Another fan of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, has made a little news for herself this week: Alissa Cook-Gray, who lives in Crewe, left her course at training provider Total People after what she claims was the issuing of a final warning after she had declared that Lennon was her favourite political person.
The Sentinel has told that “Teenager Alissa Cook-Gray says she was given a ‘final warning’ by her college - because she told classmates her favourite person was Tommy Robinson … The 17-year-old was attending the first day of her art and employability course at Total People, in Prince Albert Street, Crewe, when a political debate erupted among students”. No-one else who was there has backed up her story, though.
And what we do know is that she quit the course of her own volition: “She told StokeonTrentLive she now feels ‘terrified’ to return to her course and has taken the decision it wasn’t for her, quitting after just over an hour of lessons”. Meanwhile, Total People’s Twitter feed has been deluged with threatening messages.
The case has now been taken up by a site called Politicalite, where Christopher Heath - and Chris, you really do need to work on your written English - has made a number of highly creative claims, kicking off with “A STUDENT who was kicked out of class and given a final warning for supporting right-wing Activist Tommy Robinson has exclusively told Politicalite she is considering taking legal action”. She says she quit.
Do go on. “Alisa Cook-Gray, 17 who told classmates that she supported Tommy Robinson was forced to leave her Art and Employability Course run by Total People in Crewe”. She wasn’t forced to leave, either. She quit. Of her own volition.
The article, which spells Ms Cook-Gray’s Christian name “Alisa” and “Allissa” in addition to “Alissa”, goes on to tell readers “A political debate centred around Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn didn’t flutter a single eyelash in Alissa’s classroom, but mentions of Tommy’s name untethered of an aura of discrimination towards Alissa after describing Tommy Robinson as being her favourite person”. Where’s Stanley Unwin when you need him?
But the central thrust of Heath’s schtick can be put very directly. After the claim “Total People could be in breach of Section 406 of the Education Act 1996 and Article 10 (Freedom of Expression) and 14 (Prohibition of Discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950” comes “Alissa is contemplating taking legal action against Total People for discrimination and gross misconduct”. Ri-i-i-ight.
Two things here. One, unless someone out there is prepared to bankroll such an action, it’s highly unlikely that any lawyer will be interested. Two, such an action will mean others involved in Ms Cook-Gray’s alleged altercation will give their version of events, and this may differ from hers. After all, free speech, and all that.
It would be totally out of order for a 17-year-old to be manipulated to further the agenda of any political cause, whatever its stripe. But that is what appears to be happening here.
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