Brendan O’Neill has farted in The Spectator.
Ah, but these were the wrong kind of working-class people. They were the Football Lads Alliance (FLA), a fascinating grassroots movement founded earlier this year to protest against terrorism and the ideologies that fuel it. These Football Lads had their first demo on 24 June. Thousands descended on London Bridge, site of an Islamist massacre just three weeks earlier, and held a traffic-stopping demo against extremism. On Saturday they had their second gathering. An estimated 10,000 fans brought Park Lane to a standstill. Rival fans, from Spurs, West Ham, Leeds and other teams, rubbed shoulders, held wreaths in the colours of their clubs, and listened peacefully as speakers railed against hateful extremism and slammed the branding of people who criticise Islamism as ‘Islamophobic’.
It was a very rare thing in the 21st century: a march organised by working-class people and attended by working-class people. Thousands of them. Most marches these days are packed with public-sector types, plummy anti-fascists, and Guardian columnists who must maintain their rad cred by occasionally traipsing through the streets with people holding dusty trade-union banners. But the two FLA marches have been different. They have been cries from below. And they’ve been all but ignored. Sure, there has been media coverage, but it has been perfunctory. Despite being big, stirring and novel — people in football shirts gathering in their thousands to confront the ideology of terror! — the demos haven’t trended online or attracted much attention from the ‘voice for the voiceless’ brigade. They don’t want to hear those voices. The Spectator
O’Neill is a bright, youngish, sometimes Marxist who, I am afraid, channels Orwell. He notices things. He notices actual working class activity. A bunch of football fans, aka hooligans, are not a pretty sight to the more enlightened Guardian reading classes. In fact, these are the very people the modern British state is at great pains to exclude from the conversation. They say such rude things. They don’t buy into the denunciation of Islamophobia. In fact, given their head, they would likely pack up benefits queen Islamists and send them back to the shitholes they came from.
Can’t have that.
My righty friends tend to be very pessimistic about the Islamization of Europe. They write the place off as hopelessly mired in political correctness. I am more optimistic. The FLA is a good start, so are the Poles saying the Rosary on the borders.
Europe is far from over. In fact, there is a sense that it has only begun to fight.