That said, it would have denied us the mirthless irony of Robinson literally being given a platform. At this point in his manically overexposed career, Robinson enjoys the sort of “silencing” that most international movie stars can only dream of. He makes so many head-to-head media appearances that he can barely replace the gaffer tape of martyrdom across his mouth between them. It’s an eye-catching look, the tape – although I prefer to think of it as a backstreet gastric band.
To any Robinson supporters still wetting their pants over his being “silenced”, meanwhile, I can only say: do you live off-grid in some remote crofter’s hut with no electricity in the outermost Hebrides? If not, would you like me to come round to your house and show you how to work your telly and your computer? Robinson is like a relentless barrage of viral pop-up windows. The only way to stop seeing him is to pull the plug, ultimately on the national grid. (Incidentally, although his real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, this article will refer to him by his chosen moniker, “Tommy Robinson”. To get your own EDL name, take your favourite rock opera and your favourite Neighbours family. His is Tommy Robinson. Mine is Jesus Christ Superstar Mangel. Cop that, antifa.)
Anyway, back to Robinson’s LIVE! FROM! THE! OLD! BAILEY! PAVEMENT! personal appearance on Tuesday, at which his contempt case was referred to the attorney general. It can never be overstated quite how little of a toss Robinson has given about the victims of grooming gangs, but those who doubt the fact should consider that he is serially willing to collapse their trials by acting in a manner that he knows is in contempt of court. Sorry, girls – you don’t mind going through the whole horror show again, do you? Only I’ve got some pissy look-at-me point to prove that risks you having to do just that.
As befits a man who is being silenced, there was a soundsystem and microphone and speech outside the Old Bailey, for the assembled throng and all the media organisations in attendance. “I shouldn’t have to face another trial,” whined Robinson. “I’ve been here three times with a prison bag. I’ve kissed my kids goodbye three times.”
Ah yes, the much-referenced Robinson kids. Of all the distasteful aspects of his most recent prison release (the one over the bungled contempt of court conviction, not the one for mortgage fraud), for me the worst element was the setting up of a camera to film Robinson’s reunion with two of his children in their own home. What you would have imagined should have been the day’s most intensely private moment was carefully staged and filmed by someone or other in his entourage. It is almost unwatchably intrusive. Robinson’s young son in particular is absolutely beside himself with emotion, yet the camera coolly continues to film. And why wouldn’t it? It’s business. Within hours, this moment had been packaged and released for political purposes, with the #prouddad apparently keen to put it to work for him.
But as Robinson very much wanted the world to know on Tuesday: “I’ve kissed my kids goodbye three times.” Well, quite. And, given everything you have said, you will surely be wanting to rush back to them, to give them the good news of your non-incarceration and at least temporarily relieve the unquantifiable emotional stress your entirely voluntary antics put them under. No? What’s that you say? A two-and-a-half hour lunch date? But Tommy – it’s half-term! What could possibly be preferable to a day with your children that you thought you might not have?
What turned out to be the priority for Robinson was a long lunch in the House of Lords with the former Ukip leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the current Ukip leader, Gerard Batten (hair by Lego), and various hangers-on, including Katie Hopkins’s organ-grinder, Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant. He is Canadian, so picture the usual Islamophobe, but mounted.