During the middle of Edinburgh’s world famous festival there was a visit to the multicultural city by a group of extreme right wing agitators who call themselves the SDL (Scottish Defence League) the EDL (English Defence League) the `North West Infidels` and the `North East Infidels`. Though the group who numbered at most 50 were supposedly Scottish it seems that most of them came from the north of England (no offence meant to the good folk there!). Several who travelled by train were arrested at Edinburgh’s Waverley railway station for giving the Nazi salute.
By contrast the group of people opposing them was much larger at around 200 and was very diverse with Scottish, English and Irish represented as well as Christians, Jews and Muslims. In comparison to the rowdy and ill-mannered Nazis the Nae Nazis were well behaved and no arrests were made.
The gathering assembled at 1.00pm in Chambers Street near the Royal Mile and marched off at 1.30 with a rather heavy police presence of around 70 including Police Liaison Officers whose acronym is PLO.
The rally started outside the Scottish Parliament at 2.00pm amid a very heavy downpour of rain and there was loud chanting at the group of SDL/EDL supporters who were about 50 yards away opposite. Referring to the small size of their rally: “You will all fit on one coach” , “Go home, you scum” also “Follow your leader, shoot yourself like Adolf Hitler” and at the end when they decided to disperse before the anti-Nazis did “Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio!”
There were a number of speakers including Labour Councillors Nick Gardner and Vicki Redpath. Duncan Smith of union UNISON spoke as did Catherine Lyons of Sukkat Shalom, the Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community and Zareen Taj of the Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh (MWAE).
Disability rights campaigner Susan Archibald spoke at the racist gathering opposite saying through the tannoy “We are all Jock Tamson’s weans.” (wean =`wee ane` or little one). This Scottish/North of England expression means we’re all under the same skin or it tends to mean we’re all members of the human race. She told the EDL/SDL group that “We don’t live on hate” but that they did live on hate.
Attached photos courtesy of Pete Cannell.
Some useful websites:
1/Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community http://www.eljc.org/
2/UNISON in Edinburgh:
3/Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh:
4/Northern Echo newspaper report about some of the charming members of the EDL:
5/ North East Infidels Facebook group includes gems like this:
`meeting tomra for teesside nei to see hows going to dewsbury on the 11th starts at 7 see yous there ,its in the pub that we allways have hower meetings if you dont no where it is just ask,`
They seem to need lessons in spelling and grammar as well as in tolerance and understanding. For all their claims to be `English` they might like to learn some of the English Language!
Amazingly the English Defence League website states that ` The English Defence League (EDL) is a human rights organization` (!)
The readers will have to make up their minds about that!