Europe

Britain First and the lone Protester

by Down and out in Dover and district, with Len Oldfeep Sunday, December 7 2014

 

Like many of you I watched the Britain First video when they descended on Dover https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew9288NWQTo  I have viewed it several times now and the more I see it the more distasteful I find it. A heavily biased and edited film that from an outsider’s perspective makes Dover look like an anti-immigrant town. And indeed sometimes it does feel that way when you hear how people talk about it on the streets, in local pubs, coffee shops and of course on facebook. But what did come across in the video, which gave me hope, was the different attitude the younger generation had on the subject and what it means for them to be patriotic in England today.

Led by former BNP stalwart Paul Golding and his henchwoman Jayda Fransen, The video see’s the Britain’s First gang get a lot Of Dovorians on side with their message of ‘our country being full up’ and the fear of ‘becoming a minority in our own country’ before turning on a brave young man, who decided to come down from his flat to peacefully protest the march, inviting people to take it in turns to insult and try to humiliate him for disagreeing with their far right views. Videos posted to YouTube show how Britain First stalk and ambush their targets (largely Muslims) by rushing into mosques and shoving cameras into the faces of their unsuspecting victims. They are confrontational, intimidating and above all disrespectful to other cultures and religious beliefs, and the videos are packaged to look like military style exercises. Is it anyway for a serious political party to act? I don’t think so.

Britain First does highlight issues that I think lots of people are quite rightly worried about including: Pakistani grooming gangs, FGM, and the no-go areas for non-Muslims that now exist in areas of London and other towns and cities where there is a larger mix of cultures and religions. But the vigilante approach they have adopted only makes the divide between the different ethnic groups within communities greater when what we should be doing is trying to integrate and live together respectfully and peacefully in a multi-cultural society.

It’s what the lone Dover protester knows and the few other young men who supported him in the video accept. They have grown up in much more tolerant times and the world has become smaller thanks to technology, creating a connected world where opportunity stretches further than their village, town, and city, county and even country. They may think of themselves as global citizens now rather than simply English of wherever they may come from. One of the protesters, in his late teens says: ‘It’s a whole world’, at one point.

 I don’t believe all older people are against immigration or racist but from my own experience and as the video  seems to suggest I think they are more suspicious and fearful they may lose their cultural identity of which some have fought for and they are rightly proud of. This is a legitimate concern and what Britain First says they are trying to protect but are they just living in the past, nostalgic for a seaside postcard Britain that just no longer exists?

Britain First cronies stoop so low in the video to suggest the lone protester does not respect those who fought and lost their lives in the Great War and try to equate pensioners dying during the winter because they can’t afford fuel bills to the issue of immigration, in another effort to outrage the by now baying crowd. He is even booed when he reveals he is a teacher, the mood changing as the crowd are now caught up in the nasty pack mentality Britain First like to create.  What they fail to understand is his is a modern patriotism, proud of a country that welcomes immigrants and Asylum seekers  fleeing sometimes terrible circumstances, gives foreign aid generously and believes in a level playing field for everyone regardless of sex, race or creed, looking to the future not to the past. Above all he has empathy.

England’s coastal towns where UKIP are making gains are some of the least diverse communities in the country. So why are we so worried about immigration here in Dover? It is reasonable to suggest that areas which are less diverse are not as accepting of immigration opposed to areas with a higher concentration of immigrants. Whatever the case the video showed not everyone was taken in by the bullying Britain First and there is hope for us yet. Britain First does not speak for me as they claim and I hope not for Dover.

 

 

 

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Categories: blogs and bloggers | Dover Town centre | Equal Rights | Europe | KCC | kent | Local Politics | National Politics | People of Kent | Politics | UKIP

Au revoir Europe

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Tuesday, December 13 2011

Good riddance!

You can imagine that retort ringing out on both sides of the Channel after the UK turned its back on a new European treaty.

I don’t know what the French or German equivalent is - maybe they don’t have one - but the feeling is pretty mutual.

Most British people don’t want closer ties with the EU, although many stop short of wanting to get out altogether.

Most Europeans don’t like us much, and the Eastern newcomers even less - after all, they hardly ever give us more than Nul Points in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The worry about David Cameron’s decision is that it will prove even harder for Kent firms to win work on the Continent, especially in France.

It has been hard enough already, with the French in particular erecting unspoken but real barriers to outside competition.

If Brussels talk of revenge seeps through to potential buyers across the EU, fostering an undeserved anti-British feeling, that’s bad news for our businesses desperate to boost imports at a time of falling orders at home.

The hope is that any bitterness felt across the EU about Britain’s decision will not last long and that trade - the main reason we joined the EU and why a majority supported membership in a referendum - will fade.

As for the decision, it is hard to see how any other could have been reached.

Maybe an alternative negotiating strategy that stroked the backs of Merkozy would have worked better. It is intriguing in the What If Game to ponder whether the approach of a belligerent handbag-waving Margaret Thatcher or an emollient Tony Blair or Gordon Brown would have fared better.

Probably not.  But with the eurozone financial crisis set to deepen, and the euro in great jeopardy, it is surely better to be the one independent-minded lemming that turns away from the cliff rather than follow its mates over the edge.

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Categories: Education | Europe

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