The “No to the Barge” protest group, initially formed to voice concerns about the Bibby Stockholm barge accommodating asylum seekers in Portland, has taken a concerning turn in recent times. After a controversial meeting with the far-right media outlet “Voice of Wales,” the group’s leader, Alex Bailey, has come under scrutiny for adopting extremist ideologies. Additionally, Simon Avery, a member of the group, has sparked outrage by making a reprehensible rape comment towards a protestor from the “Stand up to Racism” group. We discover a disconcerting shift within the “No to the Barge” group and its implications for social cohesion and activism on Portland.
The Transformation of Alex Bailey and “No to the Barge”
Originally founded on the basis of expressing concerns about the Bibby Stockholm barge’s impact on the local community, the “No to the Barge” protest group gained attention for its peaceful demonstrations and petitions. However, the recent meeting with “Voice of Wales,” a media outlet known for promoting far-right ideologies, has raised alarm bells among both the local community and potentially the authorities.
During the meeting, Alex Bailey, the group’s leader, seemed to embrace extremist narratives and xenophobic sentiments. This has led to accusations that the group is now veering towards becoming a far-right organisation, driven by an anti-immigrant agenda. The shift has raised concerns about the potential polarisation within the community and the risk of intolerance gaining ground.
Simon Avery’s Offensive Remark
In another unfortunate incident, Simon Avery, a member of the “No to the Barge” group, made a highly inappropriate and offensive remark during a confrontation with protestors from the “Stand up to Racism” group. Both groups No To The Barge and Stand Up To Racism held a protest against Barge. The incident occurred on the 18th July and was recorded by one of our reporters.
Both groups oppose the barge for separate reasons.
Avery’s reprehensible comment, which involved a reference to rape, has been widely condemned by both local residents and fellow members of the “No to the Barge” group and other media organisations such as the Metro His actions have significantly damaged the credibility of the protest movement and have highlighted the potential consequences of unchecked extremism.
Alex Bailey stated that Avery was banned permanently from the group but he appeared a few days later as a new member.
Implications for Social Cohesion and Activism
The transformation of the “No to the Barge” protest group into what appears to be a far-right organisation and the actions of its members, such as Simon Avery’s offensive remark, have profound implications for social cohesion and activism in the community.
- Erosion of Trust: The shift towards extremism and offensive behavior erodes trust between different sections of the community. It risks alienating those who were initially sympathetic to the group’s concerns about the barge, thereby hampering constructive dialogue and progress.
- Tarnishing the Cause: Alex Bailey’s embrace of extremist ideologies and Simon Avery’s offensive remark divert attention away from the legitimate concerns about the impact of the Bibby Stockholm barge. The actions of a few individuals can overshadow the genuine grievances of the broader protest group.
- Polarisation: The rise of far-right sentiments within the “No to the Barge” group may lead to increased polarization within the community. This could hinder efforts to address important issues, including immigration policy and community integration.
- Negative Perception: The group’s association with far-right ideologies and offensive behavior risks stigmatising the entire protest movement. It may lead to the perception that the group is driven by intolerance rather than legitimate concerns about the community’s welfare.