While the law enforcement authorities investigate whether his activities around the trial of Darren Osborne - recently convicted for murder and attempted murder for driving a van into a crowd of worshippers near the Finsbury Park Mosque - constituted contempt of court, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, has suggested that he would take a sympathetic view to a little criminal damage being done.
Were he to be implicated in such an act, either directly or indirectly, the consequences for his liberty would not be favourable. Yet such is his apparent paranoia about anything to do with followers of The Prophet that Lennon has taken the Twitter to directly threaten the authorities in Luton, and by implication the company managing advertising hoardings outside Luton Town FC’s ground, over an advert placed there.
The advert is for a Quds Day rally; this will take place at the end of Ramadan in June. The tagline on the poster board is “United for Palestine”, there are images of Nelson Mandela and Ayatollah Khomeini alongside. Quds day is controversial, but is not in any way illegal. But this set off Richard Kemp, former soldier who clearly has a problem with it.
“The very day that our Israeli allies are subjected to a serious escalation of military aggression by Iran, this disgusting image of the Iranian terrorist icon Khomeini is posted outside @LutonTown FC in Luton. What is this country descending to? … It was in Luton in 2010 where soldiers of my regiment, the Royal Anglians, returning HOME from a tour in Iraq, were met by these screaming vile cowardly anti-British mobs. So hardly surprising @lutoncouncil encourages terrorist posters to be displayed in their so-called town”.
Nothing quite like calming tensions and avoiding inflammatory language, is there? This alerted Lennon, who also went straight for the inflammatory tone: “So @lutoncouncil have allowed a bill board promoting a terrorist march to be put up in Luton town. This terror march was the planned target of Darren Osborne. It’s sponsored by Iran & every yr terrorist organisations flags fly there. The people of Luton won’t tolerate this”.
If the flags of proscribed organisations are flown anywhere, that is a matter for the Police, so I hope he is alerting them to it. But instead of any such consideration, there had to be a threat: “You have till Tuesday to remove this or we will @lutoncouncil”. That comment is loaded. There is no ambiguity: this is a threat to do criminal damage.
Worse, that in turn woke up the Football Lads Alliance, who also declined to equivocate: “Despicable outside Luton town FC … This has to be removed by the local authority now; and on 10th June 2018, The AL Quads Day march supporting terror groups will be opposed by the FLA … Come and join us to fight for what's right”. So they want to have a fight over what would otherwise have been a peaceful rally.
Showing support for the Palestinian cause is not illegal; it is certainly not terrorism. Shouting “terrorism” is not going to make it so. But good of Lennon and the FLA to serve notice - I’m sure the authorities, and those who funded the advert, will take note.
Taking the law into your own hands on a false pretext is only going to end in tears.