It’s interesting that EDL Girls – Don’t Call Me Racist is a generally sympathetic portrayal of the female wing of the far-right comedy troupe. With BBC Three being a nest of preteen Trots who have just had their collective throat cut it might not be what you were expecting. Lee Rigby’s murder proved an effective recruiting tool for the organisation and as 16-year-old Katie from Reading stands on the cusp of womanhood she’s contemplating joining the family tradition of EDL activism. Family patriarch Jay holds a loaf of bread from the corner shop like a really shit Jesus and you suspect a parable will quickly follow.
Not quite – Jay points out that the bread is halal. “If you’re a Christian you can’t eat it” he says and he’s right. Should a Christian even attempt a slice he’ll puke his guts up like a billy goat and likely die shortly afterwards. What are we going to do: just sit there and take it? Do you really fink we gonna have dat, Gal?
Jay holds a loaf of bread from the corner shop like a really shit Jesus and you suspect a parable will quickly follow.
Not Jay. Fond of fatuous attention-seeking stunts, he walks around Reading in a niqab. “Let’s see what happens” he says as if the mystery of creation itself might be revealed. You’ve got to love the spirit of enquiry. Katie is mortified. She’s a 16-year-old girl with a bad dye job and gnawed-to-the-bone nails, worried mainly about her social status at college and what’s for dinner. Issues like sharia law are beyond her ken and indeed her Barbie. Her family want her to go to Tower Hamlets for the next EDL demo but she resists. She’s a nice girl who was just born into the wrong crowd.
That was never an issue for Gail, 41, the regional EDL leader for Yorkshire and one of the founding EDL Angels (umbrella term for the women of the EDL). Think of Gail as a biker’s old lady – a terrifying mother hen figure like Gemma on Sons of Anarchy. Some months previous in her hometown of Wakefield a confrontation between Asian men and the EDL wound up with her being beaten unconscious, her jaw broke in seven places and her being moved out of Wakefield for her own safety. The trial of two men accused of the assault is coming up. Even for a sturdy character like Gail it’s a traumatic time.
But wait, what of Amanda, 18-year-old new recruit also from Yorkshire? Don’t worry guys, your sock drawers are safe – Amanda’s a girl you think more of as a friend. She’s back in her hometown for the first time since she was 11 and needs new pals. The EDL provide them. Amanda watches as their beloved leader Tommy Robinson rabble-rouses – it’s inspiring to see his commitment to the movement. Then, on 9th November: the Event. Robinson quits the EDL citing concerns over the “dangers of far-right extremism” and I think it’s safe to say nobody saw that coming.
Tommy Robinson quits the EDL citing concerns over the “dangers of far-right extremism” and I think it’s safe to say nobody saw that coming.
Gail feels “fucking disrespected” and nothing makes sense to her any more. “He’s proper shit on every foot soldier” she says. Hard to argue with that but right now Amanda has other issues. She has a first proper date with a guy and decides to tell him from the off that she’s EDL for life. Will he take heed of her “Only God Can Judge You” tattoo, the go-to tattoo of worthless scrote pieces of shit?
“I hope he’s not gonna be ‘oh my god, get away'” says Amanda. Well not until he wakes up sober next to you, doll. He’s actually a half-decent looking fellow. Matters take a happy turn when the boy is more than OK with her politics and she invites him along to the Wakefield demo. Awwww. He dumps her before said Wakefield demo but it’s a really nice gesture that he at least said he was going yeah?
When the trial of the two men accused of assaulting Gail comes up her stress levels go through the roof. She endures three hours on the witness stand where it seems like she and the EDL are the ones on trial. The men claim self defence and are found not guilty on both counts. Gail is a wreck afterwards and, any misgivings you have about her aside, it’s upsetting to watch.
Because this is the Britain of the angry dispossessed – doomed to be permanent victims, factory fodder and rubes, lacking the social skills or intelligence to negotiate a way out. Nursing a long list of grievances – some legitimate, many not – they will go to their graves spitting fire, swearing vengeance and pissing blood.
The country they love doesn’t reciprocate. Their rage is the rage of the rejected lover.
The least racist country in Europe, Britain has always had a weak far right. No Hitler, Franco or Mussolini here. That hack Oswald Mosley getting cornholed at the Battle of Cable Street is their history in a nutshell. The country they love doesn’t reciprocate. Their rage is the rage of the rejected lover.
Whatever our politics, to that we can all relate.¹
The verdict: I love my KKK bitch.
Marks out of 10: 7
¹ Fuck you. Aerial Telly cannot relate. The concept of ‘rejection’ is as foreign a concept to him as ‘your boy’s a murdering piece of shit’ is to the supporters of Oscar Pistorius.