Wake up and smell the jihad, kuffar.
I wrote a post last week called “Time to be honest about the English Defence League”, in which I expressed some frank views about the EDL and its leader Tommy Robinson, and since then I’ve been regretting it. Not because I was too honest but because I wasn’t honest enough.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about everything more carefully and I’ve watched a number of clips of Robinson on YouTube. In short I’ve been completely blown away by his bravery, his commitment, his intelligence and his integrity. I really think it’s about time everyone started taking him seriously for what he is, which is a political activist of the highest calibre.
There are dozens of things on the internet but these are the ones I watched. I really hope you commit some of your time to watching them (the second one is audio only). If you don’t then I can’t see how you can dismiss Robinson so lightly.
- Speech at the European Parliament, Brussels
- Radio clash with George Galloway
- Interview after the murder of Lee Rigby
- Assaulted with Kevin Carroll of the EDL, and then arrested
- BBC3 Free Speech
- Piece to camera in the lounge
Robinson is completely committed to defeating Islamism. We all know he has a dodgy past but that’s nothing unique amongst the general population and it’s certainly nothing unique amongst political activists. His past doesn’t disqualify him from speaking out against Islamism and it doesn’t make his opinions any less valid.
We forget that taking part in an institutional system of rules-based theft is no disqualification to sitting in either of our legislative chambers, or that being violent in a Houses of Parliament bar (twice) merely makes an elected public official an eccentric character, or that committing criminal damage as an undergraduate at Oxford University provided you’re wearing a nice suit and you’ve had the finest education money can buy, and smoking cannabis at Eton College, is no disqualification to becoming prime minister of the United Kingdom. Yet criminal convictions are an automatic bar to disapproving of ruthless, totalitarian ideologies.
Robinson’s real crimes are not actual crimes, though. I can’t stand class-based victim narratives but even I have to conclude Robinson has committed the ultimate crime of being a working class white lad and expecting to have an opinion on Islamism, which will be the defining issue of the century people reading this blog post will die in. I dismissed Robinson because of his background and because of the EDL’s image. I should have known better than to be such a snob.
Do we not believe people can change? We welcome with open arms reformed Muslim extremists like the brilliant Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation precisely because we believe people can change, but we refuse to let Robinson escape his past – and Robinson can hardly be called a former “extremist” anyway.
At this point you might expect the self-appointed champion of the working classes Owen Jones to chime in with his Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class thesis, but don’t hold your breath. That’s because you can’t possibly apply that narrative to a white working class lad from Luton who wants to talk about Islamism. Robinson has repaid his debts to society and as far as I can see he’s now amassing a gigantic credit account.
In case you’re wondering whether Luton is significant or insignificant, it’s significant: it’s where the four 7/7 bombers started their rail journey into London. Oh you do remember 7/7, don’t you? I do because I got the Tube to work that day. I was sitting at my desk, probably surfing the internet or pretending to look busy when I heard a massive bang. That bang was the sound of my fellow Londoners being murdered in Russell Square.
Here’s something you might not know about Robinson: because of the numerous death threats against him and his family he was offered a new identity and a new location by the state. He refused. If that doesn’t represent moral and physical courage of the highest possible order then someone can tell me what does. He refuses to leave his home town through intimidation.
The death threats aren’t a figment of his imagination: he has been given a number of “Osman warnings”, which are warnings of a death threat or high risk of murder that are issued by the police. And a few weeks ago six jihadis were sentenced to over 100 years in total for plotting to bomb an EDL rally.
In his videos I’ve seen in Robinson a greater understanding and commitment to our fundamental civil liberties than I’ve detected amongst 99% of the lawyers I’ve worked with in my career. Robinson is warning everyone of the storm that’s already here and yet people refuse to listen to him through a combination of snobbery and a fear of being associated with this country’s Great Unwashed Underclass.
Yes, the EDL has an image problem and so does Robinson. So what? Are we hoping Islamism will be defeated by a perfectly manicured group of PPE students with Double Firsts from Oxford whose highest calling in life is to become a faceless Special Advisor in the Ministry of Lies?
There isn’t a huge field of candidates willing to speak out against the backward ideology that is Islamism because the consequences are so severe. We’re not just talking about physical danger from Islamists; we’re also talking about the perpetual slurs from their apologists and also the instinctive assumption from everyone else that anyone who’s white (and especially working class) can’t possibly be approaching this from anything other than a racist and hateful angle. You really can’t be too picky when looking for people to defeat Islamism. You pretty much have to take who you get. We’re lucky to have anyone, let alone someone as good as Robinson.
I’m sure there are thugs in the EDL and I know Robinson does too. But I have much more confidence in Robinson’s ability and willingness to root out his thugs and condemn their actions unequivocally than I do in Muslim leaders to do the same with theirs – and with people whose appetite and willingness to commit violence far exceeds that of EDL supporters.
One of Robinson’s arguments, which I agree with entirely, is that Muslims themselves aren’t doing enough. This is indisputably true. Condemnation of violence is more often than not followed by the word “but”. It’s always someone else’s fault, always. When Muslims don’t do enough or do anything I get very nervous.
Muslims must do more. They must do a hell of a lot more. We’ve become so accustomed to them not doing enough that we seem to have just accepted it. A few weeks ago, for example, I was speaking to a female Muslim colleague who is very liberal and secular. In fact she’s an Ismaili Muslim, a sect that has traditionally been given a very rough time from within Islam (precisely because they’re generally liberal and secular).
We were talking about France’s ban on the veil and she told me she was “secretly very pleased”.
Excuse me? Why secretly? Why can’t she say these things openly? She makes it ten times harder for us – not to mention her poor Muslim sisters who are forced to wear this cloak – to speak out about the veil or Islamism when she chooses to remain silent and just greedily enjoy the rights that western liberal democracy has given her on a plate. Unbelievable.
Last week a Muslim TV channel was fined £85,000 by the media regulator Ofcom for allowing its airwaves to be used by a hate preacher to incite the murder of those who insult the Prophet Mohammed. As yet there’s no word of criminal charges against the individual preacher. Can you imagine the reaction if Robinson were ever to suggest that so much as one Muslim should have so much as one of their hairs repositioned? Robinson can be forgiven for referring to a “two-tier” policing system because he’s absolutely correct. Robinson was warned by the police not to retweet death threats against him on the basis it was causing distress to people.
In one of his videos Robinson said he was hoping Middle England would follow. Well I’m a privately educated, second generation immigrant, middle class lawyer who lives in a big house with a small mortgage. If I’m not Middle England then Anjem Choudary is a moderate. I don’t agree with everything Robinson says but his message has got through to me. Has it got through to you? If it hasn’t then why? Is it because you think Robinson is a racist? On what basis? Is it because you don’t trust white working class lads? Or is it because you simply haven’t bothered listening to a word he’s been saying because you’ve already been told a hundred times how terrible he is? It’s time to think for yourself for a change.
People need to grow up and they need to listen to Robinson. Just watch some of those links. Robinson is living with death threats. The least you can do is watch a few YouTube clips in safety.
To many people Robinson is evil personified whereas the likes of Anjem Choudary have almost become harmless pantomime villains (boo, hiss, he’s behind you, etc). People are more scared of Robinson and the EDL than they are of Choudary and Islamism. This is absurd. One of these men is committed to non-violence and preserving our fundamental civil liberties and the other is committed to toppling democracy and replacing it with Sharia. Go figure.
If you still feel uncomfortable supporting the EDL or Tommy Robinson then how about at least resisting the impulse to dismiss them as far-right racist thugs? At least just stay silent. Don’t add to Robinson’s problems because he has enough already. I’m just an anonymous keyboard warrior sitting behind an old, shitty laptop which has a power problem but at least I’m doing something. What are you doing? Are you making things better, are you leaving them the same or are you making things even worse by demonizing Robinson for no real reason other than because everyone around you is doing the same?
It’s so easy to be a snob. I know because I am one. The EDL are in the main a bunch of white working class lads who like football. It’s perfectly fair to say grammar and spelling are not their strong suits. These are crimes of the century, obviously, and yet another reason why they’re not allowed a view on Islamism.
As a secularist I’m not particularly wild on the EDL’s occasional references to Christianity, or the Christian imagery, but then again I’m not particularly bothered about it either. I have no reason to believe they want to replace one form of violent theocracy with another. They basically just want Islamism to be defeated, the law to be applied equally to everyone, and our civil liberties and way of life to be preserved, and those are all fine objectives that any secularist should be able to embrace.
I don’t expect the EDL to get too excited about issues like bishops in the House of Lords because that’s not why the EDL exists. If I want the latest on that debate I can check out the websites of the National Secular Society or the Christian think tank Ekklesia. And although I want Christianity to lose its power and privileges I don’t want that to happen violently or through fear, and I certainly don’t want our state religion to be replaced with one that’s a thousand times as hideous.
Robinson might not always emphasise the distinction between Islam and Islamism but that’s not particularly important. The case against Islamism doesn’t succeed or fail if you don’t use those terms correctly each and every time.
In fact the distinction between Islam and Islamism is becoming increasingly meaningless anyway (and for an excellent discussion of the “blurry line between Islam and Islamism” see Rod Liddle in The Spectator here). In practice it’s almost impossible to pinpoint where Islam ends and Islamism begins. The crucial point is that people have rights but ideologies don’t. Ideologies aren’t capable of having rights.
The scale of the task Robinson has taken on was well demonstrated in the BBC3 link above. It was basically a drowning Robinson versus a whole TV studio audience and panel. He kept asking people why they were calling him a racist and a bigot and no-one could provide a convincing answer. He explained that he and his family had received numerous death threats, to which the former Apprentice contestant Saira Khan replied, “well stop being a racist and a bigot then!” Cue delirious laughter and applause from smug metropolitan wankers who probably think Freedom is a brand of sanitary towels or the latest boy band.
The reaction to Khan’s response is deeply troubling on a number of levels. Firstly, no-one could explain to Robinson why he was a racist or a bigot in the first place; they just assumed he was. Secondly, since when has being a racist or a bigot justified a death sentence in the United Kingdom anyway, morally or legally? And thirdly, notice the not-so-subtle shift of culpability from perpetrator to victim here. This, ladies and gentleman, is Sharia and Islamism in one easy nutshell. Don’t want death threats? Well don’t criticise Islam then. Don’t want to get raped? Well cover up then. Don’t want to be executed for apostasy? Well don’t leave Islam then.
It’s simple really. As long as you do absolutely everything Islam demands and you never criticise it then you’ll be…well you won’t be safe but you will buy yourself some time while Islamists concentrate on more troublesome opponents. If you’re lucky you might just buy yourself enough time for a nice little life. As for your kids, who knows. Who cares. That’s their problem. Robinson readily admits he’s terrified about what Islamism has in store for his children. Aren’t you?
The second link above is a radio clash between Robinson and the renowned apologist for Islamism, Respect Party MP George Galloway. Galloway persisted in asking Robinson why he has used different names. It’s because of death threats. Is that a good enough reason for you, George?
Robinson explained how he had once gone to a Respect Party meeting with a female companion only to discover there was gender segregation, but Galloway wasn’t too concerned about that. Instead he picked up Robinson on his use of the word “bird” to describe a female. Yes, this is George Galloway, apologist for Islamism, an ideology that barely gives women animal rights let alone human ones, and who has some pretty sketchy views on rape to boot, in his new role as Fearless Conqueror of Misogyny.
Galloway was also interested in how Robinson had become leader of the EDL (which is a non-membership organisation) and he questioned Robinson’s commitment to democracy on the basis there wasn’t an election to appoint him. So in order to speak out against Islamism, an ideology which is rotten to its very core and which is fundamentally anti-democratic, you apparently now need to win an election.
Just as the Middle East has demonstrated it might finally be separating Islam and power (and check out this heart-warming link featuring a 12-year old Egyptian kid), here we are embracing Islamism in the United Kingdom. We’re self-censoring out of “respect”. And we’re selling out brave individuals like Robinson on a truly epic scale. This is shameful.
What have we become? I’ll tell you. We’ve become consumers who have been binge-eating freedom to the point where we’ve become sick. We’ve forgotten that our freedoms are valuable. We’ve forgotten that they’ve been incredibly difficult to obtain and that the currency for obtaining them was unquantifiable amounts of human blood and guts. We haven’t got a clue how difficult it is to get freedoms back once they’re gone. And along comes a working class white lad from Luton who isn’t prepared to let these freedoms die quietly and who understands the importance of freedom of speech, the right to protest and freedom of association. Someone for whom these freedoms are not obscure academic concepts but real, valuable things. Someone who is willing to take a stand against religious brutality whatever the cost to him may be. And yet somehow hardly anyone is willing to accept that defending and exercising those sacred freedoms in the face of violence and intimidation is a worthwhile use of an Englishman’s time. There is no more worthwhile use of an Englishman’s time than this.
And at the same time, our politicians sob pathetically into the bottom of their whisky tumblers and complain how “young people just aren’t interested in politics these days”. Believe me, they are. They’re just not interested in politicians these days. If taking a stand against violent theocracy and exercising priceless civil liberties in the face of danger isn’t demonstrating an interest in politics then nothing is. Politicians have demonstrated zero commitment to dealing with or even acknowledging the problem of Islamism. Now we have the EDL. They’re far from perfect but they’re far better than nothing. As Robinson says, he doesn’t want to be leader of the EDL. Who would want death threats? I don’t want there to be a need for the EDL. But there is.
I imagine some people have become involved with the EDL for the wrong reasons, maybe just wanting a ruck every now and then. It’s possible that some people who have become involved for the wrong reasons are now involved for the right reasons because they’ve been educated along the way by Robinson. Remember, people can change. People can learn. People can educate themselves on the hoof. Yes, this also applies to white working class lads. People awaken politically in all sorts of ways, for all sorts of reasons, and the path is not always straightforward or sanitised. Not everyone’s political awakening takes place in an Eton College dorm room or a Political Science lecture at the London School of Economics.
People dismiss the EDL and Robinson because of their image and because of their own snobbery. I admit the image is uncomfortably close to skinhead gangs and “Paki-bashing”. Not one decent person in the United Kingdom wants a return to nightmare days of fear, segregation and violence. But fear, segregation and violence is exactly what Islamism has already delivered by the bucketload.
The problem of image is just a problem of image, it is not one of substance. Wearing overpriced Stone Island clobber and going to football matches are not crimes in the United Kingdom, yet.
We can no longer dismiss the many Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, black and LGBT supporters of the EDL as mere political PR stunts designed to deflect criticism. Are all those people racist thugs? Are all those people nothing but easily led fools who have been cynically manipulated by the Bond villain Robinson? Do you really think that or do you just really want to think that?
The stakes in the battle against Islamism are incredibly high. They are unimaginably high. Every single freedom which is a pre-condition for your way of life and which you take for granted on a daily basis is currently under sustained attack from Islamism. But that’s fine, let’s just wait until someone with a better image comes along, shall we? There’s no hurry. After all, what’s the big deal with suicide bombers on the London Underground, newspapers self-censoring cartoons of prophets through fear of violence, widespread female genital mutilation, women and young girls being covered up so they don’t get
blamed for being raped, women being treated like dogs in Sharia councils, Muslim sex gangs considering non-Muslims “the other”, and a British soldier with the name Lee Rigby having his head cut off in a London street in the middle of the day while his attacker shouts “Allahu Akbar”, allegedly.
Tommy, I hope you’re reading this. I’ll direct the remainder of this post to you. I have enormous respect for what you’re doing. I beg of you to remain as committed to non-violence and opposing racism as you are to defeating Islamism.
I imagine there are two types of people who support the EDL: decent people who aren’t racist or violent, and others. It’s vital you root out the bad apples and disassociate yourself from them unequivocally, or successfully educate them, extremely quickly.
You were born to do this. You have a gift for communication. I saw you talking about Shia/Sunni bloodshed on Twitter the other day and someone asked you what that was, and you said, “basically Luton v Watford”. That’s the kind of communication skills money just can’t buy. (Did I sound like a patronising middle class wanker just then? That’s probably because I’m a patronising middle class wanker. But I imagine it makes a nice change from the death threats.)
From what I can see you get grief from pretty much everyone. From Islamists, from their hard-left apologists like Unite Against Fascism, from their soft-left “liberal” champagne socialist apologists, from Middle England, from other people who want to defeat Islamism but who won’t touch you because you’re too hot to handle, and even from EDL supporters when demos don’t go according to plan and they ask you for their money back! Wankers! As you said in one of your videos, after demos when other people go back to their normal lives you don’t because your life is now a demo. That sent a shiver down my spine.
Tommy, to quote the apologist George Galloway: I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability. It’s unfortunate this country needs the EDL but it does.
And the EDL needs you.
Your friend in Middle England.