Nowadays I try not to judge people on appearances, even when that appearance is of a skinhead with 16-hole DMs and tattoos all over his bald head. I remember the Redskins, and followed "Oi", and after all in the 1980s a lot of gay men dressed like this. Even when a number of similarly-tattooed, shaven-headed men take over the Cheshunt Travelodge cafeteria saluting one another noisily, drinking Guinness at nine-thirty in the morning, I try not to judge: for what do I know? Maybe they're on their way to a philately convention, or maybe they're going bowling.
The men are raucous but reasonably polite, even when a black man enters and has to sit down in their midst with his breakfast; they barely regard our table, but then we are just a white family from England. Judging by the accents - Glasgow and Yorkshire and Brum - they have assembled here for some common purpose - but what?
Only when we wait for our taxi and the men stand outside in the rain smoking and scowling that I realise my first impressions were correct. One of the men has his back to me and on the back of his t-shirt there's some bilge in quasi-mystical terms about this "Sceptered Isle". He turns round: on the front the t-shirt reads, "Blackout. This is my country."
I'm not sure I've ever read such a racially provocative slogan; certainly not in London, where I lived for 28 years. Is it even legal to wear such a message? Perhaps the absence of an 'S' and a gap between the 'K' and the 'O' makes it legal? So should it be banned? Should these men be outlawed, fought, or simply ignored?
Well, here's the thing: having fought fascism for years, over the last few years I've either matured or compromised; maybe there are some subtle differences between the races, maybe some (most?) people are happier living amongst their own kind, maybe the EDL really are simply objecting to the Islamification of the country and nothing more. Maybe nuance is okay?
And then I see these men - these sad, sad men, these dinosaurs, on their way, I assume, to hear yet more psychopathic lies by Gabor Vona before they go on to smash up a curry house and suddenly they don't just seem silly, anachronistic; I see them in jackboots, with weapons, England's own Grey Wolves, and I realise the fight is not over. I don't want to live among these people. I would rather live surrounded by people of any other race. Yet if only we ignore them, will they go away? No, they will continue to infect the future with their lies, hatred and their ignorance. They need to be stamped out. They need removing.
Harsh? Well, maybe. Except the reason we were in that Travelodge this morning is because yesterday we were at a wake for my grandfather, who died aged 98, and who served for six years in World War II to ensure this country was never stomped in the mud by Nazi scum. Here they are, these Arian Gods, a mile from where he lived for his whole life, with their jackboots and white power tattoos, claiming to represent the British people, the white race. They speak for no-one; they are no-one; and this little island will be a far better place when these prehistoric morons simply disappear.
On leaving the Travelodge we drive up the A10. On the radio comes Aretha Franklin: I Say a Little Prayer. And it makes me smile again, when I think how those old Skrewdriver-suckers will never be able to enjoy that song, that voice, because it refutes every iota of their existence.
And I turn up the radio.