EDL,  Freedom & Liberty

Howard Hodgkin breaks with EDL assistant

I’ve written several posts against the EDL here, many of them in the context of the planned new Cambridge Mosque.  Although I don’t think everyone who supports the EDL, or is at least drawn to some of their ideas, is racist, it seems clear that many of their supporters are foul.  And Stephen Yaxley Lennon is clearly an anti-Muslim bigot:

“EVERY SINGLE MUSLIM watching this on Youtube, on 7/7 you got away with killing and maiming British citizens, you got away with it. You had better understand that we have built a network from one end of this country to the other end, and we will not tolerate it, and the Islamic community will feel the full force of the English Defence League if we see any of our citizens killed, maimed or hurt on British soil ever again.”

Whose bigotry has a racial element:

“Within 30 or 40 years in this country we are a complete minority to Muslims, because of the Muslim demographics…..Our culture and our race will disappear in this country.”

Hope not Hate have been at the forefront of opposition to the EDL – I have a lot of time for them, and welcome their recent efforts to broaden their focus. However this story, posted on their website recently, made me uneasy.  Briefly, Howard Hodgkin has accepted the resignation of his assistant, Ann Marchini, after learning of her support for the EDL.  It was clear he felt any future working relationship between them was impossible.

Instinctively, my sympathies were with Howard Hodgkin.  Marchini is not a casual supporter of the EDL, but someone with a strong involvement with the organisation.  I can understand anyone feeling uncomfortable working closely with such a person.  But should someone’s politics, if legal, interfere with their work in an (unrelated) job?  If the EDL is beyond the pale, how about the SWP?  Howard Hodgkin was disgusted by the idea of working with an EDL supporter.  Someone else might find it impossible to work with a committed supporter of Israel – or a committed opponent of Israel.  Clearly everyone will respond more strongly to some of those scenarios than others.  But the principle is still the same – I don’t think people’s politics should cost them their jobs unless their views are preventing them carrying out the job properly.

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