News - July 2000

ASYLUM SEEKERS - WELCOME WHERE?

25th July 2000


Over the last few weeks RA members have been participating in the UK Left Networks discussion page at www.egroups.com. During this time our position on asylum seekers, summarised in Asylum Seekers And Anti-Fascism, has come under sustained criticism from virtually every left group represented in the discussion.

However on 20th July the 'Welcome Where?' article shown below was posted to the site. The article was written by the national organiser of the Communist Party of Great Britain and broadly agrees with the Red Action analysis. This represents a welcome break from the standard position of the British left which regards working class perspectives on the issue of asylum seekers as being largely irrelevant.

WELCOME WHERE?

If it has any sense, the left must learn some lessons from the by-election in Bexley’s North End ward.

In a poor, run down, working class area, the British National Party took second place to Labour, scoring 26.2% of the vote, pushing the Tories and Liberal Democrats into third and fourth place as also-rans - a result which will fill the fascists with confidence for future contests.

Of course, it could have been much, much better for them. A Guardian journalist took a trip to the area and came across two typical local men, Ken and Del. Neither had bothered to vote, although both expressed views which actually made them ideal BNP election fodder. The journalist, Paul Kelso, concludes that, "Apathy may yet halt the racists’ progress" (July 15). The left would be ill-advised to be so complacent.

The result coincides with the opening of a debate on the slogan, ‘Refugees are welcome here’, one of the main campaigning points of the London Socialist Alliance in its various electoral outings so far. On various web discussion lists, comrades have been getting stroppy with each other over the slogan. Even in the painfully anodyne letters page of Socialist Worker, a correspondent has been allowed to question its worth: "Most people I’ve talked to see it as aimed from Socialist Worker at them," says Ben Drake of York (July 15).

My own experience canvassing for the LSA bears this out. It is deeply flawed as a slogan on a number of levels.

First, because the politics it encapsulates are not formulated as a demand on anyone. It does not explicitly call on the government to make refugees welcome here, to end their foul harassment. So what is it? An aspiration? Is it meant to be a description of the real state of affairs in working class communities in contrast to the chauvinism of the government - ‘Hands off our brothers and sisters from other countries’, in other words?

That, unfortunately, is nonsense. Amongst wide swathes of our class, the brutal fact is that refugees are not welcome, are viewed with deep suspicion and - incredibly - as relatively privileged competitors for scarce local resources. In many of the poorest working class areas, the level of demoralisation and defeat is such that the pathetic amounts of state aid being given to asylum-seekers engenders violent resentment. The hostility to these new ‘outsiders’ is inversely proportional to the ability of our class to fight and win on its own account. If workers in this country were confident, politically and organisationally strong with a genuinely independent working class culture, the arrival of refugees would spontaneously prompt solidarity rather than brutality, fear and hatred.

Areas of leafy Hampstead and Highgate, for example, have witnessed a relatively large influx of eastern European economic migrants over the last 10 years or so - typically the new lumpen rich from the former Soviet Union - but with no violent backlash. Why would there be? The arrivals pose no threat in terms of new claims on already beleaguered social services like house provision or schooling. Bexley’s North End is a little different, of course.

The slogan, ‘Refugees are welcome here’ - even when raised as part of a broader package of demands - smacks of patronising finger-wagging towards working class communities. It seems to suggest that if they are not welcome, it is the fault of those communities. Clearly, a far better call for this essentially defensive period is ‘Refugees are not to blame’, which challenges the claim that they are responsible for "poor public services, housing shortages, job losses and low pensions" - to quote Ben Drake’s letter to Socialist Worker.

It is truly remarkable that working class people in the south east of London have turned to an organisation like the BNP, which despite its recent image makeover under a relatively urbane new leader, remains deeply scarred by its Nazism. Because of the isolation of the left from the working class, the BNP has been able to pose itself as the radical alternative to Labour in some areas of the country.

Until very recently, the response of the Socialist Workers Party to the BNP’s moral victory in Bexley would have been to flood the area with posters, stickers and leaflets telling people, ‘Don’t vote Nazi’ - with the strong implication that they had best carry on voting Labour. Yet it is precisely the experience of Labour in power - locally and now nationally - that has driven sections of our class to such despair that they have turned to these scum in the ballot box. The SWP line implicated revolutionaries and socialists in the betrayals of Labour.

Of course, the BNP is a Nazi party. Which makes it doubtful whether, in its present form, it could achieve a genuine national breakthrough. Yet its successes underline once again that space exists in Britain for a mass, reactionary movement of the right. And, of course reaction, national chauvinism and worries about new migrants are not confined to so-called white racists. My local Asian newsagent complains bitterly and at length about asylum-seekers, about how they have ‘jumped’ housing waiting lists, about the noise, the smell, their light-fingered kids swarming all over his Pok√©mon display case. He does not see the irony that the same sort of things were said about his parents when they arrived. Those already here define themselves negatively against the latest ‘outsiders’ to arrive on these shores.

How should we respond? First, by recognising that the ‘lost’ 26.2% are our people, our class. We must fight any attempt to demonise them as racists, from whichever political direction. They have responded in a ‘common-sense’ way to the situation they have been forced into by decades of neglect by Labour and - unfortunately - much of the revolutionary left. The local authority in the area plans to stage yet another anti-racism festival in September, with the more or less explicit message that the attitudes of the local poor whites is the problem, and the enlightened bureaucracy needs to ‘educate’ them.

Official anti-racism thus racialises the politics of working class communities, making every dubiously defined group into ethnic supplicants to the local state. In such circumstances, it is not hard to see how the BNP’s ‘Rights for whites’ slogan might have resonance. The strength of the fascists is that they have a programme that appears to answer pressing questions for sections of our class.

By definition, socialist ideas have to cut against mainstream prejudices: they have to fight for an audience. The LSA commitment to challenge Labour nationally in the next general election represents the beginnings of the left taking its responsibilities to our class seriously. As illustrated in Bexley, we have a long way to go.

Mark Fischer

national organiser

This article also appears in the CPGB's paper, The Weekly Worker



NO PLATFORM FOR THE ANL?

22nd July 2000


In his review of Tony Cliff's biography, 'A World to Win' Marcus Larsen expresses his "shock" that the SWP, a "self proclaimed Marxist organisation", would call for the state to intervene in the struggle against the far-right. (Weekly Worker 22.6.00)

Uncharacteristically, in this respect the SWP (in the guise as the ANL) have been nothing but consistent. Every past mobilisation by the British National Party was met with a routine appeal by the ANL to everyone from the local authority to the Home Secretary himself to ban them. Since the BNP withdrew from the streets this policy is now being applied to the miniscule National Front.

However in the aftermath of the Copeland trial, the SWP went a step further. Via the ANL website they have called, not only for the state to ban all far-right parties, but to jail "all the nazis". For a supposedly revolutionary organisation to demand that the state set about outlawing and interning it's political opponents (no trial, no evidence required presumably) on the basis of it's alleged extremism, demonstrates either a complete inability to grasp even the most basic lessons from history, or a reckless opportunism bordering on the suicidal.

Undoubtedly this latest move to the right must be seen as a logical consequence of having long since surrendered any pretence of maintaining their own independent line in favour of tailing the agenda of Gerry Gable and his pro-state agency Searchlight. This is despite Searchlight's public commitment after Copeland to working even closer with the various state intelligence agencies.

Adopting the Searchlight line that the BNP and NF are essentially criminal conspiracies, means that the problem is addressed within the context of law and order, enabling the ANL to claim that the bombs were "evidence of the [fascists] isolation from mainstream society", and avoid any tricky questions about how the BNP's low but steady electoral rise should be countered - politically.

But even if we cast the dangers inherent in this approach to the backs of our minds momentarily, and pretend that it can somehow be justified on the basis that it is curtailing the rise of the far-right, it still doesn't wash.

On June 6th, less than a week after the Copeland trial and the demonisation of the BNP throughout the mass media, their candidate in a Bexley council by-election came from nowhere to claim second place behind Labour, with 26.2% of the vote.

Clearly if the BNP are criminals, the 'Don't Vote Nazi' strategy currently being employed by the ANL represents the sum total of strategic thinking amongst the British left in countering the 'suit and tie community politics' of euro-nationalism. If this is the case then we might soon find ourselves in deep trouble. The BNP we are facing to day, is a far more sophisticated outfit that has ditched it former policy of ' marches, meetings and punch-ups'. The left needs to understand this, and begin adopting new tactics that will not only neutralise the BNP, but win their voters to a progressive working class alternative. An obvious starting point would be for the various Socialist Alliances to publicly distance themselves from the ANL approach.

(Letter by Steve Potts submitted to Weekly Worker 13.7.00)



'BITTER RIVALS'

22nd July 2000


"One of the main obstacles in the way of a modern nationalist party seeking to move from fringe status to become a major political contender is", in the words of Paul Golding, the founder of the Young BNP "the climate of fear instilled by the media in the public mind, that they will be in an element of danger if they actively engage in nationalistic activities." "This" he thunders "is complete rubbish!"

In the May/June issue of Identity the BNP magazine, Paul continues to reassure. "Ever since I joined the party [in May last year] I have been involved in activities with the party organisation in South East London - leafleting, loudspeakering and attending public events...I have had my photograph publicised in print as well as on the Internet. MY phone number has been used for both Identity and the Young BNP."

"During this period" Paul continues "you would have thought that I would have been targeted in a homicidal campaign of anti-nationalist violence...but up to the present...I have not received a dodgy look". On the contrary 'overwhelming support and praise for the party and its message' has been his experience.

"That is not to say we have never been the targets of far-left violence", he goes on, "but since the party adopted a policy of avoiding confrontation, our extreme opponents have withered on the vine".

However on July 18 in the Guardian supplement, under the title 'For race and nation', Merope Mills explains how 'in the guise of an 18 year old student new to far-right politics' she infiltrated the YBNP. Apart from being 'bombarded with propaganda' there was little else she was asked to do. Certainly no 'leafleting, loudspeakering, or attending public events' for instance. The 'young make-up of the group' was offered up as one reason, but the real explanation why "meetings were few and far between" was because according to Merope Mills, the BNP as a whole "lives in perpetual fear of being ambushed by it's bitter rivals on the far-left".



HOLOCAUST: "UNKNOWABLE AND INEXPLICABLE"

22nd July 2000


According to the head of Germany's Jewish Community, Paul Spiegel, (Neo-Nazis Attack Refugee Hostel, The Guardian, 17.7.00) fascist violence is today "directed against foreigners, tomorrow, it will be against the handicapped, and the day after tomorrow against sexual minorities. In the end it will be against democratic society. It was like that in Weimar times."

Was it like that in Weimar times? Not in any history books I've ever read. What Paul Spiegel has done is tamper with the chronology of events. (It began with an attack on democracy and ended up in a war with foreigners.) On top of that, as is increasingly fashionable these days, working class communists and social democrats, the primary targets and first victims of the Nazis are air-brushed totally out of the record.

Not only does this selective victimhood, as Norman Finkelstien [author of the controversial 'Holocaust Industry'] has remarked, help render the Holocaust "unknowable and inexplicable", it is a revisionism far more widespread and corrosive to truth than anything Finkelstien himself might be accused of.

(The above is the text of a letter sent to the Guardian but not published. Further comment is added below. For the full story see July/August issue of RED ACTION out now.)

In contrast to the open minded approach generally recommended when dealing with any subject of controversy the ANL, who insist that Mein Kamph should be allowed only to 'accredited students', and who have lately begun to call on the state to 'jail all the Nazis' surpassed even themselves in the political censorship stakes recently.

Alerted by the controversy caused by left-wing Jewish academic Norman Finkelstien's forthright views, the ANL decided that a public debate between him and fellow academic Sir Martin Gilbert, to be held at the ICA and attended, according to the Evening Standard, by "a largely Jewish audience" ought too to be banned. So despite the event being organised by Spiro Ark the Jewish educational authority, the ANL felt it appropriate to place a picket on the event.

Speaking to the ever friendly Evening Standard, national organiser Julie Waterson explained: "We are here to listen to a debate which, unfortunately, I believe gives support to Holocaust deniers, I think it is dangerous and misplaced." (Evening Standard July 20)

Not half as 'dangerous and misplaced' as an organisation, purporting to be anti-fascist, supporting the suppression of freedom of speech in a climate of increasing attacks on civil liberties. What next 'book-burning'?



BNP VOTE IN BEXLEY - 'UNDERSTANDABLE' - ACCORDING TO NEW LABOUR.

15th July 2000


On June 30 the ANL posted the following message on their website:'The Copeland bombing is evidence of their [BNP] isolation from mainstream political society. It is a sign of their desperation that they consider nail bombs will bring them success at the ballot box. The [Copeland] trial is a further blow to the growth of the Nazis in Britain...'

Within the week the BNP had come second to Labour in a By-election in Bexley in south London. The Bexley result is the best placing the BNP have achieved since the election of Beackon on the Isle of Dogs in 1993. So according to the ANL, this morale boosting vindication of 'Euro-nationalism', was achieved despite the failure of the nailbomb - or because of it. Whatever the rationale, beating into third place a Tory Party, itself heavily playing the race card, is of huge significance potentially. It is perhaps the first indication, as happened in France after a while, that people here are beginning to see through the opportunism of mainstream parties, like the Tories, on the issue. As Le Pen put it, given a credible alternative; 'always people prefer the original to the copy'.

If such is the case, then Searchlight pinning its hope on the Tories continuing to play the race card, and therefore effectively 'keeping the BNP out' looks more than a little forlorn. In a major analysis in the Guardian on July 15, the report in conclusion, expressed the hope that "apathy may yet halt the BNP's progress". What they were saying is that despite the result, and despite the support for the BNP message on the ground, the BNP did not, as they say 'manage to get all their people out'. Yet another slap in the face to the Searchlight analysis which regularly pronounces that this is practically the only thing the BNP are good at. Thus far the ANL has not even had the courage to comment. Never has the impotence of the state-sponsored anti-fascism looked so pronounced.

In complete contrast to the Searchlight/ANL barely credible analysis, Tory candidate for London mayor Steven Norris, felt that in all probability 'the BNP was on the up', "I don't believe a politician in any party can afford to relax their guard". Local Labour MP Nigel Beard, perhaps mindful of BNP support in the area, rather than offer outright condemnation said instead:"I walk into pubs and people shout, 'when are you going to do something for the English?' That is not racist. it is a feeling of being bypassed, left in the queue for services while others go to the front. The area is almost exclusively white working class. It is an understandable reaction". 'Voting BNP' an understandable reaction? If that is the New Labour Millbank soundbite, then the drift is already evident. A failure of analysis is leading directly to a failure of nerve. There is moreover, as the European pattern has shown, no proven antidote.

AFA increasingly believes that on the evidence presented so far, the IWCA has found the answer. However it is a development, which because of it's work intensive nature will continue to take time. Access to resources apart, the BNP also have a considerable head start. In the meantime it is up to militant anti-fascism to try and bring a little reality to the situation. And that reality is that state sponsored anti-fascism is not anti-fascism as is commonly understood. For both Searchlight and increasingly the ANL the state is the solution. The only solution. In such a context it 'understandable' that any other solution, particularly one that might might threaten the political status quo, is verboten. In order to prevent such a strategy being seriously discussed, the ANL must at all costs, continue to pretend the current strategy is working. Failure to continue beating an up beat drum, will force people to look seriously at alternatives. 'Understandably', from the anti-extremist stance of the Searchlight/ANL sponsors that wouldn't do at all. 'A spot of postering anyone?'



BNP TAKE SECOND PLACE IN BY-ELECTION

8th July 2000


Following the GLA election on May 4 Socialist Worker reassured us: "The Nazis are SMALL. They have only managed to get around 60 to 100 votes in many areas". "They are" we were told "trying to claw back from their all-time low after they were smashed in the mid-1990's by the Anti-Nazi League mobilisations."

On the other hand, the June editorial of Searchlight insists that "the vilification of Searchlight by almost the entire extreme right in this country is continuing testament to the success of OUR work". Just prior to the May elections it bridled at any hint of an equivalence between support for the NF in local elections in 1977, and the BNP's potential now. Any such suggestion was both "alarmist and inaccurate". "Comparisons" it went on "with the NF at its peak in the 1970's are "quite absurd".

In 1977, it pointed out the NF polled 119,000 in London alone. While in the European elections in 1999 the BNP could only manage 102,000 nationally. A mere 18,000 in London for the BNP in 1999 would seem to have vindicated the Searchlight/ANL triumphalism.

Yet only 11 months later in May, on a 33% turnout almost 80,000 Londoners were happy to identify with the BNP. Given the same 43% turnout, as in the NF's hey day in 1977, the BNP vote in London alone, would have effortlessly crashed the 100,000 barrier. In 1977 the NF took 5.3% of the total, while 5.2% voted for the BNP's Mike Newland. The 0.1% differential looks just a little less 'alarmist, inaccurate and absurd' this side of the election doesn't it? Having trumpeted the 'continuing success of our work' in his editorial, Nick Lowles is by page six wondering ruefully: "If the BNP can achieve these results on its current organisational level, what will it achieve if it finally gets its act together?"

Who knows? Not Searchlight certainly. But if all else fails we can at least rely on ANL mobilisations to smash them as they did in the mid -1990's. Can't we?
(A reminder of what specific ANL mobilisations 'smashed the BNP to an all-time low' would of course be comforting.)

Rather than admit to the Searchlight/ANL omnipotence, BNP supremo Nick Griffin, has previously suggested, quite absurdly, that if "AFA" (who Searchlight maintain 'broke up in 1989', and whose existence the ANL have never even acknowledged) "can be stopped, that is all we [BNP] need to win.

In the May/June edition of the BNP mag Identity, Griffin is at it again. Ruminating, on the possibility of ,at some stage in the future, the voluntary re-incorporation of 'Southern Ireland' into the 'British Family'. He proposes that the adoption of such a policy now, just might "make it easier for us to win support among working class whites of Irish extraction on the mainland, who remain simultaneously," he insists "the most 'racist' section of the population, and the backbone of what extreme-left opposition to us remains."

Backbone of anti-fascist opposition - 'white'? Searchlight - 'of Irish extraction'? ANL - 'working class'? Whoever is he talking about? I think, we should be told.

London Borough of Bexley, North End Ward by-Election, July 6
Labour 772, 44.4%
BNP 456, 26.2%
Conservative 413, 23.7%
Lib Dem 99, 5.7%



COPELAND: 'FACE OF THE FUTURE'

July 4th 2000


On June the BBC ran a Panorama 'special' on the Copeland bombings and the background to the case. Gerry Gable introduced himself and his organisation as someone with their "fingers of the pulse of the far-right". This 'special' was produced by another Searchlight asset, while the current editor of Searchlight magazine was pencilled in as 'associate producer'. With such a line up it was inevitable that Panorama stuck rigidly to a Searchlight agenda. This was compounded on the same evening by the current affairs programme Newsnight, which too devoted it's entire programme to getting to the bottom of the Copeland riddle. Again it largely relied on Gable as expert witness to help unravel the sequence of events. Despite, or more accurately, because of Searchlight's political dominance of both programmes all the key questions, as yet, remain unanswered.

1.Was Copeland under surveillance, and if so from when, why, and by whom?
2.Was rivalry between sections of the security services responsible for the delay in identifying the suspect earlier?
3.Did Searchlight, who have boasted of having Copeland on file, discover his identity sometime prior to the police appealing for help from the public?
4. If all of the above is conjecture how were police in the position to warn the Admiral Duncan in Compton St of the danger of it being targeted just days before the attack?
5. If Copelands motives are in any way representative of feelings that are 'quite widely held', are the wider multicultural strategies working and if not, is there 'in one form or another' more to come?

In an number of briefings to different sections of the media, including the producers of both Panorama and ITV's Tonight programme, all these questions and more were raised by representatives of Anti-Fascist Action months prior to the trial. As is evidenced by the following press comments all are yet to be satisfactorily answered. And even more have arisen since.

"There have been persistent rumours the police had Copeland under surveillance before the Soho blast and lost him. Scotland Yard last night dismissed this as "absolutely untrue". Other speculation has suggested there was friction between M15 and Scotland Yard and that the two clashed over risk assessment. This too has been strongly denied. Scotland Yard did know about Copeland before the call from Mr Mifsud [a work mate]. Searchlight the anti-fascist magazine faxed Special Branch, through an intermediary, a list of 260 known rightwing extremists at 2pm on the day of the Soho blast. Copeland's name was among them but the address for him was old."
Guardian July 1 2000

"At midday that day however what is described as "a civilian organisation" contacted the Yard to offer two lists containing 260 names it should consider. The faxes named people who had been in Combat 18 in the 1992-93 period and might have moved on to other groups including the British National Party. The cover note added that one name not on the list was David Copeland, in his early twenties who last know address was in Barking. For the first time Copeland's name had entered the system."
Daily Telegraph July 1 2000

"It is understood that Searchlight, an anti-fascist publication sent the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch. via an intermediary, a list of 260 names, some just nicknames, and addresses of BNP and Combat 18 supporters, which included Copeland's at about 2 pm on the day of the Soho bomb. Police said the address given for Copeland was in Barking east London and Copeland had moved four time since then. Gerry Gable the publisher of Searchlight and an adviser to the Met's Racial and Violent Crime Task Force said: "When Copeland was identified neither M15, Special Branch or the Anti-Terrorism Branch, knew who he was. Yet we knew who he was. It shows a huge gap in their knowledge."
The Independent July

"...questions continue to be asked about how much police knew of Copeland's plans to plant a bomb in Soho. It was this third device, in the mainly gay Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, that was the most devastating of all, leaving three dead and 76 injured...It subsequently emerged that police had visited a number of gay pubs in Old Compton Street the night before the blast, including the Admiral Duncan, warning them to be vigilant about unattended bags. Gay groups say police did not warn pubs in other gay areas such as Vauxhall or Earl's Court. Sources within M15 were said to have warned members of the gay community that they believed the bomber was targeting a gay venue three days before the Admiral Duncan explosion but that this was not considered to be the most likely target by the Met's anti-terrorist squad. M15 was known to have infiltrated groups such as Combat 18, and the National Socialist Movement of which Copeland was a member and chief organiser for the Hampshire area."
The Observer July 2 2000

"There is nothing in David Copeland's past that millions of other young men haven't also experienced. This makes me more concerned than less. I take even less comfort from the fact that Copeland did not know much about his victims. He was surprised at how many whites lived in Brixton. He never expected a heterosexual couple to be drinking in gay pub with their gay friends. The fact that the three people he killed belonged to just such a group is not, as some commentators have suggested, proof that we live in a far more mixed tolerant and harmonious society than Copeland believed. If Copeland is a product of that same society, how could this possibly be? We all had part in the making of this man, and when we made him, unlike Frankenstein, we did not stop at one. Which is why I go cold when I come face to face with his picture. He's the face of the future and in one form or another he'll be back."
Maureen Freely The Independent July 3 2000

FURTHER COMMENTS
1. Police have dismissed as "absolutely untrue" 'rumours' that they had Copeland under surveillance prior to the Soho Bomb. This is not dissimilar to the police comments made after Copeland's arrest to the effect that Copeland 'was not involved with any of the groups that had claimed responsibility for the bombings and was working alone for his own motives'. While true it did tend to suggest that Copeland was not, nor had ever been involved in any far-right organisation, and that therefore his motives must be considered personal and thus apolitical.This statement was made at a time when the police knew Copeland had formerly been involved with the BNP, and was currently the regional organiser for the NSM. Therefore while hand on heart police can again deny they had Copeland under surveillance it does not rebut the possibility that he was under surveillance by agencies other than the 'police'.

2. Furthermore, despite the police denial of any 'friction' or rivalry between various sections of the security services, the evidence is widespread. Gerry Gable a lay adviser and unofficial spokesman for John Grieve's Racial and Violent Crime Task Force has constantly and publicly, both during and after the bombings, attacked the police handling of the investigation. Gable's principle argument was that this and any subsequent investigations needed to be "intelligence led". In other words operational control ought to be taken away from the Anti-Terrorist Squad and handed over to the 'Task Force' of which he is a member. Interestingly despite the Anti-Terrorist squad being in official charge of the investigation, it was to Special Branch that Searchlight faxed, 'via an intermediary', the 259 names plus...on the day of the bombing.

3. Gable claims Searchlight "knew" who Copeland was. Yet the address submitted to police was in Barking. If Searchlight did as is insinuated keep track of Copeland, then they would have known he was in the National Socialist Movement. Of course if they knew he was in the NSM, it follows they would also have known he was living not in Barking but in Shropshire. Considering he was the areas 'unit commander' the organisation and the geography are indubitably linked. So either Searchlight were seriously remiss in not matching the face of the bomber to their own archive footage of September 1997, or they did, but for reasons outlined above were 'economical' in their dealings with what they clearly regarded as rival agencies.

4. Prior to the Soho bombing, the police had been working on the assumption that the next target would be a racial target like the others. But it is now known that Copeland bombed Brixton without any previous reconnoitre. He followed the same modus operandi for bombing number two in Brick Lane. His failure to carry out even a cursory reconnoitre led him to go in error to Brick Lane on a Saturday, rather than as he had attended, when the market was packed on a Sunday. But learning from the error he went straight from Brick Lane to Soho to check out suitable targets for the next bomb. The only time he had ever done so. On May 7 the headline in the Pink confirmed that: "M15 warned gays could be next". Curiously the journalist subsequently denied he had had a 'tip-off'. If not acting on a tip-off from the same source, then on what information other than M15's unique insight were police acting, when contrary to their own analysis, they abruptly visited precisely the same pub that was to be bombed only 24 hours later? If Copeland who was working alone, and was not under some form of surveillance how could M15, The Pink, and the police possibly guess where he was likely to strike next?

5. Rather than being an aberration in an otherwise perfectly functioning multicultural society, Copeland is in reality merely the extreme tip of a steadily rising tide of racially motivated incidents and attacks estimated by the Runnymede Trust to currently run at 290,000 annually; an average of 5,000 a week nationally. Already higher than many countries where the far-right are politically well established, the statistics from police and other independent sources continue on the same steadily upward curve. Despite this wealth of evidence, liberalism continues to take comfort in denial. 'The war [against fascism] is over and we won it' was a typically vainglorious comment from the ANL to an AFA rally only in October 1999. But as the 80,000 votes for the BNP in London in May's election demonstrate, far from 'being over', we are instead entering 'a new phase of struggle' for which, as the quotes illustrate, the conservative left is singularly unprepared.