Is there ever any point in talking to the EDL?
Afzal Amin is the Dudley North Conservative candidate who allegedly plotted with the English Defence League to stage a fake demonstration in order ultimately to enhance his own reputation as a peacemaker. The most obvious thing about this whole sorry episode is his breathtaking stupidity. Whatever made him think that members (or, in Tommy Robinson’s case, an ex-member) of a racist organisation like the EDL would not sell him out in short order? By definition, if you join an organisation like the EDL, you have no love or respect for people of mine and Amin’s skin colour. Common sense should have kept him well away from them and any “deals” they offered.
But Amin is devoid of any principles. If he were really interested in “community cohesion” why would he be suggesting a protest only weeks after a real demo in Dudley by 600 EDL supporters led to ugly flashpoints and 30 arrests? His plan may have been to step in heroically and get it called off. But, in the
meantime, he would have been complicit in stirring up more bad feeling in an already difficult situation. How would that have benefited the people of Dudley?
Even worse, he claimed he was going to bring the nakedly racist EDL into the “mainstream political debate”, saying: “If I win my election in parliament, you’ve got a very strong, unshakeable ally who is going to work hard to get you involved in all the institutions of the state and get you the exposure you need. You will have meetings with other MPs, with ministers, all sorts of other people involved in the parliamentary system.” If he was telling the truth, this is one of the most horrifying aspects of the whole affair.
It is just possible to imagine a situation where a mainstream politician would be in a room with the EDL. Such a dialogue might indeed be intended to try and get a demonstration called off. But it should be a transparent public scenario. There should be no question of covert meetings, secret plotting, setting up EDL demonstrations only to call them off, paying EDL supporters to canvass for you and offers of ongoing political support for the EDL.
Politicians are not highly esteemed. But Amin and his particular combination of stupidity and venality is surely remarkable. He seemed to think he was going to go to the very top in British politics. In fact, his career has now imploded. The people of Dudley are well rid of him.