Almost as soon as Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, knew that BBC Panorama was going to devote an edition of the show to himself, and more importantly his back story, his criminality, his tactics of intimidation, his economy with the actualité, his attempt to play the gangster, and any other facet of his modus operandi, he decided that there would have to be a rebuttal. Perhaps even a pre-buttal.
So it was that he teased a number of short videos which he claims show the BBC, and especially presenter and interrogator John Sweeney, in a negative light. The problem is that, thus far, they only look bad for the Beeb if you take Lennon’s word for it. But this had a purpose: it drew in the faithful for a presentation of his Panorama bashing documentary PanoDrama, to be held at Media City today.
But then it all started to go wrong. Lennon was diverted last night by the temptations of the nearest Rub-A-Dub, where he became Elephant’s Trunk and Mozart. So today he was hung over. Worse, by his own admission, the actual making of the Panorama bashing documentary had been left to the last minute. It was still being edited last night. But, fortunately, all that was then needed was to convert some files.
They wouldn’t convert. When Lennon made another of his videos this morning, he joked that the process of exporting files had failed twice. But it would all be OK, and the show would start at 1400 hours as advertised. Then the exporting process failed for a third time. But it would all be all right on the night, or at least by 1400 hours. It wasn’t.
Lennon changed the start time to 1430, on the flimsy pretext that he was doing it as an act of generosity to all those who had been delayed by problems with trams, trains, and other unforeseen events that are not actually stopping anyone getting to Manchester.
The documentary was still not ready. So Lennon flannelled. He played a tribute video to his wife. He played his wedding video. Someone came up on stage and sang Hallelujah, thus indicating a sudden interest in religion that was not there previously.
It got worse. As John O’Connell of Far Right Watch observed, “And the Live Feed out to his ‘world audience’ has apparently crashed”. This will, no doubt, be attributed in the paranoid retelling to THEM coming to get HIM. Then it got yet worse. “#Salford … #Yaxley says the video is still rendering into a different format. Vid is said to be quite long and rambling, no way now can it be shown in full before designated Event Finish Time which is NOT flexible”. The latest Lennon spectacle had descended into complete farce.
The event was due to end at 1615 hours. As I type (1540 hours) it seems no extension had been requested. The crowd was rather smaller than Lennon might have hoped - hundreds rather than thousands - and the paranoia was beginning to spread: “#Salford … #Yaxley - Some are claiming all their phone signals are being jammed by BBC and 'Deep State’. Next up, Flat Earth and Secret Bases on Mars” as John O’Connell put it.
Some of the Panorama bashing material was finally screened just before 1600 hours. But the damage had been done; many had become bored and had drifted away. Stephen Yaxley Lennon was bound to overreach himself sooner or later. The good news is that the downfall moment came sooner. Just rejoice at that news.
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