Fairfield Halls says ‘No’ to UKIP Batten’s anti-EU debate

UKIP MEP Gerard Batten: getting the message from Fairfield Halls today

UKIP MEP Gerard Batten: getting the message from Fairfield Halls today

The Fairfield Halls this morning told the organisers of what was claiming to be a “debate” about Britain’s membership of the European Union that they were going to postpone the event, to have been staged in the Arnhem Gallery, in light of the atrocities in Paris on Friday night.

One of the key speakers was to have been Gerard Batten, the UKIP MEP who in the past has been accused of peddling Islamophobia.

In a brief statement issued to Inside Croydon, the Fairfield Halls management said, “After discussion with the organiser of this event this morning, Fairfield have decided to postpone the event with regard to the sensitivities of the international situation.”

The acknowledgement of the “international situation” strongly suggests that Batten’s reputation as the promoter of the “Charter of Muslim Understanding” goes before him.

Batten was ostensibly going to speak for the case for Brexit, while Tom Brake, the LibDems’ last remaining MP in London, was to make the case for Britain’s continued membership of the EU. No Croydon MP, either Conservative or Labour, agreed to share a platform with Batten.

Inside Croydon had flagged up the sensitivities of the situation on Saturday, hours after terrorists had struck at several locations around central Paris, leaving more than 120 innocent people dead and a similar number hospitalised with life-threatening injuries.

On Saturday, we wrote: “The question which arises now is whether the Fairfield Halls management… believe it is appropriate, at this time, to give Batten a platform from which he may attempt to use yesterday’s horrific and appalling events in Paris to try to stir up inter-community hatred in the country’s most multi-cultural boroughs.” Clearly, the answer is “No”.

Fairfield Halls said that they took the decision without any advice from the local police or Croydon Council, and only after speaking to the organisers. It is not known at this stage whether the organisers will seek to re-arrange the event.

The event was ostensibly being staged by an organisation called “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy”, or EFDD, the European Parliament group that includes UKIP and other parties, some of which have far-right beliefs, including one which is led by a Holocaust denier.

An EFDD leaflet, distributed to some central Croydon households over the weekend to promote tonight’s “debate”, included anti-refugee scaremongering that some EU states are giving illegal migrants passports and sending them on their way to Calais. It further stated that there is nothing we can do to stop them.

It seemed likely that this might form a central theme of Batten’s proposed address tonight. But it was also likely that Batten would broaden the discussion: the MEP was behind the drafting of the “Charter of Muslim Understanding” in 2006. That document calls on Muslims to reject parts of the Qur’an which Batten claims promotes “violent physical jihad”.

A fortnight ago the former UKIP parliamentary candidate for Croydon North, Winston McKenzie, quit the party, claiming that he’d be subjected to racism from UKIP members at party headquarters and in the party locally.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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10 Responses to Fairfield Halls says ‘No’ to UKIP Batten’s anti-EU debate

  1. Well done Inside Croydon in raising concerns about this meeting.

  2. Utter madness. Here is a man who is not a terrorist sympathiser, not an extremist, simply a man with a view on Europe and its problems. He may not offer the same opinions as others, but at the same time he is an elected representative of the European parliament .
    It is almost tantamount to blaming him for the awful happenings in Paris. I’m sure he will say things that others do not wish to hear, but that does not make him wrong.
    Burying our heads in the sand will not make this evil go away.
    Shame on whoever it is that had made this decision.

    • Yes, Batten has all the bogus respectability of a latterday Oswald Moseley. Except he and his Holocaust-denying friends are subsidised by European tax-payers.

      • Duona says:

        Tom Black editor of The Croydon Citizen was happy to share a platform with this man as Chair of the debate.
        And why did Tom Black and the Citizen come out so strongly in defence of the UKIP linked CCC, against those who were raising the issues of Islamaphobia and racism within that group?

  3. What is wrong with asking Muslims to renounce violence? If it is a religion of peace prove it. (yes, I know people for whom it truly is a religion of peace) After all we all expected Christians to renounce the teaching that marriage was a union between a man and a woman. No one raised their hands in shock horror over that

  4. Bob Bayliss says:

    I believe that is was the right decision to cancel this evening’s debate out of respect for those who died. There are questions directly arising from to this tragedy which I believe are pertinent to the whole question of the EU and its utterly misguided open border philosophy. Now is not the time to debate them, but debate them we must now that we are becoming ever clearer that what we are likely to achieve from renegotiation falls well short of what will be in the best interests of this country.

  5. davidjl2014 says:

    Oh dear, oh dear. Haven’t we forgotten one simple thing here. Freedom of Speech. What we fought 2 world wars for. Whether Batten’s views are liked or disliked is irrelevant, under the laws of this country he still has the right to express them. Little hope for the reopening of Fairfield Halls when you have headless chickens managing it. The show must go on, as proved by the decision of the FA to play a completely meaningless international football match 4 days later at Wembley against France (at vast security expense, paid for by us all). I suppose if it had become public knowledge that a member of the English Football team sympathised with the views of Gerard Batten some idiot would have cancelled that too!

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