Birmingham MP condemns Football Lads Alliance march (FLA) and backs Stand Up To Racism campaign

By Gerry Gable

The following press release was issued by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) today.

Birmingham Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff has condemned Saturday’s Football Lads Alliance protest and voiced support for the ‘Birmingham United’ unity event organised by Stand Up To Racism.

Roger Godsiff MP said:

‘I unreservedly condemn the Football Lads Alliance because it is an organisation seeking to divide our society and to claim to be, in any way, associated with mainstream football supporters is abhorrent.

‘To even suggest that the millions of people who show an affinity to a football club is somehow associated with vile and pernicious views against religious minorities is a total betrayal of everything football supporters stand for and that is why I am totally supportive of the Birmingham United stand up to racism campaign’.

The Football Lads Alliance claims to be non political and marching against extremism.

Yet The Observer exposed the FLA’s secret Facebook site with its racist and Islamophobic postings, threats against London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, and sympathy for Finsbury Park attacker Darren Osborne.

The organiser of today’s FLA march, John Meighan, has backed a far right march against the East London Mosque and welcomed ex English Defence League (EDL) leader onto Saturday’s demo.

Anne Marie Waters, leader of the far-right ‘For Britain’ party, is speaking on the FLA March and UKIP leader Gerard Batten is set to join the Democratic FLA protest in the city.

National figures such as TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, Len McCluskey Unite the Union General Secretary, Kevin Courtney NEU Joint General Secretary, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, local campaigners Salma Yaqoob and Maz Saleem along with Roger Godsiff MP have signed a petition opposing the march and supporting the positive, anti-racist mobilisation.

The event ‘Birmingham United’ calls on “all people of good will to stand together in Birmingham against all forms of racism and Islamophobia. We believe that football is for all, women and men, black and white, LGBT and straight, people of all religions and none.”

Details of the march on Saturday 24 March are here. Stand Up To Racism is a national anti-racist organisation with support across the Labour and Trade Union Movement, faith and community groups. Last Saturday 17 March they organised a national demonstration against the rise in hate crime and the far right which attracted over 20,000 people.