Jamie Roberts spent a year of his life making this documentary. I’d guess at a cost to Channel 4 of about £250 000. Compare that to estimated £1 million ‘kettling operation’ in which police officers flung a cordon of men, woman and horses around far-right-splinter groups, (‘Engl-i-and, England, England till I die’) protesting about Muslim Pakis abusing white girls in Rochdale. Protesting about the cover up that followed, which implicated the police and most other agencies. This was the big one, this was the highlight of the programme, with those in the know caught with their trousers down. Guilty by association.
What the Jamie Roberts could not have anticipated, what the commissioners of such a documentary could not have known, was the Parisian and Charlie Hebdo killings. Timing is everything. Front-page headlines. World leaders coming together to condemn the terrorist perpetrators. Millions of ordinary, mainly white, French citizens coming together to condemn the outrage in Paris and other parts of the country. The Muslim enemy had been outed. It’s The Angry, White and Proud man’s wettest dream.
Note the running together of Paki, Muslim, terrorist, the undifferentiated script of the bleeding obvious. The search for simplistic answers to larger questions. I thought about the puzzle with the pieces missing and wrote a crappy poem to help me understand it a little better (http://www.abctales.com/story/celticman/angry-white-man).
This documentary follows Paul, a Londoner; middle-aged bloke that lives with his mum. He blames that on his far-right allegiances. I’d say he was just a plonker, skinhead optional. He is the in-man that allows Jamie Roberts to film the splinter groups that have broken away from The English Defence League. I’d guess Jamie is white, probably middle-class, as long as he kept his mouth shut and nodded a lot, I’m sure that’s how he got away with it. But there is also a narcissistic element. These working-class guys want to be filmed going about their business. But Paul is only a foot soldier, part of a splinter group that come together to hate those of a different skin colour. He’s aware of a splinter group of the splinter group, that ‘does stuff’ but he’s coy about what it is they’re doing, not because he doesn’t believe Muslims don’t deserve it, but because he knows it’s not legal. The benefits of belonging to such a group are they quickly become family, but without the nagging mum, with the thrown in excitement of ‘demo fever’ meeting up for a ruckus with those that oppose their viewpoints.
Andy gives their hatred an ideological coherence. He took to the streets because his son, a British soldier, died in Afghanistan, aged nineteen. He didn’t think it was right that those that had killed him were allowed to come to Britain, preach jihad and hatred and raise money to kill people like his son.
Colin was an old hand at hatred. Ironically he was of Greek/Cypriot descent. Similarly, Paul’s mum was of Italian extraction and his dad Irish. England till I die begins to look a bit murky, but what they mean by it is they’re proud to be Islamophobic, they’re not Pakis, they do not have dark skin. Colin was the voice of the disaffected, the misunderstood. He helps organise trips, like those to Rochdale, where they can meet up with other lads, show what they’re all about. He’s Nigel Farage with aggro. The kind that can be relied on when things kick off. Because that’s a common theme. Demo fever is transitory, but on camera those boys are telling it they can’t wait until it does kick off. For real. Farage knows where to come when a bit of ethnic cleansing is needed, Colin is his Ratko Mladić. Colin is ready.
The programme finishes with Paul being unusually reticent. He didn’t go to the Rochdale rally. He admitted he’d had a think about things and it was time to grow up. Too fucking right son. Too fucking right. Je suis Charlie, but there’ll be another 1000 Pauls, waiting to play Spartacus. They’ll be agitating. They’ll know the answers. Ethnic cleansing. With people like Colin to organise—if they’ve not already got them—all they need are the guns and the go ahead.