The tour around North West England by Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, in pursuit of his attempt to become an independent MEP, has not been going too well. The huge crowds have failed to materialise, Lennon has not been pitching any policies - apart from moaning about Scary Muslims™ - and some locals in Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness have been distinctly hostile to him.
But worse news came with the decision of online payment site Stripe to terminate Lennon’s accounts. He had two with them: one for his alleged news site TR Online, and another for Vote Tommy, his election campaign. The moment of reality came, it seems, on Wednesday: Stripe judged that Lennon had violated its Services Agreement, Section A.7.b, which is all about “Restricted Businesses and Activities”.
Previously, Lennon and his supporters have shrugged off his being banned by a variety of social media outlets. But now he’s been chucked off Twitter, prevented from monetising his content by YouTube, removed from Facebook and banned by PayPal, it’s getting serious. Put bluntly, he has run out of options for fundraising.
Given a defamation action has just been started against him on behalf of the young Syrian refugee about whom Lennon made a series of accusations he is going to have difficulty standing up, and the possibility that others he’s lied about might decide to follow suit and launch their own lawsuits, having the money cut off is the last thing he needs right now.
So it is no surprise that Lennon has retained the services of Mandelbaum Salsberg of New York and New Jersey - they’re attorneys at law - to try and persuade Stripe to bring a little leniency to proceedings, and let him back onto their payment platform. They have told Stripe’s General Counsel Jon Zieger “Tommy’s campaign and fundraising are entirely lawful under UK and EU law. Tommy has complied with all legal requirements”.
There’s more. “No other candidate has been deprived of service by Stripe in this election, to our knowledge”. They conclude “We sincerely appreciate Stripe’s anticipated candor and reciprocation of our good faith in making this inquiry”. That’s code for begging.
Perhaps as a result of Stripe banning Lennon, his entourage was seen yesterday in Barrow handing round buckets for cash donations. Can it get any worse? Well, yes it can: not only have a host of names, including local MPs and former Liverpool footballer Jamie Carragher, put their names to an open letter telling Lennon he is not welcome in Bootle, which he plans to visit next Sunday, he may have problems in Manchester, too.
Lennon is planning on being at the Veterans’ March on Media City tomorrow. His problem is that many of those on that march resent him using it as a means to peddle his hate. One Vet has told “Update: just spoken to one of the organisers of the #Veterans protest and they are aware and sorting it, Tommy is not welcome”.
No money, no welcome, and increasingly no credibility. It’s not going too well, is it?
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