Have the EDL shot themselves in the foot with plans to merge with the British Freedom Party?

The English Defence League are set to announce their plans to merge with the British Freedom Party ahead of a mass demonstration in their hometown of Luton tomorrow; but does the move spell disaster for the controversial group?

Last week sources close to Blottr revealed confidential plans that the leader of the EDL, Tommy Robinson, will join the BFP as their deputy leader, in a move to take the far-right extremists into mainstream politics. A transition into mainstream politics has been planned for over a year, however the announcement due tomorrow is the first real attempt.

Although initially the idea of the leader of the infamously aggressive EDL having significant sway in a political party may be worrying, what seems more likely is that the dramatic change in tactics will be detrimental to the growth of the group, and will not, as hoped, propel them towards greater influence.

Why?

1. EDL's aggressive marches will have to be stopped. Tommy Robinson needs to behave decently if he is to get his message across. At the moment his message is just another form of Islamophobia.

2. The group need to tone down the racist/extreme rhetoric they use to woo voters. To enter politics they willhave to be more politically correct. In the serious political arena his policies will be challenged head-on, he will have to debate, justify himself.

3. His supporters will become disenfranchised with him as he will have to change in order to be deputy leader - wear suits, public speaking, toning down. The supporters won't be able to relate to Tommy Robinson. Let's face it, in their last Birmingham demo the groups members were annoyed that they had paid £200 to turn up only to find themselves sitting in pubs all day.

Whatever happens on Saturday, the EDL is entering a new side of politics. How they can engage with their audience will be closely monitored. How many members stay once Tommy's defects is another question altogether.

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