Don't be fooled by Tommy Robinson's attempts to come across as a man of the people. He is the very opposite of that
Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, likes to present himself as an ordinary citizen concerned about Muslim influence, a defender of free speech and a champion of white people’s rights. This is a con. Here is why:
1He advocates violence
Robinson is a violent thug. His criminal record includes being jailed for 12 months for two charges of assault in 2005, one causing actual bodily harm. In 2011, he was convicted of assault for an attack at an English Defence League (EDL) march in Blackburn and the same year he was found guilty of leading an attack on rival fans by 100 Luton Town supporters. As he was led away he was chanting ‘EDL till I die.’
More worryingly, he actually encourages organized violence. The EDL, which he headed up, organized gangs of hooligans to terrorise communities across the country, and Robinson was open about its aim. In 2011 in East London, he threatened the whole Muslim community with violence;
'Every single Muslim watching this… on 7/7 you got away with killing and maiming British citizens… you had better understand that we have built a network from one end of the country to the other end… and the Islamic community will feel the full force of the English Defence League if we see any of our British citizens killed, maimed, or hurt on British soil ever again.'
More recently this champion of free speech has taken to turning up at newspaper offices and harassing journalists who criticise him. Once again this behaviour comes with the threat of violence. In a recent video he stated,
'If you’re a journalist and you think your office or your home is a safe space …. it’s not.'
2He wants to deport all Muslims, or worse
Robinson sometimes claims his problem is with Muslim extremism as opposed to Muslims themselves. Not true. He has said he wants to forcibly deport all Muslims not just from Britain but from the whole of Europe. Here is one of his tweets from early 2016:
'I'd personally send every adult male Muslim that has come into Europe over the last twelve months back tomorrow if I could. Fake refugees.'
Sometimes he goes further and suggests a more extreme solution. The Daily Mirror reports that at one alt-right rally he called Islam an ‘infestation’ and called for martial law to "destroy this enemy".
3He was a member of the Nazi British National Party
Robinson joined the BNP in 2004. The BNP is and was a fascist and anti-semitic organization whose leader at the time was Nick Griffin, a holocaust denier who believes in the forced expulsion of all black people from Britain. The BNP was a split from the fascist National Front. Its violent paramilitary wing was called Combat 18 referring to the initials of Adolf Hitler, the first and eighth letters of the alphabet.
In case of doubt about the BNP, this is what Nick Griffin wrote after the BNP won a council by- election in Millwall in 1993:
'The electors of Millwall did not back a postmodernist rightist party, but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan "Defend Rights for Whites" with well-directed boots and fists. When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate.'
Robinson’s membership of the BNP wasn’t some youthful political misjudgement as he likes to make out. In 2011, five years after he claims to have left the BNP, he became deputy leader of the British Freedom Party, an organisation set up by disgruntled BNP members unhappy with their party’s failure to grow.
One British Freedom Party activist spoke of the "endless" possibilities of "a grassroots social movement working in tandem with a political party (British Freedom)".
4He still works with fascists
After the failure of the BNP to break through electorally many of its key organisers headed for the English Defence League which Robinson fronted up. An in-depth investigation of the British far right published in 2012 had this to say about the EDL’s formation:
'It has enjoyed the perception, reflected across the national media, of being a spontaneous expression of working-class anger. The origin of this group, which was conceived in a £500,000 apartment and shaped by a group of anti-Muslim ideologues including a director of a City investment fund and a property developer, suggest a more complex picture. The EDL has displayed increasingly fascist-like behaviour, targeting not only Muslims but leftwing movements too.'
The EDL and subsequent street movements have been conceived as united fronts, bringing together various far right forces around a fascist core. Numerous known fascists have been seen on demonstrations by the EDL and the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) and its successor the Democratic Football Lad’s Alliance (DFLA), with which Robinson has been involved more recently. Some of them for example were spotted and filmed making Nazi salutes on the 11 June 2018 FLA march.
As well as being full of extreme racist comments, a closed FLA facebook group contained posts saying that convicted racist killer Darren Osborne, who drove his van into Muslims in Finsbury Park, was right to want to murder Jeremy Corbyn.
More recently, Robinson’s campaign has been supported by extremist international organisations like Generation Identity, which runs military training camps for white supremacists.
'National Socialism is the alternative to degeneracy we currently face. It is a pathway to freedom and prosperity. It is an escape from Jewish Tyranny. It is the Future of our people.'
The party invited holocaust denier Ingrid Carqvist to its conference this year. Sam Melia, a For Britain parliamentary candidate in Leeds in the last election was expelled from the organisation after it was revealed he had been a member of National Action, the Nazi terror group that supported Thomas Mair, the murderer of MP Jo Cox.
Robinson is violent and incites violence. He has been in at least one Nazi organisation and continues to collaborate with fascists. His support for mass deportation, his threats of physical attacks on opponents and his attempts to organise networks capable of carrying out such attacks with ‘full force’ are all classic hallmarks of fascism. For decades fascist organisations and individuals here and abroad have been trying to reinvent themselves because the history of fascism is so unspeakable.
It is time Tommy Robinson was exposed for what he really is. And it is time too that his organisations are marginalised and forced to disband.
More articles from this author
- DVLA strike shifts up a gear - News from the Frontline
- The left and the Unite election
- Don’t be confused by complexity: defending Julian Assange is defending democracy
- Round 3: Kill the Bill protesters take to the streets across the country
- Jobs saved, threats lifted: industrial action beats the bosses at Goldsmiths
- NEU to teach Pimlico Academy a lesson - News from the Frontline
- No leeway for Leaways: solidarity with striking teachers