Tommy Robinson: a career criminal armed with a mob of gullible followers attempting to help fascists enter centre stage through scapegoating minorities. Using the platform given to him by the mainstream media, Robinson has managed to disguise pro-violence rhetoric as political advocacy for the interest of the British public. Empty promises of a better future, post the persecution of a section of society, has always been the playground of the far-right. Historically, it has proven to be a politically successfully tool. Tommy Robinson, along with others, is just imitating this vicious and dangerous strategy for political and economic gain.
Before Robinson allied with the professional racists, he was employed at Luton Airport. Luton Airport fired Robinson due to a criminal conviction: in 2004, he was convicted for violently beating an off-duty police officer, kicking the officer in the head and causing him injury. With this conviction, a professional career was off the table; Robinson decided to hit the streets as the self-appointed saviour of his ill-defined, poorly understood and often contradictory notion of Britishness.
Understanding Robinson’s politics requires an understanding of his character. Over the last fifteen years, he has managed to rack up a worrying number of criminal convictions for crimes of sadistic and deceptive nature; the same characteristics are present in his politics.
Robinsons fifteen-year crime spree began in 2003. At the age of 21, Robinson was convicted in Switzerland for a rooftop protest. He spent three days in prison and paid a £3000 fine in relation to this offence. Only a year later, in 2004, (the year Robinson joined BNP,) he carried out the attack on the off-duty officer that cost him his job. For this conviction, he served a 12-month prison sentence. In 2005, he was convicted for assault with intent to resist arrest; he received a 3-month prison sentence. Upon returning to civilian life, Robinson took a short break from criminal activity, but his return to crime was inevitable. In 2010, he is convicted for being threatening and abusive during a football hooligan brawl. The brawl involved over 100 football thugs, it left police and bystanders frightened. In 2011, Robinson was convicted for headbutting an older EDL member named Alan McKee. Luckily, they both managed to avoid brain injury due to their thick skulls. However, the years of violence and headbutting may have had some adverse impact on Robinsons already limited mental capacity. This is reflected in Robinson inability to successfully transfer from being a violent street thug to a white-collar criminal. In 2011, he attempted to use false documents to enter the U.S, he was caught and imprisoned for 10 months. Only two years after his release, in 2013, Robinson attempts mortgage fraud. Again, he’s caught and imprisoned for 18 months. In 2017, shortly after his release for mortgage fraud, he attempted to film defendants outside a court. The Contempt of court Act 1925 makes it illegal to film witnesses, defendants or jurors within court precinct. Robinson violated this long-established practice and was given a 3 months prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. As Robinson’s criminal history has shown, it’s rare that he lives crime free from than a year or two. It would be correct to assume, for Robinson, a suspended prions sentence is a definite sentence delayed for a short period. Like clockwork, Robinson in 2018 commits the same offence again and is jailed for 13 months, leading to the ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ protests.
This list is nowhere near complete. There are convictions which can’t be reported due to a lack of reliable source. Robinson is also only in his mid-thirties, his career as a criminal is at its infancy. Robinson’s constant exposure to criminals also makes it unlikely that he will ever change. His wife Jenna Vowels and his EDL members were arrested for possession of cocaine. Many of his EDL supporters have been convicted for violence, and many more have been convicted for paedophilia. The gift of foresight is not necessary to predict that Robinson will commit crimes again, for which he will likely be imprisoned, leading to many of his ill-informed supporters flooding British streets crying foul-play, doing Nazi salutes, and beating up police officers.
Soon, Robinson will be released into the wild, before he is again sucked back into his tax-payer funded second home. No doubt, his brief period outside will be spent moaning and attempting to incite violence. Robinson will spew his usual dribble about non-integration, supposedly Muslim rape gangs, and how he’s not a racist. The BBC and ITV will provide the platform for him to spew this nonsense. Given how common typical fascist rhetoric has become, it demonstrates the complete failure on the part of British institutions to point it out for what it is.
Robinson’s rhetoric is mired with outright lies and hypocrisy. One of his favourite talking points is that Muslims are not integrating. Firstly, its essential to ask: what does it mean to integrate? Most Muslims speak English, they follow British customs, they abide by British laws, and they participate in British politics. For Robinson, this isn’t enough. The hidden element of integration that Muslims are missing is yet to be defined. It is most likely non-existent. The vague rhetoric of non-integration is a just a means to fuel an us-and-them mentality. Secondly, what section of British society should Muslims integrate with? Should Muslims be more like the homophobic DUP? Or maybe, Robison would like Muslims to be more like the racist Conservatives. Robinsons himself has failed to integrate: multiple convictions, regular disregard for British laws, disregard for freedom of religion, this behaviour is not the British ideal. Robinson entirely lacks in British values, but due to the regular uncritical exposure he receives, he has managed to gain a monopoly to dictate to a large section of the population about who’s British and who isn’t.
The rhetoric of non-integration is also diluted with ideas of supremacy: it is underpinned by the belief the transfer of culture should only be one dimensional. In essence, for Muslims to integrate, they have to adopt one of the already established branches of Britishness. Robinson advocacy amounts to depriving Muslims the ability to have their own interpretation of an abstract concept. Robinsons narrative gives of the impression, the right to define, is a right that should be reserved for the ethnically native population. Robinson defines. Muslims follow. To a pseudo-psychoanalyst like myself, this seems like a longing for a return to colonial domination.
Integrating is difficult when British culture isn’t homogenous. It changes from day to day. What was acceptable or unacceptable in British culture a couple of decades ago, may no longer be the case. There are several parties that identify as British but how that Britishness manifests is different from person to person. The same phenomenon is present within the Muslims community. There are multiple parties that identify as Muslim, but how they go about being Muslim may be on completely different ends of a spectrum.
Robinson, alongside the non-issue of non-integration, raises the problem of rape gangs. Yes, there are rape gangs! Yes, some of these rape gang consists of men who identify as Muslim! Muslims are also at the vanguard of fighting this problem through official means of reporting the criminals, as well as providing religious arguments for why this practice is unacceptable. Robinson, however, is convinced, it is their religion that is the cause. If religion is the cause, why is it the vast majority of Muslims not partaking in such crimes? Statistics published by the Office for National Statistic show criminals from a Muslims background are not more prevalent than any other religious denomination. The proportion of crimes committed by Muslims is proportionate to the percentage of Muslims in the general population.
Moving on to the issue of race, Robinsons denies being a racist whenever he is accused. The person making the accusation often looks like a deer caught in the headlight when Robinson retorts, ‘what have I said that’s racist?’. These self-appointed advocates don’t do Muslims, Asians or Africans any justice when they turn up to debates on national TV unprepared. There is a simple rebuttal to Robinson denial of being a racist: migrant bashing and Muslim bashing is the new and acceptable alternative to demonise non-white people, which has been done historically. Over 90 per cent of Muslims are Asian or African. When Robinson makes veiled threats like, ‘the Islamic community will feel the full force of the English Defence League’, the violence likely to be perpetrated as a result will not be against individuals with blond hair and blue eyes, but against those of black and brown skin tones. The attack on Muslims is a veiled attack on racial minorities.
Robinson, along with other Fascist commentators, are helping to bring typical far-right ideas of supremacy and need for ethnic and cultural homogeneity to the mainstream.
Economically, the fascist offer no radical change, and as seen historically, the elite will use the xenophobic narrative to get into power and maintain an accommodating economic climate if the there isn’t another option. Just as Germany in the mid 20th century, Britain will soon be at a crossroad: Socialism or Fascism. The news presenters with six-figure salaries and the media barons with a nine to eleven-digit bank balance already know which one is in their best interest. The public, however, is yet to make up their mind.
It is time for the left to organise under a common cause: the aversion of fascism and restoration of the high standard of living that was present before austerity. Robinson is back on the streets and he’ll do the legwork for the aspiring dictators educated in private schools. The left needs to deliver a coherent and convincing rebuttal to this growing, socially destructive and economically conservative message. The battle is still at its early stage. To win, the left needs cohesion and efficiency in delivering the peaceful alternative.
Some Worker Somewhere