Former EDL Leader Shows Up on Zelo Street‘s Doorstep at 10pm*

*UPDATE (17 May): In a new video, Robinson claims that his visitation in fact occurred at 8.43pm

At Zelo Street, my friend Tim Fenton reports on an unwelcome visitor:

…[T]here was loud and persistent banging at the front door, high-intensity lights were shone into the front windows, and when I went to see what was kicking off – it wasn’t going to be an election canvasser or the Witnesses at 2200 hours – one of those high-intensity lights was shone into my face as [former English Defence League head man Tommy] Robinson introduced himself.

He wanted to ask me one question. He claimed I had “written lies about him“. He would come back, and keep coming back, until I answered him, which suggests someone has sufficient time and money on his hands to keep on making 300 mile round trips to Crewe on the off-chance of finding someone at home. After the front door was shut in his face, the hammering and shouting continued.

The confrontation was a stunt by Robinson in association with Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media – in recent weeks Robinson has been making numerous videos in the company of one Caolan Robertson, who heads the UK branch of Levant’s operation. In March, Rebel Media gleefully reported on Robinson’s negative reception at a London Stand Up To Racism rally; and earlier this month, Robinson (civilly) doorstepped a student who had used Twitter to call for his murder. Robinson has also visited a newspaper office to air grievances about being labelled “far right”, a video of which is in the works.

In Tim’s case, it seems (although this is something we must infer) that Robinson objected to being called a “racist bigot” in a blog post from 8 April in which Tim criticised the Spectator for running a soft-ball interview with Robinson by James Delingpole. For the record, I don’t think that Robinson is racially prejudiced, but his continuing activism against Islam is characterised by sensationalism and inflammatory interventions – as was seen when he showed up at the scene of last month’s Westminster attack. And while I wouldn’t want to reduce someone to the most regrettable thing they’ve said or done, the fact that he was filmed joking about the Anders Breivik massacre while drunk a few years ago does not leave an impression of moderation.

However, Tim is hardly the first person to describe Robinson with the “R” word – it’s something that he gets a lot, as he lamented to James Whale in January. From an earlier video, it seems that Robinson visited Crewe while en route to Dewsbury, but even so, such an extensive detour seems a somewhat disproportionate reaction given Robinson’s profile. Tim’s blog has only ever mentioned Robinson a couple of times over eight years, and so far as I can see there is nothing by Tim on Robinson among his writings for Byline Media. It’s a surprise that the post even caught Robinson’s notice, let alone that he would feel the need to research the author and travel in pursuit of him. Oddly, Robinson kept referring to Tim as “Paul”, which is a given first name that he doesn’t use. It’s as if Robinson had only a vague idea about who he was off to meet.

Perhaps Tim’s post was brought to Robinson’s particular attention by someone – Tim has annoyed a number of tabloid and right-wing media figures over the years, and there have been intimidatory consequences in the past – examples include an abusive and intrusive attack blog (anonymous, but praised by Delingpole) and a series of anonymous letters from a supposed “Blog Complaints Commission”.

Of course, though, going after Tim also serves a more general purpose for Robinson, demonstrating to other potential critics that they risk family intrusion and doxxing. This was not a serious attempt to “engage” or remonstrate over a grievance – it was a gratuitous and thuggish stunt at an unreasonable hour for the benefit of a fan base (whose unpleasant social media effusions in response to it are noted in Tim’s new post).

UPDATE: Robinson published his video on 17 May; for some reason, he puts quote-marks around Tim’s name, and he describes him as a Guardian journalist. But Tim has never written for the Guardian, although he’s been quoted a few times and was even interviewed once.

UPDATE 2: On the question of whether Robinson can legitimately be called “far right”, a post by Joe Mulhall for Hope Not Hate draws attention to some pertinent associations:

Pictures have emerged of [Robinson] and Caolan Robertson having drinks with Britain First leaders Jayda Fransen and Paul Golding.

It seems that, rather than for any concern over the extreme tactics deployed by BF, Yaxley-Lennon’s previous reticence to cooperate with the group was the result of his “beef” [quarrel] with former BF leading member Jim Dowson. In a recent Q&A video he called Dowson “a grass” [informant]…

I previously blogged on Golding and Dowson here. Britain First is an offshoot of the BNP – in an interview with Andrew Neil, Golding explained that he had left the BNP over corruption, rather than because of an ideological rethink.

Mulhall also notes that after the confrontation at Tim Fenton’s house, Robinson (Mulhall refers to him by his legal name of Yaxley-Lennon) “then proceeded to storm the offices of a South Wales newspaper alongside George Llewelyn-John of The New Brit and Rebel Media.”

The New Brit appears to be Caolan Robertson’s venture, running parallel to his Rebel Media work – also involved is Jack Buckby, of Paul Weston’s Liberty GB party (blogged here).