29 March 2012


With Nick Griffin's once merry BNP men split in to a thousand pieces, the BNP itself reduced to around 2000 members, mostly inactive (and that's an optimistic estimate!), and a few tiny no-hope. mostly internet-based splinters unsuccessfully attempting to pick up the pieces, there hasn't been much we could do to them that they haven't done to themselves.

How did they get to this happy place? Well, they believed their own hype, and you couldn't persuade them that their revered Nick Griffin was a corrupt chancer who happened to win the leadership of the party (after a down and dirty campaign, of course) at a time when some Labour voters were so disillusioned by Tony Blair and "New Labour" that they were prepared to lend their votes to the BNP.

It was as well for everybody that the BNP came to be led by a man as extraordinarily incompetent as the gimmick-loving Griffin, who promptly began to behave much as he had during his tenure as leader of the National Front, engaging in purge after purge, reneging on his promises, and above all seeing the BNP and its membership as a business opportunity. Griffin proceeded to squander every electoral chance the BNP ever had, his glaring incompetence and personal greed always getting in the way of sound, grass-roots politicking.

We and our sister site Lancaster Unity consistently warned that Griffin's number one priority was Griffin himself. We also warned BNP members not to believe their (and especially not their leadership's) own hype. We detected that the BNP had peaked around 2005, mostly because the party did not address the issues that mattered to all those disillusioned Labour voters. By 2007 it was apparent to us that their vote had stalled, and by 2009 (despite the odd surprise success) it was clearly on the decline.

Nick Griffin, lucky as ever, stood for an EU seat right in the middle of the parliamentary expenses scandal. His vote barely moved at all from that he had obtained previously, but with voters boycotting the polls in droves his paltry 6% was enough to get him elected to the Euro gravy-train, where he has been dipping his considerable beak ever since.

Even so, the BNP's performance in the local elections held at the same time was lamentable, and more evidence of electoral failure stacked up. Even Griffin's tiny vote proved the extent of that failure, despite the mischance of his election. And in every election that followed between then and the 2010 general election, the evidence of continuing BNP electoral decline continued.

You couldn't tell BNP members that, though, and they believed that in the general election they'd get at least one MP - and to make sure he would be that MP, Griffin unceremoniously elbowed aside Richard Barnbrook, who was standing in Barking and Dagenham, widely believed to be the best hope for the BNP.

The rest is history, as they say. The BNP performed disastrously in the 2010 general election, not helped by a hopelessly out of tune campaign based around World War Two Spitfires and a nasty line in Islamophobia. All a bit pointless when voters at large were more concerned with jobs and incomes than they were the BNP's obsessions with Sharia law. It's always the economy, stupid!

And so the BNP imploded into acrimony and in-fighting, and, while it was nice to report on that in the early days, the multiplying woes of the extreme right quickly became a bore, and - not seeing the point of keeping the site going - we closed the main successor site to Norfolk Unity. Lancaster Unity, similarly bored watching the final twitchings of a dying enemy, also closed.

One day - and a long way off it is - the extreme right will regroup, a viable entity will slowly emerge from the ruin. But not for years to come. And even then it will exist only on the fringes unless or until the political class screws up as much as it did during the Blair years.

When or if that happens, we'll come back, but until then there are other campaigns to fight, other things we've got to get on with. In the meantime our very good friends at Searchlight and Hope Not Hate continue as they always have, keeping a watchful eye on the far right, digging the dirt, showing them up for what they are.

Take care of yourselves,

Denise and Atreus.

22 August 2009

We're off!

Norfolk Unity is moving house!
We're now at
Please update your links!

21 August 2009

The BNP will lose the argument

It's not hard to intellectually undermine the far-right party – don't just dismiss its racist arguments, break them down

Last weekend the BNP's annual shindig, "Red, White and Blue", took place in a small town in Derbyshire. Reports said that there were actually fewer attendees than there were anti-fascist protesters outside the gate. Unfortunately, some of these anti-BNP protesters soon became violent – leading to 19 being arrested. Although it is good to see ordinary people protesting against the BNP, such protests become ineffective when they descend into heavy-handed violence. Just a week earlier, for example, violent clashes erupted between the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism in Birmingham, leading to bottles, sticks and banners thrown, and brought police in riot gear on to the streets. This ended up actually boosting the BNP after the Daily Mail and other papers ran full-page pictures of Asian youths attacking white protesters.

Violence is not the answer to countering the BNP. A paper I authored entitled In Defence of British Muslims: A response to BNP racist propaganda was released last week. Since about 2006 (particularly post-7/7), the BNP has consciously changed its rhetoric from being overtly anti-Asian, anti-black and anti-Jewish to being ardently anti-Muslim. My paper takes 10 of the key accusations made against Islam and British Muslims by the BNP and points out their intellectual inconsistencies and factual weaknesses. Rather than simply dismissing the BNP's ideology as racist or bigoted (an approach that the BNP's steady popularity proves is not working) or resorting to violence, there needs to be a greater focus on intellectually undermining it through a systematic deconstruction of its arguments.

This task is not particularly taxing. The BNP's arguments are easily undermined using proper statistics and historical and textual evidence. Nick Griffin's broad argument is that Islam is an "efficient imperialistic machine" with a "conscious and deliberate plan" to take over and Islamify Europe and install an Islamic state.

First, Islam is not a religion with a cunning master-plan for its adherents to emigrate with the intention of mass conversion. The Islamic concept of migration (hijrah) is to flee from religious persecution rather than a calculated drive for world domination. Second, Muslims constitute roughly 3.3% of Britain's entire population (according to government estimates in 2008). Despite population increases, is one of the greatest threats to the UK today really an impending Islamic takeover?

The BNP makes a significant proportion of its accusations on the basis of the impending Islamic state; one that will restrict individual freedoms and apply a literalistic form of Islamic penal code. These are arguments that Griffin has (knowingly) made on the basis of the ideas of a small minority of Islamists rather than the majority Muslim population; projecting extremist interpretations as representative of Islam in general. The BNP takes this even further, making the claim that Muslims support the tactics of jihadists: "The fifth characteristic of immigrant Muslim populations in all nations has been their widespread support for terrorism." This claim of "widespread support" is in fact based on a 9% figure taken from a 2006 NOP report, and is therefore both hyperbolic and factually inaccurate.

This is an intellectual battle that needs to take place at all levels of society. The specific allegations against Islam need to be refuted, at least in part, by Muslim communities themselves. Rather than extremist voices, the majority Muslim population needs to acquire the confidence to undermine the slurs being made against it and show that it will not be held to account for the actions of a minority faction of Islamist extremists.

This intellectual challenge also needs to be made by the British politicians who claim to represent the Muslim communities. The British MEPs' recent shunning of Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons in the European parliament is certainly a step in the right direction, but we also need a simultaneous breakdown of their arguments. Nick Clegg's description of the BNP as "a party of thugs" or David Cameron's statement that he was "sickened" by their EU election success will not alone persuade people not to vote BNP. Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham, wrote in a foreword to the paper that "The political class has recoiled in shock and indignation following the BNP's recent electoral successes, yet has failed to confront the way they demonise British Muslims … because of this vacuum the BNP have been able to focus on an extremist Islamism as being representative of the views of all Muslims."

Finally, British society needs to start responding more thoughtfully to the views of the BNP. These issues are not limited to British Muslims. The BNP has not abandoned its sentiments towards other minority communities (its whites-only admission policy is under scrutiny by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission), and other minority groups must also stand up to such discrimination. Muslim communities should not face intolerance in isolation, but should be bolstered by the support of British society as a whole. Smear campaigns against BNP candidates who supposedly have "Nazi" written on their number-plates are insufficient. The BNP needs to be intellectually challenged by all who condemn concepts of racism, intolerance and segregation, and stand for a free and fair society in Britain.

Lucy James at Comment Is Free (hosted by The Guardian)

20 August 2009

UAF back Birmingham United campaign

The Stirrer's Birmingham United campaign to show the city's peaceful support for our cultural and racial diversity has won backing from Unite Against Fascism. Mike Wongsam, Chairperson West Midlands UAF explains why.

Twice in recent months, Birmingham has played host to racist protestors. Now there is a threat they will return again. How should the people of Birmingham respond?

Adrian Goldberg has suggested a "Birmingham United" event to give people of different colours and varying faiths a chance to show to the outside world the true face(s) of this great city. It is a great idea, and one that Unite Against Fascism will strongly support.

We think the best, and most effective, response to those who would spread hatred and division is for Birmingham to come together in a spirit of unity. Birmingham is a multi-cultural city and proud of it. We are one society and many cultures. Our diversity is one of the things that make this city special.

We do not want to see a repeat of the violence that broke out on August 8th. If the Birmingham United idea can be turned into reality it would be the best possible demonstration of our rejection of these hate-mongers, and the best possible assertion of the true face of Birmingham. It should be peaceful and united. It deserves the support of all of us.

The story of August 8th, though, should not be distorted. There is an attempt to paint anti-fascist protestors as "outsiders" and "trouble-makers", no different from the racist thugs who came to cause the trouble. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It was obvious to anyone who was there that the anti-fascist protestors were almost exclusively from Birmingham. Large numbers of young people assembled because they feel, rightly, that this is as much their city as anyone else's. And they were not prepared to turn the other cheek when repeatedly provoked by racist gangs hurling abuse.

The days when Black and Asian people felt they had to cross the road rather than risk a confrontation with racists are long gone.

Unite Against Fascism called the protest, responsibly negotiated with the police at all stages, and provided stewards. It is, however, asking a lot for volunteer stewards to achieve what the police were ultimately unable to do in the face of repeated racist provocations.

Those who think this anger can be whipped up by "outsiders" or those with a "political agenda" are deluding themselves. Many people assembled under the banner of UAF, but the truth is that the vast majority were not members of UAF, and most had arrived after hearing from friends that the "BNP" were coming to abuse Muslims in our city centre. In the age of the internet, news travels fast.

Repeated racist demonstrations will inevitably provoke a response. The anger that was felt by these young people cannot be turned on and off by anybody, and certainly not by UAF. But this risks creating a dangerous situation in our city centre. That is a challenge for all of us. And we all have a responsibility to do something positive to respond to it.

In his August 6 column in the Birmingham Mail, Adrian Goldberg said: "In the absence of a ban, it would be nice to see some forthright condemnation of this protest from figureheads in the church and politics, but I guess civic leadership is something we lack in Birmingham right now".

Quite right. It is not enough for us to bury our heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away. All of us who oppose racism and fascism have to stand together and speak out against those would divide our city and inflame tensions.

Let us show that Birmingham really is united.

Join the Birmingham United Facebook group here.

The Stirrer

(Stirrer editor and Birmingham Mail columnist Adrian Goldberg also hosts a nightly phone-in show on TalkSport Radio, between 1 and 5 am.)

17 August 2009

Three charged over racial taunt at BNP rally

Three people have been charged with racially aggravated public order offences after a group heading to a far-right British National Party camp on Saturday taunted anti-racism protesters, police said.

Derbyshire police arrested 19 people during the mainly peaceful anti-BNP rally near a farm outside the village of Codnor where the BNP's Red, White and Blue festival was held over the weekend.

The three were among a group who crossed fields to get to the camp on foot under police escort as hundreds of demonstrators waving placards saying "the BNP is a Nazi party" blocked road access to the site.

The BNP, which campaigns to halt immigration and repatriate immigrants voluntarily, won its first two seats in the European Parliament in June.

Although it has no representatives in the British parliament, the party has won support from white voters angry about unemployment and access to public housing and other services during the worst recession in generations.


16 August 2009

BNP targets children as recruits for party's youth wing

YBNP annual training camp 2008 - Mirror story

Inside the tent adorned with the Union Jack and St George’s flag, Peter and Anthony are on a recruiting drive.

They hand out leaflets telling potential converts that their organisation is not racist, merely “helping to resist the racist colonisation of Britain”.

Their table is scattered with postcards of young, white women draped in the Union Jack, holding placards with the reminder that “nationalism is for girls too”. The pair tell The Times that the British National Party is great for the country and that they are proud to support it.

However, they are unable to articulate why they are attracted to the far-right party, and they squirm in their seats when asked about their understanding of issues such as racism, nationalism and discrimination. They may be simply too young to appreciate such concepts: Anthony is 14 and Peter just 12 years old.

Nevertheless, the pair spent the weekend recruiting for the youth wing of the BNP at the party’s annual gathering in Derbyshire, which attracted several hundred families.

Peter, whose mother brought him to the event, said: “Young BNP is just about making sure that we are going to have a good place in the normal BNP when we’re older, and that’s what we want. It’s cool, we play lots of sports and stuff.” Several events at the Red, White and Blue Festival, which was picketed by protesters, were geared towards youth in what anti-fascist groups said was “disturbing indoctrination” and an attempt to create a new generation of nationalist sympathisers.

Young children’s faces were painted with the Union Jack and many sported BNP T-shirts and fake tattoos of crusaders and the St George’s flag. They were encouraged to throw wet sponges at a man in the stocks, who was dressed in Islamic clothing and wearing an Osama bin Laden mask.

Even infants were exposed to the nationalist cause, with toys and blow-up furniture in the children’s tent being decorated with the Union Jack.

Simon Darby, the deputy leader of the BNP, told The Times that the younger generation was “very important” for the future of the party. “We don’t think short-term, we think long-term,” he said.

Mr Darby denied that the party was indoctrinating youth: “We’re just pointing out another side of things — that it isn’t a good idea to completely destroy our own culture. We are making sure they know that white people aren’t inferior, because that’s what they are being taught in schools.”

However, anti-fascist groups whose blockade of the event, near Denby, resulted in 19 arrests after clashes with police, said that the BNP’s approach was “very dangerous”. Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said that the BNP was actively trying to recruit the young in a new drive because so many of its members were from older generations. “It’s really dangerous. They are trying to normalise their politics among young children. It is very concerning — do we really want this to be going on in our playgrounds?”

Alongside Peter and Anthony, Tristan Simekins, 18, had travelled from Corsham, Wiltshire, to recruit for the BNP’s student wing.

His leaflets explained that the movement provided advice to young people on dealing with “anti-white discrimination”. He said: “My problem is with the indoctrination of Islam. I admit not all Muslims are evil, but I feel Islam is.”

Times Online

RWB reports 2

15 August 2009

'Barack Obama' is put in stocks as festivities kick off at the BNP summer party

The BNP have often denied being a racist party. But as a man dressed as U.S. president Barack Obama was put in stocks, the true colours of the party were clear for all to see.

The shocking scene was part of the BNP's annual Red, White and Blue festival which is taking place in Codnor, Derbyshire this weekend.

The rally, in its 10th year, has sparked widespread controversy and today protesters descended on the site to show their opposition. A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Police said a small number of arrests had been made near the village of Codnor as hundreds of demonstrators voiced their opposition to the festival.

'Those arrests were of protesters who had been acting unlawfully,' the spokeswoman said, adding that some of the demonstrators had gathered outside approved protest zones.

The main body of demonstrators, which is being monitored by police CCTV cameras, gathered in Codnor's Market Place and is expected to march to Codnor Denby Lane later. Campaign group Unite Against Fascism has joined forces with Midlands TUC and local protest group Amber Valley Campaign Against Racism and Fascism to bring hundreds of anti-fascist protesters to the area.

They plan to 'kettle' the rally today and have organised the protest march to the site of the festival and back again.

Kettling, also known as containment or corralling, is sometimes used by police and involves a large cordon to contain a crowd in a limited area. The move comes after an open letter was published yesterday on Unite Against Fascism's website, condemning the event. The letter, whose signatories include former London mayor Ken Livingstone, children's author Michael Rosen and trade union leaders, said the event's purpose was to 'build up a hardened neo-Nazi core at the centre of the organisation'.

It said: 'We condemn the BNP and its festival of race hate, and we urge people to reject this party's poisonous and anti-democratic agenda.'

This year is not the first time the festival has attracted opposition. Last year about 30 anti-BNP protesters were arrested after clashes with police. Derbyshire Police have planned a 'significant policing operation' throughout the three-day event, including restrictions on the planned protests.

Yesterday a American white supremacist was stopped from entering the country to attend the Red, White and Blue Festival.

Preston Wiginton, a close associate of BNP leader Nick Griffin, was turned away at Heathrow because officials believed his presence would stir up racial tension. There were suggestions he would be speaking at the event, but the BNP denied these rumours.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said Mr Wiginton, 44, was sent back to New York from Heathrow airport on Thursday.

The BNP's deputy leader Simon Darby said of Mr Wiginton: 'He came to last year's Red, White and Blue and was coming to this year's but they wouldn't let him in for some reason. He wasn't coming to speak.'

Mr Wiginton, a freshman student at Texas A & M university, wrote an essay in 2006 which described non-white immigration as 'an abnormal growth that is threatening the life of American culture and the life of American people'.

He said: 'If action is taken, and time is of the essence, this cancer can be eradicated.' If not, he added, 'the death of the American way of life, identity and sovereignty is certain.'

He is rumoured to spend half of the year living in a flat in Moscow that he sublets from a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke. In October 2007 he organised and paid for Nick Griffin to speak at three American universities to coincide with Islam Awareness Week. As well as financing the trip he also appealed to members of Nazi internet forums to donate money to the BNP.

Later that year he organised a march in the Russian capital at which leading Nazis addressed a crowd of fascists shouting 'death to Jews' and 'glory to Russia.' He also spearheaded the support for Griffin during his trial for inciting racial hatred in 2006, and set up an online petition urging the British Government to drop the prosecution.

He regularly posts anti-Semitic messages on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront. One reads: 'And the Jew - how many nations and economies have they destroyed - yes they were doing this in many centuries ago as well. The Jew has infested every nation - there is no where else to go.'

Nick Lowles, editor of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, said the decision to ban him was 'great news'. He added: 'He is one of the world's most extreme racists - this shows what the BNP are really like.'

Mail online

RWB reports 1

14 August 2009

BNP nazi guest barred from UK

A white supremacist friend of Nick Griffin, the British National Party leader, was banned from entering Britain yesterday as he headed to speak at the BNP’s Red White and Blue festival this weekend.

Preston Wiginton (left), one of the world’s most active nazis and antisemites, was refused entry by immigration officers at Heathrow airport under laws to keep out “undesirables”. He was to have been the star overseas guest at the BNP’s tenth RWB festival, which opens today in Derbyshire.

It was Wiginton, 44, who organised Griffin’s anti-Islam tour of three US universities at the end of October 2007. As well as financing the trip, Wiginton appealed to users of the Stormfront nazi internet forum to donate money to Griffin while he was in America.

Wiginton had been unknown in the UK before Griffin’s trip and it was Searchlight that exposed him and revealed his extensive nazi activities and connections. This was no doubt what brought him to the attention of the UK Border Agency.

Shortly after his tour Griffin wrote an open letter to “European Colleagues” endorsing Wiginton’s involvement in organising a march in Moscow at which leading nazis addressed a crowd of fascists giving the Nazi salute while shouting “death to the Jews” and “Pure Russia”.

Griffin praised Wiginton as a “very effective organiser [who], rarely among American nationalists, understands the importance of image and popular acceptability to all nationalist parties”. The letter explained that Wiginton “is very well connected in Russia, with good contacts with various nationalist organisations and elected politicians”. The organisations to which he refers are some of the most racist and murderous neo-nazi groups and skinhead gangs in Russia who have been responsible for dozens of racist murders.

Referring to Wiginton’s role in planning a “major march and rally” in Moscow Griffin continued “the BNP supports this endeavour wholeheartedly and asks all our European comrades to do likewise, hopefully thereby creating the beginnings of an effective cooperation between patriots of both Western and Orthodox Christendom against our common enemies: Mass immigration; radical Islamism; Western liberalism and Wall Street/White House dollar imperialism”. The language is typical of neo-nazis.

Griffin and Wiginton have collaborated for many years. Wiginton spearheaded US support for Griffin during his trial for inciting racial hatred, setting up an online petition calling on the British government to drop the prosecution. Together with Jamie Kelso of Stormfront, he also organised a protest outside the British consulate in Houston, Texas in January 2006.

Wiginton’s connections and activities are wide-ranging. He caused a furore at Texas A&M university some years ago by arranging a series of meetings for Frosty Wooldridge, a prominent opponent of immigration. The two men ran a joint campaign to repeal a 2001 Texas law that allows immigrants to pay the same reduced fees at state universities as Texas residents.

These days Wiginton works with the Texas chapter of the Minuteman Project, a group of would-be vigilantes who take violent exception to Mexican immigrants, or the “mestizo parasite” as he prefers to call them.

Kevin Strom, leader of the neo-nazi National Vanguard (NV), was another associate until his arrest on child pornography charges when Wiginton and Griffin dropped him like a ton of bricks. Wiginton boasts of being friends with perhaps the most famous NV member, April Gaede, mother of the nazi pop twins Prussian Blue. Their act is named after the chemical residue left by Zyklon B, the gas used to murder the Jews in the Nazi death camps.

Wiginton also has close ties to Denis Gerasimov, lead singer of the notorious Russian white power band Kolvorat (Swastika), for whom he wrote a racist ditty on how immigration is diluting the purity of Russia’s “blood” and “soil”.

Despite repeated denials to the contrary Wiginton regularly posts antisemitic vitriol to Stormfront to which he also donates money. A typical posting of his, on 13 July 2007, read: “And the jew – how many nations and economies have they destroyed – yes they were doing this in many centuries ago as well. The jew has infested every nation – there is no where else to go.”

That Griffin should invite this hardline nazi to help celebrate his election to the European Parliament at the BNP annual festival shows yet again that the BNP’s claim to legitimacy is just a pretence and that Griffin has not moved far from his fascist roots.

Searchlight/Hope not hate

11 August 2009

Former BNP candidate charged over distribution of leaflets

A former British National Party election candidate has been charged in connection with the distribution of leaflets which alleged Muslims were responsible for the heroin trade.

Anthony Bamber, 53, of Greenbank Street, Preston, Lancashire, is accused of incitement to commit religious hatred, police said.

The leaflet was distributed in Burnley and reportedly circulated in other parts of Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire. It urged people to "heap condemnation" on Muslims and said it was time to "apologise" over its claims they were responsible for 95 per cent of the world's heroin trade.

A photograph of Rachel Whitear, 21, who was found dead at her flat in Exmouth, Devon, in May 2000, holding a syringe, accompanied the literature.

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman said: "Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service a 53-year-old man from Preston has been charged in connection with an investigation into the distribution of leaflets in Lancashire which claim Muslims are responsible for the heroin trade."

Bamber, who stood for the BNP at local elections in Preston in 2006, will appear at Preston Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

Three other men, all from East Lancashire, arrested as part of the investigation were told by police last month they would not face charges over the matter.

Supporters of the BNP, including party leader Nick Griffin, demonstrated outside the police station in Burnley last November following the dawn raid arrests.

Lancashire Telegraph

10 August 2009

Far-right group, the English Defence League, in disarray after Birmingham fracas

A rightwing group, which has promised a summer of demonstrations against British Muslims, was in disarray today after its first significant protest ended in violence and 35 arrests.

The English Defence League staged a march near the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham this weekend but its small band of supporters was drastically outnumbered by anti-fascist campaigners and riot police. The protest ended in violent skirmishes and running battles through the city’s busy shopping streets on Saturday evening.

Members of the League resorted to bitter in-fighting today as supporters labelled the organisers “ridiculous” and the event a “shambles”.

At least three people were injured as hundreds of police, some in full riot gear, broke up fights between anti-Islamic protesters and anti-fascist groups who came to disrupt the demonstration. At one point officers were forced to seal off New Street with a steel barrier.

Emily Bridgewater, who was shopping when violence broke out, told the Birmingham Post: “It kicked off very suddenly and there was stampeding and screaming.

“We ended up being herded into Primark, where they brought the shutters down to protect us. It was very frightening.”

The League publicised its demonstration in the weeks leading up to the march and claimed that another would be held in Luton on August Bank Holiday weekend.

Despite efforts to promote the event, fewer than 100 were thought to have gathered. Left-wing groups including Unite Against Fascism were alerted to the march and were able to organise a counter demonstration.

One member of the League’s online forum, registered as Adder, wrote: “I support you guys but yesterday was a shambles and you made us English look like an embarrassment. What exactly happened to supposed 'In the high hundreds' who were supposed to turn up? I saw the video and it seemed like there was barely 70 of you.

“Holding it such a high profile public place, ridiculous idea [sic]. That's just asking for normal civilians minding their own business to get attacked.”

Neil Edy, another member of the website, said: “I went to the march ... the turn out to the event wasnt good enuf only a few of us were there supporting the cause.”

Another sympathiser, calling himself Bill, said that he had not been able to find the others: “We were in the City most the afternoon, but then left as we had no one to contact and meet with, and we werent the only ones.”

Despite the failure of the first large event, the League insists it will continue to hold demonstrations. Comments on the group’s website, and the affiliated football hooliganism site Casuals United said that the next one would be bigger.

One message on the Casuals United site read: “We will arrange it via the Inner Circles secret forums, so we will arrive unnanounced and neither the police or the scum will know any details.”

Some members may find it more difficult to travel to future demonstrations after West Midlands Police said that they were studying footage of the violence and would consider applying for injunctions against troublemakers.

A police spokesman explained that the English Defence League had not informed local police of their intension to march but said that officers had no power to prevent a demonstration.

The English Defence League claim not to be a racist group and say that they have no ties with the British National Party. One of the websites linked to the League is believed to have been set up by a known BNP member, but that has now been taken down in an apparent attempt to conceal any link.

Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP, insisted that there was no link with the group. He said: “It’s a potentially very dangerous development. I understand it mainly comes from Luton ... which is a tinderbox.”

The group, which organises events on its website and through a Facebook group with 198 members, plans to hold its next large official gatherings in Harrow and Luton in August and then in Manchester in October.

The Times