The EDL rally went ahead in Walsall last Saturday, as well as the anti-EDL meeting, which I originally intended to go along to, but after consultation and the feeling UKIP support, was not welcome by the mostly leftist organisers, I did what my original instincts told me to do and stayed away.
As expected there was trouble with some people being injured and arrests made, the police in the town are following things up and there may be further arrests. My brother, who is involved with the local church attended the rally against the EDL and gave me a run-down of it, which he said went well but when a group of young men turned up and stood on their own at the event, they looked a bit menacing and he decided it was time to call it a day.
So what was achieved from last Saturday? For the local traders in the town who are struggling with the combined effects of the poor economic climate and the ongoing attack by Walsall Council against anyone wanting to drive into the town and park their cars, the day was a disaster. For the EDL they had the oxygen of publicity both in the press and on the local Radio, BBC Radio WM, where the EDL rally was a hot topic.
I can’t say I like what the EDL do or the point of such disruption in my home town, but on the other hand I also fear the right to protest being removed. As Voltaire said: "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.".
If the EDL has a point to make then why protest on the streets where they do nothing other than create problems for those trying to earn a living in these hard times, why don’t they have the courage of their convictions and go political and stand in elections and put it to the people to see exactly how many will vote for what they propose. They may find, like the BNP, they are not well supported if they put it to the vote.