Lee Rigby’s murder was an awful and barbaric crime. To make matters worse, it’s also been exploited shamelessly by the English Defence League to whip up hatred against Muslims. This is despite the fact that both Rigby’s family and his regiment have made it clear that they do not want his name used in such a manner.
Last night, I was debating this on Twitter with Marty Caine, a UKIP activist based in Poole. He gave a startling response to the family’s wishes.
Caine describes himself on his Tumblr as an entertainer and comedian, though I can’t imagine Rigby’s family will be laughing at being called idiots. Especially not for the sin of not wanting their son’s memory hijacked by a bunch of racist thugs. Caine’s Tumblr also has a long, rambling defence of the EDL. The gist of it seems to be that if it wasn’t for the malicious propaganda of Hope Not Hate and Anonymous, then everyone would realise what jolly nice people the EDL are. He ends, in a spectacular piece of unintentional irony, by stating, “There is no excuse for ignorance in a world that has Google.” Indeed there isn’t.
I had a long Twitter discussion with Caine last night. At no point did he offer a retraction or apology for insulting Rigby’s family. Mostly he engaged in lots of Whatabout and Will-You-Condemn-a-Thon responses, demanding to know what I thought of Unite Against Fascism (which I’m not a member of and don’t much like).
I wouldn’t endorse David Cameron’s famous description of UKIP as a bunch of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, but only because I’m not keen on mental health-themed insults. Their activists do, however, seem to have an impressive knack for exposing themselves as deeply unpleasant extremists.