Perhaps emboldened by his triumphant appearance at the Old Bailey last week, Stephen Yaxlay Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, has once more indulged in a little justice of his own. This time, it’s vigilantism, and not for the first time. Perhaps he envisages another of those “polite conversations” when his all too easily impressed followers locate the individuals whose behaviour has incurred his displeasure.
“Can anyone please help me identify these men. They were outside Luton football stadium yesterday handing out leaflets with total lies about me. Please direct message with information on who they are” told Lennon’s Facebook page. So what were the men up to?
They were, in fact, from Football Lads And Lasses Against Fascism, or FLAF for short. They are not Lennon’s greatest admirers. It seems they were handing out leaflets containing information which does not reflect well on Lennon’s character.
The part which has caused The Great Man severe discomfort is titled “Who is Tommy Robinson?” and tells “His real name is Stephen Christoper Yaxley Lennon. He is a convicted fraudster and former member of the BNP. People can change but not Yaxley Lennon. He’s a racist. One of his Tweets reads ‘What do you call a Pakistani that don’t smell? #asif”. Or perhaps that should be “One of his Tweets read”.
Because Lennon has since been banned from the platform. But there is more. “He formed the English Defence League, a virulently Islamophobic organisation led by racists and fascists. He led racist EDL marches and brawls across the country”.
It is not hard to see why Lennon is taking grave exception to the FLAF leaflet - he hates being characterised as a racist. What he also finds difficult, as Zelo Street pointed out recently, is to understand that others are entitled to their opinion, even if that opinion concludes that he is a racist. Instead of accepting that others enjoy the same freedom to think and speak as he does, he accuses them of lying.
Hence the Facebook call to incitement: Lennon is effectively calling on his followers to go after the FLAF. Moreover, what will happen as a consequence is unlikely to involve any of those “polite conversations”. Someone will get badly hurt, or worse, as a result.
You think I jest? The willingness of Lennon’s followers to accept his word as fact, to the exclusion of all else, is summed up by this comment left on that Facebook post: “The Establishment are so worried they have to resort to infiltrating (as they think) his supporters.. They really are so arrogant to believe that we are so gullible, to fall for this.. This highlights how little the Establishment considers the importance of our concerns and our intelligence to discern that they are withholding our Freedom of Speech”.
Establishment. Infiltrating. Withholding our Freedom of Speech. And, indeed, the inability to see that the truly gullible ones are those lapping up Lennon’s every word, believing his claim that only he and those of whom he approves speak “THE TRUTH”, that all others are therefore liars. And what about FLAF’s freedom of speech?
Ah, but that’s one of those questions that Lennon and his entourage don’t like to answer. This call to vigilantism and incitement is being notified to the Police.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at