Tom Watson or Tommy Robinson – Who is the Greater Threat?

Screenshot 2019-03-04 at 10.55.32Tom Watson, the normally sensible sounding deputy leader of the Labour party, has come out with a call for YouTube to follow Instagram and Facebook in banning Tommy Robinson, the political activist and former founder of the English Defence League.  Watson thinks that Robinson should be banned or else governments should set up ” a powerful and independent regulator of the unaccountable, irresponsible social media giants.”

A Disclaimer

Before I go on – let me issue a disclaimer (and its depressing that such is the environment today that I have to do this).  I am not writing in defence of, or in support of Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon (Robinson’s real name) or his ideology.    I am trying to assess for myself if the claims of him being a fascist are true.  Given that it is now normal to call anyone who disagrees with you a far right fascist, you will forgive me for not automatically accepting that he is. Especially on the basis of the word of those who say he is, because ‘everyone’ says he is.  As someone who has been the victim of a ‘hate speech’ witch hunt myself (because I don’t support SSM and I think that biology does have something to do with gender), I am highly sceptical.

Who is Tommy Robinson?

Robinson is a 37 year old working class descendent of Irish immigrants.   All that I knew Screenshot 2019-03-04 at 10.52.05of him was negative (he has clearly said things and done things that are wrong and despicable) and then I listened to this speech he made from the Oxford Union.  I always believe that you should listen to those you oppose.  You may not have the time to watch all of this but I would highly recommend you do so, before it is banned. It is utterly fascinating and compelling.  He comes across as intelligent, passionate, persuasive and incredibly brave. He is certainly anti-Islamic but there is little evidence that he is a racist.  (incidentally I was told that he was typical far right anti-Jewish – but have discovered that he describes himself as a Zionist!  In fact Watson’s Labour party is far more anti-Semitic than Robinson!).

If you listen to this you will hear some of the privileged middle students from Oxford yelling at him and seeking to prevent this working class man from Luton being allowed to speak.  Who will speak for the working class in Luton?  Why – the privileged elites – fo course.   Don’t let the man speak for himself!   If you watch his speech you will surely acknowledge the truth that Robinson and others actually live in these situations (even if you don’t agree with his analysis) – unlike those who pontificate from out with.

Panodrama

I also listened to Robinsons’ latest ‘documentary’ entitled Panodrama.   If true it is an absolute expose of the BBC’s panorama programme.  If this had been made by a left wing group it would be all over the media and newspapers – but as it is – there is complete silence.  Not a word from the politicians, the BBC,  the Guardian, the Independent (or indeed any of the press).  It’s almost as though in their fearless journalism in pursuit of the truth, they are afraid to even be seen as someone defending or agreeing with anything Robinson says.  He’s a fascist – we don’t want to be associated with fascists!  But here is evidence that Panorama deliberately set up people and lie.  From a publicly funded body that is atrocious.

 

Should Robinson be Banned?

But the main point is not for or against Robinson.   Even if he was as bad as they allege – and I have yet to see the evidence, I still think that he should not be banned.  Why?

1) Because Fascism and other extreme ideologies are a real threat – not just an excuse for virtue signalling or fundraising for the middle class progressives.  Because when you ban an ideology you drive it underground and give credence to its claims that it is being driven underground.   The best way to deal with racists, fascists, communists, anti-semites etc is to argue against them.  Let them speak in public and challenge them in public.  I have spent most of my life doing this and I will continue to do this.

2) Because free speech is important – Of course there are limits to free speech.  For example if you incite people to break the law and encourage violence then yes that should be dealt with.  Through the law courts. If Robinson really did incite people to violence he should be charged.  As yet I have not come across anything he says advocating violence against others.  If he does he could and should be charged.

3) Because bans are selective – Let’s take this example of an extremist tweet – the kind for which he was banned from Twitter.

Screenshot 2019-03-04 at 08.40.25

If you are going to ban Robinson for that – then you will have to ban the Scottish Secular Society who have said the same thing about the Bible!

4) Because banning leads to Fascism – If they ban Robinson, they can and will ban anyone who does not agree with them. A society which bans Robinson is a society that ends up banning Germaine Greer and Peter Tatchell….as well as yours truly.    A Fascist society is a corporate society where the State controls everything – including speech.

This is already going on in our culture.

Here is a small example from this weekend.  I received the following message yesterday.

Due to over 100 complaints to the Caladh Hotel in Stornoway the Scottish Family Party Meeting which was scheduled for 7pm – 8.30pmMonday 4th March has sadly been cancelled by the hotel.

The meeting will now be 7pm – 8.30pm in the upstairs of the County Hotel on Francis Street Monday 4th March.

The Scottish Family Party have faced this sort of opposition before with their previous meeting in Aberdeen being cancelled by the hotel that they had booked in due to opposition by secularists and PC/gay rights/transgender activists.

The question is not whether you agree with, or support the Scottish Family Party – but whether you support their right to meet and express their views. If you don’t you are far closer to being a fascist than Tommy Robinson.

If you really want to encourage fascism then just keep calling everyone who disagrees with you a fascist.  At some point they are going to turn round and say – oh well if a fascist is someone who holds my views – then yes I’m probably a fascist.  Your name calling may make you feel good about yourself but you run the enormous risk of encouraging the very thing you profess to be against.

I am not a Muslim but because of freedom of religion I support their right to worship.  There is no complusion in religion (or at least in the Christian religion).  I am not a member of Stonewall or the various LGBT lobby groups – but I support their right to march and put their case.   I think the SSS (Scottish Secular Society) are fundamentalist extremists but I don’t think they should be banned on the internet.  Freedom of speech means I defend the right of those who disagree with me to speak – and don’t seek to have them banned.

Our society is based upon some basic freedoms.  Freedom of religion is the foundation, from that stems freedom under the law, freedom of the press and freedom of speech.  Tom Watsons’ ideology is a form of ‘liberal fascism’ – one which takes away all those basic freedoms.  In Tom’s Britain we can only speak, print or publish what the State ideology permits.   And there is no equality under the law.  The rich and powerful get to determine the law..   The ruling elites will argue that they only ban ‘extremists’, but then they take to themselves the right to define what an extremist is.  They use the law, the big corporate companies and the Twitter mobs to silence all dissent.  In the name of freedom and tolerance, they will not tolerate freedom.

Tom Watson’s ideology is a far greater threat to our society than Tommy Robinson. 

(I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet but let me prophesy that I will be called a fascist for writing this article and will face calls that I should be banned  In future if I am asked to speak on the BBC doubtless some activist group will write in and say ‘he defended Tommy Robinson, therefore in the name of free speech he should not be allowed to speak.  These are the new ‘British’ values!)

After I wrote this I read this article from Brendan O’Neill which sums up much of my concern:

https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/02/27/why-tommy-robinson-should-not-be-banned/

Dear Twitter – Why Have You Banned Me?

Another footnote:   Since publishing this I have seen a number of posts from people suggesting that FB, YouTube etc are private companies and therefore they can do what they want and censor who they want.   To which I simply respond with these questions:

  1. Why are usually left wing/liberal people arguing for the power of private corporations?
  2.  Would you say the same if a private business, like a hotel, refused to serve a gay couple?  Are they not after all a private business?
  3. The article is about a politician threatening this private business with government action if they don’t censor what he wants.  Are you ok with that?
  4.  You are aware that some of these mega corporations have a virtual monopoly in the digital world.  Do you think they should have the power to determine what we read, hear and see?
  5. Most of all I am simply astonished that you are arguing for censorship.  Do you think that these ‘private’ companies should have the right to censor you as well?

 

29 thoughts on “Tom Watson or Tommy Robinson – Who is the Greater Threat?

    1. It’s interesting that you didn’t actually quote Tommy Robinson’s original tweet or article. Perhaps because it may not exist.

  1. Tommy Robinson should not be banned, in any way shape or form. The Panodrama programme he put together is mildly amusing as he battles with a genuine Panorama reporter. I can see both sides here.

    The absolute kernel of this is this: freedom of speech is absolutely sacrosanct. Robinson is not an extremist in the classical sense; he is not violent and he has a wife and children. He does not advocate or practice violence. He may be right of centre but so what if he is?

    Islam gets a free pass in our society. Islam has very real weaknesses and flaws which are often ignored and the liberal elites are complicit in this lie. Robinson is an authentic working class right of centre voice. He should have the right to be heard and whilst I admire Tom Watson’s call for common sense in Labour’s death throes under Corbyn, his common sense runs out if he calls for a ban on Tommy Robinson.

  2. I agree with you, David. Freedom of speech is one of the foundations of Western civilisation and I don’t want it to go.

    I heard of TR through David Wood of Acts 17 Apologetics, who makes videos about Islam. (David Wood was instrumental in the conversion of Nabeel Qureshi – perhaps you have heard of him.) When Tommy was imprisoned and released last year I started watching some of his videos on YouTube. I haven’t seen any racism or incitement to violence.

    I have seen, though, that the mainstream media were not truthful in reporting his arrest, imprisonment and ill-treatment in prison. For example, they said he pleaded guilty to contempt of court – this was not the case. He was not asked whether he pled innocent or guilty. A foreign journalist heard British journalists agreeing together not to report the true numbers of demonstrators outside the Old Bailey when Tommy’s appeal against his conviction that was being heard, because ‘we don’t want to give him the credit.’ This disturbs me.

    1. I think there are double standards going on; Christians or those politically on the right will be actively coshed (putting it simply) and those from an Islamic background or on the left will be treated more liberally – it seems.

      The narrative is around denial of free speech and we’re under pressure if we’re right wing and religious ( that is Christian). This is a n ongoing threat, which is nonsense as the threat from the right is minimal; even MI6 accept the main threat is Islamic fundamentalism.

      Tommy Robinson’s perspective is white, working class and less educated, but why should he be denied a voice?

  3. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has committed multiple offences with absolutely none of them having anything to with being a free speech martyr.

    Assault

    In 2005, Robinson was jailed for 12 months for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, for which he was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, and assault with intent to resist arrest, for which he received a concurrent term of three months.

    Assaulting a police officer

    In 2010, Robinson was charged with assaulting a police officer during clashes at a poppy burning protest. After the fighting, a police officer was taken to hospital after trying to intervene in a 50 man brawl.

    Rooftop protest

    In 2011, Robinson and EDL co-founder Kevin Carroll flew to Zurich to protest on the roof of a FIFA building that England were not allowed to wear poppies on their kit because of FIFA’s political symbol ban. They were fined £3,000 for their troubles.

    Assault at his own rally

    In 2011, Robinson was convicted of assault for an attack at an EDL march in Blackburn. After he was goaded for being a government and police informant Robinson launched into a verbal tirade against those protesting against him. Robinson then proceeded to headbutt one of the march goers.

    Luton football riot

    In July 2011, Robinson was found guilty of leading a brawl that included 100 Luton Town football fans into a fight with Newport County fans. Fans were heard chanting ‘EDL till I die.’ For the crime committed, he was given a suspended 12-month prison sentence and banned from Luton football matches for 3 years.

    Using someone else’s passport

    In January 2013 Robinson was jailed for 10 months for travelling to the USA on his friend’s passport. Robinson admitted the charge of possession of a false identity document with improper intention. The passport Robinson used was under the name of Andrew McMaster. He checked himself in on the way out from Heathrow airport however when he arrived in the USA customs officials took his fingerprints and realised he was using a passport that was not his own.

    Mortgage fraud

    In 2014, Tommy Robinson was sentenced to prison for 18 months for committing mortgage fraud with the crime dating back to 2009. After pleading guilty in November 2013 to committing £160,000 worth of mortgage fraud Robinson was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court.

    Whilst passing the sentence, the judge told Robinson: ‘This was an operation which was fraudulent from the outset and involved a significant amount of forward planning.’

    “I am satisfied you took part in a thoroughly dishonest course of conduct,’ he told him.

    Contempt of court 1

    In 2017, Robinson was given a 3 month suspended sentence after he admitted a contempt of court charge for attempting to photograph juvenile defendant in a court case whilst having no right to do so. Court security had told Robinson not to film in and around the court as it would lead to his arrest. The 3 month suspended sentence could be activated within 18 months.

    Contempt of court 2

    Finally, earlier this year, the crucial case that led to Robinson being jailed and sparked the ridiculous Free Tommy protests. Robinson is currently serving a 13-month sentence for contempt of court. Robinson was arrested after Facebook live streaming outside Leeds Crown Court for an hour despite their being reporting restrictions on the case. Because he had a suspended sentence for the same crime the judge sentenced Robinson to 13 months in prison. Robinson pled guilty.

    In addition, To prove to the public that he is not a political extremist, Lennon has taken to showing up at opponents’ houses at night, banging on their door, looking through their letterboxes and shining lights through the windows.

    In January, his supporters blocked the fire exits of a library in an attempt to confront an MP during his constituency surgery, the MP having to be escorted away from the building by police.

    He has been banned from Facebook and Instagram, and there are calls to ban him from YouTube.

    Hardly the activities of a free-speech advocate.

    No David, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is scum.

    1. Yes – I understand that various lists you put there and I made it clear I was not speaking in defence of Tommy Robinson as some kind of hero – although I suspect your Wiki style narrative perhaps could be answered. However that is not the issue. The question is one of freedom of speech. I’m not sure you have actually read the article or just cut, copied and pasted….The article was about calls for him to be banned from YouTube…and you justify that by saying he was banned from Facebook and Instagram! Read the article – watch his speech from the Oxford Union – and then try to interact with what is being said. Don’t just rant your own prejudices. And don’t go around calling people scum….

      1. Yes, most of that Wiki style narrative is answered in the documentary The Real Tommy Robinson.

      2. Just for the record, I don’t “go around calling people scum.”

        However if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, and if it refuses to, or is unable, to learn from it’s repeated incarcerations and carries on with it’s escalating path of recidivism, then it’s either a pathological trait or, well, what would you call someone battering your doors and windows screaming incoherently at 5am?

        I have no intention of reading or listening to any justifications for this kind of behaviour. Matthew 7:16.

      3. Matthew 7:16: ‘By their fruit you will recognise them’. But do you know all the facts about Tommy Robinson’s fruit? Aren’t you assuming that all the statements you listed above are correct? Actually they are not. For example, he was not asked whether he pled innocent or guilty in Leeds last year, and did not plead guilty.

        Secondly, sometimes knowing the circumstances of a fact can make it look different. For example, although he was convicted of assault in 2005, the other man rugby-tackled him to the ground first unexpectedly and, according to Tommy, only revealed that he was an off-duty police officer once the fight was over. Or, although he did recently go round to an activist’s house at 5 am to knock on his doors and call out (which I do not agree with), that man had organised five men, including a drug addict, wearing masks and accompanied by a Staffordshire pit bull terrier, to go round to the house where Tommy‘s wife and children were to ’deliver a letter.’ (Which would not have taken five people.) As a result Tommy’s wife and children were terrified and called the police. This event was also live-streamed on YouTube. Tommy was one man on his own at the activist’s house, and committed no violence. He is also only 5’ 6” tall, so he was probably smaller than the man in question.

        Thirdly, do you really know all the facts of Tommy’s life so that you can be 100% sure he has not produced any good fruit? Are your actions and character 100% good?

        If you looked at the videos David Robertson and I mentioned, you would have a more complete picture. I completely agree with David that it is always a good idea to read/view what the other side says as well as your own side. Rather than, ‘Don’t disturb me with the facts, my mind is made up.’

      4. Dear David Robertson,

        First of all, I send my sympathies about your Twitter ban. I dislike Twitter, but I recognise it must be tough for you as a public communicator, and so the instinct to support others who have similarly been banned from Twitter will be strong.

        However, I would like to take issue with your article. I think it is dangerous, and in some of the same ways that Tommy Robinson is dangerous.

        Firstly, your title is deliberately provocative and your article reveals a “contrarian” impulse which I don’t think Christians should imitate. Obviously you have the legal freedom to do so, but let’s not call politicians like Tom Watson “threats” unless they truly warrant it. We should respect those in authority, and give law-abiding citizens the benefit of the doubt. The idea that a legitimately elected MP who supports democracy and rule of law would be a comparable “threat” to that of Tommy Robinson would be laughable if it weren’t such a dangerous accusation to make in these days. Let’s be careful when wading into partisan political issues not to make unfair personal comparisons. I wouldn’t want anyone to ask if I was a greater threat than Robinson, and I doubt you would too, seeing as he has been convicted of all manner of crimes (not just hate speech as some seem to think!)

        I also think the contrarian spirit of your article is unkind and breaks the rule of Christian love (1 Corinthians 13:1). In your efforts to provoke discussion and advocate for free speech, you have neglected concern for Lennon’s victims, such as the journalist Mike Stuchbery, and Jamal whom he libeled, and minority groups who live in fear of the next EDL protest (yes, granted he quit the EDL, but still he inspires people to protest against Islam) And what about the nameless victims of the mortgage fraud he conducted? (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-25862838). You state “Even if he was as bad as they allege – and I have yet to see the evidence”, but it doesn’t take much work to find out the things he has done, thanks to plenty of information on the web. Sure, we are all guilty of things we have done wrong, yet there is still a place for civil justice in Christian thought, and especially for standing up for the victims, the weak and vulnerable, such as the Muslims who Lennon’s former group, the EDL, regularly attacks. (Yes, a few Muslims are privileged, such as the Mayor of London, but that is hardly representative) Denying or minimising others’ crimes does not sound like Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” or Isaiah 1:17 etc. The lack of mention of Lennon’s crimes means that your article gives a misleading impression of him – remember that falsehoods can be spread by accidental omission and “false balance”, as well as by deliberate lies.

        Now, what do I mean that your article is “dangerous, and in some of the same ways that Tommy Robinson is dangerous”? Isn’t that a rather strong accusation?
        Well, what I mean is that people like Stephen Lennon rely upon equivocating coverage such as yours in order to maintain and spread their false narratives of victimhood. Another good example is Laura Southern (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauren_Southern). These folks rely upon sympathetic supporters to spin the narrative that they “aren’t all that bad”, that they had a tough upbringing, that they are addressing “real concerns” which timid politicians are afraid to address, etc. They are masters at “plausible deniability” (e.g. “the police made it up!”, “the elites are mad at me” etc.) and try to draw a crowd by claiming “persecution”, when they aren’t really persecuted, or they provoke others until they attack them and then immediately play the “victim” card.

        You appear to have bought into Lennon’s preferred narrative that he is a victim somehow. Almost everything you say in this following paragraph is false (except for the privileged students yelling at him. Obviously it’s lamentable to see such immaturity in 18-21-year-olds, but sadly civility and maturity aren’t requirements for entrance into Oxford!) –
        “If you listen to this you will hear some of the privileged middle students from Oxford yelling at him and seeking to prevent this working class man from Luton being allowed to speak. Who will speak for the working class in Luton? Why – the privileged elites – of course. Don’t let the man speak for himself! If you watch his speech you will surely acknowledge the truth that Robinson and others actually live in these situations (even if you don’t agree with his analysis) – unlike those who pontificate from out with.”

        He is hardly working class. Lennon made plenty of money even before he became notorious, having worked improving repossessed housing. Nowadays he has an expensive home in Bedfordshire and he has published his autobiography. I don’t think he lives with the “common people” of Luton anymore (when he’s not in prison), and indeed many would feel insulted if you suggested he will “speak for” them. Friends of his include the US ambassador to the UK (Sam Brownback), the “Middle East Forum” US lobby group and 100,000s of other supporters. He is a celebrity in some circles. And this is all part of a calculated strategy:
        https://theconversation.com/tommy-robinson-the-martyr-how-the-far-right-builds-its-victim-narrative-98261

        He talks a good talk, certainly. I listened to the first few minutes of his talk, and he appears “intelligent, passionate, persuasive” like you say, but don’t all con artists? Many of the things he says about Muslims are demonstrably false. Most likely the way to get the truth of the situation would be to speak to the people who live there, including the Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. Those “privileged elites” include reputable journalists who go and interview such people (e.g. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1361445/Luton-a-town-pulled-apart-by-extremism.html, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01cl48b – although it would be good to find some more recent coverage!).

        I think you’re a sensible and intelligent person, and should be able to figure out a con artist when you see one. Please do some more research on Tommy Robinson, and make sure you don’t get taken in by such people (or persuaded to equivocate about them) in the future (Proverbs 14:5, Matthew 10:16).
        Thinking about it, if I had one piece of advice it would be, don’t write about such people and instead find better role models to promote in your writings, such as genuine born-again Christians. Obviously I’m not censoring you – you have every legal right – but in the spirit of Christian love, seek to write what is edifying.

        I’ve probably spent too long writing this, but I wanted to be fair towards you, your readers and the victims of Tommy Robinson and to explain properly (and I write too long, which is why I’d never do well on Twitter!).

        Thanks for all your work promoting the gospel of Jesus, which is better by far than all this world produces.

        Blessings,

        R

      5. Thanks Robert – please forgive me if I don’t give you the detailed and lengthy reply that your considered and measured post deserves. Just a few comments,.

        1) I was not being contrarian. I happy to believe that Watsons desire to ban and control free speech is far more dangerous than Robinsons misuse of that free speech.

        2) Please don’t accuse me of not showing Christian love because of what I did not say. I did not have the time to go into everything about Robinson and I really dislike ‘whatabouterry’.

        3) I agree totally with the need for civil justice – and if Robinson does things that are crimes he should be subject to the due process of the law. That was specifically stated in the article.

        4) I was not offering ‘equivocating’ coverage. I think it is very dangerous for you to have this black and white simplistic view which puts all the bad in one camp and all the good in another. I also think that that is far more likely to help Robinson than to hinder him. He thrives on the martyr complex.

        5) You stated that almost everything I said in the paragraph you cited was false and yet you showed nothing that was false! You seem to have the view that if you make some money then you can no longer be working class!

        6) I have investigated about and listened to Robinson. I still don’t know enough – but the situation seems far more complex than you believe (and for you it does seem to be a matter of belief – if he appears reasonable etc then it must be because he is a con man. You seem to have made your mind up so that there is nothing he can do or say that does not damn him. My own view is that I don’t trust him – nor do I trust his opponents. Life is much more complex.

        7) Your advice to not recommend Robinson as a role model and to focus on genuine born again Christians. There are two things wrong with that. Firstly a Christian should spread a false report. Its slander. And it is slanderous to say that I was putting forward Robinson as a role model. I hope you will apologise. Secondly I don’t just write about ‘genuine born again Christians’ because a) I’m not in the position to judge who are such and b) I write about all kinds of people and have no intention of limiting myself to those who I judge are of the elect!

        Having said that I appreciate your comments (mostly) and am thankful that you wrote them. Please be assured I am not promoting Robinson. As I’ve said already I just believe that life is much more complex than the Bushite ‘Good empire/bad empire’ narrative.

      6. Hi David,

        Thanks for your reply. Indeed, I will apologise – I should have been more careful with my wording. I certainly didn’t intend to slander you as a Tommy Robinson supporter! The exact quote from me is this: “Thinking about it, if I had one piece of advice it would be, don’t write about such people and instead find better role models to promote in your writings, such as genuine born-again Christians.” . What I meant was two things (1) don’t write about such people (especially if it won’t be edifying) and (2) instead write about people who can be described as “role models”. I didn’t at all mean to say you saw him as a role model, but I certainly see how what I wrote sounds that way. So I apologise for my clumsy wording.

        Regarding your other points:
        1) It’s clear you and I have fundamental disagreements, and that’s OK because we both agree on the fundamentals about Jesus, the only Son of God, and we are brothers in Christ. In this life, there is no perfect response to the problems caused by sin and hate. I think banning people for “organised hate” as advocated by Tom Watson would be entirely appropriate, whether organisers of anti-Muslim protests, or terrorist recruiters. How to deal with the inevitable ambiguities regarding this and how to do this without excessive impacts on civil liberties is precisely the debate we should be having. It could well be that the risks of curtailing freedom of speech aren’t worth the benefits of trying to stop the inspiration for the next terrorist attack, but we shouldn’t dismiss Tom Watson’s call out of hand.

        2) This is a difficult one. On the one hand, I can see that you sincerely believe that a reasonably OK-ish politician from a reputable democratic political party (the Labour Party) is more dangerous than a violent demoniser of minority groups and convicted criminal. I find that saddening. However, if you genuinely believe that, then your motive in writing is one of love. Thinking about it, since God looks at the heart I will have to retract my claims that you were contrarian and unloving. So sorry once again. I still think that you could reflect for a moment about how your writings would be perceived by a resident of Luton who had to deal with EDL marches, or any of Lennon’s victims I listed. However, I see this is more of a personal preference of mine, since it’s extremely unlikely that any of his victims will read any of this.

        3) thanks

        4) It occurs to me that the UK prison system does precisely that! It separates those who are considered “bad” for society by putting them behind bars from the “good” in society (not “good” in the Christian sense, but at least those you could trust enough to buy a watch from). Hopefully not too many prisoners develop a martyr complex. I understand the argument to examine the good and bad in everyone, but I don’t think it’s better to call a stone a stone when discussing somebody as harmful as Lennon.

        5) Apologies again! I see I imposed my own definition of working class ( = no university degree and C2DE social category (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRS_social_grade)). I should not expect others to adhere to my own definitions, and certainly the whole subject of class is very subjective. I will try to learn from this mistake.

        6) I spent over 4 hours reading about Tommy Robinson in the Sun, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Guardian, Huffington Post, VICE, etc. I regret doing that, and I probably should have listened to the voice of reason and not posted my lengthy comment. I guess I’m just upset by the political viewpoints of some Christians. I’ve shifted to a more liberal political view on things recently and wish more Christians could see what I can see – but it is actually a very egocentric selfish thing for me to wish this. I should let God guide his people into all truth, and never divide Christians over non-essential political issues. I should instead have spent time reading the Bible and praying – particularly for New Zealand.

        You state “You seem to have made your mind up so that there is nothing he can do or say that does not damn him.” Absolutely – there’s nothing I can do or say either that doesn’t damn me. But, thanks be to God, he has justified me through faith in Christ. The same can happen to Stephen Lennon, and if he does repent and turn to Christ, that would be wonderful. I would even be willing to hear him talk about Islam if he had completely changed his attitude to God and the world (although as a new believer I would advise him to focus on getting on with the Christian life and avoid his old associations for at least a few years). (As an aside, the reason I distrust Lennon so much now is that he did once claim to renounce anti-Muslim bigotry and turn a new leaf by joining the Quilliam Foundation after an offer of friendship by Maajid Nawaz https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/11/edl-tommy-robinson-sorry-fear-muslims . However, that soon turned sour and he tried to launch Pegida in the UK.)

        7) Again, apologies for unintended slander. As blog owner, feel free to delete my comment if it is going to cause you any problems. I guess this is a good illustration for your cause about the dangers of policing speech – it’s extremely easy to accidentally fall afoul of rules like “no libel”, “no copyright violations”, “no false statements” and “no hate speech” etc. However, I make no excuse for my careless words. I need to be more careful, or, like the song says, “If you ain’t got nothing good to say, don’t say nothing at all”.

        Blessings

      7. Thanks Robert – I don’t intend just to write about role models.

        Banning people for ‘organised hate’ means that in todays world I would get banned – because those who hate the Gospel define it as hate. You have to be prepared to speak up for the freedom of speech of those you disagree with.

        I would suggest you use other sources as well as the mainstream press.

        And you are free to post on here – even when, or especially when, you disagree with me!

    1. Its astounding how the same meme is endlessly repeated! Incredible that so called left wing liberals are suddenly arguing for the primacy of private businesses. If you stopped and took a moment to think you would realise that the post is not about private businesses (and you should by the way be concerned if private corporations monopolise the means of communication and can ban people), but about a politician writing to a private business and telling them to ban someone – whilst at the same time threatening them if they don’t!

  4. While I’ve left the legal profession behind for many years, in England sand Wales, from memory there has not been a history of complete, unfettered, freedom of speech. Restrictions have included some Public Order Offences, incitement, Theatres Act, obscenity laws, blasphemy, Lord Chamberlain,’s role, defamation laws, and category D notices. And there have been restrictions on freedom of assembly, to prevent speech at meetings .
    If I remember correctly, TV was curbed by the Government of the day from giving Adams and McGuiness voice, in N Ireland.
    In general, the laws cover private businesses and individuals. Distinction exist between criminal laws and civil laws. Remedies for breaches of law vary, as well as injunctions to prevent.

  5. It strikes me as the height of irony that Robinson has been labelled an extreme Right wing, or Fascist, activist by those on the Left who hate Fascism, yet if any group in the world today could properly be labelled as such it is extremist Islamic groups, yet they are the ones who get a free pass from the Left!

    Just last year the ex-Muslim, former Dutch Parliamentarian & now wife of British intellectual Niall Ferguson, had to cancel her speaking tour of Australia because of the way she was threatened & harrassed by both outraged Leftists & (wait for it) Muslim feminists!

    So I am in this constant state of wonder at the “strange bedfellows” of the Left & radical Islam!

  6. A couple of further thoughts
    1 there is a distinction to be made between restrictive mandatory, group-think, ideological, philosophical speech and proper restriction on speech.
    2 Tom Watson, as with other MP’S have a greater freedom of speech, when speaking in Parliament through Parliamentary Priveledge as was demonstrated in the Philip Green case.

  7. Thank you for your bravery David. You have put your head above the parapet on many occasions and you still manage direct hits with your return fire!
    I agree with all in your article and I am sure so would the silent majority.

  8. David

    Thank you for this thoughtful and non-hysterical article.

    However, I am horrified by the amount of people who think Yaxley-Lennon is a free speech martyr or some sort of admirable figure – something David clearly does not. Perhaps those who rush to his defence might like to reconsider when they see his actions at violent intimidation of a journalist over the past 48 hours. The newspaper report is at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/mar/05/journalist-makes-police-complaint-about-tommy-robinson

    You can also read Mike Stuchberry’s account on his twitter feed, which gives an indication of the level of violent menace that Yaxley-Lennon brought

  9. Well done David. I applaud your courage and could not agree more.

    Sometimes you can agree with some points a person makes whilst disagreeing on others. You can also agree with a view but disagree on the means someone chooses to use to promote that view. You can also agree with someone on certain points whilst not liking their personality or their past.

    This is the position I find myself in with Mr Robinson.

    However, this is not grounds to ban him or to arbitrarily restrict his right to free speech. It is sickening to see the mob in action on social media. I pray God will use your voice and others to put some fight into Christians to ‘contend’ for the faith, to use their votes wisely and to lobby for repeal of the bad legislation.

  10. Well done David to speak out on this one. More equal reporting is required. I have heard so many platitudes by UK politicians down the years boasting of the freedom of expression in the UK and how their their parties would guarantee it. Now they openly call on working class dissidents to be silenced. If it´s Tommy Sheridan or Tommy Robinson, it should be the same free speech for everyone.

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