This is a guest post by ‘Malatesta’
It has been quite a week for Tommy Robinson AKA Stephen Yaxley-Lennon of the English Defence League who seems to be under increasing pressure. Last weekend the EDL travelled to Amsterdam where they were faced with hostility from the Dutch authorities, police, local community, football fans and anti-fascist protestors. They were there in part to show support for Anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders who had publicly distanced himself from them earlier that week. The few EDL who made the trip were massively outnumbered by a disappointed press corps all looking for a scoop: what the media saw was a large amount of counter-demonstrators who, following a truncated speech from the EDL leader, sent the EDL on their way. Shortly after, someone posted footage on YouTube of Tommy and the others running away from angry Dutch counter-protestors. British police had come along to monitor the situation but when the EDL turned to them for protection they were told their safety could not be guaranteed. It can only be assumed that the Met were liaising with the Dutch Van Der Valk and were greatly relieved at the avoidance of an international incident.
As if that was not enough, Hope Not Hate released an incriminating picture of what looks like Yaxley-Lennon at a 2007 BNP meeting flanking veteran racist Richard Edmonds. It is not unknown for people to change their political views over time but many anti-fascists have long been claiming that Tommy was ex-BNP which was vehemently denied by some EDL supporters. There has been no comment forthcoming from the EDL.
The EDL have relaunched their merchandise site following a brief unprofitable hiatus. Tommy was accused by former EDL colleague John ‘Snowy’ Shaw of pocketing £160,000 from selling dodgy hoodies and burkah masks. Snowy also said that 2nd in command Kevin Carroll’s mixed race daughter is, in fact, a paid actress pretending. Snowy was arrested following the rooftop protest after the Dudley demonstration descended into violence. He has since been booted out of the EDL and Tommy has vehemently denied any financial malfeasance and continues to hawk his merchandise.
Not only that but Tommy was arrested again this week in an ongoing investigation over mortgage fraud. According to the EDL forum it is the 5th time he has been nicked this year and there are noises about holding a demo in his home town of Luton in the new year – ‘where it all began’ – in protest over plod’s behaviour. Tommy is hoping for a large turnout and has said there will be no police liaison this time. This is, in part, due to the resentment felt by the rank and file in having to follow police instructions, being kettled in and bussed out with scant toilet facilities. Tommy is not unknown to the local constabulary having already served a year in jail for assaulting a policeman. EDL forum posters are unanimous in condemning his harassment.
However not everyone is so enamoured by Tommy. The UK Lionheart blog is busy exposing him and the EDL for numerous infractions. The blog is no doubt run by 1 of the disenfranchised EDL members and has footage claiming that Tommy is an ‘Irish republican.’
This week, the EDL warned UK local councils about changing the name of Christmas to Winter Festival. If this occurs then the EDL will descend upon the town for a static demo, something which they will cost local councils £500,000 a pop. The ‘threats’ look like a not-so-cheap publicity stunt.
Meanwhile, repeated exposure of the Welsh Defence League’s connections to known fascists has prompted them to change their name to Welsh Casuals. The Welsh division has struggled to ostracize Swansea Combat 18 for refusing to stop making Nazi salutes on demos. However, Luke Pippen, a Swansea C18 member, helps run the Casuals United Blog with WDL founder Jeff Marsh, which has just made the announcement.
What A Week!
So all in all, quite a week for Tommy Robinson as the pressure builds. Following the rejection by Geert Wilders and the Amsterdam debacle, he has been pictured at a BNP meeting, arrested for the 5th time this year and been the subject of less than flattering footage on YouTube. What next? The EDL will be holding a demo in Preston on November 27th which will no doubt descend into the usual violence and leave the local council with a bill of £500,000.