3 Dec 2015

Tommy Robinson is back – but what’s changed?

After two years below the radar and after serving a prison sentence for mortgage fraud, he is back.

Tommy Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon and founder of the English Defence League (EDL) – is starting a new anti-radical Islamic movement in the UK.

“My view are righteous,” he tells me, “but the EDL wasn’t the right way. We have no time for homophobes now. We don’t want anyone who hates Jews. We want families. We want moderate Muslims.

“We don’t want the booze and the football hooligan element – that’s where EDL was wrong. We were young and angry. I’m a bit ashamed.”

I nurse my pint of bitter. Tommy coasts on a bottle of fizzy water at the London pub where he is speaking exclusively to Channel 4 News.

He says: “The government should get tough. Get tough.”

He has. He calls for a total ban on Muslim immigration to the UK for five years. A ban on building mosques in the UK for five years. And a ban on any foreign funding of UK mosques.

He insists this isn’t far-right pipe-dreaming – just what people here want after the Daesh or IS threat emerged, and indeed long before it did so.

Once again the time has come, he insists.


So he is managing the setting up of Pegida-UK – the British wing of the German anti-Islamic street movement which has taken hold across northern Europe and, it must be said, has managed to avoid the trappings of violence and neo-fascist bootboy thuggery.

At one of Pegida’s recent anti-refugee rallys in Dresden, Tommy Robinson addressed a 40,000-strong crowd.

“Your current chancellor, Angela Merkel, seems to be handing out the birthright of German citizens like she is handing out candy to children,” he said.

Pegida, which stands for ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident’, has been holding weekly demonstrations against what it calls the ‘Islamisation’ of the west.

Angela Merkel says people at Pegida rallies often have “prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts.”

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Robinson wants families at his UK rallies – the first is on February 6th. He does not want booze, masks, the shouting and chanting. Yes he really does want families to come – and what he calls “moderate Muslims”. Defining that concept proves a little more tricky.

But Tommy is the manager. The would-be star tells me his name is just “Tim”.

An odd start for a wannabe political leader not to have a second name.

On camera he suddenly admits to be Tom Scott. A former British soldier who fought in Afghanistan, he then tooled up as a fighter against IS alongside Kurdish militia.


But our interview turns into something of a car-crash. Plainly unaccustomed to any scrutiny as to what the threat of radical Islam might be, Scott says:

“Girls getting groomed. Er… Youth getting radicalised. So many things you know?”

“Well that’s two.” I point out, “what else?”

“Well all stuff. You know? Look at Iraq? Do we wait till it gets that bad here? No, it’s best to act now and prevent that happening,”

I endeavoured to point out that Iraq was run by a notorious blood-Baathist built on industrial torture and slaughter up to and including chemical warfare – but that cuts no ice with Tim.

He feels – and Robinson like him – that the UK could somehow become another Iraq because of radical Islam. And this is genuinely felt.

If the “moderate” Pegida doesn’t fill the gap, these guys argue that the “genuine far-right” agitators will do so.

So their first rally is on February 6th at an as-yet undecideds location but not in an area where tensions over immigration are high. Expect no booze or masks or the old EDL aggression.

But policies? Ideas? Not much in evidence at all and where they are, they seem mighty close to the same old/same old of the failed far right.

Tweets by @alextomo

13 reader comments

  1. James Alton says:

    I can remember, let’s say 30 years ago, when few people considered immigrants from Pakistan and neighbouring muslim countries, and their children, born in the UK or not, to be really British. Technically they were, but few, in all walks of life in the UK, thought they were British; and if their nationality did arise, and they were referred to as British, it would be with hesitancy. They were a different culture, and have stayed that way – they weren’t then and aren’t now British or European in any worthwhile sense. The only thing that has changed is that there is many more of them, and thus in greater concentrations in this small island, and with loud, shrill, organised voices, and now nobody dare say that even the most murderous, society rejecting, seditious maniac is anything but British as long as the maniac has British citizenship. This is Islamisation in action – that Britishness now, only because of concentration of numbers, incorporates Islam in any form that it chooses to be expressed.

    Good luck to you Tommy with Pergida, but don’t expect any empathy from the beer swilling Mr Thomson – he has too much to lose by doing anything other than mocking you and your naive supporters. Unfortunately you have to suffer the jibes of such comfortable people to get your message widely known, while you fight against the greatest threat the enlightened world has.

  2. Frank kelly says:

    Just like to say that Alex Thomson should be ashamed of himself!
    I am not a right wing fanatic or have connections to any political party but the interview with the new Pegida leader was disgraceful!! it doesn’t matter which party you support we have to give members a fair hearing.
    Alex Thomson asked what was it that Mr Scott objected to, when Mr Scott answered young girl are being groomed and young men are radicalised Thomson shrugged his shoulders and said “that is just TWO things” he was not interested! Hang your head in shame you self satisfied condescending moron!!
    The world is the way it is because of people like you!!!

  3. michael watson says:

    When your own media are too afraid to break sharia laws in your own country by not wanting to show a cartoon of the prophet of out of fear, then you know there is a problem, and what a performance from the reporter to pretend he didn’t know this especially as ch 4 was one of the main cowards.

  4. Ryan O'Reilly says:

    This man, whilst trying to move away from the Oi! Skinhead booze-fuelled footy hooligan image of far-right knuckledraggers, is doing no more than polishing a turd by putting a suit and tie on it and speaking in softer tones. Will he not allow these ‘moderate Muslims’ as he puts it to build Mosques in which to worship their God?

    Alex, you could have been there all night picking holes in his, ahem, manifesto. I expect you may have slightly bigger fish to fry.

  5. Philip Smeeton says:

    So what you are saying is that the rapid growth of the Muslim population in Britain and the violent ideology of Islam that they follow is nothing to worry about. Islam is not moderate.

  6. H Statton says:

    I’ll come out with it straight away, I thought former British soldier
    Tom Scott sounded like buffoon.

    If he is indeed the ‘leader’ of Pegida-UK, then any level-headed, cognisant person has nothing to worry about. Pegida pose no political threat.

    His reasoning (ahem), sounded incoherent and immature. Er, um, you know? At least Nigel Farage is articulate.

    No doubt future arguments will be better scripted and provided courtesy of Tommy Robinson, er… Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

    He will be supporting the idea of aborting funding for mosques, a halt to building new mosques, and a complete ban on Muslim immigration to the UK for five years.

    He was not at all prepared for what were very obvious questions. It was like seeing an x-factor non-starter trying to front Led Zeppelin.

    ‘Stick to your guns’ Tom Scott. You may have served honourably as a soldier, but your future in politics looks bleak.

    It all sounded like a softly, softly approach; the EDL wolf in sheep’s clothing. Seems like Tommy not ‘Timmy’, will really be running the show.

  7. harteetkonnur says:

    Typical lazy hatchet job of Mr Lennon.
    Your last sentence speaks of the “failed far right”…yet all this is the fault oif the (still) failing far left!
    Thomson is one of the more thoughtful hacks at Channel 4 and was a good journalist-but Channel 4 News is a disgrace….more Corbyn than even the bigoted BBC.
    You really need to wake up there-if you don`t give Lennon and Farage a fair wind and stop demonising them, whilst Islamism is resurgent…then Lennon is right-you will get far worse than the two hate figures I name-who, at least DO care about the democratic process and of free speech.
    The liberal “bien-pensant” media like you at Channel 4 have long shown us all that you care about neither.
    Your arrogant picking apart of Tom Scott is an aimless diversion-displacement virtue signalling-if YOU Mr Thomson need Scott to tell you what “militant islam” might look like…then surely all those freebies to Calais and to Paris for you and “Team Liberal” were badly “invested”…

  8. Pembroke says:

    Threat of Islam?
    Channel 4, try showing a cartoon of Mohamed and see what happens. Try being a Muslim and announcing that you’re no longer a Muslim and see what happens. Try giving a talk criticising Islam at Goldsmiths university and see what happens. Try being a Dutch filmmaker producing a film critical of Islam and see what happens. Try being Ayan Hirsi Ali and having to pay huge security bills because she is critical of Islam. Try pointing out the glaringly obvious shortcomings and belligerent passages in the Quran and being accused of inciting hatred. Try finding out what belligerence towards non-Muslims is being taught in Madrassahs. Try and read what’s happening to children’s education in Muslim-dominated schools in Birmingham. Try reading the Quran to find the belligerence towards non-Muslims oozing from every page. Try examining what the über-Muslims of ISIL have created using the Quran and Mohamed for inspiration. Try attending a music performance in Paris and feeling relaxed and completely safe.

  9. MIKE KNOTH says:

    The man can’t bear not to be in the spotlight, he may be genuine but he will not be able to control those who latch on they will be racists looking for a cause

  10. Ian C Hall says:

    Cultural collapse is possibly a more accurate analogy of what we face. This right wing group understands the change afoot but clearly cannot deliver a reasoned argument to present.

    Firstly some logical and rational assumptions regarding immigration…

    There has to be cultural assimilation……..without it we face exactly what we have today throughout Europe……France has over 750 no go Muslim areas……they do not teach French law ……… the culture alien to the host is taught along with sharia law from the Quran and Hadith.
    Totally against the democratic ideal of the host nation.

    Stockholm has over 55 no go areas…….again this is in non compliance with the host……..
    There will be throughout Europe the same, replicated again and again……

    Here in Britain…….Bolton…..Blackburn…..Bradford……etc etc…… could very well be practising the same.

    If the immigrants cannot change to exist in the hosts economy it desired to be with ……………..the hosts customs and social behaviour will change…….and in the case of the Muslim element the religious doctrine it follows will shape the new hybrid culture……..this is what we see today……..

    The hybrid culture will follow the religious doctrine to the letter and the hosts will have to assimilate into the immigrant host ……..or face extinction.

    That is where it gets perilous……..to the writer……know your place in the world under the Quran……Christianity – Hinduism – Buddhism – Shinto – Judaism……….etc.

    YOU ARE a second class citizen and under an Islamic cultural rule you will have to pay a Jizya, a tax on non Muslims to exist within its social framework……..and when you are without the means to pay…….. time will run out.

    A birth rate that cannot keep a cultural existence is upon Europe…….the new owners are here…..the masses know that there is a problem………..but have no idea that extinction is the prize that awaits them.

    1. Johan Löfström says:

      Stockholm has not got ’55 no-go-areas’.

      What is in the Swedish Police official and public reports regarding “55 areas in Sweden, where-in police face difficulty in carrying out their tasks”.

      Sweden is a country with almost 10 million inhabitants, and I read the actual report, and did not find the wording “no-go-area” or “no-go-zone” anywhere.

      Check for yourself, here is the actual report https://polisen.se/Global/www%20och%20Intrapolis/Rapporter-utredningar/01%20Polisen%20nationellt/Ovriga%20rapporter-utredningar/Kriminella%20natverk%20med%20stor%20paverkan%20i%20lokalsamhallet%20Sekretesspr%2014.pdf

      Your credibility sank tremendously, to a minimal level, so I am starting to feel that all your other ‘facts’ should be scrutinized by lots of other people – now that I have busted one of your key ‘facts’.

  11. Lisa M says:

    I have made an official complaint to Ofcom about this disgusting interview, and how Thomson showed what a left winged bigot he obviously is by suggesting that the rape and grooming of young girls and radicalisation of youth aren’t enough reasons for Pegida to exist. Perhaps if he had a daughter or relative who had been directly affected he may have thought differently.

  12. Ruper Scott says:

    A decent independent thinking journalist would be asking Tommy Robinson serious questions like why Pegida is so popular across Europe. Whether the priveliged left like it or not, many many members of the public are sick of the increasing public presence of Islam in our country. It is alien to us. Also, being murdered in the name of the same religion is a risk we take every time we enter our towns and cities these days. Yes, most Muslims are ordinary decent people but unfortunately a significant number are not. Ridicule decent people like Farage and Tommy Robinson if you must but you’re risking the rise of a real far right response if you do. That is my real fear.

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