Tomorrow, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, returns to the Old Bailey to face retrial on allegations that he committed contempt of court when filming outside Leeds Crown Court earlier this year. His faithful supporters will no doubt be out in force. Many will have taken the day off work and committed significant amounts of their hard-earned cash to travel to London. Some will have donated to his various appeals.
All this feeds the Stephen Lennon business model: the relentless self-publicity, the attacks on established media outlets and especially broadcasters, the framing of his cause as championing the forgotten British working class, the demonisation of Islam and wilful exaggeration of its tenets, the claim that the establishment is out to get him,and of course the laughably dishonest suggestion that he is a mere “journalist”.
The downsides of Lennon’s crusade, and there are many, are routinely ignored by his faithful fans. Multiple instances of harassment, his previous criminal record, his dishonesty - pretty persistent, especially for someone so ready to call “liar” on others - and the clearly false claim that he is all about “free speech”. Tell that to anyone whose free speech contains opinions that diverge from those he espouses.
What is also becoming clear is that the whole Lennon circus has just one beneficiary, and that is Himself Personally Now. Not victims of sexual abuse. Not those whose families have been turned upside down by grooming gangs. And certainly not those who get themselves a criminal record by following the path set out by the great Tommy.
We know this as the Murdoch Sunday Times has begun to do a little digging around the business empire of Stephen Yaxley Lennon. This tells “A former assistant to Robinson, who had access to his Stripe online payment processing account, claimed it contained £2m after his jailing and appeal, thanks to a flood of donations, mainly small amounts”.
There was more. “Another former assistant, Lucy Brown, told the Sunday Times in August that Robinson operated a ‘business’ in which ‘your outrage, valid as it is, will be monetised as such’”. Is there an example of how this outrage is “monetised”?
Well, yes there is: “Robinson recently moved into a £950,000 house in an upmarket village in Bedfordshire. The detached, gated property has four bedrooms, a two-bedroom annexe and a double garage”. As Trevor Warner added, “Paid for by donations from the mindless idiots who support him”. Lennon’s business model works for him. And only him.
And tomorrow’s court appearance, when Lennon expects to be jailed once again - he’s sacked his lawyers and is determined to provoke the Judge into giving him a custodial sentence by refusing to apologise for almost derailing three trials which have already seen 20 men sentenced to a total of well over 200 years in prison - he is expecting his collected mugs to shell out even more in donations to keep him in the style to which he has become accustomed. What will be the cause this time? Who knows? But one thing is clear.
The beneficiaries of this payday will not be those who missed a day’s pay and shelled out for a return trip to London. They won’t be the victims of sexual abuse. It is all for the benefit of Stephen Yaxley Lennon. How does it feel to be taken for a mug, Tommy fans?
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