In 1978, I was as concerned as many of my friends about the rise of extreme Right parties in London. I grew up in a suburb of east London and at the weekends would drive with my Dad to Petticoat Lane and Brick Lane for the street markets. On our way, I’d see posters on the wall that were so racist – I wouldn’t even reproduce them on this blog.
There were a lot of Jewish kids at my school back then (it’s now a Sikh private school – change of demographics in the area) and they were worried sick about the emergence of anti-Semitic groups. Cemeteries and synagogues were being attacked and areas like Hoxton – now very trendy – had become hotbeds of fascist skinhead activity.
So imagine my dismay when I found out that the National Front – the leading extreme Right group – was going to hold a demonstration in my London borough. In those days, it was nothing other than a huge provocation and show of strength to ethnic minority communities. There was no pretence of being anything other than utterly racist.
I was 14 and decided to write to the Home Secretary (equivalent of Homeland Security in the US or an Interior Minister in other countries) asking for the march to be banned. As you can see below – I got a rather discouraging reply. And the march went ahead. But hey – at least I tried!