While Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, continues his tour of North West England in his bid to be elected as an independent MEP at the upcoming European Parliament elections, it’s become clear that the venues at which he has been appearing do not include the whole of the region by any means. Whole areas will not benefit from a visit from The Great Man. Where is he missing?
Well, given his previous enthusiasm for making late night visits in Crewe, he won’t be including it on his itinerary. Same with the City of Chester, recently favoured by Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his Brexit Party. No sign of him in Southport, Lancaster, Northwich, Winsford, Runcorn, St Helens, Ellesmere Port, Chorley, Wilmslow, Ashton-under-Lyne, and many others. But well-publicised visits to places like Brinnington, near Stockport.
And that shows what Lennon is targeting. Brinnington is the area with the highest neighbourhood prevalence of depression in the North and Midlands. As much as 23.6% of patients seen by local GPs were depressed, according to research by the Guardian. Almost a quarter of those living in Brinnington suffer some kind of depression.
Of the areas suffering the highest prevalence of depression, four (Bidston Hill, Tranmere, Woodchurch and Birkenhead Central) are in the Birkenhead area. Lennon was in Birkenhead yesterday. Two of the areas are in Fleetwood, north of Blackpool. Lennon is scheduled to visit the town next Friday. One is a suburb of Carlisle; Lennon’s tour is scheduled to stop off in the City in two days’ time.
On it goes: three of those areas are in Rochdale - and yes, Lennon is due to rock up in the town’s Heywood area on Saturday next. Perhaps his team has also been studying the most deprived areas of the UK, seven of which are in Blackpool. The Tommy Tour made a big deal of Lennon’s trip to the seaside on May Day Bank Holiday Monday.
He cancelled a visit to Blackburn - one of the country’s most deprived areas is in the town - but he’s due just up the road in Burnley on Tuesday May 21st. Two of England’s most deprived areas just happen to be in that area. Can it get any more exploitative? Lennon is visiting Barrow-in-Furness next Thursday, a town beset by drug abuse problems.
As the Guardian reported last year, “After 12 drug-related deaths since December, Barrow is now Britain’s most infamous ‘brown town’. A place that was once dubbed England’s Chicago because its economy was growing so fast is now synonymous with heroin”. The BBC reported in January on the “County Lines” drug trade, telling “Police are increasingly targeting the town's drug dealers, after a big spike in drug-related deaths in early 2018”.
And by pure coincidence, Stephen Lennon is favouring the area with a visit this week. All the while, The Great Man is waving his begging bowl, telling those amongst whom he comes that he needs their help. That they live on the margins of society, and he lives in the lap of luxury, does not seem to occur to those willing to cheer him on.
Living high on the hog while preying on misery. Welcome to the Tommy Tour.
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