How you doing? We probably haven’t met before so best clear up any misconceptions right off the bat; I’m not Tommy – I’m Graham. I realise this may be a tad confusing given all the Tommys; I do bear a passing resemblance to Brown Haired Tommy as well as being somewhat of a doppelganger for both White Tommy #4 and White Tommy #843. Hopefully you haven’t mixed me up with Racist Tommy #38 – that’d be awkward.
Anyway Tommy, pleased to make your acquaintance. Though regrettably I’m informed that this correspondence finds you struggling amidst troubled times. Word on the street is that Tommy is currently banged up in prison? At least one of you is. Either way, it doesn’t sound good and, with the latest word amongst the Tommys being murmurs of a press blackout, my interest has sufficiently piqued in order for me to delve further into this proverbial shitheap of Tommy’s – and I’m happy to share my findings with you.
The faeces had barely encrusted my fingernails before the first informative nugget of dung was uncovered:
My my, whatever is this? Sounds like you’ve been up to some typical tom boy tomfoolery, Tommy – in your down time from being a serious journalist. Well, if the Tommy in question is one of the journalist Tommys. There’s probably a few of them.
In any event I was very disappointed in Tommy (yes – that means you, Tommy), though remained curiously undecided on the nature of your punishment. You’d think I’d have been happy for you to maintain your freedom, it being a commodity that is rightfully cherished – but I couldn’t help but fear that this wouldn’t be the last the court system would see of Tommy Robinson.
Still, as you left court a free man, there was one explicit warning left ever ringing in your ears:
Seems straight forward enough; they’ll let you off this time, but should Tommy Yaxley-McCartney decide to piss pejoratives all over judicial proceedings once more – it’s the slammer for you. Or Tommy. Maybe both.
Despite this apparent clarity as we jump forward to the here and now, not only have the Tommys swelled in number (as if spawned into life by the re-lit flame of apparent persecution) but they’re also mad. Pissing pejoratives mad.
In a sense I can’t really blame Tommy (or Tommy) for becoming enraged – there’s nothing to stoke the fires of purpose quite like a perceived injustice and it’s actually unsurprising that Tommy feels that way. After all, there’s been a press blackout regarding your recent arrest, Tommy – at least initially. Whether this is simply standard practice for a case like this, I don’t know. I’m perhaps not as educated as some of the Tommys out there so my opinion on this matter is close to worthless but, with this lack of knowledge in mind, it does seem a tad odd.
Nevertheless, good fortune awaited. For, despite the efforts of those opium smoking, ivory tower dwellers who love nothing more than to keep an honest Tommy down, many a citizen journalist took up the reporting mantle and were right on hand to document a miscarriage of justice in action – Tommy’s miscarriage of justice, affecting Tommys across the globe.
Now you know me Tommy, I’m always willing to give you a fair shake of the dice, nor am I one to spread wild aspersions with joyful abandon – but that very much looks to me that you’ve been hanging around a courthouse as evidence was being given; for over an hour. Now call me crazy (or Tommy), Tommy, but this sounds very much like what you were given a suspended sentence for back in 2017 – a suspended sentence that included the condition that if you didn’t refrain from causing similar scenes at courthouses you’d find the suspension lifted and spend a year in jail.
Now Tommy may very well protest, saying “Hang on, press blackout and a lightening quick conviction? This all seems very odd indeed” in his cheery Lutonian chirp. Indeed that presents a quandary of sort. Short of actually being there or having an informant on the inside, there’s no way of really knowing what went down as you were bundled into the back of a police van.
Well, apart from the livestream you transmitted to the world. That probably helped in the decision to put you away.
So that’s about the face of it Tommy, looks like you inadvertently triggered the shit sandwich coupon you were granted last year. However the shit sandwich isn’t really the problem here. It is perhaps best to approach you from a purely ideological standpoint and narrowing it down to the specifics of the matter at hand – the spate of historical child grooming cases. Now in many ways I’d find myself with you, albeit with a copious helpings of asterisks and disclaimers – but yes, these tales of child grooming gangs that are coming to the fore after remaining undetected for a staggering amount of time are fucking horrific. As with all folk with the capacity for empathy, I have nothing but sympathy for the victims and unremitting contempt for the perpetrators. I’d also agree that serious questions must be asked as to how this was allowed to go unnoticed for so long; apathy at this point would be despicable.
I do however, have one very serious problem – the approach you took.
The fallout from your Friday skirmish with the police can be defined by two particular facets. The first being your part which, oddly enough, is arguably the least damaging. No need to go over old ground, basically if a judge tells you not to cause a scene outside a courthouse then don’t cause a scene outside a courthouse. Judges are proud, fiercely intelligent people – they’re not to be fucked with.
However it’s a potential consequence of your actions that lead into nicely into the next, somewhat heftier piece of debris – the hijacking of the narrative and, more pertinently, the potential it has to throw the very case you were “reporting” on into disrepute.
As noted prior, it didn’t take long for a dominant narrative to prevail. Aided perhaps by the press blackout and nothing official to counter them, the Tommys quickly established a bleak, authorisation image of a totalitarian dystopia scooped right out of Orwell’s own brain. “Tommy is a political prisoner!” shouted Tommy, prompting another Tommy to tweet similar sentiments for the next Tommy to retweet. All it took was a few, ever so devious tweets from the odd well known bullshit dispenser and boom – the narrative is now contaminated before the truth has even got his trousers on; perhaps fatally so.
Though once again, this is far from the most pressing concern to spawn from this clusterfuck – that accolade belongs to the effect it could potentially have on the case. While we’re perhaps worlds apart in terms of politics and values Tommy, there are odd instances where our mindsets somewhat align. I’m sure you want justice to be served as much as I do, the same almost certainly being the case with your many namesakes. But that is precisely why causing a disruption outside a courthouse in the midst of a trial is a really stupid idea should you have any interest in a fair hearing, especially if you’ve already been told not to less than a year ago. A similar plea goes out to your identically named supporters; whether intentionally or otherwise, the narrative has become about Tommy as opposed to the cause he claimed to represent – and, as with everything involving Tommy Robinson, an excruciatingly tiresome circus is set to follow. A circus precisely of the sort this trial could well do without.
It’s understandable that emotions run high at times like this. The crimes we’re dealing with here are unfathomable in their horror and too fucking right I want justice to be served. But, as flawed a system as the British criminal justice system can sometimes be, for it to have any chance of granting a fair trial to all concerned then a certain amount of trust has to be offered – begrudgingly or otherwise.
After the verdict has been reached and the dust has settled, if you still feel that a miscarriage of justice has taken place then knock yourself out. Make your voice heard and use all method of protest available to you within the limits of the law – it’s your right after all. But don’t litter an ongoing trial with pejoratives and conjecture; not only is it in nobody’s interest, it also gives the distinct impression that you’re more in this for a stab at an ideological victory rather than the pursuit of justice.
Besides, the last thing you’d want to do is to derail the trial completely. That wouldn’t put you in the good books amongst the other Tommys.
Especially you, Tommy.Follow @grahamlithgow