Yesterday the right-wing provocateur Tommy Robinson was arrested for livestreaming the comings and goings outside a British court building where a rape trial involving Muslims was ongoing. Within hours the British government had placed a gagging order on the press, so as usual it fell to Twitter to tell everyone what went on.
The chattering classes are this morning stroking their chins and sternly reminding us that filming outside a courtroom is illegal and Robinson is currently serving a suspended sentence for the same offence. Reporting on ongoing court matters is strictly controlled in the UK in order not to prejudice a trial, and people make a valid point when they say Robinson’s actions could result in a mistrial. At best, he’s been very naive and probably ought to find himself a reliable legal adviser if he’s going to keep doing stuff like this.
However, there is a lot more going on here and the chattering classes are either deliberately overlooking it or, more likely, utterly unaware of it. Robinson has not been arrested for filming outside a court building, he’s been arrested because he embarrasses the ruling classes. He has been constantly followed, monitored, and harassed by Plod wherever he goes solely because he draws attention to the failings of the ruling classes. In this particular instance, he is making the point that the mainstream media is silent on the issue of Muslims raping vulnerable, underage British girls in northern, working-class towns, leaving it to people like him with iPhones to keep everyone informed. While he’s probably mistaken the lack of media coverage of this ongoing case for self-censorship rather than mere compliance with the law, the wider point is that the media does self-censor and particularly so in cases such as these. The modern British media is merely a mouthpiece for the ruling classes, which is why so many journalists have taken to Twitter to pompously besmirch Robinson and justify his arrest and incarceration. The last thing mainstream journalists want is some pleb without the proper credentials, much less a degree from Oxford or Cambridge, reporting on things they’d prefer went unmentioned.
While it is true that Robinson has committed some sort of offence here, Britain is fast becoming like many authoritarian states in that everyone is committing an offence merely by going about their daily business, and it’s therefore just a matter of who the police choose to arrest. And even if you haven’t committed a crime, the police can arrest whoever they like for wholly imaginary reasons and face no consequences. With the process being the punishment, it doesn’t really matter if you’ve committed an offence or not: if the ruling classes and their minions in uniforms decide you’re a problem, they’ll make your life hell and convince themselves they’ve acted lawfully. We should remind ourselves at this point that nobody rotted away in a Soviet gulag for no reason: there was always a charge attached to their incarceration. The fact Robinson was originally arrested for breach of the peace and later that changed to prejudicing a trial shows the authorities aren’t really interested in what they charge him with provided he ends up behind bars.
Somebody asked on Twitter yesterday why the government is terrified of upsetting Muslims to the point they’re prepared to jail the likes of Robinson. I responded by saying they’re not: the government and their bag carriers are not in the least afraid or Muslims because they pose no threat to their way of life, and are often quite useful in cementing them into positions of power and privilege. What they are genuinely terrified of is the ignorant, white masses rising up and hanging them from lampposts, and the event which triggers this could well be widespread revulsion at what the ruling classes have seemingly allowed Muslims to get away with in towns like Rotherham and Telford. The nightmare scenario for the likes of Theresa May and tossers writing in The Times and The Guardian is not a crazed jihadist bombing a concert or knifing someone on Westminster Bridge but an angry mob of people who look and sound much like them.
Tommy Robinson to some degree represents that angry mob, and even those who don’t like his methods or opinions are forced to admit he has a point: the government is failing massively on many levels, and eventually things will boil over with ugly results. The idiots in government think by chucking him in jail the problem will go away, just as Twitter and Facebook think they can eradicate alt-right opinions by banning users who hold them, as if covering their ears is the answer. History is littered with national leaders who spent time in prison for criticising the previous regime; not that I think Robinson will become Prime Minister, but it demonstrates that rulers who jail those who are inconvenient often don’t remain in charge very long. It’s a sign of extreme weakness rather than strength, and it’s no coincidence that Robinson is being arrested at a time when Britain has one of the weakest yet childishly authoritarian Prime Ministers in living memory.
The next week or so will probably test May’s government more than she realises. The public are already incensed over Count Dankula’s Nazi pug prosecution, and if Robinson is harmed in custody in any way, the ruling classes might find he has a lot more supporters than they thought, and some are ready to step up and take things a little further. The IRA in their successful campaign to bomb their way to the bargaining table were able to rely on an enormous number of people putting money into hats passed around in pubs. Similarly, jihadists are supported in large part by thousands of hands placing notes into bowls passed through the crowd during Friday prayers.
Let’s leave the who, what, and how to one side for a minute, mainly because they’re questions I can’t answer. Instead, let’s try a thought experiment: if hats were passed through the British population asking for money to tackle the problems Tommy Robinson is highlighting, how many people would cough up, and how much money would be raised? I expect if the ruling classes knew the answer, they’d turn white.