Still touring North West England as part of his attempt to become an independent MEP, Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, has let his followers know his schedule for the next fortnight. On first glance, this looks rather optimistic, given he is in court next Tuesday - at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, for a retrial of the contempt for which he was previously jailed, but then later released.
Not only that, Lennon has scheduled three dates on Merseyside, the first in Birkenhead next Sunday, followed by two events the following Sunday in the Liverpool area. That might be a challenging task, given the historic antipathy to the far-right in the area: as recently as 2017, the EDL, the group Lennon co-founded, tried to hold a rally in central Liverpool, only for anti-fascist protesters to drive them back.
The EDL was driven back all the way to Lime Street Station, the final retreat given the musical accompaniment of Yackety Sax - the Benny Hill theme. They eventually held their rally in a loading bay at the station. Last year, the Frontline Patriots tried to march from Moorfields station to the city centre, but were driven back up the station steps. They, too, left the city with tails between legs. And will Lennon make it that far?
After all, his retrial might take days, and after that, he might be found guilty and sent back to jail. That would mean no more European Election campaigning, and if he is sent down for 12 months or more, being taken off the ballot as disqualified. What certainty does he have that he has a decent chance of making it to Carlisle for his appearance, scheduled at 1900 hours the day after he stands trial in London?
Ah well. Lennon is nothing if not observant. He’s watched politicians for long enough to know that some of their behaviour is worth borrowing for his own act. Hence the loudly delivered stream of righteous ranting taken from Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, and the rank dishonesty taken from just about any of them. Now, he’s going to borrow from Theresa May - who has spent the past three years kicking the Brexit can down the road.
If the Prime Minister can kick her can down the road, so can Lennon. And that is what he’s almost certain to do next Tuesday. After all, he’s done it once: in March, he was due in court on the 22nd, only to tell all those fans who had already booked time off and travel tickets that the case was being delayed. What he didn’t tell his fans was that he was the reason for the delay - his legal team had requested an adjournment.
So next Tuesday, will the usual ceremony and his adoring public in attendance, Lennon will rock up at the Royal Courts of Justice, tell the world how the rotten establishment wants to silence him, then go into court and listen to his lawyers pleading for more time to prepare their case. Then he can go back outside and tell those present that the establishment has taken all this time and still hasn’t tried him.
Can kicked down road, over to the nearest Rub-A-Dub, sleep it off and away to Carlisle the next morning. He keeps the drama going, the crowds turn out once agin, donations keep coming in, and he keeps alive his dream of becoming a proper politician.
But it’s always possible that the prosecution have seen that one coming. Just a thought.
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