By Isabel Ringrose
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2760

Oppose Tommy Robinson’s mobilisation in Batley and Spen

This article is over 2 years, 11 months old
Issue 2760
A huge counter demonstration confronts a fascist ‘free Tommy’ protest.
A huge counter demonstration confronts a fascist ‘free Tommy’ protest in London, 2018. (Pic: Mark Ramsay/Flickr)

Fascist Tommy Robinson is planning to demonstrate in Batley and Spen this Saturday to support far right candidates in the upcoming by-election.

Anti-fascists and anti-racists must be there to kick Robinson back into the pit he’s crawling out from.

He has been trying to make a comeback since failing to be elected as a MEP. He won a humiliating 2.2 percent of the vote in north west England in 2019.

He was met by Stand Up To Racism activists wherever he attempted to campaign.

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The threat of Robinson’s reappearance must be taken seriously.

Batley and Spen must not be an opportunity for Robinson and his followers to gain confidence.

The by-election in Batley and Spen is set for 1 July (see pages 4 and 5). Among the 16 candidates are two fascists, and several far right figures.

They are hoping to build on the back of the Tories’ stirring up of racism.

Anne Marie Waters is running for the fascist, For Britain. And Jayda Fransen, former acting leader of Britain First and current leader of the British Freedom Party, is also running.

Fransen stood against Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow Southside last month gaining just 46 votes.

However big their electoral defeats have been, they cannot be allowed to rally unopposed.

Batley and Spen is the seat that Labour MP Jo Cox held before she was murdered by Nazi Thomas Mair who shouted “Britain first” as he killed her.

It has also been at the centre of arguments around Islamophobia after an offensive cartoon of the prophet Mohammed was shown at a school.

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Candidates such as Waters and Fransen will try to ramp up attacks on Muslims. Fransen was imprisoned in 2018 for three charges of religiously aggravated harassment.

Others standing are the English Democrats and the anti-vax Heritage Party.

Jack Thomson is running for Ukip. He says his interest “grew a lot when Tommy Robinson became involved with the party.”

“I had watched many of Tommy’s videos and he too was a man of principle and his incredible devotion to this day cannot be matched by anyone else,” he says.

This shows the effect that fascists like Robinson can have when they are given a platform.

But at a time where there is little parliamentary opposition to the Tories’ culture wars, protesters must be out on the streets to push back against fascists.

Local Stand Up To Racism groups in Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, are organising a counter-protest to Robinson’s planned appearance.

Anti-racists have pushed Robinson and his nasty thugs off the streets before.

We must do it again.

Stand Up To Racism groups are protesting on 26 June from 12-6pm at Batley Town Hall, Market Square. Details here.

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