Last time, he was merely suspended from Twitter for seven days. But this time, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, has finally been banned from this part of social media altogether. His account can no longer be even viewed. That’s it. He’s been removed from the system. Whether he will ever be back is not known. But that it is going to be someone else’s fault is a nailed-on certainty.
Yes, they really were out to get him. Lennon’s faithful pal Caolan Robertson gave the far-right world the bad news: “As he predicted recently, Tommy Robinson has had his Twitter account removed. They haven't given him a reason or said if he can appeal”. Removed. Gone. It is no more. It has ceased to be. It is an ex-account.
Someone was not happy. “Just shows tommy is hitting home with his arguments, no one is willing to debate with him because his points are very valid and can not be defended, his right to free speech has been taken away because the so called people in charge do not like the fact people are listening now”. Yawn. Nobody has taken away his right to free speech. Twitter access is not something you get by right.
This had to be pointed out to those having difficulty with the concept, and Mike Stuchbery was the man to do it. After telling “Tommy Robinson (@trobinsonnewera) suspended”, he went on to point out “Right, Far Right kiddos, here's why Tommy Robinson being suspended isn't 'losing his free speech'. Freedom of speech only applies to government sanction. Private enterprises, such as Twitter, can boot whoever they want. This is just like him getting bounced from his local”. He got barred from the pub. Sort of.
It was still a challenging concept for the brains trust out there, as one of those responding unfavourably to Stuchbery’s news demonstrated. “It is still censorship. He will gain followers from this. You all celebrate twitter for shutting him down but really they are promoting him”. Er, hello? He won’t gain any followers from this. He got banned by Twitter. You get banned, you don’t have any followers in the first place.
Will Caolan Robertson risk the future of his own Twitter account in order to help Lennon? Remember, last time Lennon got suspended, he was out there claiming “Tommy has just been banned for 7 days on Twitter for tweeting THIS. With him now & he will be sending tweets via this account until his is restored”. But then it was pointed out that this was in flagrant breach of Twitter terms and conditions, so he didn’t.
In any case, Lennon still has his new and independent website to get his message out there, and Facebook, as far as is known, hasn’t yet banned him. And he can get up on a soapbox at Speakers’ Corner if he wants. But for his Twitter presence, it is the end. As one overjoyed Tweeter put it, “I can just about hear Tommy's screaming from 60 miles away because I'm laughing so loud. Good bye Tommy”.
The presence of Stephen Yaxley Lennon on Twitter was for a time, but not for all time.