Published on Thursday, 16 August 2012 22:42 Written by Sonia Gable
We were pleased to reproduce Tash Shifrin’s article on Tuesday about Alan Lake, one of the founders of the English Defence League, losing his job at a major international development. Tash, who writes for the Socialist Worker and Unite Against Fascism, has done a great job of investigating the EDL, its backers and its international links. I drew upon her research in an article in the December 2011 issue of Searchlight.
Lake, whose real name is Alan Ayling, is a key figure in the shadowy network of far-right and anti-Muslim racist groups who call themselves counter jihadists. It was at Lake’s flat in the Barbican in London that the EDL was established, according to Paul Ray, a disaffected founder member.
Although Ayling is believed to be no longer involved with the EDL, his 4 Freedoms website remains a significant player in the anti-Islam movement. That much is acknowledged by Hope Not Hate (HNH), which includes Ayling in the website version of its “Counter-Jihad report”.
Strange though that HNH has not reported Ayling being sacked from his job. This might be an oversight, except that HNH has consistently ignored or played down Ayling’s role. We have to wonder why.
As for HNH’s Counter-Jihad report, that’s another interesting story. Nick Lowles launched the report on the HNH website on 15 April, but on 30 April HNH emailed those who had paid for a copy to apologise for the delay in sending the report, saying: “We have had some trouble getting copies from our regular printers and now wont be receiving them until mid-May”.
Fair enough except that come mid-May the report remained absent. On 7 June I spoke to someone at HNH who said the reports had been delivered the previous day. Still nothing. On 20 June I phoned HNH again and was told that the report was going to be launched in the week of 25-29 and would then be mailed out.
Another phone call on 13 July and I was told the report would be launched in Brussels the following week. I didn’t bother to ask why it had to be launched so many times before it could be sent out to those who had paid for it some time before.
Finally in another phone call on 31 July I was told the report had been sent out the previous week. Our copy has still not arrived. I did note, however, that the report which was originally available for £10 (which I paid) was now being advertised on the HNH website for double that.
Rumour has it that HNH encountered serious legal issues in the publication and had to pulp the first version of the report. But quite why the reprint has been delayed so long since then, and withheld from us, is unclear.