Saturday 3 August 2019

Letter from prison

What is the weird obsession that Dominic Casciani has with Tommy Robinson? 
Is it…love? First, we had the Gucci loafers thread - and lord help us I haven’t been following Twitter as faithfully as I might(!)  - now I’ve stumbled upon Casciani’s ‘letter from prison’ thread.

Each time I look at Twitter I’m reminded once again of why I don’t join in. The unique immediacy of It can be a force for good, as in, say, Sussex friends of Israel - the most fact-packed source of interesting pro-Israel tidbits on the Twittersphere, but more often than not Twitter appears to be the most creepy vehicle for perpetuating malicious gossip on the whole world-wide-web. 

Take, for example, the predictable avalanche of Twitter venom that was expectorated as soon as the news broke of the 12 Israeli boys being arrested for rape. One particularly moronic tweeter said, “They’re practising for what they’re going to do to the Palestinians”. I mean - that’s the level of malicious counter-factuality that this ‘garden-fence’ type of gossip encourages, each wrong-headed idea egging on the next till it reaches the pinnacle of absurdity. Dr Rosena Allin-Khan will know what I mean.  

Dominic Casciani has alighted upon the idea that Tommy Robinson is ‘in it for the money’, and seems to be stuck there; and the bitter, near-envious iteration and reiteration of gossipy comments about the value of Tommy Robinson’s “crowd-funded’ house and self-indulgent legal fee funding abound. If ever there was a blatant example of a BBC employee flouting his bosses plea to refrain from being openly partisan on Twitter, this is one.

Responses from the crowing Twitter-vultures who’ve flocked to criticise Tommy Robinson’s letter from prison range from people criticising his literacy and grammar (glasshouses and stones immediately come to mind) to resentful whining about the cushy regime he seems to be enjoying in Belmarsh Prison. The protection he appears to be receiving, which smacks of precautionary measures by people who acknowledge the genuinely murderous intent of long-term Muslim insiders,  reminds me of the Salman Rushdie affair. Protection from 'the fatwa' is a particularly heavy and expensive burden shouldered by modern-day taxpayers, it seems to me.

Interestingly, in one of my insomnia-facilitated ventures into the www, I came across a familiar name. A one-time member of the Biased-BBC commentariat believes he has found sufficient evidence to firmly denounce Tommy Robinson as “a fascist”.

Make of that what you will, bearing in mind that if ‘sharing platforms’ with Nazis and Islamists is enough to tar Jeremy Corbyn with the antisemitic brush, (which I think it certainly is) then one cannot entirely dismiss Tommy Robinson’s similarly injudicious connections with overt and covert antisemites like, eg., Shazia Hobbs, by pleading “present but not engaged’.

The fact that some unsavoury characters have been associated with the Robinson bandwagon might explain the refusal (which has been puzzling me) of other high profile critics of Islamisation (eg., Melanie Phillips) to utter a single good word about Tommy and his working-class, anti-Islamisation movement.   

So what’s the explanation? It could be that Tommy’s educational limitations have let him down; it could be that he hasn’t been as diligent in his research into antisemitism as he has been forced or motivated to be over the contents of the Koran and the sayings of the profit Mo. His antennae might not be as sensitive to the one as it is to the other - for obvious reasons. (Take a look at Luton)

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Tommy Robinson phenomenon, I can’t see why Dominic Casciani is able to get away with this obsessional gossipy and inflammatory Twitter behaviour while wearing a BBC hat. It’s plain weird.


  1. Sue, have you thought that Casciani might have drawn the short straw and thus has become the nominated BBC stirrer-in-chief - posting these unpleasant tweets in order to bait the Tommy Robinson followers and get an angry reaction from them? "There, I told you so, they're just a bunch of thugs".

    Otherwise, I can't imagine why Casciani would stoop so low. It's important that TR's followers don't rise to the bait.

    1. Worse - is it a calculated career move by Casciani - to see if he can become the journalist to have been attacked by TR followers?

  2. BBC's Daniel Sandford used to tweet obsessively about Tommy Robinson. Then he tweeted what was clearly a contempt offence listing TR's criminal offences as part of a commentary on an (upcoming) hearing in the long running contempt of court saga. Daniel promptly deleted the tweet and doesn't seem to have commented on TR since (I'm thinking on the back of legal advice or an instruction from the BBC). Since then poor old Daniel has had to resort to retweeting some of Casciani's blander stuff.

    So I think Casciani might in part be motivated by outraged dignity on the part of a friend and colleague, who has effectively been silenced by Tommy. The Panodrama expose might have deepened the sense of outrage since Sweeney has also been effectively silenced by TR.

    As I said before, Casciani doesn't understand how people think. Most of TR's followers will see his relative wealth as fair exchange for a life of anxiety, legal persecution, imprisonment, having opprobrium heaped upon him and being unpersoned by the media giants.

  3. He 'gets away with it' because he can.

    cc: Tony Hall, OFCOM, DCMS

  4. The thing is that each critic of Islam has their own tactic and can't be seen to support another critic in case the supported one crosses (or is found out to have crossed) the Rubicon.
    The only Islam critic to have even remotely supported SYL was Douglas Murray, and his support ran to saying that SYL's 'Enemy Of The State' was an interestinmg read and that SYL was a symptom, not the disease.
    Murray has spoken of being patted on the back by those who opposed him after various Islam flavoured TV debates, such is the hypocrisy of our time.

    Casciani, like a lot of the BBC, is in my opinion just a wanker. I've given up trying to understand what motivates wankers.

    1. I've always argued that to prevent an eventual (could be 30, 50 or 150 years) Sharia takeover of the UK we have to have a broadly based opposition taking in women, gays, Jews, secular Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, atheists, secularists, artists, working class people and all democrats.

      It always seemed to me that while the EDL method of protest was not mine, their right to protest was legitimate.

      I include Tommy Robinson as an acceptable part of the broad opposition front to Sharia.

      The real problem we have in the UK that there is no one in Parliament prepared to challenge Sharia or the pro-Islamic propaganda being pumped out by - among others - the BBC, schools and Government.

    2. My mantra is don't concentrate on the entity, concentrate on the narrative led reaction to the entity and analyse that. It tends to reveal a lot more.
      I agree with your first paragraph. I still have hope that once all the cock-wombles (currently mostly posing as left wing) have bitten the dust of partisan failure, something approaching unity may dominate. Good stuff still happens.

    3. These things tend to happen at the last moment...if they happen at all.

      The Labour Party were wedded to pacifism and reducing military expenditure until about March 1939. It was only then they got real about the existential threat the country faced.

      It wasn't until Merkel arbitrarily (against her own constitution and EU rules) let in one million illegal migrants that people in the UK really began to see how dangerous EU membership was.

      I suppose we do take a different approach. I think focussing on the entity is crucial. If you address the narrative, then you end up arguing on their terms, not your own.

      If we can get Brexit out of the way, the focus then needs to be on electoral reform (moving to PR or a strong PR element) so people can find their voice in Parliament.

    4. Well, here's an entity :

      There may (or probably not) be a narrative reaction. The entity itself is outrageous, but the narrative will reveal its perceived relevance.

      It's why you post links to YouTube videos so often - the leading narrative ignores the points you wish to emphasise.

  5. Re "Melanie Phillips" not openly supportug TR
    Who is her husband ?
    Joshua Rozenberg the BBC Law in Action presenter
    So his main salary is BBC
    and she is on the BBC panels 50 times a year
    Isn't that the answer ?

    1. I think it is, Stew.

      If she uttered one word in support of TR that would be the end of her career...and by association her husband would no longer be in favour.

  6. Labour front group HnH have a huge operation and newspaper articles seem to be have been cutNpasted from their input
    Broadcast progs will be the same.
    I suspect Casciani is in bed with them, cos he tweets like a true believer
    Someone should look at his Leeds 2018 tweets.
    I bet he said that TR's 20 minute trial was all OK and that he had no chance of appeal
    (when In fact that trial & jailing was later judged have been illegal)

    1. HnH are Anti-fa
      and their fellow campaigner BBC Casciani
      .... is therefore Auntie-Fa

  7. The date on the Lord Ha Ha video is interesting it's from May 2019
    Yet TR's org has only in July severed links formerly with Shazia
    I find Lord Ha Ha views bizarre
    but I see a lot of people observe TR from a far and then make all kinds of accusations cos they are assuming things.
    But the rule is you can't make big claims without supplying big evidence.
    He says TR doesn't condemn anti-Semitism
    of course he does , he did at BBC Salford
    He does mention that he is not like the BNP and that he left them cos they are racist, and then left the EDL when racists came in.
    I think there is PR technique
    people expect you to begin by addressing the mud that others throw at you
    But you don't do that, cos that is starting off putting you on the back foot by letting your opponents set the agenda, so instead you just move to straight to the agenda you want to address
    I see it a lot with Guardian readers that they see BNP types oppose Islamic dogma, but cannot understand that another type of person could be a classical liberaland oppose Islamic dogm at a policical level, They just see in their mind that TR must be a BNP thicko.

    "TR is far right cos Shazia works with him"
    That is the guilt by association fallacy.
    AFAIK TR is open to talking to all and if a non-white ethnic Muslim female is willing to support him and share the platform that is good PR for him that quickly counters the media stereotype, so he wouldn't be quick to ditch her .
    And neither should he, you'd be hoping that person would meet your friends and then her views would change away from anti-semitism.
    Brian of Israel mentions that when TR toured Israel he was was together with his black friend, but he doesn't shout about it cos he doesn't use his non-white friends as shields.

  8. \\ if ‘sharing platforms’ with Nazis and Islamists is enough to tar Jeremy Corbyn with the antisemitic brush ..'then what about TR ?'//
    #1 Whoa some false equivalence there
    Corbyn is not tarred cos he shared a platform with someone who's just read a book about Jewish banker families controlling the world and thinking there is something in it.
    No, Corbyn's done more substantial stuff than that.
    (the fake Chakribarti inquiry etc,)

    I'm sure when politicians turn up in a town there might be all kinds of people they haven't vetted on their platforms

    #2 Label and dismiss is a PR trick whereby you apply a boo-word label to QUICKLY dismiss them
    examples of such words are "racist", "Nazi" "fascist" etc.
    It is wrong to apply them so lightly
    the words used above were "Nazi" and "Islamists"
    well that is not true maybe Sue meant "anti-Semitists" and "terrorists" ?

    There is a world of difference between supporting actual terrorists
    and talking to someone who as I said has read a conspiracy book about Jewish bankers.

    1. Stew,

      Thank you for your responses, and I agree with much of what you say, though I do think some of your points need clarifying.

      I’ll just say that a basic test of any argument is to turn it upside down to see if the argument still holds when applied to a different scenario; and you are quite right that there is no substantive equivalence in the two ‘sharing platforms’ examples I gave.

      You spotted my ‘loose’ use of labels, which I chose deliberately because, sadly, in some people’s eyes, ‘antisemites and terrorists’ don’t epitomise ‘evil’ which is what I was looking for in that particular analogy.

      I set up a hypothetical equivalence in which to frame a possible explanation, or to answer the question: why has Melanie Phillips denounced Tommy Robinson?

      I totally disagree that Melanie Phillips is ‘in it for the money’ (now who’s making equivalences?) Even if, for argument’s sake, she was motivated by career expediency, family solidarity or pure financial necessity, and according to Dominic Casciani’s theory this also applies to Tommy Robinson, I might just say “so What?”

      We all need to make a living, protect our families and so on, but the fact that they’re both ‘doing what they’re doing’ is ultimately for the greater good. You might listen to (scroll to10:50)

      “nearly half the UK think Islam is incompatible with British values “ Stay tuned to hear from Miqdaad Versi from the MCB if you want to hear some egregiously disingenuous false equivalences.

      I strongly disagree that Melanie Phillips’s distaste for Tommy Robinson is career-related. After all, her entire political outlook is antithetical to the Beeb’s. Openly Zionist? Harshly opposed to the leftie ideology? Yet she’s still invited to opine on the BBC from time to time and doesn’t particularly hold back when she speaks. Despite Joshua Rosenberg.

      No, I think she has a genuine antipathy to Tommy Robinson, who you might say cracks the nut with a sledgehammer leaving the intellectual classes to pick out the bits of shell in his wake.

    2. I think if Lord H a Ha is going to use the "Anti-semetic" boo-word label against Shazia he should actually specify what phrase is in her article

    3. Cheers Sue, I of course agree with the 'reverse polarity' test.
      And see what is happening : explaining this full-colour-complex world takes a long time, so we look for shortcuts like "Mel doesn't support TR, so he must be a wrong-un"

      "why has Melanie Phillips *denounced* Tommy Robinson?"
      are you doing 1+1 = 3 ?
      - Cos your original line was
      "refusal of ..high profile critics of Islamisation .. to utter a single good word about Tommy and .."
      - Then you present my argument as Mel
      #1 " is ‘in it for the money’ "
      #2 " distaste for Tommy Robinson is career-related."
      That is not what I said cos I don't know what goes on inside her head "the why"
      but I think those important contexts have to be mentioned.

      Who has spoken up for TR ? KatieH always does, Delingpole does, but even he didn't directly after the Leeds trial. Then 6 months afterwards Liddle wrote in the Sunday Times 'Oh yeh everyone knew the Leeds trial was a stitch-up'
      So see in lib-establishment-land the atmosphere is such that you can't speak up against injustice against TR.
      Mel can say a lot of rightwing things , but expressing sympathy for TR is seen as beyond the pale.
      Indeed in her household , her husband the week after brought a senior judge onto his prog to say that the Leeds trial was OK (an assertion the Appeal Court later disagreed with)

      "Tommy’s educational limitations".. em that comes across as snobby
      We know
      #1 TR doesn't pronounce long words well, cos he didn't grow up in a university middle class house.
      #2 He's not stupid. He's written books, present at Oxford Union, built a movement ..served an apprenticeship and qualified as an aircraft engineer.

    4. Stew, more interesting points, so thanks.

      Interesting to make a list of media spokespersons who have risked their media credibility by speaking up for TR.

      Someone mentioned Douglas Murray.

      Katie Hopkins is a controversialist so she’s an ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ kinda gal. So is Dellers, or he aspires to be, I think.

      Rod Liddle is humorously Islamophobic and he has recently come out as a full-on ‘philo-semite’, which is not exactly the same thing as supporting TR.

      You wouldn’t expect any of these valuable voices to jeopardise their whole media presence though, would you? That would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater and cutting off of the nose to spite the face.
      They need to tread carefully I suppose, to hang on to their platforms.

      If you knew me you’d know how snobby I actually am. But not necessarily in the way you assume. FWIW I’m self-educated, and I admire TR’s commitment to arming himself with facts. His mastery of ‘long words’ has improved since the old days and he’s certainly not stupid. But since we’re on the topic of presentation, and since language plays an important role in his campaigning, he could do with sprucing up his delivery. Being a big snob, I can’t warm to the word “Mumpfs’ or the superfluous K that he adds to anything ending in ‘ing’


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