Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2653

The truth about Tommy Robinson

This article is over 4 years, 7 months old
Issue 2653

Tommy Robinson must not become MEP for the North West of England on 23 May. He claims to speak for ordinary people. But he is a Nazi, a racist, and a middle class fraud.

Socialist Worker has been tracking him since he started organising demonstrations as leader of the English Defence League (EDL) a decade ago.

A Robinson victory would be a threat to every ordinary working class person in Britain. Whenever a fascist wins an election, it emboldens racists and the right to act on their beliefs.

That means more attacks on Muslims, Jews, black people, trade unionists and the left.

A win would help to ­normalise his vile beliefs and generally boost his media profile. He would become the “respectable racist” the media would turn to. Robinson is running for the seat that was won in 2009 by Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (BNP) which Robinson was once a member of.

A series of racist attacks across the North West followed Griffin’s win in 2009.

On one occasion, a month after Griffin was elected, a 17 year old Muslim woman was attacked in a park in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

One of her attackers taunted her about the BNP before the assault that nearly blinded her.

Robinson’s election campaign so far has given a small taste of what will follow if he wins.

Robinson and his handlers have attacked people who have challenged them when out campaigning.

Nazis always lie about their views. So Robinson tones down his rhetoric, saying he’s against “Islamic extremism”, “radical Islam” or “grooming gangs” when sitting in a TV studio.

He uses phrases such as “radical Islam” as code for all Muslims and his supporters know it.

Often when Robinson addresses them directly the mask slips. In a 2017 video he referred to Muslims as “enemy combatants”.

There are plenty of mainstream politicians and pundits who push racism against Muslims.


But Robinson isn’t just another racist politician. His aim is to use Islamophobia to mobilise his supporters into a street ­movement that can inflict violence on Muslims, minorities and political opponents.

That was clear in the wake of the killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south east London, in 2013. Robinson and masked-up EDL thugs went onto the streets in the hope of rampaging against Muslims. Fascism is about smashing working class organisation and democracy.

While Robinson has tried ­different ways of organising he always comes back to the street.

The most recent phase came after he was jailed for contempt of court last May.

His supporters turned out 15,000 fascists and racists in central London last June.

It was the biggest outdoor mobilisation organised by fascists in British history,—bigger than Oswald Mosley’s Black Shirts managed in the 1930s.

Robinson hasn’t been able to mobilise that many since and has suffered some setbacks. But a victory in the European elections later this month—or even a ­substantial vote—could revive his fortunes. He must be stopped.

Thugs spreading terror by targeting Muslims

Tommy Robinson threatens Muslims with violence.

In 2017 he said that “militias will be set up and then the UK government will have a problem beyond their wildest dreams”. “Inaction will only facilitate the creation of a disgruntled, angry population, who will end up cleaning out this Islamic problem,” he said.

On 3 September 2011 Robinson said Muslims would “feel the full force of the English Defence League” in Tower Hamlets, east London. “We are here to tell you quite loud, quite clear, every single Muslim, watching this video on YouTube. On 7/7 you got away with killing and maiming British citizens.

“Next time you think about it, you better understand that we have built a network from one bit of the country to the other end.”

Robinson was questioned about the remarks on the BBC on 17 June 2013. He claimed the EDL was a “pressure organisation” that would work “through the democratic process”.

Yet less than a month before 100 EDL thugs rampaged through Woolwich, south east London, throwing bottles and chanting Islamophobic slogans.

Robinson had mobilised his street fighters within hours of the killing of soldier Lee Rigby. He has also talked about how he would like to stop Muslims from migrating to Britain.

And it’s not just specific groups—he wants to target all Muslims. The day after the Manchester Arena bombing on 22 May 2017 he said, “When you see these communities and you see these houses, you think this is a British community or you might have British Muslims.

“In these houses are enemy combatants who want to kill you, maim you and destroy you.”

Trying to ‘racialise’ abuse

Tommy Robinson claims he wants to defend victims of sexual abuse. It’s a lie.

Robinson was jailed for contempt of court last May after filming outside a child sexual exploitation (CSE) trial.

His actions could have caused the case to collapse.

Claims over ‘Asian sex gangs’ don’t stack up
Claims over ‘Asian sex gangs’ don’t stack up
  Read More

His supporters and other racists have attacked victims. CSE researcher Ella Cockbain said survivors have spoken out about abuse at the hands of both Asian and white men.

She said survivors have suffered “things like being told, ‘It was just Asian men wasn’t it?’

“And then pure vitriol when they won’t deny the white offenders.”

Rotherham abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse told BBC Newsnight last year that abuse isn’t just committed by Asian men.

One man who describes himself as “anti-Islam” tweeted that this meant she was “literally sticking up for her rapist”.

Sammy also took issue with the myth that the likes of Robinson have exposed child abuse.

“When you get people like Britain First and Tommy Robinson saying we exposed Rotherham and other places, well no you didn’t.

“The people who exposed scandals are survivors,” she said.

Tommy can’t hide past

Robinson was exposed as a former member of the Nazi British National Party (BNP) in 2010.

Robinson said that pointing to his BNP membership was “clutching at straws” in a BBC interview June 2013. He said, “I joined for one year, I didn’t know Nick Griffin was in the National Front.

“I joined, I saw what it was about, it was not for me.”

And he also attended the organisation’s meetings after 2005.Robinson claimed he only went to two BNP meetings, but he was officially a member for two years—2004 and 2005.

One picture, reportedly from 2007, shows Robinson at a BNP meeting alongside Holocaust denier Richard Edmonds. Edmonds was a prominent member of the fascist National Front (NF) in the 1970s.

Murderer who admired EDL

The fascist mass murderer Anders Breivik looked to Tommy Robinson’s EDL as “an example”.

Breivik killed 77 people on 22 July 2011 in Oslo and at a summer camp of the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing.

Robinson praised Breivik’s blogs as “full of facts” in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

He said, “You cannot yell at people because they tell the truth.You may find the truth hurts, but it is still the truth.”

‘We’re not Nazis,’ say EDL Nazis

Fascists have always been at the heart of the English Defence League (EDL), founded by Tommy Robinson in 2009.

After English Defence League leader quits - is racism in retreat?
After English Defence League leader quits – is racism in retreat?
  Read More

The EDL website was run by BNP member Chris Renton. BNP member David Cooling was the Luton EDL Facebook group administrator.

And BNP members directed violence during the EDL’s race riot in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Combat 18 fascists were also on the mobilisation.

Robinson revels in racist language.

A leaked video in February showed Robinson call a taxi driver a “little Paki that drives a car”.

And he said calling Muslims “goat fuckers” was “not racist” in an interview.

Friend of Europe’ s far right 

Robinson gets on well with Lutz Bachmann and Martin Sellner. Bachmann is the founder of the Islamophobic Pegida movement in Germany. He posed as Adolf Hitler in February 2015.

Robinson spent time with him in Tenerife while on holiday after being released on bail in August 2018. Sellner leads the Austrian branch of Generation Identity, the far right group that believes Muslim immigration is behind a “Great Replacement” of white people.

Far right radicalised British killer too

Darren Osborne drove a van into worshippers at Finsbury Park mosque in June 2017. The attack in north London left one Muslim dead and a further nine injured.

Before he carried it out Osborne read posts from Robinson. Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police said Osborne “had grown to hate Muslims largely due to his consumption of large amounts of online far right material”.

Osborne had received an email along with other supporters of the Rebel Media website.

One line in it said, “It has now been left to us, the ordinary people of the United Kingdom, to stand up to hate, to unite and in one voice say ‘no more’.”

How US alt right money and British far right connections are paying off for Robinson

Daniel Pipes

Daniel Pipes is an Islamophobe with ties to the far right and members of the US neo-conservative political establishment.

He is the president of the Middle East Forum (MEF), a US “conservative think tank” designed to push Islamophobia. MEF said it paid nearly £50,000 for both “Free Tommy” demonstrations on 9 June and 14 July 2018, and paid legal fees.

Pipes said of Robinson, “He is knowledgeable, draws a distinction between Islam and Islamism, and is a leader.”

Robert Shillman

The billionaire helped to pay for Robinson to be employed in 2017 by the far right Rebel Media website on £5,000 a month.

He funds projects which push Islamophobic propaganda.

Shillman Journalism Fellows at the FrontPage Magazine in the US argue that the only “genuine refugees” are “Christian and non-Muslim”.

Shillman is a director of the David Horowitz Freedom Centre, which runs the Islamophobic Jihad Watch website.

Alex Jones

The InfoWars website founder, who claims the Democrats are organising a “white genocide”, donated £20,000 to Robinson.

Jones has appeared in videos with Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys far right group in the US.

Jones claimed in 2017 that NFL football players protesting during the national anthem were “kneeling to white genocide” and violence against whites.

Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller invited Robinson to speak in New York at a 2012 conference hosted by her Stop Islamification Of Nations organisation.

Another organisation Geller has set up was the American Freedom Defense Initiative. It held an Islamophobic event in 2015 alongside Jihad Watch to denigrate the prophet Mohammed.

Geller has previously said, “Muslim immigration is tied directly to Islamic terror. The more Muslim immigration, the more Islamic terror you have.”

Alan Lake

Banker and ‘counter-jihadist’

The EDL was founded in banker Alan Ayling’s flat in 2009. He was a director of Pacific Capital Investment Management.

Ayling, a self-described “counter-jihadist”, admitted, “I have given some money to help some EDL things happen.”

He went by the pseudonym “Alan Lake” until he was exposed in December 2011.

He published an online essay discussing the execution and torture of Britain’s political and religious leaders.

Mark Meechan

aka ‘Count Dankula’

Meechan has spoken at Robinson rallies in the past year.

He was fined £800 for teaching his dog to “Sieg Heil” on hearing the words “gas the Jews”.

Meechan was found guilty of posting material that was “grossly offensive” and “antisemitic and racist in nature”after a trial last year.

Robinson attended Meechan’s trial.

Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen

of Nazi group Britain First

They were pictured drinking with Robinson and his spokesperson Caolan Robertson, in April 2017.

Robinson asked supporters to subscribe to the group’s Telegram app broadcast list last week.

He defended Golding and Fransen after their conviction last year for hate crimes.

They were imprisoned in 2018 for crimes including racially abusing people in the street.

Britain First was set up by former members of the BNP.

Jason Marriner

football hooligan with Nazi links

A YouTube video, published in December 2018, showed Robinson and Marriner together last year.

Marriner is a former leader of the Chelsea Headhunters gang. He was close to Combat 18, which takes its names from the first and eighth letters of the alphabet—A for Adolf and H for Hitler.

He made a Nazi salute at the Auschwitz death camp and boasted that he had upset Jews there by attempting to climb into one of the ovens.

Sign up for our daily email update ‘Breakfast in Red’

Latest News

Make a donation to Socialist Worker

Help fund the resistance