Reading another Tommy Robinson related thread on Harry's Place the other day (pre the infamous Sunday Politics show) made me ask myself, again, was I wrong to give the benefit of the doubt to Tommy Robinson, or should I have even let myself listen to him?
After all, he has been thoroughly dismissed as racist, labelled far-right, and lumped together with the BNP, surely I must be a gullible fool for allowing one single utterance from him through my less than impenetrable fingers-in-ears defense mechanism.
Perhaps commenter ‘Ginger Beer’ was right all the time, and our worries about ‘them’ trying to take over are gibbering asshattery, and the fact that “not one of the many Muslims at my place of work has offered to convert, subjugate or kill me.” should be reassuring enough for all. I have no idea what his line of work is, (high court judge?) and I daresay he doesn’t live in Luton, but from a gay man, such confidence is certainly worthy of consideration.
The majority of comments on the blogosphere are as opposed to radical Islam as one would expect, but even those who admit that they agree with much of Tommy Robinson’s public utterances painstakingly dissociate themselves from the EDL, an understandable precaution, perhaps, lest they accidentally become tarred with the leprous far-right, racist brush.
“Accepting the requirement of the prefacing of ones remarks with a ritualised condemnation of the 'far right EDL' is to accept the implied charge that one might really be soft on them or covering up ones real rightest tendencies.” says a commenter, who nevertheless continues to commend much of Tommy R’s arguments, while, just like all the rest, performing the same ritualised dissociation with the EDL.
One of the underlying themes running through the narrative is “class”. People call them all ‘drunken thugs’, and back at Harry’s Place Sarah AB gets off the fence for a moment to laugh at the concept of Tommy R trying to “Maintain well-mannered discipline amongst the EDL”. Heaven forfend that one day poor Sarah AB should have to endure some ill-manners.
What are they like? Are all these clever chaps and chapesses, from the right or the left, who comment so eloquently on Harry’s Place and write so mellifluously in the media, living in some rarified world that makes them act like a collective Judge Pickles who wasn’t quite sure he’d heard of the Beatles? Don’t lads like Tommy R ever feature in their everyday lives? Written off as inarticulate because they lack sophisticated vocabulary and stumble over unfamiliar words like ‘mutilation’ (genital) and ‘ideology’ (Islamist), and are ill-equipped to express themselves in a scholarly fashion.
Tommy Robinson may be comparatively inarticulate but he got his views across with sufficient clarity to show Sarah Montague and Jeremy Paxman he was no pushover. He was as bright as a button in fact. He knew his stuff, and what he lacked in sophistication he made up for in passion, and probably sincerity. Being made to feel like a stranger in one’s home-town - unwelcome and threatened by ‘Islamification’ - is undoubtedly a legitimate grievance, and it’s about time the taboo against speaking publicly about it was lifted, together with all the associated guilt, class consciousness and hypocrisy.
Who wouldn’t feel disorientated when a hostile and alien atmosphere descends upon one? Most of us are uncomfortable with rapid change, particularly if it concerns the collapse of something about which you used to feel secure and familiar. You might liken it to death in your family, and the break-up of your home. Is it any wonder that you get rattled when your hometown suddenly turns into an Al Qaeda headquarters? So why must anyone be castigated for expressing fears over the Islamification of this country and calling for those in control to get a grip?
Many of those who share Tommy Robinson’s concerns say he’s nowt but a racist, but I have yet to see any of them specify precisely why. There’s this adolescent piece by Laurie Penny, which is a series of ad homs and put-downs, but it’s undated and I think it was penned in November 2012, when things looked different. I wonder if Ms P would still write something like that today.
The only thing I’ve found, and it’s not a pretty sight, is the EDL logo, which seems to be based on that of the Nazi website Stormfront.
There is another issue which is hardly ever touched on in the endless media battle between those who are trying to keep the EDL beyond the pale and those who support them or who don’t like them, but like what they’re trying to do. It’s our prisons. There is a massive problem with the Islamification of prisons. Many people see our Islam-dominated institutions, prisons, towns like Luton, universities and madrassas as part of a multi-clawed pincer, ready to close in on once-great Britain, leaving the wreckage for the next generation.
One of the reasons no-one is willing to address this issue openly is that they fear it’s too late, we’ve lost, and our only option is to let sleeping dogs lie.