Britain’s Most Hated Man Isn’t All That Hateful
Which sums up how I feel before meeting the book’s author, Tommy Robinson. What if he seems to be not practically as unhealthy as his status as ‘Britain’s most hated man’ What if, as some familiar with him have warned, I turn out to like him and want to plead his cause, and end up being tainted as a far-right thug by association
We meet in a gastropub in a reasonably Georgian market city. It’s only ten minutes from the ‘shithole’ of a dump the place Robinson has always lived — Luton — and stone roses gig spike island way more congenial for lunch as a result of we’re much less more likely to be interrupted by any of the quite a few Muslims who’ve put him on their dying record. Robinson, 34, is wearing Stone Island, the preferred expensive attire (about £800 for a jacket) of violent football hooligans like the one he used to be himself.
Robinson is frank about his misspent youth: his first stint in jail for assaulting a plainclothes policeman; his second one for mortgage fraud; his brawls with rival teams as a member of Luton City’s Males In Gear soccer crew (he thinks Millwall’s bad-boy reputation is overrated; Tottenham has one of the best firm). He is frank about all the things he’s finished, good and bad. It’s part of the pure charm which, just over two years ago, won the hearts of an at first spittingly hostile audience at the Oxford Union.
And yes, I do like him. stone roses gig spike island So would you if you spent a few hours in his firm. He’s clever, quick, articulate, properly-informed, good-mannered — and surprisingly meek in his politics for a man so often branded a fascist. Many of his home friends are black, some are Muslims; he’s not obviously racist or anti-Semitic. He solely got into activism and street demos as a result of he happened to be a white working-class English lad in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. It was Luton, unfortunately, that Islamist proselytiser Anjem Choudary chose as the base for his varied proscribed organisations.
In consequence the character of the city modified without end; and so did Robinson’s life. The trigger was a local Islamist recruitment drive for the Taleban and a subsequent protest against a parade by Royal Anglian Regiment troops returning from a tour in Afghanistan.
As he as soon as instructed one other interviewer: ‘I was like, they can’t try this! In working-class communities everyone knows someone in the Armed Forces. I’ve got a mate who lost his legs. And these lot were sending people to kill our boys.’ So Robinson founded the protest organisation that will make him notorious — the English Defence League (he subsequently stop it in 2013).
You understand how hateful the EDL is: each-one does. What’s curious, though, is how much worse it is by fame than in deed. It’s almost as though the chattering classes needed some type of bogeyman whose title they might brandish in outrage once in a while with the intention to demonstrate that, while of course they condemn fundamentalist Islam, they really feel simply as appalled, if no more so, by the ugly spectre of far-proper nationalism.
It’s the identical with Tommy Robinson. When you checked out social media within the immediate aftermath of the latest terrorist murders on Westminster Bridge, you might have been stunned by the extent to which the righteous rage of the bien-pensant Twitterati was directed not on the killer, Khalid Masood, and the tradition that radicalised him, however somewhat at that culture’s most vocal critic, Tommy Robinson. According to Robinson, this isn’t any accident.
It’s a mirrored image of the Establishment’s intense reluctance to admit the size of the issue with fundamentalist Islam in Britain. Robinson’s latest experiences have made him deeply suspicious of the authorities. Forcing him to share a prison wing with Islamists suggests, to him, that his personal welfare will not be precisely their top priority.
While he was in prison, he refused to eat any common meals (he believed it could be poisoned or in any other case contaminated, so he caught to tinned tuna), and made positive to trigger enough trouble so he wound up in solitary the place nobody might stab him. His entrance teeth are all pretend, the real ones having been knocked out when he received trapped in a room with eight Islamists. The one purpose he didn’t die, he says, is as a result of they didn’t have any ‘shivs’ (bladed weapons).
He’s a robust advocate of separate prisons for Muslims and non-Muslims: the size of bullying (nobody dare be caught cooking bacon, for instance) and the extent of radicalisation, he argues, makes it culturally suicidal to proceed as we’re.
After quite a few beatings and makes an attempt on his life, Robinson is beneath no illusions about his prospects of reaching a ripe outdated age. ‘I’m a dead man strolling,’ he told me. It’s not for his personal sake that he minds: only for that of his wife and three younger youngsters. Although his children are as but unaware of his notoriety (Tommy Robinson is a pseudonym), he’s discovering it tougher and tougher to protect them. Last August, police in Cambridge ejected the entire family from a pub on what Robinson claims was a bogus pretext of possible public disorder between rival football fans.
You could possibly argue that Tommy Robinson doesn’t exactly help himself the way he goes looking for trouble half the time. But then, I don’t think that many of us are in a position to pass judgment. Not except we’ve personally shared his worm’s-eye view of Islamic encroachment on our inside cities, which very few of us ever will. Stone Island Sale We merely wouldn’t be brave enough.