Tommy Robinson - Unchanged & Spinning The Truth
It seems that nothing can affect the chutzpah of Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. Supposedly after having left the English Defence League in late 2013, he has been scrabbling around to find a role for himself. Having been jailed for mortgage fraud and having been recalled to prison on more than one occasion, the Luton based far right activist has decided that he wants to be instrumental in organising a 'Draw Muhammad' competition. He cannot, it seems, stay out of the limelight for long, albeit for the wrong reasons.
Ever the inflammatory character, we decided to look at what Robinson churns out to his 104,000 Twitter followers and even a cursory glance, shows a chimney stack of tweets that are a combination of half-truths and regurgitated far-right sites and rumours, with no basic context to the stories in the 140 characters. Tommy, it seems, still yearns for the limelight that has evaded him since he left the English Defence League, yet some say that the inflammatory mentality of extremists never really leaves them and in Tommy's case, this seems to be true.
Take for example, this tweet. The bizarre nature of the tweet suggests that Robinson believes that providing training to taxi drivers in Calderdale is some kind of money making industry, this coming from a man who tried to merchandise the English Defence League for those looking to buy EDL hats and mugs. In fact there is a deeper issue in the stance taken by Robinson. The article that the tweet refers to makes clear that Calderdale Council's taxi licensing scheme has made training on spotting Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) mandatory. Surely this is something to be applauded and this is summed up in the following statement from the Deputy Leader of Calderdale Council, Councillor Barry Collins, who said:
“Taxi drivers spend their working days travelling around our towns. It’s vital that if they ever see anything which concerns them, whether it’s a child or an adult who seems to need help, they know what to do. Thanks to this training, if they see something which makes them uneasy, they will know how to report it, helping us to keep our communities safe.”
What is problematic from Robinson's tweet is the cynical manipulation of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). In fact Robinson and other far right sympathisers have tried to regularly manipulate the horrendous child grooming cases, so as to build political capital for themselves and their extreme causes. These activists have done little justice to the victims nor have they cared about community tensions in the wake of their activities. They have also attempted to place all Muslims and individuals of Pakistani heritage into the camp of being 'suspect' paedophiles by virtue of their faith.
Their theory goes something like this. Recent child grooming cases have involved people of Pakistani and Muslim heritage, so Islam must be at fault according to them. The logic is not only incoherent, it seems to miss one simple fact out. If this logic is to be followed, then all of the faiths of the world can be blamed since CSE sadly affects all communities and in different forms. This is why, it must be collectively tackled and with widespread education involving as many people as possible.
Robinson continues to churn this bile out, knowing that groups like Barnardos who are at the front line of working with victims, have said that whilst recent cases have involved citizens of Pakistani heritage, CSE has no ethnic, cultural or religious boundaries. Yet, this is the same Robinson who has derided authorities for not doing more to tackle CSE and when they do so, (such as through the work of Calderdale Council and West Yorkshire police), Robinson turns the argument into a waste of public funds. In fact, this is the comment that Robinson seems to agree with:
According to this comment by a 'Jim Broadbent':
"Why should we be chucking tax payers money away further educating them when they have already been through the system, they know full well what the laws are on kiddie fiddling."
So, much needed training to taxi drivers who are the eyes are ears of communities should not provided. They should not, according to Broadbent and Robinson, be trained in spotting vulnerable young people who may have suffered CSE. According to Broadbent, they should know the laws around 'kiddie fiddling' even though we can pretty much hazard a guess that Mr Broadbent might not know specific laws around CSE himself.
The training that has been provided, has included spotting the signs of vulnerable young people which is a unique set of skills to develop and which taxi drivers should know since they come into contact with community members on a daily basis.
So here we have it. The world according to Robinson is truly upside down. Don't do anything to tackle CSE and Robinson pounces in the guise of the political animal that he has become. Do something to tackle CSE and the goalposts have now changed, as though Robinson truly cares about public funds. Let us also not forget how much EDL marches that Robinson headed up, cost the State and the public taxpayer. In July 2013, that figure amounted to an estimated £10 million.
Simply put, would you trust this man?