Free Tommy Robinson *

Written By: - Date published: 10:29 am, July 15th, 2018 - 66 comments
Categories: racism, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uk politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

(Photo from Jessie Chiang, RNZ)

The pro Lauren Southern free speech movement staged a protest in Auckland yesterday and many of the protestors held Free Tommy Robinson signs.  Pro Tommy chanting also occurred.

For those of you who have been able to avoid this particularly weird conspiracy Tommy Robinson is an English white supremacist who was jailed recently for contempt of court.  The Independent has the detail:

Robinson was jailed for committing contempt of court with a Facebook Live video broadcast from outside Leeds Crown Courton 25 May.

The case he was discussing was subject to blanket reporting restrictions imposed under the Contempt of Court Act to ensure that three linked trials did not collapse.

The Section 4 (2) order made it illegal for anyone, in any format, to publish information on the case until the last trial had finished.

Robinson was initially arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace, after heckling people entering Leeds Crown Court and trying to film the defendants.

But prosecutors made the decision to charge him with contempt of court after viewing video evidence and finding that Robinson was subject to a separate suspended sentence.

Robinson, who appeared in court under the name Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, admitted the crime later the same day and was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment.

Looks straight forward.  He had previous form for contempt.  And he pleaded guilty to the charge.

But this conspiracy theory has developed that he is being held for his political beliefs, not for deliberately attempting to sabotage a trial.

And even the Trump Administration has taken an active interest in Robinson’s fate with news that a senior Trump official complained to the UK Ambassador to the States about the way that Robinson had been treated.

From Mark Hosenball:

Sam Brownback, the U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, complained to the British ambassador in Washington D.C. about the treatment of an English right-wing activist who is in jail for disrupting a trial, according to three sources familiar with the discussion.

Brownback raised the case of the activist known as Tommy Robinson in a June meeting with Sir Kim Darroch, Britain’s Ambassador to the United States, according to a British official and two sources close to the organizers of a pro-Robinson demonstration planned for London on Saturday.

Brownback raised the jailing of Robinson during a meeting with Darroch that covered a range of “religious freedom issues”, the British official confirmed earlier this week.

Brownback told Darroch that if Britain did not treat Robinson more sympathetically, the Trump administration might be compelled to criticize Britain’s handling of the case, according to the two sources in contact with organizers of the planned pro-Robinson demonstration.

Brownback has denied the allegation.

Meanwhile Lauren Southern has landed in Australia wearing a tshirt with the words “It’s OK to be white”.  Whoever said it wasn’t?

66 comments on “Free Tommy Robinson *”

  1. joe90 1

    This is how they roll.

    Assistant General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), Steve Hedley, today has been brutally attacked by Tommy Robinson fanboys. Make no mistake when fascism arrived in Britain it didn’t come with a swastika, it came with suited men 🤬 pic.twitter.com/X4vF4Ybjet— UnityNewsUK (@UnityNewsUK) July 14, 2018

    http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/national/16355064.union-leader-attacked-after-counter-demo-to-pro-trump-and-robinson-rally/

  2. adam 2

    Good to see such a broad cross section of NZ represented.

  3. dV 3

    Its ok to be white IN BLACK PRINT.

    Surely the print should be white to be consistent!!!

  4. Bill 4

    No idea why people would suggest that breaking the law is anything to do with the principle of free speech. And no idea whatsoever (honest / ) how it might be that they’d get away with pulling such a stunt.

    But then again, I’ve no idea why people would suggest that people wanting to say stuff should be seen as somehow illegal or unlawful, even if only in the court of public opinion, and that they should be silenced.

    See the connection?

    • marty mars 4.1

      You don’t have any idea twice? 😊

      • Bill 4.1.1

        I used the phrase three times Marty – slathered with irony every time. But on the basis that the irony escaped you, or to head off the possibility that you just want an exchange at the level of school-yard bullshit that I can’t be bothered with, I’ll be more straight-forward.

        People who want to silence stuff they don’t like the sound of, aid and abet the muddying of the water between “unpleasant” and “unlawful”. And that allows the Tommy Robinson’s of the world to run bullshit that garners them support.

        Maybe the “comrades” would like to pop along with a counter protest to whatever ‘free Tommy’ protests there are, lend credibility to a disingenuous piece of maneuvering , and help to firm that support up a bit?

        • marty mars 4.1.1.1

          I just thought it was funny and absence impulse control I put it up is all no need to go medieval on me.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      But then again, I’ve no idea why people would suggest that people wanting to say stuff should be seen as somehow illegal or unlawful

      Depends upon the situation doesn’t?

      Robinson was jailed for broadcasting information about a trail where all such broadcasting was banned so as to ensure a fair trial. This seems to be him purposefully trying to undermine justice in which case there needs to be consequences.

      Broadcasting speech that incites violence against others would also seem to be something that we don’t want people doing.

      • Bill 4.2.1

        No disagreement with any of that DTB.

        But do we really have to go back around the whole thing of “inciting violence” being one of the caveats set around speaking?

  5. Carolyn_Nth 5

    It’s not speaking freely that is at issue – look the racists got the media and public attention their provocateurs were seeking, and their racism and white supremacy was dog whistled, and expressed freely in public spaces and in the mainstream media.

    It shows the importance of platforms to speak on and access to the widest audience possible.

    Meanwhile Action Station is launching a major campaign.

    They point out that others are getting less mainstream access and funding from members of the public for the expression of their views.

    Legal fund for Renae Maihi being sued by Bob Jones.

    E-Tangata has been less successful in fund raising to sustain their platform for “building a stronger Māori and Pacific presence in the New Zealand media”. Moana Jackson “No one’s exercise of free speech should make another feel less free”

    And Action Station’s campaign to stop the spread of hate speech in Aotearoa

    Over the next 12 months, we have a long-term campaign plan to:

    Uncover the impact of hate speech on human rights and minority voices by collecting people’s stories and generating a people powered report like the one we did last year on mental health;
    Protect democracy from mis and disinformation by researching the spread, influence and patterns of fake and misleading news and its impacts on public harmony;
    Unleash the power of digital tools to build a vibrant, transparent democracy by modelling a better way.

    • marty mars 5.1

      Yes there are multiple platforms for this speaking and the ideas they distribute are wider known now than at any time in history imo plus the hated seeds are landing in fertile soil where patriarchy, neolibs, capitalism, global warming, pollution and so on have contributed to that fertility.

      It’s all good (freedom for the speakers) unless you are the targets of these speech. Then it’s all bad.

  6. Jum 6

    The other trouble with these white supremacists is that they also, as part of their philosophy, intend to push back women’s rights as well. Lauren Southern wouldn’t be allowed to speak in her future utopia she’s working on behalf of – oh irony…

    • Carolyn_Nth 6.1

      Yes, there’s a whole line in a toxic form of masculinity being pushed by these groups. And some women support it. e.g. Judith Collins. I guess they like to be front and centre in that kind of toxic culture by playing by rules that will damage or oppress large numbers of women of all ethnic backgrounds.

      Collaborators.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        I assume that they think that the rules won’t apply to them because the rules don’t apply to the rich.

  7. ad 7

    mickey you old stirrer you’re up for another 400 comments with this one.

    • mickysavage 7.1

      I just thought it interesting what the protest and the local extreme right are interested in …

    • Carolyn_Nth 7.2

      Cause the old neoliberal measure of success is all about the biggest number.

      I was not keen when social media started this use of numerical measures of comments/posts in a discussions. It mirrors ratings ethos for media and raises quantity over quality and other values.

  8. adam 8

    Shame they didn’t show the back of her t-shirt.

    It said….

    “Unless you’re a Ginger!”

  9. Sanctuary 9

    For some reason the political far-right love to make fairly garden common street thugs into heroes, Horst Wessel springs immediately to mind.

    I am not sure why they like to do this, beyond the supposition that they are all delusional.

    • Tricledrown 9.1

      Sanctuary poor education insecure in their own identity look who joins gangs look at their gangs.
      They have to put every other identity down to make themselves feel superior.

  10. Pat 10

    Who the hell is Tommy Robinson I asked myself.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Robinson_(activist)

    Doesn’t appear the sharpest pencil in the case, has hung around with some pretty undesirables ……and

    In May 2017, he was arrested for contempt of court after he attempted to take video of the defendants in a child rape case outside Canterbury Crown Court.[64][65]

    Robinson travelled to watch UEFA Euro 2016 in France and demonstrated with a T-shirt and English flag ridiculing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Bedfordshire Police gave him a football banning order on his return; his lawyer Alison Gurden accused the police of a “campaign of harassment” and said that they had equated the proscribed terrorist group with all Muslims in their action.[60] In September, a judge at Luton Magistrates’ Court dismissed the case, calling the prosecution’s evidence “vague” and “cagey”.[61]

    and then I remembered seeing many of those views/actions freely espoused here.

  11. Chris T 11

    This whole thing cracks me up

    A) Southern isn’t even far right.

    B) She isn’t promoting the idiot Robinson the scumbag. No one can control who turns up to a rally

    C) Goff is happy with Trump speaking at his venues and he is worse. Yet is some how now Aucklands self appointed censor to grown adults

    D) Unlike Southern the bloke Southern is with is a prick and he seems to be getting a free pass

  12. MikeS 12

    MickySavage

    Show one ounce of proof that Tommy Robinson is a white supremacist. You’ve not got one shred of evidence to support that statement. You’re a bare faced liar who can’t accept opinions differing from your own.

    Pathetic!

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3838990/tommy-robinson-edl-right-wing-activist-jail-13-months/

      He told the Telegraph in 2013: “Everyone in Luton is the son of immigrants. Whether it be Irish, West Indian, Ghanaian, everyone I know.”

      Despite performing well academically at school, Robinson repeatedly found himself in trouble as a teenager, citing fights with “Muslim gangs” as one of the reasons for his “problems” as a youth.

      Robinson is the former leader of the English Defence League (EDL), a far-right street protest movement.

      That about covers it.

  13. MikeS 13

    Further to the above here’s a link to a video where even the CEO of the Quillian Foundation categorically states that Tommy Robinson is not a white supremacist.

  14. Sanctuary 14

    Anyone know if Chris Trotter joined in the “Save Tommy Robinson” chant?

  15. Ross 15

    Lauren Southern has landed in Australia wearing a tshirt with the words “It’s OK to be white”. Whoever said it wasn’t?

    Why did you feel the need to respond to her? For many years black Americans have been saying they’re black and they’re proud. James Brown even wrote a song about it.

    • McFlock 15.1

      Any thoughts on the relative social contexts for each slogan?

      Like, maybe one seeks to rebel against the inequitable social power structures of the day, and the other merely reinforces them?

      • David Mac 15.1.1

        James Brown is the DNA father of funky soul and Southern is a sexy blowhard packing an AK47.

        James got a bunch of kids in to sing the chorus response, what a thrill that would of been for a school choir.

        Southern created her T-Shirt on her own, sharing slashes the profits.

    • Carolyn_Nth 15.2

      The difference is who has the power: it is that “Black” people have long been less powerful than “White” people. The “black and proud” slogan came about in response to the brutal suppression of their rights, and the long consistent demonisation of African Americans,.

      “Whites” (caucasians, Europeans) have long been the more powerful groups. Whites are not a suppressed section of western European society. This white power stuff is a response to shifts to people of colour being treated somewhat more equally – it is basically about trying to maintain white power and privilege.

      • Ross 15.2.1

        If Southern has power, shouldn’t she be able to use it, otherwise it’d be wasted. I’m not sure, however, that she has any more power than you or I.

        • McFlock 15.2.1.1

          Did you fixate one one word of Carolyn’s comment and ignore the rest to avoid considering general factors that affect your social position, or merely because “Carolyn” is a traditionally female name and therefore you consciously or subconsciously believe her comment is not worthy of actual consideration?

          • Ross 15.2.1.1.1

            I am sorry you were not happy with my response. Better luck next time. 🙂

            • McFlock 15.2.1.1.1.1

              Well, if you wish to please people by supplying responses to the actual content of comments rather than your fevered imagination, try harder next time.

  16. AsleepWhileWalking 16

    Placards demanding release of some fringe nutter in the UK aren’t going to make any difference on a NZ curbside.

    Clearly a pointless gesture designed to gain attention. Oh look, a thread…

  17. Ad 17

    C’mon people more outrage please. Surely we can squeeze 100 comments out of this.

    • In Vino 17.1

      Sorry, but I had never heard of him, and am still intrigued as to why they are offering free samples.

    • McFlock 17.2

      My outrage circuit is still largely fried from when I heard that the trump regime financed its child kidnap plan by taking funds away from healthcare for low income people who have AIDS.

      Like, I still despise neofascists, but I really don’t think they can do anything that would anger or surprise me anymore. I’m just numb.

  18. Pat 18

    Ironic much

    • joe90 18.1

      Link’s jiggered.

      • Carolyn_Nth 18.1.1

        Just click on the youtube bit at the bottom:
        Tom Robinson: Winter of 79 – it plays on youtube.

    • Carolyn_Nth 18.2

      Huh! I was thinking of posting something like that. I do recall when that album came out, the year before Thatcher first became PM in 1979. And the National Front was pretty visible.

      We all marched against them in Rock Against Racism demos.

      I recall Tom being on Gay Pride demos, in his belstaff motorbike jacket around that time – back when it was a small protest, and not the glossy extravaganza it’s become.

      Really, things have gone from bad to worse in many ways since then. And ultra-nationalist, racists still campaign as though they think they are on the side of good.

      Humans can be very depressing.

  19. Nick J 19

    As above, humans can be very depressing, depressingly tribal, depressingly bigoted and one eyed. I’m depressed by the CTRL Left, the one eyed anti everything don’t examine any evidence that contradicts their position people who abound on the far Left, like their extreme mirror the far Right.

    There is a wonderful tool for getting heads out of the echo chamber. It is called the internet where with some judicial searching you can get to the facts if you are prepared to try. You need to avoid any labeling which normally prefaces somebodies opinion (as opposed to fact).

    So I checked out Tommy Robinson as a racist, drew a blank in terms of would the charge stand up in Court. Extreme Right? Again, if that means like a fascist, well no, old fashioned Conservative, well perhaps. I then listened to Maajid Nawaz, a British Pakistani broadcaster, he too concluded Robinson was not racist, and thought that the process that convicted him was rather rapid and perhaps flawed.

    More importantly Nawaz concluded something missing from the shrill calls of those on this site. That conclusion was that Robinson and his cohort has a real case against the grooming gangs and the authorities whose silence and fear of being labeled racist enabled these crimes to occur. And that is what happens when we label and scream abuse rather than address the issues. By attacking the messenger, loathsome as he may be to some, the real issues remain unaddressed.

    In that I expect abuse for pointing this out, so be it, I’m depressed by and ashamed of the CTRL Left.

  20. R.P Mcmurphy 20

    is this sort of like free gluten too or is it a buy one get one free or is it just free hot air with every whatever? i wish somebody would tell me these things.

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