Brother S was at the UAF carnival. He tells me there were approximately 500 people present (these are the real numbers, expect them to be subject to revolutionary inflation), and the atmosphere was generally peaceful and convivial. Like Stoke but unlike Bolton, the police on this occasion were tolerant and not looking to ape their Greater Manchester colleagues. They did however confiscate some of the placards from a trade union delegation, presumably because they could be broken up and used as weapons (does that mean placards will be banned from future demos?)
Most of the left were there. The SWP were out in force but had left their 'smash the BNP/EDL' type placards at home. The UAF's slogan was much less confrontational too, preferring "EDL + BNP = racist Nazi thugs". Other lefts spotted by Brother S included a TUSC banner, a solitary Socialist seller, and the Communist League - whose raison d'être these days is turning up at anti-EDL mobilisations to flog tatty old books from Pathfinder Press.
If there were political lessons to be taken from Dudley, Brother S felt that keeping the two sides so far apart and having it heavily policed injects a certain artificiality to the situation, which could dampen turn out at future protests. However, I would add that given the contrast between the EDL's and the UAF's behaviour, it is not always necessary to seek confrontation with the EDL to inflict a moral and political defeat on them.