Recently I mentioned Brendan O’Neill’s confusing and (to me) inexplicable denunciation of Tommy Robinson’s “views”.
“It doesn’t matter what you think of Robinson’s views — like the vast majority of people, I oppose them.”
That’s what he wrote in the Spectator. Yet he’s recently penned this piece in Spiked, titled: We must have the right to blaspheme against Islam. (note: I don’t know why our sidebar link to Spiked isn’t updating properly) The article has also been endorsed by Kathy Gyngell over at Conservative Woman.
“We must have the right to blaspheme against Islam Student unions agitate for the banning of speakers who criticise Islam too harshly (whom they of course brand ‘Islamophobic’). Charlie Hebdo continues to be shamed by British leftists as a publication that ‘punches down’ because it dares to publish cartoons that mock Muhammad or take the piss out of Islamic beliefs. Even the Metropolitan Police recently decreed that it is ‘Islamophobic’ to describe Islam in any of the following ways: as a ‘static’ belief system, as ‘other’, as ‘irrational’, ‘sexist’ or ‘aggressive’, or as a ‘political ideology’. Apparently anyone who holds these entirely legitimate views of Islam is guilty of an act of ‘phobia’ – which in essence means blasphemy.”
So what’s going on?
It’s just that when critics of Islam take pains to distance themselves from Tommy Robinson’s views it smacks of a class thing. It’s understandable if they don’t agree with his - shall we call it ‘ham-fisted’ M.O., but to say they disagree with "his views" needs a bit more fleshing out.