Tommy Robinson hates what he sees in the mirror—and it’s hilarious

Why former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson was even invited onto Good Morning Britain is another aneurysm for another day.

Nonetheless, across the spectrum of political alignment and journalistic integrity, the interview appears to have heralded the left’s biggest moral victory since Diana quit Bake Off after sabotaging Ian’s baked alaska. But the most flabbergasting moment of the morning came not when Robinson described an exemplary community mosque as a “centre of hate”. Nor was it host Piers Morgan’s clumsy attempt to goad him into admitting he supported a Trump-style travel ban. Nor was it the way both of them dismissed and shouted over co-host Susannah Reid like the men they are on the few occasions they pretended she was even there.

Nor was it even Robinson’s ramblings about a book called ‘The Music Made Me Do It’, which uses in-depth Islamic scholarliness to prove that Muslims aren’t allowed to play the clarinet (or something).

On the contrary, the most newsworthy moment of the interview has been quite deliberately veiled behind the burqa of mainstream media ear-fingering, one which could become an iconic watershed moment in the global fight against Islamophobia since the turn of this century, if only the world were ready to wake up and admit that it happened. (Even in the time that I have taken to write this, almost every full-length video of the interview has been removed from YouTube, spuriously crying “copyright”.)

About eleven or so minutes in, Piers Morgan, who had never allowed an interview to descend into incoherence and didn’t intend to start there, attempted to gain the bigot’s trust by saying:

“This is not about me saying ‘everything you say is wrong’.”

Robinson, in a moment of unintended openness, drops his shield onto his own foot, shifting inexplicably onto the defensive like a toddler who absolutely has not taken an extra Penguin bar from the sweet jar and/or shit themselves.

“What’s wrong then?” he asks, “Is it my accent? The way I talk? My background?”

There then followed a series of growls about whether or not Piers Morgan had in fact attended a comprehensive primary school. At this stage, Robinson’s voice began to crack.

“You know nothing about growing up in Luton,” he screamed, “You haven’t watched your town decay.”

It’s too hard for some to know their real enemy. It’s easier to have a tangible foe: the brown guy with the funny name who sought refuge from a country we helped destroy and raped someone’s mum in one of their twelve bedrooms our taxes pay for. Victimhood, for men like Robinson, is a convenience all too easy to invoke.

The thing I’ve found about the recent spate of white terrorists is that they are all small men — small in stature, small of mind. It always strikes me that something must have happened to them in their formative years. Maybe they had problems at home, problems they never allowed themselves to open up about, which evolved into problems with what they see in the mirror and a distortion of the line between who they are and how they perceive themselves as being viewed, seduced by destructive ideas of making themselves famous and, crucially, feared. Maybe they were consumed by a complete distortion of what they had identified as being “expected of them as a man”. Why else, lone wolf or dangerous radical, do so many of these mass murderers have a history of domestic violence against their partners? (Indeed, in 2003, Robinson assaulted an off-duty police officer trying to break up a domestic incident between Robinson and his girlfriend, the resulting criminal record costing him his lucrative aircraft engineering job at Luton Airport in a security tightened post-9/11 world. Who would a man who sees no fault in himself blame for that, I wonder? I have to say, for legal reasons, that Tommy Robinson has never committed murder, only exploited it.)

Later in the interview, Robinson claimed that Piers Morgan was only repeating what he had been saying about Islam for a decade, just “speaking better English”, before asserting that Piers Morgan had called him “stupid” in a Daily Mail column the previous day, which benefits from being both cringingly juvenile and factually inaccurate. In these disclosures, Tommy Robinson reeks of a man bent over double by his own social and intellectual insecurities — insecurities of an inherently masculine quality. Robinson’s masculinity is desperate not only for validation but for the credit. Where have those feelings come from?

In reference to the anecdotal intolerance of a 19th Century Prime Minister, Robinson emphasises the “Sir” in “Sir William Gladstone” who, even if he did hold a Qur’an aloft in the House of Commons claiming ‘there will never be peace on this earth so long as we have this violent and accursed book’, was never made a Sir. His great-grandson, still alive at 91, was. Lawsuit?

The point is, if this is a man who respects the societal elevation of a knighthood, this is a man who subconsciously obeys his true masters. For Robinson, it is harder — much harder — to tackle a political class which abandoned him and those like him long ago. The child of Irish immigrants, growing up in Luton at the height of Thatcherism, the state has never cared about him. And neither did his biological father.

“Tommy Robinson’s not even your real name!” Piers Morgan spewed a constellation of spittle across the perspex tabletop.

“Stephen Yaxley is the name on my birth certificate,” he said, now raising his voice, visibly agitated, “I was born to a father by the name of Yaxley who I have nothing to do with. He is not my dad. My dad is Thomas Lennon.”

He began to breathe heavily through his nose as a silence slowly engulfed the studio. He had been forced to travel to pastures avoided since his childhood. Stumbling across his own emotional tightrope, thoughts of his father, absent, and his mother, remarried while he was still young, are clearly not far from his mind. What must those feelings do to a man?

Piers Morgan’s paternal instincts kicked in and he placed a hand on Robinson’s shoulder, an unwelcome but not rejected show of physical support for his guest. He knows he runs the risk of compromising his journalistic impartiality by doing so, but this is a risk he is willing to take for the sake of showing basic pastoral care to another, vulnerable human being. His voice jittered as he tried to express his respectful understanding.

“You ain’t got to do nothing,” Robinson interrupted, “It ain’t like I’m still five years old, you know? I ain’t asking my mum, ‘When is daddy coming home?’”

Piers Morgan could be heard filling his lungs with air as Robinson continued, “Who needs him? He didn’t teach me to play football, but I got pretty damn good at it.”

Perhaps unaware of his on-field prowess but knowing full well of his passion for Luton Town F.C., Piers Morgan replied, timidly, “Yes, you did.”

Robinson continued, “I learned how to drive, I learned how to shave, I learned how to fight without him. I’ve had 34 great birthdays without him.”

The pace of his words hastened. A grown man facing his lowest point, the indignity of a television camera now his only unprejudiced companion. He swiped at tiny droplets of tears, invisible were they not glimmering and evaporating in the warm lights of the studio, and swallowed his Adam’s apple back into place.

“To hell with him,” he said, “I’m the father of three beautiful children. There ain’t a damn thing he could ever teach me about how to love my kids.”

And in that moment, the weight of a battle he never intended to fight was lifted from his shoulders, and he began to weep into Piers Morgan’s padded shoulder.

“How come he don’t want me, man?” he said, over and over again. The picture abruptly faded to black, but you could still hear Robinson’s muffled cries for a number of seconds before an ident for the upcoming episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Now, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that not every word of Robinson’s were from his interview on Good Morning Britain. Some of the above quotations have been taken from various interviews of his from the last few years, but all of them have come from his own mouth at some point.

Okay, fine. That last bit was word-for-word the final scene of Season 4, Episode 24 of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

But imagine it wasn’t. It would make a lot of sense, eh?