James Goddard: Who is the far-right protester that harangued MP Anna Soubry?
He was outside parliament shouting at people for much of November and December and previously told Ms Soubry she was “on the side of Adolf Hitler”.
He films himself doing it – and he must have hours of footage on his phone of himself angrily asking questions and hurling abuse.
I first met him in September last year where he was part of a Democratic Football Lads Alliance march protesting against the rape of women in Sunderland.
The people I spoke to that day were disparaging of Muslims – and speeches were full of anti-Muslim rhetoric.
In my interview with him, Goddard berated the mainstream media for not reporting on terrorist attacks in the UK and elsewhere.
:: Soubry ‘felt in physical danger’ when confronted by protesters
Although he didn’t specify any attacks that we hadn’t reported on, so I could only assume he was referring to the ones he’d heard about from the mainstream media.
He also criticised me for not reporting on child sexual abuse in Rotherham and Telford – even though I’ve done many reports on both, and that day the protesters had posted my interview with a Telford abuse victim on their Facebook page.
Goddard is a regular at Speakers’ Corner and was a vocal supporter of the “Free Tommy [Robinson]” campaign.
In one speech, he asked: “Why do they tell us we can be angry about Grenfell but we can’t be angry about Manchester? …Because it doesn’t fit their narrative.”
Having been on the scene of both of those traumatic events, I find it hugely disrespectful and ignorant to play one off against the other.
But it is textbook extremism to invent an ugly unspecified bogeyman who is suppressing the one side of “the truth”.
Ironically, Islamic extremism does the same and the far right and Islamic extremists seem to be pushing towards the same goal – cultural conflict.
On one recent piece of footage outside Westminster, Goddard is seen screaming at an Asian police officer: “You want a war – I’ll give you a war. You are fair game.”
When the officer says “I’m not deaf”, he retorts: “You ain’t even f****** British.”
Goddard claimed on Twitter on Tuesday that he was “violently assaulted” by the police and that is what prompted his outburst.
I haven’t seen him be violent towards anyone outside Westminster – but his language and physical invasion of personal space can be very intimidating – it’s like being pursued by a highly abusive chugger.
He’s chased me through Westminster with his phone, most recently furious that I’d not used all six minutes of my interview with him in Sunderland – even though the whole report was only six minutes long.
He was also angry that I portrayed the protest as violent – which of course would not have been possible if some of those on the march were not being violent and clashing with police – as our footage showed.
But his regular group outside Westminster is small – about a dozen people – and we should be careful not to give them undue prominence just because they are loud.
I wouldn’t even describe them as pro-Brexit campaigners as their message is undefined.
The day in Westminster on Monday was summed up when someone in a yellow vest shouted “what do we want?” and his fellow protesters went momentarily silent before one shouted “Soubry is a Nazi!” – and once again they had a chant they could get behind.
The thing they seem to want most is to vent anger by inventing vacuous insults to throw at MPs and journalists.
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