Dead Men Left

Sunday, May 30, 2004

In somewhat typical fashion, not only have the good old Greater Manchester Police forced the cancellation of the Unite Against Fascism Unity festival in Manchester (now to be staged in Liverpool), the dear old Metropolitan Police have got in on the act, too: after they made excessive demands for security requirements, London's own Unity bash, set to descend on Finsbury Park next weekend, has been shunted to the Hammersmith Apollo. Manchester has certainly held at least one anti-racist, anti-BNP carnival before now without any bother, so the police's concerns there are frankly questionable. There are any number of free festivals, carnivals and assorted large gatherings that take place in London without having to enclose them with security fences. But wait a minute... Finsbury Park? You mean the notorious terrorist hotspot? Perhaps the nightmare scenario of a David Gray/Abu Hamza collaboration (plinky-plinky "them suicide bombers is ok, innit" plinky-plink) forced the Met to act.

Or not. Out of sight, out of mind; the Met's move significantly reduces the impact of the event as an explicit, public challenge to the fascist BNP and everything they stand for. The BNP received 3% of the London vote in 2000; they need only 5% to get elected to the London Assembly. Between a collapsing turnout and four glorious years of anti-asylum witchunting - now joined by "war on terror" Islamophobia - there is a serious prospect that one of these miserable sods will crawl onto the GLA. Still, this is a small price to pay: I am very glad that the ravening hordes of "Yardie-style"* muggers and drug-dealers who would - I do not doubt - descend upon the fair streets of north London, there to be whipped into a frenzy by the gun-culture rhythms of UK garage, will now be banished to the nether reaches of the Apollo. God bless the Metropolitan Police. I will certainly sleep safer in my bed tonight knowing that these stout defenders of law, order and white people are watching over me.

(*this euphemism is possibly the Macpherson Report's most long-lasting achievement)