With the EDL coming to town on Saturday, Joshua Mines argues in favour of the Exeter Together demonstration.
I doubt there will be many reading this who need much persuading about the reasons why we should disagree with the EDL; an organisation known for aggressive xenophobia and racism. A party, so radical, that their own founder Tommy Robinson recently resigned because, “He recognised the dangers of far right extremism”. The EDL, even for him, had gone too far.
The unfortunate fact of democracy is that they are still well within their rights to protest peacefully, which they intend to put into practice soon. However, it’s also a right we own and one that I feel every student, or more broadly every rationally minded person, should uphold.
Protest puts into action the ideas that are on everyone’s mind, and gives weight to the words that are on everyone’s lips behind closed doors. An opportunity for the EDL to take to the streets and get red in the face is equally an opportunity for everyone else to show the EDL up for what they are: a minority, a small amount of closed-minded, angry people venting their blaze of rage and bullying a section of society they see as lesser than themselves. Showing up in number will show the country and any far-right sympathisers that the majority of of Exeter, the University and the town disagrees with this venomous way of thinking and that we will stand up for the multinational heritage that has existed for years and continues to thrive in our city.
Though counter-protest is more likely to draw the eye to Exeter, and thus to the EDL’s activities, this is an opportunity we should embrace. More attention again offers us a chance to show that in Exeter, acceptance and diversity will always prevail over hate and discrimination.
What I’m peddling may sound cheesy, and in a time when UKIP boast higher numbers in the opinion polls than the Liberal Democrats it may sound as if I’m undermining the growth of far right ideas in this tough economic climate. Regardless of these conditions, morals and values stay the same and we should strive to uphold them.
I believe in protest, and I believe in diversity as an integral part of modern Britain. We all have a voice, and on Saturday we have the chance to shout to the country, to Exeter, and to ourselves, what we believe in.
Is counter marching the best option? Wouldn’t it be better just to ignore the EDL? Leave a comment below or write to the Comment team at the Exeposé Comment Facebook Group or on Twitter @CommentExepose.bookmark me