Today I went to a screening of Just West Yorkshire's documentary about the English Defence League's demo in Bradford last summer. It is a remarkably positive film that shows that Bradford has a lot to offer as an example of how to resist fascism. Everyone expected a riot, the media, the nation, the far right, but Bradford offered another reaction. It chose non-violence.
It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty - there were terrible fall outs amongst the anti-fascist community. The animosity between the 'Hope not Hate' group and virtually every other type of response nearly derailed a lot of good community relations built up over the years.
The Police did an amazing job. When they realised that the line they had been thrown about the 'We Are Bradford' campaign (separate but connected to the Unite Against Fascism national group) was not accurate, the police quickly changed tactics. In Bradford, they listened to the activists.
Our political leaders showed a lot of arrogance during the run up to the EDL gathering, but I do have a growing respect for Ian Greenwood, the leader of council. He is completely honest, even if we do disagree on many issues.
For all our differences, all the approaches, from 'Bradford Women for Peace' to 'Bradford Together's' petition to ban the march, all the strategies worked together in a remarkable synergy. God must have been watching over us that day, because despite ourselves, we managed to turn the EDL's plan of the 'Big One' into their complete 'Big Utter Failure'.
My book looks at the churches reaction to the EDL incursion into our city, and concludes that we must do all we can to support all non-violent responses to the far right. Bradford stands stronger because of this commitment.