The reality of campaigning for a real election has begun to hit home with Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson. As he goes walkabout across North West England, accompanied by so many heavies as to make him look like the president of somewhere unstable, public reaction to his divisive and bigoted rhetoric has been, at best, distinctly lukewarm. So some myth-making has been necessary.
Yesterday, Lennon rocked up in Bury, another of those market towns which used to be home to countless mill chimneys, but which has seen almost all disappear. There is, as across the North West, a significant ethnic minority population, some of whom would have been less than thrilled to see Lennon trying to profit from the politics of division.
So it was no surprise that The Great Man wandered around Bury town centre, pretending to be not only working class (yeah, right) but also someone who cared about the locals as much as he cares about the promotion of Himself Personally Now, while most of those he met were at best indifferent, and in some cases hostile.
Salford woman tells Lennon "You just talk any old shite" (correct)
And so was born Lennon’s milkshake myth. “Had a strawberry milkshake thrown over me, by some … Muslim supporter, of course, so I’m going to Nando’s. So to any Muslim supporters out there, I’ll be in Nando’s in Bury, in two minutes” he claimed, thus telling the world that (a) he blamed anything that went wrong on the Scary Muslims™, and (b) he was such a clever Islamophobe that he was happy to eat Halal Chicken.
One commenter noted “Tommy had a milkshake poured over him by a ‘Muslim supporter’. This is an unconscious admission that Tommy doesn’t ‘support’ or even care about ‘Muslims’. I thought he only talked about Islam, not Muslims?” Indeed. It’s not about Islam. It’s about stirring up hatred and bigotry. BNP hatred with the volume turned down.
But Mariana Steal had seen the video, and careful examination showed that Lennon had exaggerated the incident for personal gain. “Blink and you'll miss it. Robinson had milkshake chucked in his general direction, not over him as he claimed”.
Unite Against Fascism had seen this kind of behaviour before. “'Tommy Robinson' is the modern day Dr Goebbels. No evidence of his having 'milkshake thrown over him by a Muslim’. Shameless attempt to incite #Islamophobia. Let's ensure he fails in #European #elections”. He’ll probably manage the failure bit of his own accord.
Sure enough, though, amateur comedy kidnapper Daniel Thomas, on behalf of Lennon, was soon telling his adoring fans “Great reception from Bury today, video coming soon. Thank you to all that came along to talk, debate, discuss different issues also real hate crimes from the Muslim community which including throwing milkshake on Tommy and members of the public including children”. Won’t they think about the children?
And with that, it was on to the next campaign stop, which today means Warrington. In the meantime, Lennon and his pals can chip in for that parking ticket which I’m told he got yesterday - and that with a free car park near Bury Interchange - and try harder to sort their election literature, like the claim he will be in Eccles on Friday 5th May.
The 5th of May is next Sunday. Still, who’s counting when someone else is paying?
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