Saturday, 13 July 2019

Brand Tommy. "A new way of making money"

I should say something about Tommy Robinson, shouldn’t I? 

Almost everyone who isn’t a diehard Tommy fan has reservations, and their comments usually start off with “I’m no fan of Tommy Robinson, but”  - then they go on to express views that look, to varying degrees, just like fandom.

'I’m no fan of Tommy', but I too harbour worries about the Islamisation of Britain and Europe. 

There are so many contradictory messages about the latest Tommy calamity that I can’t be sure what to think.   I admire Tommy’s efforts to acquaint himself with the Koran and to expand his knowledge of Islam, and while I can see that without the stunts fewer people would take notice of him and his campaign, his impetuousness constantly lets him down and damages his ‘brand’.
People are afraid to be seen to agree with him, and he’s kind of toxified his own image with unintended acts of self-harm.

He was quite right to make a fuss about the grooming gangs, and more importantly to draw attention to the way the authorities disgraced themselves by brushing it all under the rug for years. Their stubborn refusal to recognise or acknowledge the abuse that was going on before their very eyes amounted to such gross denial that it was effectively more racist than the racism they themselves were trying so very hard to avoid committing. Extreme avoidance of committing racism just looks racist. 

Could SYL have done all this without resorting to the clumsy live-streaming stunt that ultimately handed officialdom the peg with which to hang him?  After all, the grooming gang scenario is only one branch of the tree, and it is, at long last (and very belatedly) being dealt with. Meanwhile, all the other stuff goes on, while the focus is directed at this incident alone.

The BBC is still bombarding us with its 'normalising Islam' campaign - introducing headscarf wearing at every turn, normalising it and giving it a ridiculous amount of approval. Personally, I dislike the hijab. Wearing it sends a holier-than-thou message; the material surrounding the smug little face signals virtue with added sanctimony. The scarf acts as a frame to the wearer’s sense of superiority. I think I’d even rather have the letter-box. At least it’s comical and makes the wearer look ridiculous.
Brand Casciani, BBC

Now, since this is a blog about BBC (I often forget that) I would like to examine Dominic Casciani’s response to the news that Tommy Robinson is back inside.

Tommy Robinson: The rancour, rhetoric and riches of brand Tommy. We can’t know if Casciani wrote the header himself or if someone did it for him, but let’s just state the bleeding obvious. The title alone implies that Tommy Robinson (whose real name is etc etc) is a cynical, self-promoting spiv, with a chavvy taste for bling who is primarily motivated by greed and now styles himself as a ‘brand’ 

Casciani seems particularly rattled by Tommy’s ‘wealth’, which he sees as ill-gotten gains deviously extracted from the working class poor, their well-meaning contributions selfishly squandered on tasteless frippery. The Twitter thread we addressed previously (about the Gucci loafers) was just a taster. It reveals much more about Casciani himself than about the target of his ire. In the article Casciani indulges in an orgy of sneers
But while Tommy Robinson was rousing the clutch of onlookers in this deprived corner of Greater Manchester, his four-bedroom country home was on the market for £900,000. The estate agency pictures show a Range Rover parked on the driveway, a hot tub in the garden and a TV above the bath
bolstering his theory that Tommy is getting above himself with nouveau riche aspirations; out of his class and tasteless with it.  How snobby and sneery can a BBC journalist get?

Casciani reinforces his theory that Tommy is motivated by greed.
“He became obsessed with his belief that Muslims were predisposed to violence because of the Koran. It was his ticket to a new way of making money.”
Rather spiteful, I'd say. Even if that sentence had a grain of truth in it, its inclusion cries out “deflection!” Casciani is steering the spotlight away from Islam-related scandals and diverting the reader towards  a scandal out of his own imagination - Tommy’s materialistic motive:  “His ‘ticket’ to a new way of making money.”

I don’t know what this is. It’s not news. It’s not strictly an opinion piece. I think it’s supposed to be a kind of backgrounder, but nasty, gossipy and hateful as well as sneery. 

Why do BBC reporters automatically assume such a hostile attitude the minute they detect some criticism of Islam? Is Casciani a follower? Has he ‘reverted’? He’s obviously a defender of it as well as a class-snob. You could cut the air of superiority in this piece with a blunt knife.

I really wonder what has happened to that well-known leftie mantra and favourite saying of Michelle Obama: “you go low, we go high”   I thought that was the kind of thing the BBC was keen on! Dominic Casciani seems to have got it the wrong way round. 

I didn’t have the stomach to fully concentrate on the piece all the way through, but I persevered long enough to recognise the envy and resentment running through it. A wave of nausea came on at about the halfway point and defeated me. I wish someone would take it up where I left off.


  1. It's not so much the essential content of what Tommy says that someone like me finds occasionally objectionable, it's the way he says it and sometimes the loose way he says it, which just gives his enemies ammunition. Partly that's a class thing. TR is I think a very genuine example of an English working class man: brave, up for a fight if necessary, sentimental, emotional and dedicated to family and locality. Personally I've mixed with people of all class backgrounds, but being more lower middle class than working class, I find some of his statements and actions jar at times. That said, in the right setting he often comes across as someone who is very thoughtful and has got to the nub of the issue when it comes to Islam. He's certainly educated himself about Islam - what's in the Koran and Hadith and what Sharia law sets out.

    Casciani's idea that he is somehow going to alienate TR's followers in the working class from their hero by pointing to £900K houses, Gucci loafers, hot tubs and all the rest shows just how very, very stupid and snobbish Casciani is. Most of his working class followers will think "good on you Tommy" just as they think "well done mate" when a footballer they respect does well in life or someone they can identify with wins the lottery.

    I will only ever start taking people like Casciani seriously as real journalists when they actually discuss what is in the Koran rather than asserting how other people view it.

    No one sensible thinks Tommy is a saint but like the early Church martyrs he has most definitely put his life on the line. We know he's had several credible death threats against him - not Anna Soubry pretend ones - which have involved Police warning him officially and advising him to leave his home. If Tommy enjoys a materially wealthy lifestyle it is certainly at great cost to his mental and physical well being: he's been imprisoned (including summarily imprisoned without even the chance to say goodbye to his children), attacked in prison, attacked on the street, subjected to death threats and has had to endure years of extreme psychological pressure that would break most people.

    The mainstream media are contemptible. One moment people like Casciani moralise about TR's refusal to heed warnings about breaking the law, ridicule his free speech claims, celebrate his criminalisation by the authorities and say we have to trust the authorities to do the right thing. Then a couple of days later they are all up in arms because a Met Police officer reminds them what the law is on trading and publishing official secrets and tells them they could go to prison if they don't respect the law. Suddenly they are all free speech martyrs and doing their "I am Spartacus" act - knowing there is absolutely no chance of any of THEM going to prison like Tommy for breaking the law. They don't even get thrown in prison when they commit serious contempt of court (far more serious than Tommy's possible breaches of the law)!

    Regarding the contempt of court proceedings, I agree with "Politico" (see You Tube) that the court's judgement was extremely prejudicial stretching the evidence to show TR in the worst possible light. In particular it was a dishonest misreading of TR's words to claim he was advocating vigilantism against the defendants by his supporters - he was rather asking the media why don't you harrass these men and their families in the way you harrass patriotic populists. That was crystal clear from what TR said. TR might have committed some technical offence but on the basis that no journalist has ever gone to prison for much more serious contempt of court actions in recent decades then it is clear TR should have just been fined.

    1. There is a worrying implication running throughout Casciani's 'take down Tommy' demolition job over which he and the BBC should come clean. In deriding TR as shallowly self serving and 'in it for the money' - making him the one in the dock, they omit any reference to the victims of these hideous crimes - who are also white working class, figuratively speaking 'the daughters of TR'. By their refusal to investigate the ideological sources of motivation which signal out the RoP, Casciani and the BBC are letting down the victims.

    2. Seemingly, these young victims do not have anyone to fight for them - especially not the BBC. Are they considered as an unimportant underclass unworthy of support? With the top priority being the removal of TR from the scene, does this snobbish vilification actually extend by implication to the victims as well?

    3. To be fair, he did already have a suspended sentence hanging over him. You would think that after avoiding the clinky the first time he might have made more of an effort to make sure he didn't contravene a reporting ban the second time around.

  2. I've often thought that whenever a journalist tells us the price of somebody's house, they should be required to tell the price of their own house too!

    Actually Casciani's citing of the price of Tommy's house is just another example of "play the man, not the ball". Anything to distract from the real issues which may include: why there has been so little coverage of the Muslim Rape Gangs?, or why can someone be sent to prison within 5 hours on the whim of a judge? or ..etc., etc..

    And, of course it's not just that Casciani has just had the bright idea to deploy this approach. These techniques are well-known and deployed in support of the narrative by all propagandists.

    They used to be deployed only in totalitarian states.

    Or maybe UK is now totalitarian.

    1. Casciani is 'worth it', Tommy isn't?

      Something that sticks with me was a "Beyond Belief" episode in which an imam said that the penalty for apostasy was death. This was accepted by the presenter without further question, just as if a priest had talked about sprinkling Holy water. Mainstream BBC Radio 4, late afternoon! Compare and contrast with any BBC interviews of 'Stephen'.

  3. “in it for the money.”
    Does Casciani follow Ilhan Omar? She apologised for “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.” Nice piece by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

  4. FFS the media live in Guardianlalaland
    We are talking about 5,000+ children. Some traded & raped hundreds of times.. and an establishment that turned its back... yet the media make it all about the messenger
    .. where's Casciani's pieces about the perps and failure of the establishment.
    .. Failure that happened when Labour front group HnH were playing silly games to secure the Labour vote
    ..and yet it is this same group that seems to draft all the hit pieces against TR.

    Germans are quite rightly ashamed that the ww2 holocaust happened on their watch and we should be thoroughly ashamed this happened on ours.

    And when someone turns up across the road at court with a camera this is a tiny tiny matter.
    The easiest for the police is to say 'put the camera away until tmw'. Not to watch him for 90 mins and then start a 15 month long circus.

  5. I missed the question mark

    Where are Casciani's pieces about the perps and failure of the establishment ?