English Defence League

The English Defence League (EDL) is a racist organisation whose main activity is street demonstrations against the Muslim community.

Although it claims only to oppose Islamic extremism it targets the entire Muslim community and its actions deliberately seek to whip up tensions and violence between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

Ideology Anti-Muslim, Anti-immigration, Nationalist
Membership 100-150
Leadership Alan Spence (Leader),Ian Crossland (Spokesperson)
Online Sporadic use of Facebook and Twitter
Active areas Newcastle, Telford, Leeds, London, Nottingham, Dover, Sheffield, Thanet, Walsall


After a lethargic and alcohol-fuelled almost comic collapse, the mainstream media now seem to have woken up to the fact that the EDL is increasingly irrelevant, even on the far right in the UK.

Early in 2016, the EDL’s leadership entered into discussions with some of its splinter groups for a kind of “non-aggression” pact but this came to nothing once old rivalries reared their heads and the EDL insisted it was still the major player on the street movement scene. The group also suffered a short-lived shift of activists to former leader Stephen Lennon’s Pegida UK and few returned when that group fell flat.

EDL personnel were visible and active in riots in both Dover in January and Liverpool in March despite their being organised by groups the EDL opposes.

A demonstration the EDL called for London in July was described by the organisation itself as an “embarrassment” when fewer than 50 attended.

That humiliation led to another split in the organisation, with fifty activists vowing to form a rival group that was temporarily led by Stockport organiser Andrew Edge. This new group soon collapsed after another argument erupted.


The EDL will likely continue to drag on through 2017 but it will continue to be small and ineffective. Bereft of ideas and lacking leadership, the EDL’s decline will continue.