I thought I would come out of blog retirement to encourage Tommy. I don't know why I like extremists, they are just fascinating. I think its because I used to be a bit of a christian extremist growing up. Knocking on peoples doors telling them about Jesus was scary but there is something about moving with conviction which I have missed, so when I see it in others, especially when it is a controversial direction in the face of the norms of the mainstream alseep culture it interests me.
I never had a look at the EDL, my attempts to engage with the United British Alliance who came down to protest Hamza years before the EDL existed are here. My film with the National front in Bermondsey is here.
I have always been interested in Tommy because of the way he comes across. I fucking hate all these middle class journos who twist what he says much more than I could ever hate Tommy. Now they are asking if he has changed his racist ways when it was they who continually reported him as racist which he continually denied. It still goes on with Paxman saying "If the EDL aren't a racist organisation what are they?" They think they are being clever, it just looks pathetic and at worst a fucking denigration of free speech.
Its pretty much the same as how they refused to broadcast Abu Hamza's continual exhortations against terrorism in the UK. I don't see why intelligent journalists do this. Its like reducing real life to their own soap opera. I think if someone is expousing extreme views it is crucial in a world of free speech to report exactly what those fucking views are. Its actually not difficult either. What gives these egomaniac journos the fucking nerve to add their own layer of grease?
Anyway, I have always disagreed with Tommy about the nature of the threat this country faces but I
think Tommy is as genuine now as he has always been. I don't know. Its just little things like when he asked Jon Snow if he was happy he had left the EDL. Also I know personally from the four or five times I have been in solitary doing Vipassna, its just really good for you.
It is just stupid to expect Tommy to have completely changed his views. He is on a learning curve and having not grown up in a working class community I have no right to comment on where that learning curve might take him but Quilliam seem like a safe set of hands to accompany him in this case.
He has been able to
articulate a lot of white working class resentment which middle class
politicians and journos of all persuasions ignore. It exists whether we like it or not, I always thought that the fact these types had moved on from basic racism to "against Islamic extremism" was a good thing. I wonder now if the people he
can relate to have some faith in him he can be of use talking to them
where others cant. Whether we might go on some sort of journey together through this doco. I hope so, it is what the very best TV docos are all about.
I heard the way he spoke about what Quilliam were
doing, he sounded genuine and also made me think yeah, hang on- what are they doing? I look forward to the coming doco. Yeah all the Fundamentalist Muslims I
filmed laugh at Quilliam. I don't doubt that dislike of them is one of the only things which unites the Islamic community. I
have no idea but I think Majid reaching out to Tommy is the best thing
he has done and it touched me to hear how he described how it happened, relating to his own experiences with Amnesty international going out on a limb for him while he was in a much nastier jail that Tommy has been in.
Yeah people can jaw about how he is being "careerist" and that the EDL were a lost cause anyway blah blah blah. I
have seen how peoples egos get over inflated by publicity, it happened
to Atilla. It even happened to me when we became news for a short while
when squatting, but I don't think it necessarily follows that people who
become spokespersons for extreme views are capable of such cynical
manouverings a lot of people are accusing Tommy of. Anyway, all the best Tommy.
Tommy and Maajid debating around the Breivik incident
Tommy on Newsnight
South London Anti fascists say bollocks
as does someone in the Guardian
Mehdi Hasan in the Spectator
and someone on Liberal Conspiracy
Liberty GB say
"people must face the possibility that some Muslims are sincere in their moderation. If they don't, then they may well come across as bigots"
Do you take Tommy Seriously? The most interesting hour of radio I have heard in a long while on Three Counties Radio
Tommys old Tw@
Tommys "new era" tw@
Maajid Nawaz's Tw@
sorry for the tw@ joke I just can't get the hang of twitter but looking at both these twitter feeds it is easy to see the important work both these guys are already involved with.