Someone’s only gone and sent a rather unsavoury video to the papers of Tommy Robinson on one of his recent trips abroad – this time to Bologna, Italy.
In a pitch to camera, Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is seen boasting about his ability to score drugs wherever he goes, to party hard – he says he’s looking for the ‘shi****t pub’ in the city – and, most damningly, hurls a racial insult at a taxi driver, calling them a ‘P**i’.
Bizarrely, he also dubs himself ‘King of the whole Islam race’, which is quite something coming from one of the main vectors for anti-Muslim rhetoric in the UK.
Predictably his fans are quick to defend their hero, coming up with a range of excuses from ‘typical British behaviour abroad’, to ‘it was just banter between friends’.
But it’s hard not to see the video as further evidence to suggest Robinson’s journey back from his English Defence League past isn’t quite complete.
For all his protestations that he can’t be racist, as ‘Islam isn’t a race’, it would appear he’s quite happy to throw around a racial slur when the filming isn’t for public consumption.
For all his attempts to rehabilitate his image ahead of a launch into politics, via UKIP, he continues to focus on Muslims, celebrating the fact that he casts a shadow across communities, instilling fear and concern.
It seems strange that this is something he would choose to fixate on in the middle of what seems to be a light-hearted bender.
The simple fact of the matter is that there are issues within British Muslim communities, as there are in all communities. There are concerns that desperately need to be resolved.
You know what, though?
In conversations with Muslim friends and neighbours, some of the loudest voices calling for change come from those very same communities. Across the country, these communities are coming together to ensure that they can celebrate their heritage and culture whilst ensuring that no more children need suffer, or become radicalised.
There is a need for dialogue.
There is a need for Britons of all backgrounds to examine what’s going on around them, and make change happen when they can.
You might even say there is a need for heroes, at a time of turbulence and change.
But make no mistake, Robinson is not one of those heroes.
Robinson is a man who has discovered that hate can be shifted easily and quickly.
He’s a man who formed a group that would go on to cause chaos in town centres, causing people of migrant backgrounds to flee, despite a later public disavowal.
He’s a man who has taken money from overseas interests, earmarked to marginalise and shift attitudes negatively towards British Muslims as part of the broader ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement.
He’s a man who has, demonstrably, doorstepped his critics in the dead of night, demanding right of reply.
There are many words for a man like that. I leave you to come up with them.
Britain doesn’t need people like Robinson right now. It needs us – all of us – to take an honest look at our communities and decide that working together to resolve issues is the way forward.
Britain requires hard work, and difficult decisions – not the half-baked platitudes of a ‘PayPal patriot’. Most of all, it needs people who reject hatred as the way forward.
Robinson has benefited tremendously from marginalising one of the UK’s most significant communities.
It’s time more of us realised how we’re being taken advantage of.