Photography by Kristoffer Trolle via Flickr
CN: This article contains discussion of rape and child sexual abuse
In recent weeks, gal-dem has looked into the backgrounds of elected MPs with a view to documenting histories of racism and discrimination. While Tommy Robinson has never been an elected representative and hopefully never will be, last week he announced he will campaign to be a Member of European Parliament (MEP).
More than ever, we think the general public should be aware of what he stands for.
• In 2004, Tommy became a member of the British National Party (BNP), a fascist party that was then led by Nick Griffin. The BNP have rejected the labels “Nazi” and “Fascist” – but not for reasons you might presume. A 1992 BNP electoral manifesto said: “Fascism was Italian. Nazism was German. We are British. We will do things our own way; we will not copy foreigners”.
• Tommy founded the English Defence League in 2009 with his cousin, Kevin Carroll. Known as the EDL, the Islamophobic far-right group uses street demonstrations as its primary method of organising.
• According to an investigation by Hope Not Hate, Robinson has shown up at opponents’ houses at night, banging on their door, looking through their letterboxes and shining lights through the windows.
• He has also shown up at newsrooms to confront journalists who have written on him. Tommy reportedly said in an online video: “If you’re a journalist and you think your office or your home is a safe space… it’s not”.
• Tommy has widely perpetuated Islamophobia, tweeting in 2016: “I’d personally send every adult male Muslim that has come into the EU over the past 12 months back tomorrow if I could. Fake refugees”. He has also described Islam as a “disease” and a “threat to our way of life”. He has since been permanently banned by Twitter for violating their rules surrounding hateful conduct.
• Tommy has further claimed that the media “steer clear of anything that gives a negative portrayal of Islam”, despite widespread evidence to the contrary.
• Tommy was arrested for participating in a 100-man brawl where he chanted “EDL till I die”.
• Darren Osborne, Finsbury Park mosque terror attacker, was said to have been “brainwashed” by far-right material, including posts by Tommy Robinson. Following the 2018 attack, Darren’s partner Sarah Andrews said: “Darren has been watching a lot of Tommy Robinson stuff on the internet… I have pleaded with Darren to stop watching this sort of thing, but he just wouldn’t stop.”
• Tommy Robinson now considers himself a journalist, and has bolstered his professional platform by claiming to have “exposed” large grooming gangs. Tommy used the grooming gangs as a way to propagate Islamophobia, calling the crime networks “Muslim child rapists” and “jihad rape gangs”. He also broadcasted commentary on Facebook live outside the trial. As a result, he was jailed for contempt of court in May 2018.
• Other convictions include assaulting an off-duty police officer in a drunken argument, and head-butting a fellow EDL member at a rally.
• Tommy has widespread support from the far-right. When he was sent to jail last year, his arrest was largely framed by his supporters as an issue of freedom of speech. Over half a million people signed a petition for his release. Supporters also turned out on the streets to protest in their thousands, with some demonstrations becoming violent.
• If Tommy gets his way in the elections this month, he will become MEP for the north-west of England, taking the same seat that Nick Griffin held until 2014. We don’t know about you, but we’re hoping all doesn’t go to plan.