Yesterday, followers of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, were served up another allegedly damning exposé where someone has secretly filmed award-winning journalist John Sweeney, this time partaking of a long pub lunch for which the bill came out at £220 for two. Lennon is incandescent with rage as he denounces what he assures viewers is an abuse of the BBC’s expenses régime.
Here’s his spiel, with the mistakes pointed out. “If you don’t already know, the cost of a TV licence will increase this year to £154. That’s nearly £13 a month. This fee is a stealth tax [no stealth about it, sorry] in order to fund the BBC. That’s right, the BBC that is nothing more than an establishment left-wing propaganda machine [that would be news both to the establishment and those on the left]”. And there is more.
“They’re also thinking about starting to charge pensioners for a licence fee [the truth, as Lennon so loves to call it, is that at present the Government pays the licence fee for over-75s - not all pensioners. It’s a scheme that is due to end next year. Lennon is taking aim at the wrong target, but this serves his agenda]. So when you’re struggling to survive on your state pension [those under 75 already pay the TV licence] you need to find another £155 a year to pay for the BBC”. So far, so inaccurate.
“Let me show you just what all that hard-earned money gets spent on by John Sweeney and his BBC executive”. There then follows the undercover video where Sweeney and a colleague have an expensed lunch - well, Sweeney does say at one point “here we are on expenses”, although whether they are BBC expenses is not clear.
But back to Lennon’s rant. “That lunch was £220. £110 a head. The lunch the following Tuesday was £140. That’s £360 for two midweek lunches. That’s right - if you cannot afford to pay your licence fee cos you might need to prioritise putting food on the table for your children [unlikely in his case] then these tossers at the BBC will try and take you to court [wrong, collection of the licence fee is not performed by the BBC]”. But carry on.
“That’s cos they need to scrimp and scrape and pay that £155 a year so they can spend it all on a Tuesday lunchtime getting pissed. If the fact the establishment forced you to fund their biased propaganda [no citation] does not infuriate you enough, then maybe the fact that they just piss all your hard-earned money up the wall should be reason enough to stop and people demand that we scrap the BBC licence fee”. And he isn’t finished.
“The BBC should be a subscription service, so all those Islington elites [who they?] can choose to sign up and fund their lavish restaurant lunches - not us”. Ri-i-i-ight.
This would sound more convincing if Lennon had not already done plenty of sponging off the state himself in the recent past. Like all the Police resources that have had to be deployed whenever he calls his faithful followers out on to the streets. Like all the court cases which have resulted from his past behaviour. Like more than one custodial prison sentence which We The People have had to pay for.
Also, if he wants to condemn “stealth taxes”, or indeed any other taxes, perhaps he could let the world see his latest tax return. After all, if he dislikes the idea of pensioners “scrimping and scraping”, he’ll not want to make things any worse for them.
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