Tommy robinson

The unparalleled entertainment – and heartbreaking reality – of watching a court hearing

‘Barristers’ speeches vanish quicker than Chinese dinners, and even the greatest victory in court rarely survives longer than the next Sunday’s papers.’ So wrote John Mortimer in Rumpole of the Bailey. While no doubt true, a barrister delivering a well-honed speech is still something to behold. They are the last defenders of a rhetorical tradition that our politicians have all but given up on. Many QCs still use Cicero’s principles of oratory: to teach, to entertain and to move. The public are allowed to watch almost any court hearing, but few ever do. As a court reporter, I have been struck by how empty the public galleries tend to be,

Tommy Robinson is no martyr. Here’s how to stop him becoming one

We might not care for Stephen Yaxley-Lennon but we should care very much about what happens to him in prison over the next two months or so. Lennon, also known as ‘Tommy Robinson’, was convicted at the Old Bailey yesterday for contempt of court after he live-streamed footage of defendants on trial for sexual exploitation arriving at court. Yaxley-Lennon had previously served time in custody for this but was freed on appeal pending a retrial. Just to make matters more complicated, he was also sentenced yesterday for an earlier contempt committed at Canterbury Crown court in 2017, again at a rape trial that involved four Asian defendants that attracted a

The politics of milkshakes

Should we make it illegal to study the social sciences? Imagine the amount of tendentious rubbish we could erase from the world if we did. The economists who pretend on Newsnight that they know what’s going on, when they haven’t a clue. The sociologists fabricating evidence to support their inane and inevitably woke theses. The lies masquerading as fact and able to gull the public because of the spurious claim that they are ‘scientific’. There is no science in economics or sociology, interesting though those disciplines might be once they have been shorn of their pretensions. Let me give you a recent example. A company called Civic Science, based in

Tommy Robinson and the double standards of political violence

So it’s acceptable now to assault electoral candidates? That’s the pretty scary take-home message from the Tommy Robinson ‘milkshaking’ incidents. Journalists and even politicians have been going wild for the bloke in Warrington who threw his milkshake in Robinson’s face yesterday as he was out campaigning as an independent for the upcoming Euro elections. It’s the second time this week Robinson was milkshaked. It will no doubt become a trend. ‘Milkshake a fascist.’ Videos of the incidents have gone viral and even Tory MPs have cheered the strawberry-flavoured assaulters. Johnny Mercer said the attacks made him ‘#lovebritain’. He later apologised, perhaps realising it isn’t a good idea for a member

The truth is we prefer to lie

There are no necessary truths any more. Everything is contingent. And those contingencies are the consequence not of what happens in the real world, but of the derangement in our own minds. Some will insist it was ever thus. Well, if so, it’s never been more evident. Take just two examples. We will never know the truth of the Kavanaugh case unless one of the two principal actors ’fesses up — and even then I wouldn’t be too sure. If the case went to court and Christine Blasey Ford were a reliable witness, and several of her contemporaries gave evidence that they witnessed the attempted rape and all Brett Kavanaugh

Tommy Robinson and the rise of the new extremists

Other people’s worries are no different from yours. Just as you worry about how to pay the bills, and wonder where you will be in five years, so do extremists. You give them an unwarranted respect if you imagine them to be solely motivated by their ‘ideals’ such as they are. Think instead about the importance of earning a living: the politics of having enough brass to put food on the table. The most mundane reason why communists and fascists did not prosper in the 20th century has nothing to do with the supposed moderation of the British national character and everything to do with money. If you wanted to

Cologne exposes a crisis in our continent, yet parliament is debating Donald Trump

Europe is going through a period of radical change, but it is facing this with a process of radical self-distraction. Unwilling to face up to our problems we obsess over the responses to those problems. There have been some startling recent examples. As the whole world now knows, on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, dozens of German women were sexually assaulted, apparently by some of that country’s more recent arrivals. For days the media across Europe declined to even report the story. It was only because of new media that the story began to get out at all. Then when the media did get around to reporting the story they covered

The curious case of Mo Ansar

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Douglas Murray and Haras Rafiq discuss how Mo Ansar came to prominence” startat=1154] Listen [/audioplayer]If a curious stranger asked you to name a British Muslim commentator, I guess you would name Mo Ansar. So omnipresent has he become, he seems at times to be Britain’s only Muslim commentator. ‘Mo Ansar: Open for business,’ read his first tweet on 8 August 2011, and business has been rolling in ever since. Ansar understands better than most that if you want to exploit the media you must always be available to harassed researchers on rolling news programmes. ‘He invented himself as a rent-a-quote commentator,’ says the LBC broadcaster Iain Dale. ‘We know

‘When Tommy met Mo’ revealed how far we have to travel before Islamism is uprooted

Last night the BBC screened a documentary called ‘When Tommy met Mo’. It was good television, challenging and thought-provoking in a way that public broadcasting ought to be, is often said to be, but too rarely is. I would urge you to watch it. The programme followed Tommy Robinson during the period in which he was stepping away from the organisation – the English Defence League (EDL) – which he founded. It showed Robinson travelling around the country with a Muslim ‘spokesman’ called Mohammed Ansar. A number of people had criticised the programme, and its premise, in advance and there has already been some tussle over the credit, not least

The View from 22 podcast: is climate change good, Tommy Robinson and another Tory/Lib Dem pact

Are there any upsides to climate change? On this week’s View from 22 podcast, author and columnist Matt Ridley discusses the economic impact of global warming with Fraser Nelson, and whether there are any benefits to a rise in temperatures. Will there be a tipping point for disastrous effects? Are we taking the right precautions to deal with that point? Douglas Murray also looks at his encounter with ex-English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, and what lies ahead for the far-right movement in Britain. Will the EDL wither away without Robinson? And are all far right parties finished in this country? Plus, Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth examine the prospects for another Conservative coalition

Hugo Rifkind: For now, I’m choosing to believe in Tommy Robinson’s conversion

I’ve often thought it might be interesting to meet Tommy Robinson, or Stephen Lennon, or whatever one is supposed to call the erstwhile English Defence League frontman these days. Because, well, he’s not an idiot, is he? Or at least, not to the extent you’d like him to be. And it bugged me. I remember seeing him up against Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight a few years ago. Yes, he fell into bear-traps, quite a few of which he’d dug himself, and yes, he said more than a few things that any mainstream politician would have been crucified for, and rightly. But at core, there was something there with which Paxman

Tommy Robinson: Zionist puppet, Neocon Fraud and Wahhabist Stooge.

If you ever want a laugh, read the websites of Britain’s collection of far-right political groupings. It is worth doing so if only to remind yourself that the “threat” from right-wing extremists is often rather exaggerated. These people’s relationship with reality is neither firm enough to threaten public order nor coherent enough to win them more than a (relative) handful of deluded followers. Keep an eye on them, by all means, but let’s not make them out to be more than they are. After all, whenever the far-right does enjoy some success that success quickly evaporates. The public, when it has a chance to see these people for what they

Ed West

Did the Catholic Church get to Tommy Robinson?

I met Stephen Lennon/Tommy Robinson once, in Luton. Dreadful place – I’d wear a niqab just to reduce my view of the appalling architecture (like in Birmingham, the hub of the town is a shopping centre surrounded by a sort of ring road). I never liked the organisation’s tactics, nor am I completely sure of what their aims were, but as Lennon described it – of people openly recruiting for the Taliban while his classmates were off in the Army – the anger was understandable. In Luton, in particular, the Labour government also funded mosques in a way that was bound to lead to resentment among the white working class.