Brighton & Hove Conservative Party has made much political noise in recent months and years regarding the issue of how members of the Travellers community should be treated. Brighton & Hove City Council, led by a minority Green administration, has a policy which the Tories claim encourages illegal encampments by Travellers. They’ve issued press releases, been available for comment to the local media and recently one of their MPs hosted a public meeting where he opposed the enlargement of an existing site for Travellers even though it isn’t in his constituency. Previously, Mike Weatherly MP attended a council consultation meeting on that issue to insist that local residents were not racist.
The police attended Mr Weatherly’s public meeting because of the risk that criminally actionable hate speech might occur. That risk arises because the Traveller community comprises a number of severely disadvantaged ethnic minorities. It could well be that we are witnessing the very end of their mobile culture, which faces attack from all sides. The local Tories informed local media that they were upset at being called racist.
Next Sunday is St George’s Day. A fascist and racist organisation called “March for England” has planned an event with the same name in Brighton. There is little doubt about their political nature. Firstly, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) doesn’t campaign against non fascist groups – why would it? UAF is asking people to gather on the streets of Brighton to oppose these fascists in person.
Secondly, the event’s web presence is extremely defensive about racism (here is the official March for England website). Here’s a thread from their Facebook page.
This conversational thread begins with a link to Brighton UAF’s call to a public meeting tomorrow evening. The admin who posted the link states, UAF are “filthy freeloaders, side with islamic extremists, paedo’s & illegal foreign criminals“. The second comment begins with the words, “When the trial of the 11 asian men charged with grooming and raping young white English girls started in Liverpool…“. The admin immediately steps in to remind him that the previous poster of the official line: “Not “Asian” men Seaniem MUSLIMS…“.
Thirdly, various ultra right-wing groups promote March for England. Casuals United’s website states that it is, “opposed to the Islamification of Britain, our spineless corrupt Government, Human Rights law, which is only for paedophiles, child killers and terrorists, our chaotic immigration system which allows all sorts of killers and scum invade us and take the piss out of the British people, and the European Union which is simply turning Europe into a communist dictatorship where we cant control our own borders or enforce our own laws.” Casuals United is actively promoting next weekend’s “March for England” in Brighton, with a warning to its people not to “take colours or banners of any group“.
These days it is well recognised that the far-right have realised that they cannot be openly racist and escape prosecution. Thus, the focus on religion rather than the race. This is not a controversial conclusion.
Brighton UAF’s public meeting’s public meeting to publicise the imminent arrival of these racists in Brighton will be held tomorrow, at 7pm, in the South Wing Community Base, on Queen’s Road. The meeting will be chaired by Professor Raf Salkie, with speakers including Simon Burgess (Labour party), Phelim MacCafferty (Green party) and longstanding UAF and Love Music Hate Racism activist Lee Billingham.
There will be no official presence from the Brighton & Hove Conservative Party. Their official news feed makes no comment on the forthcoming racist march. The local Tories’ most active councillor on the web, Graham Cox, is silent on the issue, despite having spent his professional life in the police force where presumably he must have been well aware of the seriousness of the matter.
If the Tories really care about preventing racists promoting their ugly cause on our local streets, here’s a chance for them to actively demonstrate that they are not racist. All they have to do is contact Brighton UAF and ask to join the platform. They could also issue press releases to the local media, condemning the provocative “March for England”. They could publish their position online, either on their official website or on their private blogs. Preferably both.
If they don’t but continue to bang on about Travellers without attempting to propose any solutions to the crisis hitting that community, their denials of racism will wear thinner than ever. History teaches that racism flourishes when it is isn’t actively opposed. The deafening silence of the Brighton & Hove Conservative Party speaks volumes, especially to those racists whose votes they might attract.