Tommy Robinson is a racist thug. Tommy Robinson is a thick as pig shit Nazi. Said me, not so long ago. But then I went on a little journey. It began with me hearing Jordan Peterson saying things I already believed, but in a voice I found more convincing than the apologetic, small reedy thing squeaking away in my own mind, and I found that so invigorating that I sought out more. That search brought me to Joe Rogan, and through Joe’s podcast I stumbled upon some of the other figures that populate what I believe you kids describe as the intellectual dark web. I read and listened to Douglas K Murray on immigration and Islam, and that led me to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz and always, lurking at the edge of this with his shiny forehead and demonic grin, was evil, racist, Nazi thug Tommy Robinson. He just kept popping up, at the elbows of others, promising to talk to me about themes that interested me, but in a voice that my achey, breaky brain, still reeling from a lifetime of Guardian reading, just couldn’t bring itself to listen to. I could nod in agreement as the Eton educated Douglas Murray warned about the problems of Islam and the dangers of saturating our continent with migrants so rapidly that the existing culture and society could only dissolve under the deluge, but Tommy Robinson saying virtually the same thing…no thank you. But then I didn’t hit pause quickly enough, and that was that. I accidentally found myself giving him a chance, and I was really surprised by the results.
Looking back through archive material I found an increasingly articulate man, passionate about his beliefs and brave enough to voice them despite massive resistance and hostility from all sectors of society. The Islamists hated him, the left wing hated him – Guardian readers certainly weren’t very fond of him. I spent an evening or two digging around, trying to find evidence to corroborate my earlier prejudice that the man was a racist but try as I might, it just didn’t seem to be there. He’s done a bit of jail time for various bits of youthful naughtiness – but then so have some of my family and friends – and he’s had some knobheads following him; but then I know plenty of knobheads who follow Coronation Street and nobody blames Ken Barlow for that. I came to the conclusion – not staggeringly original, I know – that a lot of the prejudice about Tommy is based less on what he says than how he says it. He’s a bit too working class, a bit too much of a geezer, a bit too ‘common’ for some people. Class prejudice, pure and simple. Now, I went to a poxy comprehensive school on a council estate so this isn’t something I should be afflicted by but…maybe a little bit. So I put that to one side and started following him on Twitter and that’s how I got to know about today’s free speech thang at Speakers’ Corner. I certainly wouldn’t have known ANYTHING about it if I’d relied on the mainstream media.
Anyone who’s interested can go to YouTube and see footage of the day, and they can look around for a few minutes and fill in the background to the events. I couldn’t manage to get there myself (excuses, excuses) but I watched the livestream in between flicking back and forth between that and Twitter, and this is what I learned.
Tommy’s response to anyone accusing him of racism is to challenge them to provide evidence to that effect. So far, I’ve seen nobody respond to that. At all.
A lot of white people on the left don’t like it when people of colour act outside their own preferred narratives for them. If you’re black or brown there’s an expectation you should act like you owe the radical left something and you should tow the (largely white defined) party line or risk being called a traitor to your own race. Often by people of another race. Which is…racism, at least.
I’m with Tommy, and many others, in worrying about the pernicious effects of Islam upon our society – but the behaviour of a lot of the English Muslims who were there to heckle at today’s event made me just as proud of belonging to this crazy country as those who were there to support free speech; there was very little trouble, despite the obvious potential for it to have all kicked off big time, and I saw several instances of Muslims seeking to keep things calm. PS: Seems there was rather more argy bargy going on than was captured on the livestreams, so maybe I spoke too soon on this point…
Where was the mainstream media on this one???