The Legacy of Tommy Robinson & the English Defence League

Matthew Collins - 13 10 13

The recent overnight conversion of Tommy ‘New Era’ Robinson has left many bemused and questioning whether someone who has been at the centre of agitation over the last 4 years can suddenly change. Or take the fact that Tommy’s financial assets have been frozen as reported in the Guardian yesterday. Or take the fact that this article in the Guardian highlights some questions around the sustainability of an Organisation on the back of the Damascene conversion of Robinson. Whatever the reality, there is one thing that cannot be disputed and that is the legacy of hate that Tommy Robinson has promoted over the last 4 years towards Muslim communities. Now, he may argue that he was against ‘Islamist extremism,’ though on-line and street based statements by him included threats and abuse against Muslims.

We have listed a word cloud which represents words that have a higher frequency in on-line cases, as being larger in size and the word cloud really is self-explanatory. This is the legacy of Tommy’s agitation in the last 4 years and one of our colleagues went through all of the on-line cases of anti-Muslim prejudice recorded in TELL MAMA and mapped the terms according to their frequency. So Tommy, here is your legacy over the last 4 years

As can be seen, many cases include references to the EDL or English Defence League. Much of the language includes negative responses such as ‘kill’, ‘war’, ‘muzzrat’ and ‘hate’, as well as racist terminology that is also mixed in with the anti-Muslim statements. ‘Paki’ for example comes up on numerous occasions which also brings us back to the fact that police forces need to be able to distinguish cases that have both a racial and religiously aggravated basis.

Finally, if this is the legacy that Tommy Robinson wants to leave behind, then there is one word to say – rehabilitation. He needs to payback to communities before he is rehabilitated. We have listed the first step here and continue to wait to see whether this is a real shift in mentality and a rejection of Far Right ideology or a cynical manipulation of the public so that he can continue to lead some form of a life.

Tell Mama


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