Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Tommy Robinson is a symptom of a far deeper malaise

I'm not going to write about Brexit today. I wanted to comment on the "Tommy Robinson" case. Mine is far from a qualified opinion and I do not have the time nor the inclination to go into depth but to me the assertion that his actions were likely to prejudice a trial are thin gruel - and the argument is more than likely a try-on by the defence lawyers for the sex offenders. A good judge ought to be wise to this. There's a strong whiff of baloney here.

Howsoever, I see little, if anything, that warrants more than a night in a police slammer. The man should be treated as a nuisance at best. The traction he has is that which the state has given him. As an LBC presenter remarked earlier today, if you don't want Tommy Robinson figures in the mix you have to do something to address the legitimate grievances. Instead we get equivocation and whataboutery amplified by a class of media pundits whose deeply partisan reporting only adds fuel to the fire.

To prove that point, yesterday we saw a BBC hack playing heavily on the fact that the "ring leader" of those convicted this week was a Sikh. A recent convert as I understand it. It is deliberate equivocation to avoid an uncomfortable truth. This is exactly the point that Robinson makes. The media is complicit. There is debate to be had as to how much culture and faith influence the atrocities we have seen but we have employees of the state broadcaster seeking to avoid that debate altogether.

There is then the matter of how his supporters are portrayed. I am not sure what we are supposed to conclude by Robinson having minders in veterans attire and the occasional thug giving a Nazi salute certainly doesn't help their case that they are not far right, but the media happily puts them in that box because if you label it as such you can ignore it.

The problem, however, is that the Tommy Robinson brand has a massive following of generally socially conservative working class people who think the establishment is more interested in keeping a lid on news about the epidemic of grooming and rape than it is about going after the culprits. They are not wrong. Certainly the response by local authorities has been wholly inadequate and local media has long since lost its vitality and courage.

In respect of that, Tommy Robinson is a skilled agitator. He is doing it entirely for his own ends and has a razor sharp team managing his public image but I doubt his supporters care. His supporters may be exploited by Robinson but they in turn get something from this. This issue is kept firmly on the radar when otherwise it would be swept under the carpet. Without Robinson there would be nothing to keep it in the public eye. The Labour Party would rather talk about transgender toileting than a mass rape epidemic - while it virtue signals in the face of robust language from Sajid Javid. 

Keep in mind this is amidst a battle for hearts and minds. The police has lost the confidence of the public almost across the board. In 2016, British police detained and questioned more than 3,300 people for “grossly offensive” comments on social media. That’s roughly nine arrests a day. Yet London has a stabbing epidemic. We are now all too used to seeing police clowning around at Notting Hill Carnival and LGBT events, shredding the gravitas of the uniform - which in any case is a slovenly paramilitary look fresh from the USA.

There is a sense that the police and the wider authorities are geared mainly to enforcing the multiculturalist progressive scripture rather than hunting what you or I would call criminals. Of course this is through the prism of selective tabloid reporting but the case presented is one the authorities urgently have to answer. 

But then as much as politics has utterly lost it, the media has lost it, and the police have definitely lost it, what is never asked is why teenage girls are out on their own to fall victim to these predators in the first place. As I understand it many are seeking basic shelter, food or any kind of affection. In some cases there is a quasi-consensual dynamic to it - until it turns monstrous. 

We can and should look hard at our immigration policy and and make damn sure we are not importing these such predators from the back hills of of Pakistan, especially since that country is regressing - and we should not hesitate to deport where possible - but there are far deeper social problems to address very much concerned with housing, education, welfare and employment. There's a good reason why these girls are "easy meat".

There I suppose there is a Brexit angle. For all the Waitrose Whingers can descend upon London to wail about their EU perks, that so-called prosperity they are supposedly defending never reached Rotherham and Keighley. Places where you can still afford a house - but you wouldn't want to live there and it wouldn't appreciate in value. For as long as the well subsidised middle classes are kept comfortable these forgotten places will continue in their decline to become little more than welfare warehouses where the lives and prospects of working class girls (and boys) aren't worth a damn.

The remainer brigade are all about preserving the status quo and the centrist political order. They don't want change and so long as the regions are propped up with EU funding we can carry on with the pretence that the UK is is a prosperous, progressive place and continue to ignore the systemic rot in our politics and wider society. For as long as the status quo is propped up then we need not acknowledge the dark underside of Britain and make scapegoats of the Tommy Robinsons of this world. We could do that - but a society unwilling and unable to confront its decline is one that is already finished. Brexit is our one window to stop the rot. 

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