It was going so well for former EDL head man Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon: he was doing his rounds, sticking a camera in the faces of those who said things about him he didn’t like, waving a copy of the Qur’an and telling anyone who would listen that Islam was evil, and all the time remorselessly flogging his new book. But then he overreached himself, and after the Finsbury Park attack has been taking serious stick.
Things began to go less than ideally for Robinson after he fetched up at Canterbury Crown Court and flagrantly disobeyed filming rules, thereby placing himself in contempt of court. He got himself a suspended prison sentence for that, and should count himself lucky he was not taken off to the cells directly from the court.
And now has come the Finsbury Park attack, with the thought occurring to media outlets around the country that those who demonise Islam might be part of the problem, that while their stance is not aggressive or violent, that they might be contributing to the incitement of others. I’m sure Robinson would take exception to such an idea, but others do not.
The first sign that the Media Establishment had turned on Robinson came from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who yesterday ran a post titled “Tommy Robinson Called British Muslims ‘Enemy Combatants’”. This went on to tell “There are a lot of similarities between Tommy and his opposite number Anjem Choudary”, listed ten alleged similarities, and concluded “Neither of them commit violent acts, they do however feed into a narrative that inspires fellow travellers to do so”.
But The Great Guido let Tommy off lightly: much more public, and infinitely more bruising, was his encounter on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today with Piers Morgan. Robinson would have known what was coming: Morgan’s reputation precedes him. Even cabinet ministers are not off-limits from a good verbal lashing, as Michael “Oiky” Gove discovered yesterday, when he was told to stick his attitude where the sun don’t shine.
Morgan duly passed severely adverse comment on Robinson: “What you were doing was fermenting hatred and almost suggesting that somehow this attack, this revenge attack as you put it, was in somehow deserving … My problem with you is that you conflate Islamist terrorism with all Muslims. You are an Islamophobe who hates Islam. You basically think all Muslims are to blame … What you are doing now is deliberately inflammatory, it is deliberately poisonous”. And Tommy wasn’t out of the woods yet.
Perhaps his Twitter comment “Finsbury Park mosque was a UK govt protected planning centre for hundreds of Jihad attacks/plots which killed British soldiers and children” had not helped. And Rupert Myers of GQ magazine, writing this time for the Telegraph, told his followers his headline would include “Tommy Robinson is a radical extremist. His hate preaching has no place on British television screens”.
All that Robinson could say to that was “The elite are out to get me”. So what’s he going to do, doorstep them all? And a word in your shell-like, Tommy, playing the victim, especially after aggressively intimidating critics, isn’t a good look. And doing to real journalists what he tried with me could land him in very serious trouble. Just a thought, eh?