1936 All Over Again?

This is beginning to scare me: http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/violent-racists-draw-15000-in-london-to-support-tommy-robinson-and-scapegoat-muslims/). Yes, I’m sure it was all there before, simmering under the surface; but Brexit must be held partly responsible for bringing it into the open and seeming to legitimise it.

For foreign readers: Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon; I guess he changed it to make him sound more ‘one of the people’), was arrested and imprisoned the other day for repeated offences of contempt of court. These involved photographing and publishing pictures of (Asian) defendants and witnesses attending a trial for crimes involving paedophilia, which if the jury had seen the pictures would have necessitated stopping the proceedings, and ordering a re-trial. ‘Robinson’ is perhaps our most prominent ‘fringe’ Rightist today, having previously been involved in various neo- or quasi-Nazi movements, including most recently the ‘English Defence League’. His main target is Muslims; in the old days it would have been Jews. On this occasion, however, he wasn’t indicted for his political views, and indeed he pleaded guilty to the ‘contempt’ charge. His followers, however, are treating it as a ‘free speech’ issue, and so demonstrating against it in numbers. Their street violence is directed against Left-wing demonstrators (a far smaller number, apparently), brown faces, and the police.

What may be considered odd is that the media – newspapers and TV – scarcely covered this really quite serious riot (for that is what it was) in their papers and news bulletins, in a way they certainly would have done if ‘Lefties’ had been involved – especially when our ‘boys in blue’ were a target. Originally the judge imposed a ban on reporting, but that is lifted now, I think.

I genuinely don’t know the reason for this media silence. I don’t like to hint, conspiratorially, at an ‘Establishment cover-up’, but it’s looking increasingly plausible. If so, I’m pretty sure it’s not because the Guardian and the BBC are on the side of the Neo-Nazis. It might be so as not to give the latter the wider publicity that might encourage them. Or to dampen down the fears of the rest of us that Britain might be heading towards a kind of Fascism. There are certainly signs of that, with the Daily Mail – Adolph’s old champion in 1936 – doing all it can to stir up the resentments and prejudices of the folk who have been failed by the ‘old politics’. And with the American Alt-Right in there too, as revealed in this report.

In any event, I can see – and even hope for – a new ‘Battle of Cable Street’ coming up. Here’s a newsreel of the original one (1936).


Exciting times. (Too exciting for me.)

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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3 Responses to 1936 All Over Again?

  1. TJ says:

    The fascist groups in the UK have a long history of staging disruptive and provocative events to gain publicity, and in this age of instant news soundbites without much editorialising, are more effective than ever. The BBC is particularly at fault by taking ‘balance ‘ to absurd levels and presenting despicable and dangerous events as just another ‘news’ item (Trump also) instead of explaining that its been stage managed and why. This and sounding at times like the ‘Government Information Service (echoes of 1926) plus its air of smug grandiosity (‘look at how well resourced we are with thousands of reporters worldwide and blowing its own trumpet) means I rarely watch or listen to BBC News. Yes we would be poorer without it and its a counterbalance to the right press, but where is its investigative reporting, when was the last BBC scoop, and why does it follow the Daily Mail’s news agenda so much?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “In any event, I can see – and even hope for – a new ‘Battle of Cable Street’ coming up. Here’s a newsreel of the original one (1936).”
    You would hope for “a new ‘Battle of Cable Street’” because ….. I didn’t get that part of your post. The original battle looked pretty ominous to me.


    • I know it’s bad of me, but I’d quite like to see a few neo-Fascists getting bloody heads, even if it meant my head being clobbered too! And I’d really like to see the Left (and Left-ish) getting on to the streets in numbers. It can be invigorating to be amongst them. But my main reason is that the myth of Cable Street is that it was the occasion when socialists and Jews met the Fascists head-on, and finally turned them back; a symbolic ‘turn of the tide’.

      Liked by 1 person

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