The above post seems to have generated an unprecedented number of page-views, at least for this modest blog. Since Craig and I are not in the business of self-promotion and don’t self-link or Tweet, the attraction must have been the title ‘Andrew and Tommy’ which pops up near the top of the list when you Google Andrew Neil and Tommy Robison. Note to self: must remember Google when blogging.
It was written in the heat of the moment, obviously. It might have been a little knee-jerk and reflexive. Later I read other interesting takes, but apart from the Huffpo article most bloggers agreed with me.
There’s a huge amount of interest in Tommy Robinson’s increasing media presence, because his quick witted responses and cool conduct in the face of hostilities that would have reduced most of us to apoplexy, apparently took everybody by surprise.
The BBC refused to learn anything from past performance(s) and assumed TR would be a pushover, thereby scoring a very high-profile own goal.
Isn’t Einstein’s definition of insanity ‘repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome’? The Paxman humiliation, the Montague defeat, and now the Andrew Neil demolition, you’d think a lesson would have been learned. I mean all three were so confident in their own infallibility, or professionalism, or the superiority of their own moral integrity that they went to battle unprepared. The only weapons to hand were ad hominems, accusations of racism and balaclava-ist clichés. In addition, their hands were tied. Shackled by the manacles of political correctness, the horror of being thought racist, fear of causing civil unrest or unwittingly giving succour to yet more muslim grievance-mongering, the BBC has little appetite for tackling the issues with the same candor as Tommy R. Sad but true.
The majority of commenters and bloggers are careful to preface their admiration for Tommy with a disclaimer. “I’m no supporter of the EDL,” they begin, “but...”
They feel compelled to do so because of the EDL’s reputation, with which no-one wishes to be associated. Is this fair?
Incidents of hooliganism and thuggery are regrettable, but it’s not official policy.
TR states categorically that he’s trying to keep a lid on the thuggery and covertly racist element amongst members of the EDL, and the chanting, inarticulacy and lack of direction detracts from the credibility of his leadership, but not his sincerity.
Despite Nick Griffin’s hollow assurances that the BNP’s antisemitism is a thing of the past, the overwhelming evidence says otherwise. The BNP is a different kettle of fish from the EDL.
Today there seems to be a new phenomenon. The anti-Neil backlash, in the form of death-threats. “How many death threats have you had now, Andrew? As many as Tommy?” Whose trump whose? I don’t think that’s grammatical but you’ll know what I mean.
The man himself is playing them down, as it happens, but the EDL’s enemies are making the most of them. Anyway, since Andrew Neil ignored the significance of Tommy’s death threats, it seems rather mean of his supporters to brandish his own as some sort of equivalence or badge of honour, not to mention that the comparative danger of death threats from the EDL and those from their ideological enemies looks, in light of recent events, like chalk and cheese.
“Gavin” on Theodore Dalrymple’s blog makes similar observations to my own, and along with most viewers was particularly struck by the difference in Neil’s approach in the chummy interview with Farooq Murad, when he was suddenly overcome with cartoon-like deference.
The Telegraph has ”I am not a Nazi” as a Fawlty Towers-like header.
The article summarizes the interview, and has attracted 1455 comments. I don’t intend to plough through them all, but I’m willing to wager they’re mostly on Tommy’s side.