posted by: Gerry Gable | on: Thursday, 14 April 2011, 17:42

Welcome to the Lone wolves: myth or reality? website.

I am the author of all but two chapters of this investigation into the nature of far-right terrorism, which you can download from this website.

I am also the publisher of Searchlight, which is the longest running anti-racist and anti-fascist magazine in the UK. You can find out more about the magazine here.

Searchlight started in May 1964, which is when I started work with it as its research editor. At that time it was only an occasional publication and a press agency. It became a monthly magazine in 1975, the same year that I joined London Weekend Television to work on The London Programme, a London version of the very successful Granada investigative programme World In Action.

During my time at The London programme I worked with its first editor Barry Cox and two of his co-authors, Martin Short and John Shirley, of what is still one of the best books on police corruption. However the four of us were very keen to demonstrate what was good about policing in Britain as well as the bad aspects, which are more usually the subject of investigative documentaries.

Some of the programmes that I made with colleagues over the following eight years are still worth watching, if you can lay your hands on them.

Perhaps surprisingly, in all my time at LWT I never made a single programme about the extreme right. What I did do was work alongside a number of Metropolitan Police Commissioners and other officers who have gone on to achieve high rank in the MPS or other police services around the country.

I worked with the European Parliament’s investigation into xenophobia, racism and fascism and a second report a few years later with a Searchlight colleague Graeme Atkinson, who has a vast knowledge of European right extremism and was based in Germany in the interesting years around the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I joined the MPS Independent Advisory Group on race hate crime under John Grieve 13 years ago. During the period when Sir John Stevens (now Baron Stevens of Kirkwhelpington) was the MPS Commissioner, I was honoured that he chose me to be the first civilian serving on the MPS Inspectorate.

I have worked on a wide range of policing matters and so feel equipped to make my views known and throw them open to debate.

Now I feel it is the time to use my experience hopefully for the good in discussing the findings and recommendations of the Lone wolves: myth or reality? report.

Police services are facing cuts huge changes are being proposed in policing. At this time discussion and debate should be valued by all those who care about the future of the country’s criminal justice system. I hope you will take the opportunity to put forward your ideas for debate on this website.

Also on this website are two recent interesting speeches by Baroness Neville-Jones, the Minister of State for Security and Counter Terrorism, whose area of responsibility includes much of the subject matter of this report. See them here.

A number of people in the field have asked me whether her remarks about MI5’s changing role were an attempt to get intelligence on the cheap via community groups. Perhaps she might be willing to discuss what she actually meant on this site.

 Posted: 14 Apr 2011 | There are 2 comments


Comment 1 | From: Paul Crofts | Date: 18 April 2011, 21:54

I would like to congratulate Searchlight and all the contributors to this fascinating and vitally needed new report in aiding us in combating violent extremism - particularly in respect of the generally neglected area of violent right-wing/neo-fascist extremism (counter-posed to the oppressive governmental/police focus on "Islamic extremism" within the community cohesion discourse - that has contributed to fueling the current wave of Islamaphobia). I would also like to particularly thank Gerry Gable (and no doubt his long-suffering family!) for leading on this project, which is a culmination of his work and dedication over many years. One aspect of the report I would like to develop further, as it is an area of work that I have developed an interest in recent years. This is based around the concept of "family resemblances" of fundamentalist/extremist ideologies and the linked synergies that are developing between extremist groups, as they feed off the ideology and activities of each other in quite imaginative ways. The concept of "family resemblances" was developed by the philosopher Wittgenstein, but has been developed in an analysis of contemporary "fundamentalist" ideologies and groups by Malise Ruthven in his short and very readable book "Fundamentalism: the Search for Meaning". I would recommend this as it provides very useful ways of potentially identifying some of the common threads in identifying potentially extremist/violent groups. Whilst there might be a danger of over simplifying these common elements, so that they become stereotypes, I believe the approach can nonetheless be a useful starting point. On the issue of how extremist groups feed off each other ("tit for tat radicalisation") I believe this needs to be highlighted much more in our educational work with communities and the work of organisations such as Hope Not Hate. It also points to a simple humanistic message "extremisms of all kinds destroy communities: reject the extremists" which would supplement the Hope Not Hate message and similar calls for peaceful united communities in the face of those who wish to stir up divisions, hatred and violence. In a Searchlight article in 2003 (see http://www.stopfundinghate.org/resources/news/0103SearchLight.htm) Anjona Roy and I drew attention to this phenomena in commenting on the growth of Hindu fundamentalism within our local community the following way: "Over recent years there has been a growth in "fundamentalism" of all kinds within major religions (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu) and a rise in neo-fascism and extreme right-wing politics and nationalism in many countries in Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle and Far East and Africa, and in the United States. These narrow and sectarian nationalisms, fundamentalisms and extremisms pose an increasing threat to internal peace and stability in many countries, and also in some cases to world peace." Whilst this was written in 2003 , I believe the political message that it evokes is more relevant than ever before. If I can help with this project in any way, please don't hesitate to ask. You know where to find me!! All the best, Paul La Lutta Continua!

Comment 2 | From: Kathreen | Date: 19 September 2011, 01:10

It's about time smooene wrote about this.

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