What Tommy Robinson and Mikhail Khodorkovsky have in common

The Secret Barrister gives what I assume is an accurate legal perspective on the arrest and imprisonment of Tommy Robinson. Here’s his third paragraph:

While, as we’ll see below, the reasons for the postponement order appear sound, the consequence of preventing fair and accurate reporting by responsible journalists was that there was no factual counterpoint to the selective and inaccurate details of Yaxley-Lennon’s situation that were inevitably flooded through social media by his knuckle-dragging cheerleaders, not least his racists-in-arms across the pond. Thus sprung a (largely unchallenged and unchallengeable) narrative of Tommy The Brave being arrested outside court for no reason and imprisoned in secret by the deep state, culminating in petitions for his release and a Nazi-themed march on Downing Street.

One needn’t read any further to understand the purpose of The Secret Barrister’s post is not only to inform readers as to the legal situation, but to make sure everyone knows that he is a decent, right-thinker, and not some nasty oik like those who support Tommy Robinson. He would have been able to make the same legal points without prefacing them with a paragraph of virtue-signalling, but why waste an opportunity to polish your right-thinking credentials and further cement your position in polite society? Besides, if you’re going to write about Tommy Robinson and not criticise him, people might think you’re on his side and that would never do. Better to include some boilerplate progressive buzzwords as a shield against such accusations.

There’s a lot of this going on, and from some unexpected sources too. Personally I don’t know if Tommy Robinson broke the law, but from what the experts are saying it seems he did and he was either stupid or trying to martyr himself. But as I wrote in my previous post, that is largely beside the point. I could open up any news site right now and point to flagrant breaches of the law which go unpunished by the authorities (here’s one), because it’s either too much trouble or the perpetrators are members of a protected class. On the flip side of the same coin I could also find examples of people who haven’t done much wrong but nevertheless are clobbered by the authorities: I understand that Lauren Southern, a Canadian right-wing provocateuse who looks as though she weighs 50kg soaking wet, is banned for life from entering the UK.

When the ruling classes want to dispose of someone inconvenient, they don’t just shoot them and dump their body in a well. There has to be some semblance of a justice system being applied; even Stalin’s high-ranking victims were subject to show trials. Now I don’t think Tommy Robinson is a victim of a Stalinist show trial, but it serves as a reminder that the underlying reason for a person being punished is not always the one the prosecuting state says it is. A better example is the trial and incarceration of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the dismemberment of Yukos, the oil company he founded. There was absolutely no doubt that Khodorkovsky had engaged in serious financial improprieties, tax evasion, and general gangsterism and probably had blood on his hands as well. However, as his defenders pointed out quite reasonably, everyone who’d risen to the position of oligarch in ’90s Russia had done exactly the same and often much more and much worse, and some of these men were Vladimir Putin’s best pals. So why Khodorkovsky?

Why, indeed. The reason, as everyone knew, was that he had dared dip his toe into the political arena and threaten Putin’s rule, so he put the entire machinery of the state into action to see that Khodorkovsky was ruined. It was a highly selective use of the justice system, and even Khodorkovsky’s fiercest critics admit privately that the tax evasion was just an excuse, his real crime was threatening the ruling powers. However – and this is crucial in the context of Tommy Robinson – the Russian government made damned sure to publicise Khodorkovsky’s unsavoury past and to emphasise that the crimes he’d committed were real. They did so to ensure his defenders were hamstrung from the start and the public on the side of the state. After all, the rule of law is important, is it not? And Khodorkovsky clearly broke the law, so why should he go free? This is the actual view most Russians take of the matter, yet the chattering classes in the west saw him as some sort of martyr.

I still maintain the reason Tommy Robinson was arrested is because he is an ongoing embarrassment to the ruling classes and he is representative of what they fear most: the ugly, ignorant masses not getting with the programme. Like Khodorkovsky, the fact that he broke the law is largely beside the point, because the law is applied so selectively in modern Britain, and often applied for nakedly political purposes. And like Putin did with Khodorkovsky, the British state has successfully managed to get most people agreeing with the incarceration of Robinson, stroking their chins and earnestly reminding us of the rule of law. I admit, it’s been a neat little operation. Here’s so-called conservative journalist Stephen Pollard:

Again, this is more virtue-signalling than anything else, letting his readers and progressive colleagues know he doesn’t associate with those thick, dishonest Tommy Robinson supporters, thus ensuring he’s not cast out of polite society. Anyone who doesn’t think there is a class issue to all of this is willfully blind: barristers and Oxford educated Metropolitan journalists sneering at the plebs who are simply too stupid to understand what “Tommy the Brave” has been arrested for is, as with so much else, simple snobbery.

There is much to learn from this episode, and it ties in nicely with what the ZMan said recently about Ben Shapiro, the American conservative commentator:

These edgy guys serve as a palace guard, maintaining the line between what is and what is not acceptable. Their job is to make sure that none of the bad think from the outer dark creeps into the thought of the orthodoxy.

Unlike a guy like Peterson or a Sam Harris, Shapiro is just another grifter from Conservative Inc. He’s the edgy band your parents said was OK, hoping you would not start listening to the stuff they thought was dangerous.

Like all of Conservative Inc., he is for free speech that pays him well, but otherwise sides with Antifa against his competition. He’ll never talk about the fact that corporate America is willing to sponsor an Antifa convention in Chicago, but coordinates their efforts to prevent VDare from holding a private gathering.

Someone recently said on Twitter they find Shapiro’s constant policing of the boundaries of right-wing political discourse tiresome. The reaction from Shapiro showed the remark had struck a nerve, and we’re seeing a similar policing action from the right in the UK. The likes of The Secret Barrister, Stephen Pollard, and other supposedly conservative commentators aren’t right wing or even conservative in any meaningful sense, they’ve simply chosen to wear that label while coming out in support of the status quo from which they are likely doing very well indeed. They wouldn’t dare say anything outside the Overton window because they’d lose their spot in whatever social circles they mix in, and almost every genuine conservative policy now falls well outside it. But at the same time, they want to present themselves as representatives of conservative opinion and to do that they must police the boundaries of acceptable discourse and ensure they’re not outflanked on any issue. This is why, when anyone appears bearing genuinely right-wing opinions, they’re subject to character assassinations by the moral guardians of conservative thought.

The real damning fact is that it has fallen to Tommy Robinson to take on the failings of the ruling class, and nobody has stepped up to help him. Where are all the supposed middle class conservatives who say they’re fed up with authoritarian halfwits like Cameron and May leading their party into oblivion? Where are all the MPs who claim they want to see real conservative leadership which can take on the left and roll back the damage wrought by decades of progressive policies? Yes, Tommy Robinson is naive enough to get himself jailed, and he’s not a very slick operator; yes, we know that, but why’s he left to do it all on his own? Why haven’t these oh-so-clever barristers and journalists not taken up the genuine issues he’s cack-handedly trying to draw attention to?

The reason is because what passes for middle and upper class right wing conservatism in Britain is nothing of the kind. Ask yourself, what have they conserved? And who have they put in office since New Labour got kicked out? They’re simply a branch of the establishment, or at the very best they’re enablers of the ruling classes, more interested in feathering their own nests and maintaining the cosy status quo than bringing about change or addressing Britain’s myriad issues. If they couldn’t bring themselves to support what Tommy Robinson is trying to do, they could at least have kept their mouths shut and not do the government’s job for them. Next time you ask why Theresa May is Prime Minister, or why Brexit is being derailed, or why Britain is continuing down the road of identity politics and progressivism, there’s your answer.


56 thoughts on “What Tommy Robinson and Mikhail Khodorkovsky have in common

  1. Some of the likely enemies of TR were obvious– Seaman Staines, a % of Samizdata commenters etc. But Ole Holebone was a surprise to me at least–but then he only tweets these days and I’ve forgotten most of his blogs from years past by now.

    Spot on Tim. Absolutely spot on. Well done.

  2. Isn’t this the problem with trying to reduce the nuance of each persons political beliefs down to a single identity?

    Historic terms like conservative/liberal/left-wing/right-wing are somewhat meaningless in the current political environment.

    I believe it’s only going to get worse before it’ll ever get any better.

    Who needs nuanced debate when we can just shout racist/bigot/lib-tard at each other.

  3. Clem–Can you provide any examples of nuanced debate winning the day?

    That’s not an attack on you just an observation. Such debate has no chance against bellowed slogans. And if they are bellowing you must too. Otherwise your nuances will be of interest only to some historian long hence.

  4. Funnily enough i was called a knuckle dragger by Paul Staines himself the other day is there some sort of collusion going on,we need to know,looking at his site now where he would get thousands of comments he is lucky if he manages triple figures now but as he pointed out a couple of years ago nobody reads the comments anyway.Excellent article again Tim have you ever thought about a change of career we need clear thinkers who can see through all the crap associated with politics nowadays as for Tommy he really has come on leaps and bounds he was slightly thuggish and inarticulate in the EDL days but he can hold his own in a debate with anyone the left throw at him and he does have a certain leadership charisma about him.

  5. Excellent article again Tim have you ever thought about a change of career

    Yes. 🙂

  6. Super article Tim.

    The reason the establishment have gone loopy in the USA is because a non-player, a wrecker, got to be POTUS. He’s going to get re-elected and put the blob’s agenda back decades – maybe premanently. And this is precisely why so many voters love Trump. For who is destroying just as much as what he is building.

  7. Where’s the edit function gone?

    It disappeared for some reason: I need to get it fixed or replaced.

  8. The most likely explanation is this:
    1. He genuinely thought that he was not interfering/in contempt of court because the trial was at verdict day, so the jury could no longer be influenced.
    2. But what he missed was that *because there were more mass rapists than any one court could accommodate*, the process had to be broken up into a series of linked trials.
    3. So while one of the linked trials may well have been at verdict day, others would still be live trials. Reporting on them and making ill-judged/prejudicial comments was clearly contempt.
    4. Lennon was clearly a little bit thick not to have picked this up, and together with his previous, means he is bang to rights.

    Mainstream thinking is well preserved by focusing on point 4, but you need to be an ideologue or sick in the head to miss the root cause: we have more mass rapists than any one court can handle. It really is a bit of a red flag.

  9. In one sense I agree with the Secret Barrister (though he does undermine his argument with “knuckle dragging cheerleaders” remark) that the law is absolute and shall be obeyed. What I vehemently object to is the arbitrary way that it is applied. As Tim pointed out, invasion of a commercial property and the accompanying destruction is permitted by “travellers” whereas anyone else would be punished for the same actions.

    But to get back to the case under discussion. The BBC accompanied the Police on their raid on Cliff Richards house and live broadcast it with lots of gleeful details about who owned the house and what the alleged offences were. There is also the case of the Nazi saluting pug where the media were packed around the court like shoppers on Christmas eve in a department store. Plenty of other cases could be quoted. Were these actions which very definitely can be considered to be trial by media and prejudicing the accompanying court case prosecuted with the save vigour? Answers on the back of a postcard to the usual address.

    Similarly, the authorities could not have been unaware of the scale and type of sexual offences taking place among the gangs concerned but did nothing for over 10 years. If the law is absolute, why not? Answer there came none …

    Either the law is absolute, justice is blind and all are equal before the law or none of that applies. Magna Carta was about replacing the Rule of Man (effectively the King making the law and punishment up on the fly) with the Rule of Law which specified offences and the scale of punishment for each offence. It seems that principle is being eroded like an ice cube under a blow lamp flame. Again, why is the law being selectively applied?

    No, Tim’s point that this is being done to silence an embarrassment is more and more looking like the real deal.

    Note also that an accusation of being “Right Wing” or “Far Right” is becoming the preferred “close down the argument” bomb and is starting to nudge out “Racist” by the Right Thinking Crowd.

  10. In discussions with leftie friends/family/colleagues, I am making some headway on this and other issues by invoking the concept of Safeguarding. It’s a sacrosanct concept on the left that they cant argue with. We have spent a mighty long time creating safeguards, particularly for women and children, and its one I support.

    My proposal to them is that we accommodate Islam/Trans/other rights, but only up to the point where they infringe upon existing safeguards (‘wont someone think of the children’). et voila: we have a leftist argument Vs another leftist argument. The cognitive dissonance is a joy to behold!

  11. The Secret Barrister acted as though he’d discovered the whole truth, but all he’d done was work out what anyone else with half a brain had worked the day before. And he still didn’t explain what Robinson had actually done. Had he said anything prejudicial, or was he just filming without comment, as some claimed?

    Anyway, it’s noticeable that Guido is very hostile to TR, whereas James Delingpole isn’t, JD did a sympathetic podcast with him.

  12. whereas James Delingpole isn’t, JD did a sympathetic podcast with him.

    I listened to that, and thought Tommy Robinson came across rather well. If he’s a racist, then I’ve worked with far worse on farms and building sites.

  13. Plenty of other cases could be quoted.

    Indeed, and the mass publicity was justified because it would “encourage other victims to come forward”. Apparently that’s not to be encouraged in certain other cases, though.

  14. Good article again Tim. Gary – good comments.

    Hector – I suspect Guido is concerned that Stop Funding Hate might get at his advertisers.

    My only comment is that Tommy Robinson needs to raise funding and get himself properly lawyered up. Dankula has shown this is possible.

  15. I’m currently reading the Secret Barrister’s book. It’s generally very interesting and engagingly-written, but there’s the odd bit of right-on-ness shoehorned in here and there that doesn’t need to be there and which adds nothing of value. It’s clearly virtue-signalling lest anyone think he’s insufficiently-left-wing or something.

  16. “what passes for middle and upper class right wing conservatism in Britain is nothing of the kind. Ask yourself, what have they conserved?”

    I expect no-one cares what I think, or indeed as I am a ‘Northerner’ and spend most of my life in Labour-loving communities even fewer will care how I vote, but my tendency was always to vote for conserving and preserving rather than gaily ripping up everything wholesale to see what lurks underneath. However, in light of your comment here Mr Tim, I suspect I shall never bother voting again.

    I understand fully that ‘democracy’ is spending ten seconds every few years making a cross on a slip of paper and consequently each mendacious, self-serving and inefficient government is given the green light to gallop on and do exactly what they want. Above all these shallow people will continually make decisions that are to the detriment of me and mine, so they may as well get on with it all and thus don’t need my little X. I do not need to waste any more time on voting.

    I don’t know about this man TR and I do not understand the subtleties of the law well enough but I do note that within my lifetime the law can be not followed on the basis of all sorts of whims and fashions by our supposed betters, so it doesn’t matter who runs the show. Laws will be made, doubtful causes championed, people who have no interest in the UK will be handed special privileges and favourable judgements granted whatever laws are passed.

    It really is all a game with very elastic rules.

  17. To recap. A man was arrested, tried and imprisoned with no reason given nor allowed to be given. However good the reasons for the arrest trial and imprisonment I think there might be some questioning this who are neither knuckle draggers nor Nazis. In deed the secrecy itself gives rise to the suspicion that those doing the imprisoning have a lot of similarities with Nazis. One would have hoped that the legal profession would be aware that justice should not only be done but be seen to be done- and abandon the assumption that they are above suspicion.
    Further I am troubled to learn that a man can be accused, tried and sentenced in a few hours by one person acting alone, especially when the sentence is significant. I don’t doubt that this is legal, I just think it shouldn’t be. It is against natural justice that sentence be passed by the man who started the prosecution. 4-6 hours is neither time to mount a defence nor time for the judge to contemplate.
    In cases like this it would be better if the person accused of contempt be remanded in custody (to remove the possibility of continued offending) and appear in front of another judge- sitting with a jury if a sentence of ten months is to be possible.
    Of course we do not yet know why reporting on the base trial is unusually restricted- I presume there is a good reason for that, but time will tell.

  18. In the U.S., there’s a sort of rule of thumb where each of us likely break about three federal laws per day. The deck is so stacked against you that you can’t really live freely. I suspect that’s one reason why so many chucked it all and came to America back in the day. The had no room to maneuver and their lot was set in stone no matter what they did. Now, we’re just doing the same thing as any other older society has done to its people. It’s not that someone broke the law, but that there was such and such law to begin with.

  19. A theory now floating around the web is that the Muslim grooming gangs and their police accomplices are producing children for a large pedophile ring that has infested the upper reaches of British society, including Parliament, the senior civil service (including senior police, no doubt), the BBC, etc. Consequently, the groomers are protected by their clients.

  20. Elsewhere today, I was asked to denounce myself.
    Here I go:
    I’m a knuckledragger! 🙂

  21. The cover up of the systematic predation of children / young women by organised gangs from a particular background was never going to be tidy – what is clear to me is that *many of the perps are unrepentant* -that- and the justification many have for their actions is very rarely addressed… Has anybody heard a contrite gang member ?

    I recall Mrs May’s professed enthusiasm for Sharia courts when Home Secretary and wonder at the confluence of thesecretbarrister’s attitude and that displayed by many Sharia courts wrt to interactions with a kāfir population.

    I feel that there is an attempt going on to square the circle (wholesale understatement) that goes beyond the narrow matter of contempt of court and seems absolutely intended to promulgate chaos. The thought experiment of swapping the religion and country is a relevant thing to do….. I’ve certainly seen a lot of Muslim countries over 30 years working overseas and just occasionally been threatened for being an unbeliever – although for the most part it’s been trouble free.

    It’ll be interesting to hear + see what Anjem Chowdury and chums / sponsors get up to. The British establishment’s pandering to political Islam seems even worse informed and thought through than their handling of the EU question (if that’s possible) – and unless the virtue signalling buffoons like The Secret Barrister get a grip on reality outside Hampstead there will be more trouble than they know what to do with.

    I’d send The Secret Barrister on a 6 month sabbatical to urban Saudi Arabia – or … rural Pakistan.

  22. Bboy: “Here I go:
    I’m a knuckledragger! ”

    No–I’m a knuckledragger!

  23. Do our betters not see just how much they are contributing to public anger? I’ve always dismissed claims of civil unrest brewing amongst those of us not of the left, but now? not so much.

  24. I may or may not be a “knuckledragger” but I think that I must be thick because my first thought was that Grooming Trials would involve market research into colognes and aftershave and not worth reading.

  25. Well said.

    It’s getting more and more like that quote from ‘The Leopard’:

    “For things to remain the same, everything must change.”

  26. I have never read the secret barrister’s blog before today but he comes over as a condescending arse. I’m not in the least surprised he has closed comments on the article, hardly a sign of confidence in his own viewpoint.

    Thank you Tim for being one of the few bloggers I follow (along with the excellent Mark Stein and Streetwise Professor) to satisfactorily address the seriousness of this case. Several of my other favourites have either completely failed (Guido) or seriously dented my previous high opinions (Samizdata and regrettably Tim Worstall)

  27. So I see Ben Shapiro is not a true Scotsman, eh Tim? I mean, he’s ((making money)) for fucks sake! What has he ever done for “conservatism” (apart from bringing it’s core message to millions of young people)? Everyone knows REAL conservatives spend their time vociferously defending every single Trump tweet while laughing at those “muh principulz” cucks who attempt intellectual honesty.

    It’s pathetic that this money grubbing American hasn’t taken up the cause of UK immigration but instead spends his time talking about US border enforcement, the foils of retributive tax policy, the evils of abortion, the insanity of Democrats, the dominance of toxic progressive ideology on college campus’, the necessity of natural rights – free speech chief among them, the legal, moral, and historical case for private gun ownership, and the ever raging culture war between the left and right…

    I mean, have you seen how he reacts to people bearing genuine right-wing opinions?!? He assassinates their character like the Mossad wannabe he is. Better to ignore white bread CINO’s like Shaprio who actually confront crazy lefties in favor of…well, people who actually FIGHT, and aren’t cucked beyond hope. Oh, and definitely don’t support anyone who actually makes money pontificating – what are we, capitalists??

    /sarc over

    Damn you for making me defend that smug little square. “Shapiro is self-righteous, but right/wrong for ____ reasons” is what I would expect from our(?) side. “Shapiro is such a twerp and a fakity fake fake money lover because FYTW cuck” is stupid and uninteresting.

  28. The Secret Barrister: “…knuckle-dragging cheerleaders, not least his racists-in-arms across the pond…”

    Displaying such bias and contempt destroys all credibility of his “legal opinion”.

    Ezra Levant, Lauren Southern, Raheem Kassam, Tucker Carlson et al are imho not knuckle-dragging racists

  29. You’ve nailed it:

    “…they’ve simply chosen to wear that label while coming out in support of the status quo from which they are likely doing very well indeed.”

    I only wish you hadn’t drawn Khodorkovsky into this – I see your point but there’s too much irrelevant baggage that gets smuggled into the conversation once you invoke Khodorkovsky. He was made an example of, sure, but he was a major player – in the same league as his adversaries, whom he underestimated. When the mighty fall, it’s understandable that the powerless may rejoice. Robinson is clearly nowhere near Khodorkovsky’s caliber – not yet, at least. But I suspect there are times when history needs fearless jerks like him. As the recently departed Tom Wolfe wrote, “In well-reared girls and boys, guilt and the instinct to obey the rules are reflexes, ineradicable ghosts in the machine.”

    The Secret Barrister’s tone is deliberately patronizing. Perhaps he’d rather provoke a violent reaction than have readers actually engage with his arguments. For one, (11) fails to convince. The abnormal rush to conviction left no preparation time even for a lawyer familiar with the entire case, let alone one freshly appointed by the court. I wonder what the ECHR (not to be confused with the ECJ) would say about this.

  30. @Gary

    That’s a very reasonable interpretation of the facts, at least as I’ve understood them. However, I haven’t actually seen anyone explicitly claim that (2) and (3) are true. Everyone who accuses TR of interference is referring to the trial going on in the courthouse at that time, and Secret Barrister is talking about the general case.

    @Phil B
    Yeah, it really does seem as if there’s been a very selective application of the severity of the law. One reads all the time of ongoing trials of large gangs. Is it really true that every single time this happens, we’re actually on the last day of the trial of the very last gang member? Is the difference between a ho-hum news column and criminal interference really just a toenail over the property line, or a missing ‘alleged’? Or maybe an MSM reporter is presumed to be giving a fair and balanced report, whereas a blogger giving the same report is committing a heinous crime.

    I suppose I ought to view TR’s video – perhaps he really did do something foolish – but my a priori assumption is that he’s learned to be careful. From his book and videos it’s pretty clear he’s resolved never to wind up in prison again, and at the same time he believes that the system is out to get him. One would expect him to do his homework and be careful, especially since he’s already had the opportunity to learn what a difference good legal counsel can make. The caution he used in his Oxford Union address, when he was under threat of immediate imprisonment if he said the wrong thing, shows that he is capable of holding his tongue when he knows it’s necessary.

    @John Lewis
    I shall have to browse through Streetwise Professor’s blog, but on the face of it he seems to have confused TR’s latest suspended sentence with the original conviction for mortgage fraud (his brother-in-law’s, really) which got him jailed several years ago. I’m fairly certain these were distinct sentences.

    Regarding Secret Barrister in general (without questioning his legal knowledge).

    – He does not address the question of selective enforcement.

    – He does not point to a specific moment in the video, or specific sentences which made TR’s report into a violation of the law. He seems to be working from a general description of TR’s words, which he accepts at face value.

    – He describes TR’s conviction as completely routine justice being served. If so, why the gag order? Is that also routine?

    – In general he accepts at face value the official version produced by the court. The legal forms were followed, therefore justice was served. Consider the report of a ‘guilty’ plea by TR. SB accepts it as an admission of guilt. I, for one, am waiting to hear TR’s side of the story. If, say, he was pressured into it because otherwise he would be in the same holding cell as the defendants in the trial he covered – this would not appear in the court’s documents. The man lost his teeth in a very similar situation. I am also reminded of the document handed to Lauren Southern when she was denied entry to the UK, which stated that she had ‘admitted to committing a racist act’. This was false. She had admitted to committing a certain act, but denied that it was racist. Thus the official document put its own words into her mouth. Court documents often reflect the court’s opinion of events, not the defendant’s.

    I think the next few days will provide a different perspective on what went on in there. To be fair, one must expect some spin on TR’s side as well.

  31. Watcher: It’s worth making some sort of statement. I have in the past spoiled my ballot paper by making a ‘None of the above’ box at the bottom & putting an X in it, though TPTB do make it difficult to do so. I will no doubt do so again, though it’ll have less effect in my constituency which has a large inbuilt majority for the party represented.

  32. The term “Disturbance of the Peace” can be applied to a situation where the person accused of the offence may be doing nothing wrong but it is considered that his behaviour is liable to cause a disturbance.

    As an example, if Tommy Robinson walked past a Mosque after Friday prayers, then although he has the right to walk down a street, the fact that the Muslims would kick off would be seen as him causing a disturbance simply by his presence. How likely is it that the Police would arrest his assailants?

    Similarly, simply by being in the vicinity of the court while the defendants were in the area could be interpreted (maliciously in my opinion) as causing a breach of the peace.

    One thing that I have concluded is that we are not going to vote our way out of this (WANGTVOWOOT) as the inertia, malevolence and deliberate disregard for the law displayed by Parliament, the House of Lords, the Home Office, Chief Constables and the Legal System itself means that nothing will change.

    Suppose that Tommy Robinson by some fluke became PM and the EDL gained 400 or more seats in Parliament. They can pass any law they like but the law must be enforced and implemented by “The System” and as the system has consistently and persistently done whatever the hell it likes, then the practical effects will be zero. I have practical and personal experience of how the Police and law courts in particular make up and interpret the law to suit themselves and if you don’t like it, then tough.

    Note the result of the Brexit vote and the PRACTICAL results. That, together with the reaction if Tommy Robinson is murdered in prison is likely to result in something that the establishment will be unable to keep the lid on.

    There is an interesting book called the War of the Flea by Robert Taber* about revolutionary guerrilla warfare. It was published a while ago in the 1960s and the CIA bought up the entire first printing – not because it was so dangerous that the Public couldn’t be allowed access to it but it was so good it was issued as a standard text to their operatives. One of the questions he asked was “Why do people, when the risks and dangers are so great, both to themselves and their families, resort to armed revolution?” His answer was quite simple – they cannot get any redress to their grievances either through the ballot box or through the Courts. Think of such topics as Brexit, law and order, taxation, immigration, loss of liberties, political correctness, etc. etc. Any redress through the ballot box? No. All political parties are singing from the same hymn sheet and Europe is gaining greater and greater (unelected and unaccountable) powers – and Brexit is looking increasingly likely to fail for many reasons. Any chance of the Law Courts siding with the people of the country and reversing the Governments policies? Again, not a chance. Rather they uphold stupid and malicious legislation. And any situation where it costs you more to obey the law than to disregard it is a dangerous situation …

    Does that seem an accurate picture of Britain, right now? If the grudging answer is yes, then the inevitable conclusion is that there will be a revolution, sooner or later. And when it happens it will be something to see from afar.

    I can foresee that the only way this will change is by violent revolution with many lamp posts decorated with politicians, police officers, judges and civil servants. That and a bonfire of the laws to reduce them to something the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus can understand and explain without recourse to a lawyer.

    If such a scenario develops, then civil war and slaughter of anyone with a brown face is highly likely. I would advise Sikhs and Hindus to get the hell out of Dodge before that happens. I’ve taken my own advice and am typing this in New Zealand before anyone asks, even though I am typically Scandinavian (blond, fair skinnned, blue eyed) in appearance.

    *A Google search will turn up one or two PDF copies of The War of the Flea if you are bothered. Here is one:


  33. Sounds like a load of bollocks to me. Oh, sure, on paper Tommy Robinson is probably breaking the law in exactly the way they say he is, but we all know that if he was the right sort with the right opinions he’d be a free man.

    The message we’re supposed to be getting is that this isn’t an attack on free speech, but an attempt to protect trials from prejudice. Tommy Robinson was calling people “paedophiles” and “rapists” in public, and you can’t do that, at least without putting “alleged” in front. It’s got nothing to do with his politics, nothing at all…

    But both the Secret Barrister and the judge who found Tommy in contempt in 2017 put the lie to that when they quote him, not as saying “paedophiles and rapists”, but as saying “Muslim paedophiles and rapists”.

    If this is about prejudicing a trial, then surely the word “Muslim” ought to be totally immaterial. The men in question are Muslim. Is anybody contesting that? Would “legitimate” reporters be barred from mentioning that? Surely any juror whose judgment would be affected by the knowledge that the defendants were Muslims would have been weeded out before the trial began.

    And another thing: Secret Barrister says:

    As for the suggestion (by UKIP among others) that nobody has ever before been found in contempt of court and a postponement order made preventing the media from immediately reporting it, a handy example can be found on 22 May 2017, where one Stephen Yaxley-Lennon was found to be in contempt at Canterbury, and a postponement order was made restricting publication until the end of the substantive trial.

    Is there another handy example that doesn’t involve Tommy Robinson? Because if not, it would seem that “UKIP among others” had something of a point.

  34. Clem: “Isn’t this the problem with trying to reduce the nuance of each persons political beliefs down to a single identity?”

    Spot on.

  35. Phil B: “One thing that I have concluded is that we are not going to vote our way out of this …”

    Another salient point. I don’t like to sound defeatist, but I too can’t see anything changing.

  36. So I see Ben Shapiro is not a true Scotsman, eh Tim?

    Not at all, he’s a conservative, sound on many issues, and good at what he does. But I believe the remark about his policing the boundaries of right wing discourse, and ZMan’s broader criticisms, have some merit.

  37. Is there another handy example that doesn’t involve Tommy Robinson? Because if not, it would seem that “UKIP among others” had something of a point.

    That’s an excellent point.

  38. I only wish you hadn’t drawn Khodorkovsky into this – I see your point but there’s too much irrelevant baggage that gets smuggled into the conversation once you invoke Khodorkovsky.

    That’s a fair point, but he was the best example I could think of – and most people’s knowledge of Khodorkovsky won’t be anywhere near as deep as yours. Obviously the cases are wildly different, and the two men even more so on every measure.

  39. For one, (11) fails to convince. The abnormal rush to conviction left no preparation time even for a lawyer familiar with the entire case, let alone one freshly appointed by the court.

    Indeed, this stinks. Sure, many defendants use court-appointed lawyers but that’s normally when they have no choice. Does a defendant not have the right to choose his own counsel? Seemingly not. Imagine if Russia did something like this, the squeals that would ensue.

  40. @Jonathan Levy The TR livestream is on YouTube. During that video, TR himself says that only 10 of the 29 are getting sentenced that day. So he seems to knows that some of the remaining 19 are at an earlier stage of proceedings ie there are related trials ongoing. He also at one point says he is ‘walking a thin line here legally speaking’.

  41. @Gary Thanks for that information, Gary. It seems TR had received legal counsel, and was doing his best to toe the line. A shame that the solicitor who gave him that counsel was not there to defend him at the crucial moment. I’ve read that the solicitor was informed that TR was going to be released – it will be interesting to see if the solicitor will go on record with a statement to that effect.

    @Phil B

    Suppose that Tommy Robinson by some fluke became PM and the EDL gained 400 or more seats in Parliament. They can pass any law they like but the law must be enforced and implemented by “The System” and as the system has consistently and persistently done whatever the hell it likes, then the practical effects will be zero.

    The traditional solution to this sort of problem is to create a parallel system, which will bypass the obstructionism of the old one, and after a decade or so will supplant it, by virtue of siphoning off its intake.

    How might this be applied? Gates of Vienna (I think) had an article recently on how Hungary is circumventing European law regarding deportation of refugees. The fence is a few hundred meters away from the legal border, so they can dump refugees outside the fence without officially having deported them. When the refugees get sick of waiting, they wander off to other countries (there’s no fence on the actual border).

    So you could have an Orwellianly-named Department of Welcome which would identify illegal immigrants and take them beyond the fence, which is utterly different than deporting them. The current asylum bureaucracy would continue to function, but would routinely discover that the application which they had been processing for 11 months is now useless, because the applicant can no longer be found. Eventually applications would dry up, and the obstructionist bureaucrats would be given the choice between early retirement and transfer to the exciting new Office of Moss & Lichen Management in the Falklands.

    Of course, Britain is an Island, so some other scheme would have to be found. Odd, though. You’d expect an island to have an easier time preventing illegal immigration.

  42. First time I’ve read your blog and I thought that your post and the comments were excellent.
    I left a comment on The Secret Barrister’s post about TR but comments were closed before it got through moderation. It asked the question why is it “perfectly common” (SB) for someone to be arrested for one offence and convicted for another which strikes me as bizarre: why wouldn’t the police simply arrest for the offence for which the arrested is subsequently convicted? It’s troubling, too, that ‘breach of the peace’ is so wide-ranging that it could serve as a pretext to fit up a troublemaker.
    The gagging order on TR’s arrest has only served to increase the number of “knuckledraggers” .

  43. @Jay the SB comments closed suspiciously quickly. The same day I posted something along the lines of:
    “We have a quaint tradition in England and Wales that trial by media should be avoided” I have one Sir Cliff Richards on the line; he would like a word…

    That didn’t make it through moderation

  44. Tim, Another first-rate piece.

    I, too, have read the Secret Barrister on this. As others here have aptly put it, the narrow legal reasoning may be entirely correct, but his snide tone (the TR “cult” for heaven’s sake) utterly undoes whatever message he intended to put across. And the closure of comments with only 2 on the board speaks volumes.

    The wider issues have all been ably dealt with above, and TPTB (I decline to refer to them as elite – those such as the SAS are elite) are fanning the flames with a combination of bone-headedness, hubris and scorn, which may – indeed I hope does – blow up in their faces.

    Perhaps someone more erudite than me can remember the poem about not provoking rising anger in the English – I think by Kipling. Though I have my doubts, it might have been “The Beginnings”, the last stanza of which reads:

    It was not suddently bred.
    It will not swiftly abate.
    Through the chilled years ahead,
    When Time shall count from the date.
    That the English began to hate.

  45. The Beginning

    It was not part of their blood,
    It came to them very late
    With long arrears to make good,
    When the English began to hate.

    They were not easily moved,
    They were icy-willing to wait
    Till every count should be proved,
    Ere the English began to hate.

    Their voices were even and low,
    Their eyes were level and straight.
    There was neither sign nor show,
    When the English began to hate.

    It was not preached to the crowd,
    It was not taught by the State.
    No man spoke it aloud,
    When the English began to hate.

    It was not suddenly bred,
    It will not swiftly abate,
    Through the chill years ahead,
    When Time shall count from the date
    That the English began to hate.
    (Rudyard Kipling)

Comments are closed.