Fighter against "extremism" John Woodcock (Lord Walney), with two far-right Turkish politicians
On 7 February, the former right-wing Labour MP John Woodcock — now Lord Walney, a Tory supporter, and the government’s official for “countering violent extremism” — announced via the Daily Telegraph that the government had asked him to do a new “inquiry” into “extremism”.
Walney said that the biggest “threat” is the “far right”, but the Telegraph chose to headline “far left influence in Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Black Lives Matter”.
It quoted Walney further as saying that he was worried about people supporting groups like Unite Against Fascism, in which the Socialist Workers Party [SWP] plays a role.
This reads, for now, like an attempt to spook the left. XR has consistently avoided violence against people. Unite Against Fascism has been ultra-respectable, its sponsors including former Tory prime minister David Cameron, and its protests organised to minimise clashes with fascist mobilisations. In any case it is largely dormant now, replaced by Stand Up to Racism. Far from controlling the Black Lives Matter protests last summer (which were non-violent), the SWP usually did not even turn up to sell papers at them.
But we should beware. Demand Labour call on the government to drop the inquiry!