After he rocked up in Glasgow and attempted to harass an SNP MP at his library surgery - someone had forgotten about Jo Cox - Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, went quiet - well, for him, anyway. And then something else happened: his latest Facebook post promoting his tour of Australia disappeared.
We knew that Gavin McInnes, who was to tour with Lennon, had been refused a visa to enter the country. And with Lennon’s criminal record, he would not have done any better. So it was no surprise when the organisers admitted, in an email to a Zelo Street contact, that both visas were being appealed, in the hope of making their February tour dates.
But that isn’t going to happen: the organisers have now rescheduled the tour - for the second time. Originally, the dates were pencilled in for December, but the excuse given on Lennon’s behalf was that there had been a diary clash. Only later was the tour moved to early February. And now it’s been moved yet further into the distance: the opening date in Perth will be (subject to visas) on March 9.
What all those fans who have already shelled out for flights, hotels, car hire, and the rest will make of yet another delay is not known. But the event’s website is still advertising “General Admission” at $85 a head, “VIP Meet and Greet” at $295, “Backstage Pass” at $495, and “Private Dinner” at $995 a pop. But Lennon would have to turn up.
And right now it is looking increasingly like this feast is going to be movable to the point of mythology. Worse, the idea that Lennon and McInnes could get a decision in their favour before early March does not stand the first encounter with reality.
According to Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which would deal with Lennon’s appeal, the average time taken from lodging an appeal to securing a decision is, for a visitor visa, 276 days. For a temporary work visa, it’s 404 days. So the organisers have kicked the can down the road for another month, but they need to come clean with the public - and admit that this tour is not going to happen next month, if at all.
Anyone pretending otherwise is not dealing from a full deck. As Lizzie Dearden at the Independent has told, “Organisers of the ‘Deplorables’ tour, which was due to start in Perth on Friday, said Robinson’s application was still being considered by authorities. Mr McInnes has been refused a visa, with the denial being appealed, and Mr Yiannopoulos is awaiting a decision”. Someone speaks with forked tongue.
My contact was told that the visas (plural) were being appealed. And that means it will be towards the end of this year before they get a decision. The idea that the dates could happen in March is just a con. The organisers should come clean and cancel.
Another Stephen Lennon money-making wheeze could be on the skids. Good thing too.
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