Do you have any statistics for that Mr Curtis? I think you’re making it up.

But here’s the truly breathtaking one:

Three years ago Islamics weren’t being arrested for child grooming, nobody was interested. We even had senior police officers telling their constables ‘Don’t stop Muslims in cars because we’ll get called a racist’, and all the time these Muslims are cruising for young girls to abuse and rape. But now it’s no longer happening because the English Defence League has said that if it continues we will organise demonstrations in those areas. It’s not happening any more, and you are part of that. You can go home today and say all those scumbags that are in prison for abusing young girls, I was partly responsible for putting them there. Because 20 years ago they weren’t interested and now they are and the only reason they’re interested is because of the millions it would cost them if we went to that city.

Here Curtis is claiming that the successful prosecution of the Rochdale grooming gang was down to the EDL, a truly mind-bending claim. The far right, including EDL members, almost caused the trial of the men to collapse by holding demonstrations outside the court in Liverpool at which barristers were attacked. A far more convincing case could be made about the role of the incoming Muslim chief prosecutor for the region, Nazir Afsal, who overturned the previous decision not to prosecute the gang.

The claim that senior police officers told their forces not to stop Muslims seems to be an embellished version of a quote from the mother of a child abused by paedophiles in Rochdale. In a Telegraph article on the case, Miss F said “A police officer did tell me, and a social worker has told me since, that they’re frightened to do anything with the Asians because they might be accused of being racist against them” (not that they were ordered not to do anything). But, interestingly, the first reason Miss F gave for why the police didn’t investigate was that “They knew all about my daughters from late 2002, but they just put it down by my girls being really bad kids.”

If we actually look at the facts of the case, it seems that gender and class rather than race were where the problems lay. The police were reluctant to protect “bad kids” and the CPS originally decided not to prosecute because the girls were not considered to be credible witnesses. Credibility in the eyes of middle class lawyers often involves a judgement based on the social standing of the witness. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that young, working class girls don’t figure very highly on their scale. In rape cases, it is also very difficult for women to be believed, as evidenced by the extremely poor conviction rates, a result of the patriarchal structure of society. Indeed, many commentators with experience working with victims of sexual abuse blamed misogynist and patriarchal attitudes for the rapes.

And before we consider the EDL to be crusaders against paedophilia, let’s remember all of the cases of rape of young girls by members of the EDL.

The idea that the only reason that police forces are acting on cases of paedophilia by Muslims (it seems the EDL aren’t interested in white paedophiles) is because otherwise the EDL will do a demo in their city, only makes sense to a believer in the cult of EDL, especially now that their demos are so small and easy for the police to contain. But these are the myths that need to be told so that the faithful will keep returning.

In between the bombast, there was a lot of tacit admission of their defeat in Curtis’ message. “Let’s get these defence leagues restarted” he pleaded and “Let’s see you all in Walthamstow because this has got to get bigger.” “The English Defence League is here to stay,” he said “even if I have to go into every city on my own.” “We are coming down the road in every city in this country until somebody listens to what we have to say.” Still no new ideas then.

Curtis’ conclusion is that “We are the only organisation to stand in defiance of the Islamics. We are the only ones and no one else.” I’m sure the BNP, Infidels, National Front, British People’s Party, English Democrats and UKIP say that too! It’s another example of how blind he is to everything outside of the EDL bubble.

Tony, when you have got some evidence for your bullshit claims, come and see us.


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