Tommy Robinson arriving at the Old Bailey building on Friday. (Yui Mok/PA)
Trial by trial, imprisonment by imprisonment, dishonest news report by dishonest news report, the miserable bastards who make up the British establishment are steadily transforming Tommy Robinson, a working-class husband and father from Leeds, into an imperishable symbol of the quiet determination, indomitable courage, and love of liberty for which Britain used to be known but which that selfsame establishment has labored effortfully to stamp out during these opening chapters of the Islamization of that once-great nation.
Even those of us who have been closely following Tommy’s treatment by the British courts during the past couple of years – and who, perusing the charges against him, have recognized just how outrageously he has been treated by a judiciary committed not to justice but to the silencing, and if possible personal destruction, of this latter-day Jeremiah – were stunned by the verdict handed down on Friday after a two-day trial.
This was a rehearing of the same case that last year landed Tommy in prison (more specifically, in what amounted, in violation of the Geneva Convention, to solitary confinement), an ordeal from which he emerged, after two months, looking physically and psychologically all but broken. The charges themselves were absurd to begin with: he was taken into custody near the courthouse in Leeds, where he was doing a live report on Facebook video about an “Asian grooming-gang” (i.e. Muslim child-rape) prosecution that was underway inside. He didn’t do or say anything that any BBC or Guardian journalist in similar circumstances might do; but he was arrested anyway – on the grounds that his reporting from out on the street had somehow threatened to prejudice the trial going on inside the building – and was charged with contempt of court.
The speed with which he was tried, convicted, and incarcerated after his arrest in Leeds – the whole process took just a few hours – shocked observers who still thought of British justice as something serious and worthy of respect. His release from prison two months later came after the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, in an unusually blistering ruling, declared that the court proceedings against him had been illegitimate in a number of ways, and ordered his immediate release.
That solitary glimmer of fairness from the Chief Justice led some of us to hope that Tommy might, in the end, receive something resembling real justice. But no. Contrary to the expectations of many, a retrial on the same feeble charges was scheduled. At the Old Bailey in London on Thursday and Friday, the weakness of the case against him was painfully obvious. Reporting from a street near the courthouse during a lunch break on Friday, Ezra Levant of Canada’s Rebel Media, who attended the trial (and who himself happens to be a lawyer), pronounced on a YouTube video that “this is as close as it comes to a sham trial as I’ve ever seen in a Western democracy.”
He added – and I’ve made the same point previously in articles about this seemingly endless process of judicial harassment – that if this were happening in someplace like Russia, international human-rights organizations would be shouting about it from the rooftops and calling it out for exactly what it is: namely, the kind of nakedly political prosecution that we like to think happens only in totalitarian countries. But even Levant, at midday on Friday, confessed to feeling positive: the first day and a half of the trial had laid so totally bare the weakness of the prosecution’s case that a conviction seemed inconceivable.
But by the end of the day Levant had been proven wrong. The judges, Dame Victoria Sharp and Sir Mark Warby (whom we are supposed to refer to as The Hon. Mr. Justice Warby, but the hell with that), pronounced Tommy guilty. He may get up to two years behind bars: we don’t know yet. In reporting on the verdict, British court reporters – who every day do exactly what Tommy had been convicted for – could barely constrain their glee at what they saw as his comeuppance. He had taken them on, all of them – the judges and MPs, the reporters and professors, the police chiefs and high-ranking civil servants who run that blighted island (and in doing so are running it into the ground) – and, although he had justice on his side and a large and ever-growing segment of the British populace at his back, he had lost.
But those judges, and their entire network of cronies and confederates in the British political, cultural, academic, and media establishment, are fools indeed if they think this means they have won. Thanks to their fatuousness, knavery, and cowardice, Tommy is – step by step, injustice by injustice – growing into nothing less than a world-historical figure, a living symbol of the determination of the Western multitudes to preserve their free civilization in the face of an elite, at once arrogant and craven, that has plainly decided to stand by and manage its gradual subjugation to an alien tyranny.
Tommy is, if you will, our Nelson Mandela or John Brown, only without blood on his hands; he is our Churchill in the 1930s wilderness, sounding the alarm about a looming menace – except that Winston had a bully pulpit in Westminster, while Tommy appears, once again, to be headed back to jail. Rosa Parks became immortal for refusing to sit in the back of one bus on a single day; Tommy faces worse things than a Montgomery, Alabama, bus driver every day of his life, and doesn’t have an organization with the power and resources of the NAACP behind him. Also, Rosa Parks was the face of a cause of which the mass media of the time fully approved; today’s legacy media view Tommy as an existential threat to the power structures of which they are a part, and treat him, accordingly, with consistent dishonesty and disdain.
On Friday evening, after Tommy’s verdict came down, my friend Valerie Price, who runs Act for Canada and who attended the trial, wrote a posting about it on her Facebook page that concluded as follows: “I fear that if the Crown sends him back to prison, this will be the spark that ignites a class war.” The next morning, in a private missive, she expanded on this thought: after Tommy was pronounced guilty and they all filed out of the Old Bailey, the crowd outside, she told me, was “in a rage and ready to ‘storm the Bastille.’” Well, I’m not entirely sure whether it’s wise or not on my part, but I find myself hoping that if Tommy is sent to prison, his supporters do drop their British restraint down the loo and, just this once, act like an eighteen-century French mob. That may be the only thing that will make the torpid, turpitudinous rogues in Westminster sit up and take notice, and perhaps even cause Her Majesty to look up from her tea.
But of course not even a heaping dose of Gallic-style canaillerie on the part of the Eastenders set will do the job that needs to be done: if there’s any possibility of saving Britain from the fate about which Tommy Robinson has been warning all these years, the first real step has to be a general election that sweeps both major parties out of power and into the dustbin and installs in their place a new government that actually represents, and is willing to act boldly on, the will of the British people – and that, moreover, treats Tommy not with condescension but with the respect he deserves. Which is all by way of saying that I’ll know the UK is headed in the right direction when it has a prime minister who recommends Tommy Robinson for a knighthood.
Bruce Bawer is the author of “While Europe Slept,” “Surrender,” "The Victims' Revolution," and "The Alhambra." "Islam," a collection of his essays on Islam, has just been published.