Tommy Robinson has announced that he wants to stand for parliament — either in Brussels, as an MEP, if Brexit fails, or in Westminster. “If anyone in this country wants to really rock the boat put me in there [Parliament] because I won’t lie and I won’t hold back!” he told me when we met this month. But that was before last Thursday’s announcement by Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox that it is “in the public interest” to bring further proceedings against Robinson for contempt of court.
Robinson was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court in May last year after he allegedly filmed people involved in the criminal trial of four men who were later convicted of gang-raping a teenage girl.
But a contempt finding was quashed by the court of appeal in August and he was freed on bail pending new proceedings at the Old Bailey.
If convicted, Robinson could be sent to prison once more — putting paid, at least temporarily, to his political ambitions.
There is no bar to standing for election as an MP once you are released from prison.
Facebook has banned the third largest political page in the UK from their service, Tommy Robinson. Amazon has just stopped selling his book on the Quran. Twitter and Paypal already acted along these lines months ago.
This is a terrible day for freedom of speech. And possibly an even worse one for the future of social cohesion in Britain.
The official line being touted by Facebook is that Tommy:
“…has repeatedly broken [Facebook community] standards, posting material that uses dehumanizing language and calls for violence targeted at Muslims. He has also behaved in ways that violate our policies around organized hate.”
Sounds bad. But where’s the evidence?
I think we should see it, don’t you? After all, it’s no trivial matter when a social media giant snatches away the publishing platform and livelihood of a citizen journalist with over one million followers. If Tommy Robinson is genuinely whipping up hate and calling for violence against Muslims, surely the police would surely have been in there like a shot, launching yet another prosecution against him.
Did you see that shocking BBC Panorama documentary about the bullying, Soros-funded, far-left, anti-freedom of speech propaganda group currently touring British schools with the Government’s approval, turning kids into brainwashed progressives who believe that “Islamophobia” is a bigger threat than radical Islam?
No. And you never will.
That’s because instead of holding these far left thugs to account, the BBC considers them to be allies, fellow travellers, kindred spirits. Hence the disgraceful allegations that the BBC’s flagship documentary series Panorama got in bed with one such organisation — HOPE Not Hate — in order to carry out a hit job on Tommy Robinson.
That hit job, if Robinsons ‘Panodrama’ sting is to be taken at face value, has backfired horribly.
But before we discuss ‘Panodrama’ in more detail, let us first pause to consider what the reaction would be if the BBC teamed up with, say, the English Defence League to do a hit job on, say, HOPE Not Hate founder Nick Lowles.
The Old Bailey, London (Tuesday, October 23) — Tommy Robinson is free.
This was by no means certain when he walked into the courtroom at London’s Old Bailey this morning, That’s why he brought along his prison bag and why he had said goodbye to his wife and children, just in case.
Happily, instead the judge did what Robinson and his lawyers had hoped: he referred the case upwards to the Attorney General. Some call this buck-passing. I disagree. From where I was sitting, Nicholas Hilliard QC — the Recorder of London presiding over the case — appeared a decent, thoughtful sort, who considered the evidence carefully and without prejudice and reached the only sensible decision.
Sooner or later there is going to be a mutiny in the British Army. As exhibit a) I present this essay — titled “The Army Needs More Feminists” — by some brown-nosing major, presumably written with a view to ingratiating himself with his PC superiors.
Is Tommy Robinson a headstrong fool who thoroughly deserves the 13-month prison sentence handed him by a judge in slightly confused and murky circumstances last week?
Or is he the bravest man in Britain, the voice of the people, who has been martyred for the ‘crime’ of saying something the cowardly Establishment still considers to be unsayable about the dangers posed by Islam?
A bit of both, I’d say.
As many of you will know, I’m an admirer of Tommy’s. We bonded over the two podcasts we recorded together here and here. In the flesh, he’s very different from the “far right” thug you see portrayed in the mainstream media. He’s easy, friendly, intelligent company; he’s apparently devoid of racist sentiment; and he’s better informed on the Qu’ran and the Hadith than some Muslims, and probably as well informed on Muslim extremism as the police and the intelligence services.
Whenever there’s another terrorist atrocity like the one in Stockholm last week, and the one in Alexandria on Palm Sunday, and the one in St Petersburg a few days before, and the one in London the week before that, we often ask ourselves despairingly what on earth we can do to make a difference.
Well, I’ll tell you exactly what we can do. It occurred to me after interviewing this week’s Delingpole podcast guest – the founder of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson.
The interview itself was fascinating. I urge you to listen if you haven’t already: whatever preconceptions you may have about Robinson, I think you’ll be appalled by the way he has been scapegoated and maltreated by the British authorities, charmed by his honesty, and bowled over by his courage in the face of extreme danger.
But what I found even more illuminating was the response from all those people out there who wanted to tell me that Tommy Robinson was a disgusting individual whom I should never have interviewed (either for Breitbart or for a separate piece I wrote in the Spectator) and that my decision to do so made me a despicable fascist.
The EDL founder has been jailed for fraud, assault and football hooliganism. So, why do I like him?
‘Christ, I would be shot for buying this if people knew,’ says an anonymous fan in the comments below Amazon’s unlikely bestseller Enemy of the State. Which sums up how I feel before meeting the book’s author, Tommy Robinson. What if he turns out to be not nearly as bad as his reputation as ‘Britain’s most hated man’? What if, as some familiar with him have warned, I turn out to like him and want to plead his cause, and end up being tainted as a far-right thug by association?
We meet in a gastropub in a pretty Georgian market town. It’s only ten minutes from the ‘shithole’ of a dump where Robinson has always lived — Luton — and much more congenial for lunch because we’re less likely to be interrupted by any of the numerous Muslims who have put him on their death list. Robinson, 34, is wearing Stone Island, the preferred expensive attire (about £800 for a jacket) of violent football hooligans like the one he used to be himself.
Robinson is frank about his misspent youth: his first stint in jail for assaulting a plainclothes policeman; his second one for mortgage fraud; his brawls with rival teams as a member of Luton City’s Men In Gear football crew (he thinks Millwall’s bad-boy reputation is overrated; Tottenham has the best firm). He is frank about everything he’s done, good and bad. It’s part of the natural charm which, just over two years ago, won the hearts of an at first spittingly hostile audience at the Oxford Union.
And yes, I do like him. So would you if you spent a couple of hours in his company. He’s intelligent, quick, articulate, well-informed, good-mannered — and surprisingly meek in his politics for a man so often branded a fascist. Many of his home friends are black, some are Muslims; he’s not obviously racist or anti-Semitic. He only got into activism and street demos because he happened to be a white working-class English lad in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. It was Luton, unfortunately, that Islamist proselytiser Anjem Choudary chose as the base for his various proscribed organisations.
As a result the character of the town changed forever; and so did Robinson’s life. The trigger was a local Islamist recruitment drive for the Taleban and a subsequent protest against a parade by Royal Anglian Regiment troops returning from a tour in Afghanistan.
As he once told another interviewer: ‘I was like, they can’t do that! In working-class communities we all know somebody in the Armed Forces. I’ve got a mate who lost his legs. And these lot were sending people to kill our boys.’ So Robinson founded the protest organisation that would make him infamous — the English Defence League (he subsequently quit it in 2013).
You know how hateful the EDL is: every-one does. What’s curious, though, is how much worse it is by reputation than in deed. It’s almost as though the chattering classes needed some kind of bogeyman whose name they could brandish in outrage from time to time in order to demonstrate that, while of course they condemn fundamentalist Islam, they feel just as appalled, if not more so, by the ugly spectre of far-right nationalism.