We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Tim Newman and Ezra Levant on the persecution of Tommy Robinson

If, like me, you are a Brit, then I recommend you depress yourself about Britain by reading Tim Newman’s posting entitled Tommy Robinson’s Appeal. (Although, if you are from some other part of the world, go ahead and depress yourself about Britain anyway.)

But what I really recommend is that you really depress yourself about the future of this country, by listening to something that Tim Newman recommends in this posting. It’s a recording of James Delingpole talking with Ezra Levant. Ezra Levant does most of the talking, and my goodness does he talk a storm. I hr 10 mins went by in a blink.

The more I learn about Tommy Robinson, the more I admire him.

91 comments to Tim Newman and Ezra Levant on the persecution of Tommy Robinson

  • john in cheshire

    I think that over the years; at least a decade; Tommy Robinson has more than pulled his weight for our country and its time others took over from him. I just hope this last time in prison hasn’t broken his spirit but I think he should now spend time with his wife and children; they are more important; the evil in our country needs more people like Tommy Robinson to confront it, it’s not fair that one man should carry that burden alone.

  • I have a ‘balanced’ opinion of Tommy Robinson. I don’t think he is the anti-Christ and he is not wrong that there has been a decade long conspiracy by public officials in which mass rapes were allowed to happen… but he does need to understand that there are better ways to assert one common law right (freedom of speech) than by trying to abridge another (right to a fair trial, and before you howl ‘he won the appeal’ I suggest you ponder the entire thing. Secret Barrister is an insufferable cockhead but his analysis is pretty good).

  • Mr Ecks

    It needs to recognised that behind the problem with the RoP is the left. We need to deal with migration. By removing the voting power for the left they bring. No migrant or their children regardless of origin or ethnicity gets ANY vote for 100 years. Back dated to 1/1/1997. That stops the “import for votes”. Stop the subsidised breeding programes well. And things will begin to improve once they realise that the ending of their rising numbers will never allow a takeover.

  • AKM

    I agree, Perry.

    Tommy Robinson’s speech to the Oxford Union is necessary to understand him ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YQ94jFg_4A for those who haven’t seen it). His question; “What would you do?” is compelling.

    But you can’t just ignore the rules that are intended to provide a fair trial, especially if you think the defendants are guilty.

  • terence patrick hewett

    It is what you get when you abandon moral absolutes: Kaos.

  • Ian

    I’ll second the recommendation to read the Secret Barrister on this one. The reporting of this affair, particularly in the States, has been so poorly informed that it borders on Alex Jones-style conspiracy-mongering. Mark Steyn in particular has fallen greatly in my estimation, since the problems with his reporting were pointedly ignored by him; but Ezra Levant, being a trained lawyer (albeit not in English law) should really know better than to come out with the kind of hot nonsense he does in that podcast, like suggesting (amongst many other things) that TR being transferred to Onley Prison was in some way sinister. I usually really enjoy Dellers’ podcasts, but this one is mostly just wrong. It’s also led me indirectly to the conclusion that TR has been exaggerating for years about his experiences with the police and in prison.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    I am a former court reporter, and we had drummed into us a lot of rules about what could and could not be said when a court case was active or when sentencing was about to take place.

    Levant, in an earlier part of the podcast says there has not been a single contempt of court punishment meted out since the late 1940s; I don’t have the files to check whether that statement is true but I’d be interested to know about how to confirm or check such an assertion.

  • bobby b

    TR’s saga only sets up a conflict between freedom of speech and the right to a fair trial because of the exceedingly stupid way in which the British legal system serves the right to a fair trial.

    It’s asinine to shut down all speech about an important subject for all British subjects when you can easily put a jury up in a nice hotel for the duration of the trial if needed. It’s hardly ever needed, you can excuse potential jurors ahead of time if that sequestration would be too onerous, and you allow society to continue discussing things that need discussing.

    Government can operate with a heavy hand or a light hand. In this application, government has decided, for its own convenience, to operate with the heaviest hand possible, and libertarians are defending it. This baffles me.

  • Alisa

    From the Secret Barrister’s post:

    – So nobody can report on criminal trials, is that what you’re saying?

    – No, far from it. Anything can be reported which is not prejudicial (and which is not subject to reporting restrictions – see below). And if something prejudicial is reported in the course of fair and accurate reporting of an ongoing case, there is a specific statutory defence available to publishers (which includes newspapers, TV and social media users) who can show they were providing “a fair and accurate report of legal proceedings held in public, published contemporaneously and in good faith”.

    The presumed good intentions of this law notwithstanding, it is ridiculous.

  • JadedLibertarian

    Ezra Levant, being a trained lawyer (albeit not in English law) should really know better than to come out with the kind of hot nonsense he does in that podcast, like suggesting (amongst many other things) that TR being transferred to Onley Prison was in some way sinister

    If, and I mean if, what I’m hearing is true, then a man who is a known enemy of Islamists was

    – placed in “solitary” in a cell adjacent to the prison mosque,

    – other prisoners were allowed access to the observation flap and window of his cell and used them to threaten and spit,

    – his meals were prepared by Muslims (staff or prisoners? I’m not clear just repeating what I read) but the story I heard is the threats through the door implied his food had been tampered with, and he was reduced to trying to live off tinned tuna bought from the prison shop

    Coupled with the apparently record breaking speed with which he was sentenced and jailed, denying him the ability to mount an effective defense, I call all this pretty damn sinister.

    His legal guilt is neither here nor there. His treatment smacks of political persecution.

  • Government can operate with a heavy hand or a light hand. In this application, government has decided, for its own convenience, to operate with the heaviest hand possible, and libertarians are defending it. This baffles me.

    Libertarians are not defending the government using the heaviest hand possible, they are defending the underpinning principle of ensuring a fair trial, and in this instance, Tommy Robinson did an ‘own goal’… and I’d like to think people can give praise where praise is due and criticism where criticism is due.

  • His legal guilt is neither here nor there. His treatment smacks of political persecution.

    No, these are two quite separate issues. If true, his treatment appears to have been appalling (and in some ways the appeal judge suggested as much), and I’d like to see heads roll for that. But his legal guilt is an another issue entirely.

  • Alisa

    I do agree that he possibly scored an own goal – but, seeing as he seems to be the only person in the UK who has been actually doing something, publicly and loudly, on the issue of those rapes (and the generally barbaric “culture” of the “communities” which allowed these rapes to occur), I’d personally forgive him his failing to follow a prefect strategy by obeying that ridiculous law. I do understand that maybe a judge couldn’t and shouldn’t be as forgiving as me, but that is a separate point.

    The more I learn about Tommy Robinson, the more I admire him.

    Quite.

  • bobby b

    “Tommy Robinson did an ‘own goal’…”

    No argument. If you poke at a repressive and heavyhanded government, you ought to expect trouble. I’ve said in the past that he was careless and dumb. What he did wasn’t a planned demonstration to make a point – his lawyer would have been on hand if that were the case. He misjudged the situation. But this isn’t about Robinson’s actions. This is about repressive government.

    If the judge had merely ordered the cops to walk out and shoot Robinson on the courthouse steps, would you still be arguing that his underlying impulse to protect fair trials was correct?

    We’re back to the same argument. If you want to keep certain information from twelve people in one location, you don’t deny sixty-five million people the right to talk about that information. You put a shield around the twelve. But it’s cheaper for government to deny free speech than to house twelve people in a hotel.

    That’s the entire justification for this policy choice, and it remains the less effective choice on top of that. You can re-direct this to “they’re just protecting our right to a fair trial”, but they’ve chosen a repressive and ineffective way to do this.

  • AKM

    Imprisoning the jury for the duration isn’t restrictive?! It seems more restrictive that some limited restrictions on the speech of a few journalists until the court case is over.

  • APL

    PdH: “I have a ‘balanced’ opinion of Tommy Robinson. I don’t think he is the anti-Christ and he is not wrong that there has been a decade long conspiracy by public officials in which mass rapes were allowed to happen… but … ”

    ‘but’, Huh!

    Balanced opinion? Just like the Vicar of Bray your ‘balance’ oscillates from one extreme to the other.

  • Flubber

    Re:APL

    “there has been a decade long conspiracy by public officials in which mass rapes were allowed to happen”

    This is not an extreme opinion. Its one of the core findings of the Jay report.

    Wind your neck in.

  • APL

    Flubber: “Wind your neck in.”

    Get back to your kennel, Cur. PdH doesn’t need you yapping in his cause.

    bobby b: ” If you poke at a repressive and heavyhanded government, you ought to expect trouble. I’ve said in the past that he was careless and dumb. ”

    If you believe his most resent account ( and I would in preference to anything the British State might have to say on the matter, ) He didn’t plead guilty to contempt. Nor did he get due process – “The appeal judges also found he was sentenced as if he had pleaded guilty, despite it being unclear what he was admitting to, and there had been a “muddle” about the nature of the contempt he faced.”

    In fact, Robinson was rolled by the judiciary.

  • But this isn’t about Robinson’s actions. This is about repressive government.

    No, it is about both. I realise you think the US system for achieving a fair trial is self evidently better but I don’t agree that it is, it is just different.

  • ‘but’, Huh!

    Balanced opinion? Just like the Vicar of Bray your ‘balance’ oscillates from one extreme to the other.

    I am not oscillating at all, I am just judging Tommy Robinson’s adventures and misadventures on their own discrete merits rather than just agglomerating everything into a single meaningless score.

    In fact, Robinson was rolled by the judiciary.

    Which was why he won the appeal. But if you actually read it, it is not all roses for Team Robinson. He did some stupid things & should be called on them, but that also works the other way too… just because he did some stupid things does not change the fact much of what he is trying to highlight needs to be highlighted.

  • bobby b

    “He didn’t plead guilty to contempt. Nor did he get due process.”

    Agree. What I thought was stupid was his failure to understand that going back to the courthouse to do exactly what the previous judge had told him not to do (while placing him on probation for having already done so) would trigger bad things.

    Some have argued that he did so knowing he would be arrested, as a brave and selfless tactic to draw attention to the trial’s issues, but I disagree – there were several steps he could have taken (such as preparing his defense counsel to be with him, arranging bail money, etc) if he was setting himself up for arrest. He didn’t prepare at all, and appeared stunned at his fate.

    I think he just dumbly did it without thinking it through. The law itself concerning suppression of press coverage of the trial is, to me, very wrong – but knowing that that was the law, he screwed himself.

    It was only after that the the legal system roundly _____ him (insert your preferred term for non-consensual anal sex.)

    (ETA: I expect that he’s going to end up serving more time for his act when he goes back for another round of prosecution, but at least this time he’ll have counsel, he’ll understand what he’s being charged with, and he (likely) won’t be sentenced by a still-enraged personally-provoked judge.)

  • bobby b

    “I realise you think the US system for achieving a fair trial is self evidently better but I don’t agree that it is, it is just different.”

    Yeah, you’re correct in that I do think it is self-evidently better, and frankly it hadn’t occurred to me that that was where our difference arose. Because of that whole, you know, self-evident-to-me thing. I’d argue that specific topic with you, but at least now I’m not baffled at your position viv-a-vis the TR saga. So, thanks for that.

  • Chip

    It’s not about TR. it’s about a state that was happy to ignore industrial-scale rape of young girls for years (Ann Cryer was sounding the alarm back in 2003), but suddenly serious enough to pluck a man off the street, and whisk him off to jail within hours with a ban on reporting.

    The treatment of TR is just one of many symptoms of a country speeding toward cultural suicide and the authoritarianism required to ensure it happens.

  • APL

    PdH: “But if you actually read it, it is not all roses for Team Robinson.”

    By ‘it’, I guess you mean the appeal ‘verdict’?

    You are critical of Tommy Robinson, because despite the full weight of the British state legal system being brought against him, despite his years long persecution by the British Police, despite the attacks on him and his family, by the Police ( in one instance, ejecting him and his family, from a public house, because someone else causes a disturbance – then the Police following him home ), he doesn’t act with a cool head, isn’t a consummate lawyer, in every artificial situation the British State puts him in.

    Then when unlawfully imprisoned, moving him from prison to prison, in order to frustrate his legal council. But also moving him from a prison with 10% Mussleman population, to one with 60%, and putting him in a cell facing across the Corridor from the Mosque. Coincidence, natch.

    You would let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Because, it suits your own prejudice.

  • The Fyrdman

    I’m not sure how reading out an article from the guardian which was available publicly (and more likely to be read by the jurors than seeing TR’s recording) or his recording the defendants entering/exiting the court could have prejudiced the jury.

    While I would prefer the American system to the British one in this matter, I do not see why the state needs to wield this power so bluntly. If his actions are highly unlikely to prejudice the jury then the use of contempt of court is unjustified.

  • JadedLibertarian

    But if you actually read it, it is not all roses for Team Robinson.

    Yes they were criticised for saving up obvious mistakes by the prosecution for later “strategic advantage”, rather than immediately calling attention to them.

    Forgive me, but that sounds like standard practice in law. Unless the judge was seriously suggesting the defense should do the prosection’s job for them? I thought lawyers were disbarred for doing things like that?

  • Ian

    Reading through a lot of these comments has just left me scratching my head. On the one hand we have a series of epic rape-gang scandals in England, bravely highlighted by TR in his own inimitable way over the years in the face of what can only be described as corrupt local government and police. On the other hand, we have TR playing the victim card in what looks to me like a publicity stunt.

    So, he only had a duty solicitor and didn’t understand the charges? No, he had his own barrister who knew perfectly well that the court had made a procedural error. This is quite a brazen lie, but TR’s supporters seem quite content to overlook it — and this is just one example of the misinformation coming from him. Can anyone, now, seriously believe his claims that he was given “permission” to do his broadcast from the court so he could be thrown in prison?

    Looking at the earliest reporting on the story of his arrest, the impression given by TR and his allies was that the courts and police were going out of their way to hide the trials of these alleged rapists and deliberately targeted TR for reporting on them. When our excitable colonial cousins were reminded that jury trials are done slightly differently here, and that TR was guilty of breaching a legitimate court order for the purposes of ensuring a fair trial (and avoiding a mistrial, which could have happened in this case), the story morphed into a scandal about how dreadful it is that we don’t sequester juries and how dreadful it was that TR had supposedly been transferred to a 60% or 70% Muslim prison in order that he could be murdered, whilst being kept in solitary confinement like some episode of Oz.

    Except that’s bull. Firstly, it’s not unreasonable to avoid locking juries in hotel rooms for the duration of a trial (and the idea that we’re just being cheapstakes is ahistorical garbage). Secondly, Onley Prison, where TR was held, is a low-security (Category C) prison with about 220 Muslim prisoners out of a total population of about 730, roughly 30%. It doesn’t have any “solitary confinement” cells — the prison is comprised mostly of single “residential” cells, and the prisoners there are not murderers, rapists, etc. Is it not possible that he was transferred from the Category B Hull Prison because Onley is more suitable for a prisoner due to be released within a short timeframe, and because he didn’t need to be in a Category B prison? Or do we require some sinister conspiracy involving the Home Secretary, no less? “Send him to the low-security Onley, mwahahaha!” C’mon, it’s silly.

    As to the claims that his food was being prepared by Muslims, etc., and that he had to buy tinned tuna from the prison shop, firstly I’d note that it’s difficult to go to a prison shop if you’re in solitary confinement (so, like, yah…), and secondly I’d point that that given part of the rehabilitation process is to teach prisoners how to cook for themselves, then wouldn’t it almost always be the case that Muslims are involved in that if there are any number of Muslims prisoners there? Big deal. As to the claim that prisoners were allowed access to the flap of his cell, given that it’s the kind of prison where prisoners can wander relatively freely, wouldn’t all the prisoners effectively have access to all the cells except, I suppose, at night? And so what if his cell was near a prayer room (sorry, “mosque” — there might have been a minaret where they could place a sniper)? Obviously I can’t speak to the claims about threats of poisoning and spitting, etc., but if that happened did TR or his barrister make a complaint to anyone? Hey, maybe that happened — he was after all in prison with a bunch of criminals — but TR himself has a history of violence and his supporters are not exactly meek and mild, so it does seem like par for the course. Perhaps TR should try to avoid being put in prison, and not whinge about a bit of spittle and some undoubtedly empty threats — cry me a river.

    Look, I’m sympathetic to TR in general because he was right about Muslim rape gangs, but I can tell when I’m being fed propaganda and it’s insulting to my intelligence to be told that all this guff about prison conditions is evidence of “political persecution”. As for the details of the hearing where he was sentenced, yes it does now appear that the judge made a couple of bad calls which I’m sure he regrets because it makes him look bad, but these have now been addressed and quite frankly the notion that the original judge singled out TR for special treatment is not credible. TR deliberately and almost certainly with full knowledge (he’s not without legal advisors) chose to breach a court order affecting a very serious criminal trial, after having previously been warned explicitly and specifically not to do so again. If I’d been in the judge’s shoes, I think I’d be very annoyed with him for potentially screwing with the trial, but then (echoing to some extent PdH) I find it possible to hold the view that rape gangs exist and that TR was right about them and deserves credit for that, whilst at the same time believing that TR and his allies sail very close to the wind and also have a tendency like his associate Alex Jones deliberately to exaggerate and distort the truth (and also to tell blatant lies) when it suits their ends.

    Finally, I struggle to see how any of this manufactured outrage is helping to do anything than lower the collective IQ of those on our end of the political spectrum who realise the problems we’ve created in this country by importing people from the tribal areas of Pakistan in the expectation that they would all be nice and cosmopolitan like the politicans who made that decision.

  • Ian

    P.S. A word to the wise. I’d urge everyone in this circle of libertarian-leaning types to think very carefully about when and how to promote Tommy Robinson, and to treat his statements with considerable caution. I’ve seen a bunch of ordinarily very reliable journalists and commentators being made to look like fools on this one, and the more TR becomes accepted into this milieu the greater the risk that something silly he does will prove embarrassing and damaging in the long run.

  • Flubber

    “Get back to your kennel, Cur. PdH doesn’t need you yapping in his cause.”

    APL your debating skills leave something to be desired.

    Leave the basement, keyboard hero.

  • I note that the secret barrister (whom I regard much as Perry does) asserts “This was at a time when, as Robinson knew, a “postponement order” under s.4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981was in place”. He does not however link to evidence of that.

    I remain as unimpressed as I was that Tommy is threatened with 13 months while the Rotherham enablers have yet to serve 13 minutes, but I would be interested to know whether the secret barrister is speaking from definite knowledge or from Tommy-disdaining assumption. The commenter who thought Tommy was engaged in Gandhi-like resistance to an absurd law must be assuming that in fact Tommy did know – as, in their different way, do those who want him to serve the full 13 months. If Tommy did not know this (or did not grasp it), then his ‘crime’ was to have a layman’s understanding of the law (i.e. he was told not to film inside a court and not to film anything till the trial was over; once those particular defendants were sentenced, he imagined it was legal to film from outside the court).

    (I quite get the legal principle that demands we all just know these subtleties. I quite see it would have been prudent for Tommy to inform himself of all the technicalities after his first suspended sentence, not just rely on what he was told not to do in that first case.)

    The appeal judge could be read as thinking the original judge slovenly, perhaps even prejudiced. It fits with the “got on a technicality” impression – but is not proof of it.

  • lucklucky

    A clear case of Deep State/Government oppression.

  • Paul Marks

    Perhaps the most depressing aspect of this whole disgusting affair was the “Conservative” lawyers who rushed to CONDEMN the man (not to defend his right to Freedom of Speech). “Tommy Robinson is not even his real name” (irrelevant), “he is a convicted fraudster” (a massive government investigation years ago, to find ANYTHING they could pin on the man, found mortgage application stuff – the sort of thing that is done all the time and people are hardly ever sent to prison for).

    I even had one such “Conservative” barrister (a supporter of Mrs May) declare to the world (via Facebook) that there was Freedom of Speech in this county – an obscene and revolting lie, given the tragic decline of Freedom of Speech in this country over many decades now.

    I am certain that “Tommy Robinson” is not a perfect man (there are no perfect men) – but he is not being persecuted by the state (and the establishment generally) because of his vices (however bad his vices may be), he is being persecuted for his VIRTUE of standing up against Islam.

    When Mrs May, and the establishment generally, speak about Islam do they know that what they say is NOT TRUE? I can not make a window into their souls – I can not prove that Mrs May (and the others) are lying, but it is quite clear that what they say about Islam is NOT TRUE, and what “Tommy Robinson” says about Islam IS TRUE.

    So do we stand with courage and truth, or do we stand with (at best) error and the persecution of truth tellers?

    Lastly…

    “Tommy Robinson is a criminal [see above for the real story of that] and Dr David Wood is a VIOLENT cranial [back in the days before he had studied anything and nothing to do with his present work]”.

    O.K. then – what about opponents of Islam who have never committed a criminal offence, such a Pamela Geller, Lauren Southern and Robert Spencer? How does the British establishment answer their evidence and arguments against Islam – or does the British establishment accept the truth of their case?

    NEITHER – the British establishment just smears them and bans them from speaking in this country.

    Moral bankruptcy.

  • Alisa

    On the other hand, we have TR playing the victim card in what looks to me like a publicity stunt.

    If that is what it was*, then it has been quite effective for a good cause, by way of keeping the issue on the “front pages” – so more power to him.

    *Which I doubt, as I’m more inclined towards Niall’s take on this further down the thread – but I obviously have no way of knowing for sure.

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    If you’re saying you don’t mind tricking people when it suits your agenda, then we part company. I would present an argument as to why you are wrong, but I wouldn’t be able to get it on the front page of a newspaper, so I doubt it would persuade you.

  • Paul Marks

    Ian – the newspapers were hostile to “Tommy Robinson”, they just repeated the standard smears.

    As for “playing the victim card” and “publicity stunt”.

    The man went to a report a trial – that is his JOB (he is employed by “Rebel Media” to report such cases of Islamic attack) and he was sent to prison where he was horribly treated – he was even moved to a prison with a very high Islamic population so that he would be treated badly.

    Listen to interviews he has given – LOOK at the man (how he has lost weight and his face has aged years in a month or so). Does this seem like a “publicity stunt”? He is a victim Ian – a victim of persecution by the state.

    “But he is not a libertarian” – no he is not, he supports the National Health Service and so on (so do most people in this country).

    “I warn you against him” – I think you would warn us against ANYONE who told the truth about Islam, but I could be wrong Ian – yes I could be MISTAKEN.

    Tell me Ian – how much did you complain when Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Lauren Southern (and so on) were banned from this country because they might tell the truth about Islam. Does any of them have a “long history of violence” (and how many fights has this man started – is he “guilty” of DEFENDING himself?).

    It is quite possible that you protested against the actions of the British state (I am NOT saying you did not protest Ian) – just remind us of how you stood up for these people, and Freedom of Speech, against the British establishment.

    Come on Ian – show me to be mistaken (I WANT to be mistaken on this). Explain how you condemned the banning from this country of peaceful opponents of Islam – how you expressed your horror and disgust. I repeat – you may well have done so. Just remind us.

    And remember the key issue – it is not random “gang gangs”. This is the theology (the law) of Islam – taught and practiced by Muhammed himself. Infidel women and girls (including underage girls) are to be sexually used, by force, by the faithful – that is one of the perks (along with the offer of material plunder) that Muhammed used to get young men to join Islam in the first place, and it has been used ever since. This was well known to the generation of Gladstone (who condemned Islam in the strongest terms) and the generation of Winston Churchill (who also condemned Islam in the strongest terms. Just as it is Islamic Law (which the followers of Islam are duty bound to spread everywhere) that those who leave Islam, having once entered it, must be killed – and it is Islamic Law that anyone who mocks Muhammed must be killed. Chanting “Islamophobia” (which is how Mrs May would answer Gladstone and Winston Churchill before trying to send them to prison) does not alter this at all Ian.

    It is not just “local” government that is (intellectually) “corrupt” Ian – but then you may have already said all the above (many times) yourself. Please give a few examples of you, and the “Secret Barrister”, condemning Islam – not a few individuals, Islam itself and Muhammed himself. Or are you going to chant “Islamophobia” and try to “stich up” people and send them to prison? Please prove me mistaken Ian – I want to be proven mistaken about you.

    Will the “Secret Barrister” stand up under his own name and, for example, publically say that Muhammed was a murderer, an enslaver and a rapist, and that the religion he created was founded on these principles, which remain its core (and unchangeable) doctrines to this day?

    Not some individuals in specific cases – the Founder of the religion and the doctrines (LAW) of the religion he created. Prime Minister Gladstone had the courage to tell the truth – I hope you do as well Ian. After all Muhammed himself left us in no doubt – as he judged the “hard cases” personally. “This poet has mocked you – but he is old and blind” DEATH. “This women poetess has condemned the killing of the old blind poet – but she is pregnant” DEATH. Muhammed made it all very clear. And he stated clearly that his judgements were the law of GOD (revealed to him from GOD) that no man could in future change these doctrines. That the divine law (for example on the fate of infidel women and girls who are taken) was beyond the law of earthly rulers – “Secret Barrister” please note.

    You see Ian that is why people turn to “Tommy Robinson” rather than the “Secret Barrister” – because whatever the vices of “Tommy Robinson” may be, at least he (unlike so many of us – including MYSELF at times) is not a coward.

  • Paul Marks

    I repeat – I want Ian and the Secret Barrister to prove me mistaken about their character. I want them to come out and publically condemn the founder of Islam (Muhammed) and the doctrines which he claimed to come from God and used as the foundation of the religion he invented.

    I will be very pleased indeed if Ian and the Secret Barrister just tell the truth – as Prime Minister Gladstone, and so many others before the modern era of lies and cowardice, told the truth. And if they have already done so (and I am too silly to have seen this) then I humbly apologise and admit my error.

  • Trouble @ t'mill

    Will the “Secret Barrister” stand up under his own name and, for example, publically say that Muhammed was a murderer, an enslaver and a rapist, and that the religion he created was founded on these principles, which remain its core (and unchangeable) doctrines to this day?

    SB seems like a bit of an snarky arse, but don’t tell other people how they need to be brave when it costs *you* nothing. Also until Islam becomes proscribed in the UK, none of what you’re asking him to do has the slightest relevance for someone writing legal analysis.

  • JadedLibertarian

    I disagree with Tommy Robinson. I disagree with the way he’s being treated by the government and the media even more. Everyone loves an underdog so I’m finding myself warming up to him.

    Ditto for Trump I might add. I’ve talked before about my alarm at my views being pulled in a more and more reactionary conservative direction, but that certainly seems to be the way things are going.

    Ultimately I think it’s just that it’s getting very close to the time that we’ll all need to choose sides in this particular culture war. The “alt-right” have feet of clay and will disappoint you. They’re full of racists, conspiracists etc etc. But the Ctrl-left are actually evil. If I have to choose between flawed and evil, I choose flawed, so I guess it’s the alt-right for me then.

    I’d rather not be forced into choosing between two movements I disagree with, but that seems to be the way the wind is blowing.

  • As an observer of the UK political scene for over twenty-odd years, I do not think I have ever been moved to cry ‘foul’ at the disgraceful treatment of Tommy whilst in prison.

    If you care about British jurisprudence, and about British justice, read my appeal to the Chief Inspector of Prisons, and see if you agree with me that heads should roll!

  • Alisa

    Ian:

    @Alisa, If you’re saying you don’t mind tricking people when it suits your agenda, then we part company

    No, that is not what I am saying, as neither playing the victim card nor a publicity stunt necessarily imply deception. If TR did actually lie about something material, I would like to see a definite proof of that, and such a case is likely to incline me closer to the skeptics’ camp.

  • Ian

    @Paul Marks,

    That’s a lorra lorra straw men there Paul.

    Firstly, you have attributed quotes to me that I didn’t say, to wit: “But he is not a libertarian” and “I warn you against him”. I don’t know how you were brought up, but where I come from this is considered bad manners. I did kinda say something like “I warn you against him”, but I didn’t say that he is not a libertarian, or anything remotely resembling it. I merely pointed out that libertarian-minded people should be wary of believing everything he says. You also seem to suggest that I’m not sufficiently pro free speech and anti-Muslim, but I don’t see how you could get there from what I said. You also seem to be a little overwrought at times.

    The manner in which you’ve misconstrued my views suggests to me I should re-state my position. My position, as I stated, is that Tommy Robinson deserves credit for pointing out the dangers of “Muslim rape gangs” but that a lot of what he and his supporters (you included) say about his treatment is exaggerated or false. I resent your demands to prove my libertarian bona fides by condemning Islam and speaking against the exclusion of public speakers from the UK, and I think that submitting to your demands would almost prove the contrary. The authoritarian nature of your demands does not connote in my mind the attitude of a libertarian, so yah boo sucks.

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    No, that is not what I am saying, as neither playing the victim card nor a publicity stunt necessarily imply deception. If TR did actually lie about something material, I would like to see a definite proof of that, and such a case is likely to incline me closer to the skeptics’ camp.

    I’m not going to go over everything dubious or false that’s been said by Team Tommy, as I gave a few (non-exhaustive) examples above, but it’s a messy situation and TR is as much sinned against as sinning: the newspapers have painted him as a vicious racist and a kind of neo-Nazi, which is absolutely not true. As for the category of “publicity stunt”, in my mind that means using exaggerated or false information to get attention, and my main concern in this case is not so much the deceptive element (though that bothers me) as the fact that it can be “debunked” (both fairly and unfairly) and therefore is not convincing anyone that needs to be convinced. We need serious politicians whom the media can’t paint as racists to come out and speak against this issue of Muslim rape gangs, and the dangers of Islam or “Islamofascism” (a more publicly-acceptable term) generally. Sure, this TR stuff energizes conservatives and libertarians (mostly in the US it seems), and maybe it’ll do some good, but TR is not the hero I want, though he may be the hero we need — a bit like Trump, as JadedLibertarian suggests. Thus I’ll criticize TR here amongst like-minded people, but I’d do the opposite when in lefty company.

  • Paul Marks

    “Trouble at t’ Mill” – I asked for a man (in fact two people – as “Ian” and the “Secret Barrister” are two different people) to tell the truth about Islam rather than act as a cheerleader for the persecution of a man for telling the truth about Islam.

    And telling the truth about Islam is “naught” to do with “proscribing Islam”.

    The “Secret Barrister” could have said nothing at all – but NO, he choose to be cheerleader for the persecution of a man for telling the truth about Islam. That is not good behaviour by the “Secret Barrister”.

    Ian you have written two further comments – in neither one of them do you tell the truth about Islam, you talk about anything else apart from the actual matter (i.e. the persecution of “Tommy Robinson” and others for telling the truth about Islam). You know perfectly well (you certainly do not need me to tell you) that “Tommy Robinson” is not being persecuted by the state for his vices (bad though they may be) he is being persecuted by the state (and the rest of the establishment) for telling the truth about Islam.

    I have given you, Ian, multiple opportunities to tell the truth about Islam – and you have failed to do so (instead you just try and change the subject – as you have done repeatedly tried to do earlier in the thread). I am certainly NOT going down the rabbit hole you want me to go down (although “for the record” – I rather suspect that it is YOU, Ian, not “team Tommy”, who is not telling the truth about the details of the case), the central matter is ISLAM and your refusal to tell the truth about ISLAM.

    I repeat – if you do not like “Tommy Robinson” then I suggest you (and the “Secret Barrister”) look in the mirror – because it is YOU, Ian, that is the reason that this country, and the West in general, need people like “Tommy Robinson”. Because YOU (and the “Secret Barrister”) will not do anything to oppose Islam. I am very sorry indeed to have, it seems, been proved correct about your character Ian – as I said (repeatedly) I wanted to be proved WRONG.

    “I did not say I warn you against him” then was the “word to the wise” about? You were not supporting the man you were warning us against him. “I did not say he is not a libertarian” – you implied it, and actually I AGREED with you (so you making up an artificial dispute – a lawyer trick).

    “Bad manners” – actually I have been polite, much too polite. There is a place, sometimes, for “Anglo Saxon” language, and for what Aristotle correctly called “righteous anger”.

    Now are you going to tell the truth about Islam or not Ian?

    Yes or no?

    Your implied answer so far has been “no” – “I did not actually use the word no” – fair enough then (if that is
    your answer), now tell the truth about Islam – its founder, and the doctrines that he claimed to be from God.

    I ask again “Ian” – you do not like “Tommy Robinson” (fair enough we all have people we dislike – actually I do not really like the man myself, although I admire his courage and wish I had half of it) – but have you supported Pamela Geller or Robert Spencer or Lauren Southern or indeed ANYONE who has told the truth about Islam?

    Have you “Ian”?

    Again I want you to show me that I am WRONG about you. PLEASE Ian show some spark of being a person – stop the tricks and just answer.

  • Alisa

    Ian, I can see that your impression of the man inclined you towards lack of trust regarding some of his claims, and I also well understand that you have a life and so will not present me with a list of well-documented lies from TR, if such do in fact exist. However, you must forgive me if, as someone who has not been left with a similar impression, I’d await solid evidence to change mine, even though in the end yours may well turn out to be the correct one.

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    To follow up on your earlier remark “If TR did actually lie about something material, I would like to see a definite proof of that”, I’ve been doing some digging on TR’s claim in the Tucker Carlson’s interview that he “…was transferred to the prison with the largest Muslim population in the UK for a C Cat[egory] prison.”

    This isn’t true in any sense. The claim has been modified, and it seems originally the claim that was put about by TR’s manager was that Onley Prison had a 71% Muslim population, then this got reduced to 60%, and now the claim is as quoted above. The actual figure for HMP Onley is 30.4%, based on a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons in 2016. This figure was reported by CambridgeshireLive, which came out before it was known to where TR had been transferred, and in that article it is stated that “[t]he prison with the highest Muslim population in the Midlands is Onley”. I think this is probably the basis for TR making the claim quoted above, which is exaggerated to make Onley the Category C prison with the highest Muslim population in the country.

    HMP Onley neither has the highest proportion of Muslim prisoners amongst Category C male prisons in the country, nor the most in terms of absolute numbers, according to HMCIP’s reports. HMP Maidstone has the highest proportion, at 31.3%, although Onley is close behind in 2nd place out of 42. In terms of absolute numbers, Wandsworth is top with a total of 351, followed by Oakwood with 327, Highpoint with 292, then Onley with 223. In short, there are prisons he could have been sent to which have much higher Muslim populations.

    Nor does HMP Humber (Hull) have a 2% Muslim population, as was claimed by Team Tommy. In fact, Humber comes in 10th at 7.4%, with Dartmoor the lowest at 3.5%, followed by Northumberland, Liverpool, Channings Wood, Usk, Swansea, Stafford, Kennet and Wymott. In fairness, TR has now modified his claim (after being called on it) to give the accurate figure of 7%. Using absolute numbers, Humber has 22nd fewest Muslims, 79 in total, with HMP Blantyre House lowest on 14.

    In fairness to TR, the 2016 report on HMP Onley does lament the prison’s levels of violence (though that was a couple of years ago), so I don’t doubt his claims that he suffered a lot of abuse from other prisoners. I think Wandsworth and Ranby sound worse though.

    In summary, it seems TR’s manager is a bullshit artist, and that (at the very least) TR is willing in this case to exaggerate things in his favour. I’m guessing he saw the CambridgeshireLive article, read the bit about Onley having the highest proportion of Muslims in a prison in the Midlands and either consciously or unconsciously dropped the “in the Midlands” part of it.

  • Ian

    @Paul Marks,

    I’m not going to condemn Islam for your benefit, for the simple reason that I’m not going to be ordered about by you. I don’t know whether you realise that you come across as insufferably pompous and boorish, and a bit loopy. If you ask me nicely — if you can — then I’ll respond.

    You’re also extremely presumptuous in your claim that “YOU […] will not do anything to oppose Islam”. Don’t you think it’s quite stupid to make specific judgements about a person’s life without knowing anything about them? But you can think what you like, mate, if it makes you happy.

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    To follow up on your earlier remark “If TR did actually lie about something material, I would like to see a definite proof of that”, I’ve been doing some digging on TR’s claim in the Tucker Carlson’s interview that he “…was transferred to the prison with the largest Muslim population in the UK for a C Cat[egory] prison.”

    This isn’t true. The claim has been modified, and it seems originally the claim that was put about by TR’s manager was that Onley Prison had a 71% Muslim population, then this got reduced to 60%, and now the claim is as quoted above. The actual figure for HMP Onley is 30.4%, based on a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons in 2016. This figure was reported by CambridgeshireLive, which came out before it was known to where TR had been transferred, and in that article it is stated that “[t]he prison with the highest Muslim population in the Midlands is Onley”. I think this is probably the basis for TR making the claim quoted above, which is exaggerated to make Onley the Category C prison with the highest Muslim population in the country.

    HMP Onley neither has the highest proportion of Muslim prisoners amongst Category C male prisons in the country, nor the most in terms of absolute numbers. HMP Maidstone has the highest proportion, at 31.3%, although Onley is close behind in 2nd place out of 42. In terms of absolute numbers, Wandsworth is top with a total of 351, followed by Oakwood with 327, Highpoint with 292, then Onley with 223. In short, there are prisons he could have been sent to which have much higher Muslim populations.

    Nor does HMP Humber (Hull) have a 2% Muslim population, as was claimed by Team Tommy. In fact, Humber comes in 10th at 7.4%, with Dartmoor the lowest at 3.5%, followed by Northumberland, Liverpool, Channings Wood, Usk, Swansea, Stafford, Kennet and Wymott. In fairness, TR has now modified his claim (after being called on it) to give the accurate figure of 7%. Using absolute numbers, Humber has 22nd fewest Muslims, 79 in total, with HMP Blantyre House lowest on 14.

    In fairness to TR, the 2016 report on HMP Onley does lament the prison’s levels of violence (though that was a couple of years ago), so I don’t doubt his claims that he suffered a lot of abuse from other prisoners. I think Wandsworth and Ranby sound worse though.

    In summary, it seems TR’s manager is a bullshit artist, and that (at the very least) TR is willing in this case to exaggerate things in his favour. I’m guessing he saw the CambridgeshireLive article, read the bit about Onley having the highest proportion of Muslims in a prison _in the Midlands_ and either consciously or unconsciously dropped the “in the Midlands” part of it.

  • Paul Marks

    Given the nature of Ian’s “answers” (or rather irrelevant non-answers) further conversation with him is clearly pointless, he is “trolling” and the rule of “do not feed the troll” applies. So let us go to the matter at hand. What is the correct approach to Islam?

    Some people, for example on this site, have (in the past) shown images of Western aircraft, tanks, other bits of military kit, women in near undress, bottles of whiskey and on-an-on – this seems to me to be UTTERLY BESIDE THE POINT (indeed absurd). One does not win a conflict of ideas (and this is an a conflict of ideas) in this way. Most human beings reach a point in their lives where booze, pornography and Association Football are just not enough – they need answers to the fundamental questions of human existence, and Islam claims to provide those answers (for this world as well as the next) so how does one deal with this Islamic challenge?

    One needs to show that Islam is intellectually and MORALLY wrong – Islam presents Muhammed as the “perfect model of conduct” and the doctrines he taught as from God, so one must show (if one is to defeat Islam – or at least limit its spread) that Muhammed’s personal conduct was evil (not good) and that the doctrines he taught were evil (not good). One does this by evidence and argument NOT bullets and bombs (fancy bits of military kit are no use when dealing with, for example, the changing demographics of the city of Birmingham in the United Kingdom).

    “But one can just ignore Islam” – perhaps when it was far away. As Edmund Burke said – Islam is an “armed doctrine” with universal claims and followers dedicated to spreading it, just as the French Revolution (the ideas of Rousseau and his various factions of followers after his death) is an “armed doctrine” with universal claims and followers dedicated to spreading it. BUT in the time of Edmund Burke the doctrines of Rousseau were a real threat (they controlled a very large country only a few miles from this island – and had many supporters in Britain itself) whereas the doctrines of Muhammed were far away – and they had no great following on this island. So it was the doctrine of Rousseau NOT the doctrine of Muhammed that should be our concern in the 1790s. Rousseau and his doctrines must be shown to be evil – not good. This is the nature of ideological conflict – as those of who grew up during the Cold War will remember.

    And people who remember the Cold War well will remember that saying that “Stalin” and Mao (and on and on) had”betrayed Karl Marx” and that the tyranny they produced was “not really what Marx wanted” was just about the WORST way to respond to the totalitarians – it played into their hands and, in the long term, essentially handed them the education system (and so much else) on a plate.

    In the case of Islam the population of, for example, Malta are mainly Middle Eastern and North African in their DNA (if I am mistaken about that, a thousand apologies – I am merely passing on what I have been told), but this is IRRELVANT because their beliefs are not Islamic.

    Bishop Ali of Rochester (Kent – England) was a brown skinned man born and raised in Pakistan – but this was also IRRELEVANT as his belief system was not that of Islam. He did not take Muhammed as a perfect model of conduct (to be imitated) and he did not try and follow and spread the doctrines of Muhammed.

    There is nothing genetic in Islam – it is a system of ideas, and its spread can be limited (or even possibly reversed – rolled back) by evidence and argument.

    But there is a worse policy than ignoring Islam – and that is to actively PRAISE Islam as the Western “liberal” establishment (Mrs May and co) do. If people are constantly told (by the political and cultural leaders of the West itself) that Muhammed was a good man and what he taught was “peace” and “tolerance”.

    Of course things are not always crude as academics on BBC programmes standing in front of Roman ruins and pretending they are Islamic remains (for the reality of Islamic Spain see “The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise”) – but the approach is always mistaken. In the modern West, at least when one is dealing with the establishment elite, saying “but that is a lie” caries little weight – as the establishment elite have been taught that the “greatest happiness of the greatest number” is more important than truth and honour, HOWEVER even by the principles of their utilitarian philosophy the establishment elite should be made aware that their approach (using the education system and the “mainstream media” to spread nonsense about how nice Muhammed and Islam are) is mistaken.

    It is mistaken because Islam continues to increase – both by births (mainly by births) and by conversions. And Islam is-what-it-is – Muhammed was very clear in his deeds and judgements, and if the education system and the media (and the Western elite generally) continually say that Muhammed was good (not bad) and that the doctrines he taught were good (not bad) then when that time comes (and it comes for so many of us) when people seek answers to the fundamental questions of human existence they will (in this time of crises in their lives) turn to Islam – especially if they were born into it.

    Yes, a thousand times yes, a person can go through the motions of Islam for years or decades without ever really knowing anything about it – say the prayers five times a day and so on, without ever really studying what Muhammed taught and what he personally did. But the crises of human existence comes to many of us (if not all of us) sooner or later – and if a person has been told (all their lives) that Muhammed and Islam are good, they will (in that crises in their lives) turn to find out what Muhammed actually did and what he really taught and then, perhaps, DO IT. Unless they have already been convinced (BEFORE the crises in their lives) that this is NOT the place to go for moral and spiritual guidance.

    Those who think that X person is too brash and crude in his (or her) manner, or has an unpleasant “Working Class” accent, have a duty to THEMSELVES show Muhammed and Islam to be NOT the place to go for moral and spiritual guidance in a time of crises in one’s life (and such a crises does tend to come to most of us), and, if possible, to present a real alternative to Islam in terms of a moral belief system. So that people born into Islam have “somewhere else to go”.

    For it is not just necessary to try and discredit Islam (although that is a highly necessary thing to do, if its spread is to be limited let alone rolled back) – it is also necessary to present a real alternative moral system to it. And there, of course, “Tommy Robinson” fails – although at least he has the courage to stand against Islam in the first place, which is a lot more than the intellectual, cultural and political leaders of most of the West do.

  • Alisa

    Thanks for that, Ian. Now the obvious question is, how material are this inaccuracies on the part of TR? The other relevant question would be ‘has he knowingly lied’, but I gather from your comment that you have no definite proof of that?

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    To follow up on your earlier remark “If TR did actually lie about something material, I would like to see a definite proof of that”, I’ve been doing some digging on TR’s claim in the Tucker Carlson’s interview that he “…was transferred to the prison with the largest Muslim population in the UK for a C Cat[egory] prison.”

    This isn’t true. The claim has been modified, and it seems originally the claim that was put about by TR’s manager was that Onley Prison had a 71% Muslim population, then this got reduced to 60%, and now the claim is as quoted above. The actual figure for HMP Onley is 30.4%, based on a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons in 2016. This figure was reported by CambridgeshireLive, which came out before it was known to where TR had been transferred, and in that article it is stated that “[t]he prison with the highest Muslim population in the Midlands is Onley”. I think this is probably the basis for TR making the claim quoted above, which is exaggerated to make Onley the Category C prison with the highest Muslim population in the country.

    HMP Onley neither has the highest proportion of Muslim prisoners amongst Category C male prisons in the country, nor the most in terms of absolute numbers. HMP Maidstone has the highest proportion, at 31.3%, although Onley is close behind in 2nd place out of 42. In terms of absolute numbers, Wandsworth is top with a total of 351, followed by Oakwood with 327, Highpoint with 292, then Onley with 223. In short, there are prisons he could have been sent to which have much higher Muslim populations.

    Nor does HMP Humber (Hull) have a 2% Muslim population, as was claimed by Team Tommy. In fact, Humber comes in 10th at 7.4%, with Dartmoor the lowest at 3.5%, followed by Northumberland, Liverpool, Channings Wood, Usk, Swansea, Stafford, Kennet and Wymott. In fairness, TR has now modified his claim (after being called on it) to give the accurate figure of 7%. Using absolute numbers, Humber has 22nd fewest Muslims, 79 in total, with HMP Blantyre House lowest on 14.

    In fairness to TR, the 2016 report on HMP Onley does lament the prison’s levels of violence (though that was a couple of years ago), so I don’t doubt his claims that he suffered a lot of abuse from other prisoners. I think Wandsworth and Ranby sound worse though.

    In summary, it seems TR’s manager is a bullshit artist, and that (at the very least) TR is willing in this case to exaggerate things in his favour. I’m guessing he saw the CambridgeshireLive article, read the bit about Onley having the highest proportion of Muslims in a prison _in the Midlands_ and either consciously or unconsciously dropped the “in the Midlands” part of it.

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    Thanks for that, Ian. Now the obvious question is, how material are this inaccuracies on the part of TR? The other relevant question would be ‘has he knowingly lied’, but I gather from your comment that you have no definite proof of that?

    No definite proof, no; and I don’t actually think TR is a conscious liar, I just think he’s paranoid, which is completely understandable. Living as he does must take a considerable toll, and I suppose in a lot of ways he’s remarkably sane despite that. And I think if I were to write to him with the data about prisons, he would accept that. Fundamentally, I think he’s a decent person. And after all, he could still argue that he was sent to a prison with a high Muslim population, etc.

    You ask “how material are [these] inaccuracies[?]” I think this one is material, since it gets to the heart of the question of whether there is a conspiracy by the state against him. I think the reason he holds that view is because of a series of misinterpretations of events, going back a long way. More recently, and apart from the mistakes made by the judge in the contempt hearing, nothing about his treatment seems particularly unusual. OK, so they didn’t keep him in a prison with a low Muslim population — but no prisoner gets to choose where they are imprisoned. Also, the other things that happened to him in prison aren’t exactly unusual — lots of prisoners don’t like prison and are intimidated by other prisoners; but that isn’t evidence the prison warders were accomplices in it; and it certainly doesn’t suggest direction from above. There’s no “there” there. And there was a whole lot of rot about the circumstances of his arrest, and a lot of claims being made that don’t add up or paint the police and judiciary (mostly wrongly) in the worst possible light, which lefties have not failed to capitalize upon. But then again, if you’re in that situation things can seem to have been done deliberately, when really they were not.

  • Ian

    @Paul Marks,

    Given the nature of Ian’s “answers” (or rather irrelevant non-answers) further conversation with him is clearly pointless, he is “trolling” and the rule of “do not feed the troll” applies.

    I can only hope the Samizdata administration comply with your directive, which would save me a lot of time writing comments, but which would ironically make them samizdat.

  • Alisa

    Hmmm Ian, you are familiar with the definition of ‘trolling’, I presume? Because I’m afraid that Paul is correct, and that is what you are doing here.

  • Ian began a subthread of this thread by telling Alisa

    If you’re saying you don’t mind tricking people when it suits your agenda, then we part company

    (which I judged a most unfair characterisation of her original comment that it was understandable if Tommy presents his woes as best he can in the public domain) and ends by revealing that HMP Onley is not the prison with the highest proportion of muslims – but only the (very close behind) second most muslim-percentage prison (with an officially-reported violent character).

    Now on the one hand, I should note that AFAICS Ian himself checked the official data and first put these facts into the thread. (It would be a very self-defeating ‘troll’ who did that)

    But on the other hand, I am very much confirmed in my original judgement that Ian’s original challenge of Alisa’s remark was absurdly OTT, and should have been walked back.

    Meanwhile, are we agreed that Tommy (or his manager) said he’d been sent to the most muslim prison in the UK whereas he was in fact sent only to the (near runner-up) second most muslim prison in the UK – which was the subject of official concern over its level of violence?

    As for Tommy or manager walking back a claimed 60% or more muslim to an officially-reported just over 30% muslim, I’m sufficiently cautious that I’ll want to know the ratio in the wing where Tommy was placed before pronouncing. But if there proves to be nothing disproportionate about his immediate location in the prison then I’d have to agree that 30% to 60% was certainly presenting his woes with advantages, or else (if I may quote Ian but then add my own take) ‘paranoid’ – yet perhaps no proof that no-one was out to get him.

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    Not at all. I’ve been pointing out, quite carefully I think, some of the problems with TR’s line on all this. I agree with Niall that I have been a bit OTT at times (after a few glasses of wine, which is a bad habit), but I’m not saying anything I don’t believe to be true.

  • Ian

    @Niall Kilmartin,

    See above re: the comment to Alisa, consider it walked back.

    As regards the data on prisons, yes that was official data from the HM Chief Inspector of Prison’s various published reports, which (short of an FOI request) seems about the only available source apart from a 2013 reply in Hansard. As I mentioned, there was concern about violence in the report on HMP Onley, but perhaps I should have said that I saw that sort of thing in reports on other prisons, so I don’t think it’s terribly unusual. For instance, they had to shut down the Category C unit at HMP Birmingham in 2016 because of a riot, and HMP Ranby has been officially designated “unsafe” (I linked to that above). Overall, even Category C prisons seem like very unpleasant places, and I would think TR would be abused by other prisoners in a great many of them, except maybe in Cornwall or Wales where there are low Muslim populations — but I guess they wanted to place him in one in the Midlands, though who knows how the bureaucrats decide these things.

    One reason that prisoners are transferred is that they are regarded as “disruptive”. I think that’s a definite possibility. Obviously TR would rather be in a prison with a large white/Anglo-Saxon population, since he would be a hero to many of them, and would be protected by them. Perhaps this, in itself, was causing a problem in Hull? Maybe someone did think to themselves that if he were put into a prison with a high Muslim population, it would stop any “antics”. This is just speculation, though. I have doubts about what TR might say on the matter, after all he’s claiming to have been in solitary confinement (“segregation”), but was able to buy stuff from the prison shop and (according to Ezra Levant) receive emails. Maybe that’s possible, it just seems a bit iffy to me.

    Another thought occurred to me about this sort of thing. When Johnathan Aitken was incarcerated, he was sent to Belmarsh, which is/was notoriously rough. Perhaps, in that case as in this, it was thought the authorities couldn’t be seen to be showing favouritism. Maybe next time, when TR is sentenced again, he’ll be sent somewhere else.

  • Ian

    P.S. I have to correct the record. I was actually wrong to say HMP Hull has a Muslim population of 7.4%. I had conflated HMP Hull with HMP Humber, IIRC because it doesn’t appear separately in the 2013 Hansard reply. They are in fact separate prisons, and Hull has a Muslim population of 5.9%.

    Incidentally, I think I’ve found the answer to why TR was transferred from Hull. Looking at the prison information page here, it states that HMP Hull is designated as a “Male Local Prison”, which (according to the latest HMCIP report) “serv[es] the East Yorkshire area”.

    I think, therefore, the picture is this. TR was put in HMP Hull after sentencing, because it has the right security level and is close to Leeds (HMP Leeds is Category B). At some point shortly thereafter, he was moved to HMP Onley for the duration of his sentence, in a manner that doesn’t seem odd to me.

  • Alisa

    Ian:

    the comment to Alisa, consider it walked back

    I didn’t understand it as such, so thanks for walking back and for clarifying. As to the quality of the population in the various UK prisons and the pleasantness or lack thereof of spending any time in any of them (let alone 13 months), I think that brings us back to the question of TR’s incarceration in and of itself – which is the real issue in all this (not Islam, as Paul would have it), and which could qualify your initiating this sub-thread as trolling*.

    *Niall, the original definition of trolling, at least as I understand it, is derailing a conversation for any purpose that is not concurrent with the gist of the conversation that is being derailed. Such a purpose is not necessarily to make a specific point and convince others that point to be correct (even though such is often the case). In fact, it can be any purpose – bad or good, it can even be unclear (even to the “troll” himself), etc. If others understand ‘trolling’ to necessarily imply something more sinister, then that was not my intention.

  • bobby b

    From the cited 2016 report:

    “This inspection found that there had been a dramatic decline in standards at Onley since the last inspection, particularly in the area of safety, where at the last inspection our healthy prison assessment was good. On this occasion the inspection found that outcomes for prisoners in the area of safety were poor, the lowest possible judgement. Quite simply, in the space of just four years Onley had become an unsafe prison. The number of assaults had nearly tripled, and was far higher than at similar prisons.

    Despite the enormous rise in violence, not enough had been done to understand and analyse the causes. Staff gave various explanations, including the change of prisoner population and gang-related issues that they brought with them . . .”

    We should also note that the proportion of Muslim prisoners has been climbing rapidly for seven or eight years, and this report gives us 2016 data, so I’m not sure we learn all that much from it.

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    I think that brings us back to the question of TR’s incarceration in and of itself – which is the real issue in all this […] and which could qualify your initiating this sub-thread as trolling[.]

    I take a different view, and think the real issue is whether there was a conspiracy against TR. At least, that seems to be the subject discussed in the OP — Tim Newman’s post and James Delingpole’s podcast having been referenced.

    From my perspective, though, the reason I’m posting on this is because I think it’s doing damage to the transatlantic alliance. When TR goes on Fox effectively to label this country a basket case (part of a broader trend in the US right at the moment), I think that benefits the US, in that they may be more cautious about Muslim immigration, but it does the so-called “special relationship” (and hence UK interests) no good at all on the political level. And it does immigration-sceptics no good here in the UK, in the long run. If TR were right on this issue, that would be a different matter, but I do think he’s paranoid, which is intended not as a criticism of him but as an explanation for his behaviour. I think it would do him a lot of good to take a long holiday somewhere safe, which is unfortunately not where he’s headed in the near future.

  • Ian

    @bobby b,

    We should also note that the proportion of Muslim prisoners has been climbing rapidly for seven or eight years, and this report gives us 2016 data, so I’m not sure we learn all that much from it.

    That’s true, however the only way to get more up-to-date information would be (as noted above) an FOI request. I’ve just googled this, and there is already a request for this information. Details are here.

    Also, there is some further information that I was not aware of, that seems to support my contention that TR was not being held in solitary confinement. See here. I would think that, unless the Prison Service spokesman was lying, it would be a more material and serious falsehood than the one about HMP Onley’s Muslim population. If true, surely that would be “definite proof” of TR not being honest?

    There are a few other FOI requests in train. See here, here and here.

  • Ian

    @bobby b,

    We should also note that the proportion of Muslim prisoners has been climbing rapidly for seven or eight years, and this report gives us 2016 data, so I’m not sure we learn all that much from it.

    That’s true, however the only way to get more up-to-date information would be (as noted above) an FOI request. I’ve just googled this, and there is already a request for this information. Details are here.

    Also, there is some further information that I was not aware of, that seems to support my contention that TR was not being held in solitary confinement. See here. I would think that, unless the Prison Service spokesman was lying, it would be a more material and serious falsehood than the one about HMP Onley’s Muslim population. If true, surely that would be “definite proof” of TR not being honest?

    There are some other FOI requests, but I’ll post them separately as the Smitebot seems to dislike lots of links in a single comment.

  • bobby b

    Ian:

    I would agree about the solitary confinement assertion. If Muslim prisoners were able, as he says, to threaten him through his door flap and spit and throw feces through his window, he may be segregated, but that’s not solitary confinement. Maybe just terminology confusion.

    I’ll still disagree with you about the duty of the prison administration to protect him from what they knew to be a special and serious danger to him individually. They knew about his conflict with Islam, and with its many adherents within the prisons, and they knew that he faced special and specific dangers from Islamic prisoners that other prisoners do not face, and so they had a duty to protect him from them. It’s not enough to simply say that he received no special treatment; given his situation, he needed special treatment, and the administration has a duty to each individual prisoner to safeguard them from harm. They failed in their duty by placing him where and how they did.

  • Ian

    @bobby b,

    I would agree about the solitary confinement assertion. If Muslim prisoners were able, as he says, to threaten him through his door flap and spit and throw feces through his window, he may be segregated, but that’s not solitary confinement. Maybe just terminology confusion.

    Well, there is terminological inexactitude of the type you mention going on, but there’s also a Prison Service spokesman saying he wasn’t even segregated after a couple of days. I seriously doubt he could have been receiving emails whilst segregated, for instance — but I really don’t know, never having worked in or been in a prison.

    I’ll still disagree with you about the duty of the prison administration to protect him from what they knew to be a special and serious danger to him individually. They knew about his conflict with Islam, and with its many adherents within the prisons, and they knew that he faced special and specific dangers from Islamic prisoners that other prisoners do not face, and so they had a duty to protect him from them. It’s not enough to simply say that he received no special treatment; given his situation, he needed special treatment, and the administration has a duty to each individual prisoner to safeguard them from harm. They failed in their duty by placing him where and how they did.

    I won’t dispute this, except to say that I don’t think I ever asserted they did the best possible job of safeguarding him: I was merely pointing out that the accusations made by TR are a bit “out there”. I’m not really sure what they should have done with this problem prisoner. Probably they could have found a prison better than Onley. However, the issue that I would have if I were assigning him to any particular prison is that I would think him likely to be a troublemaker by being a kind of “gang leader” amongst Anglo-Saxons. It’s not a problem I would like to have, if I were in that position. I’ll be watching what happens to him when he is sentenced again, and if I think there’s any mischief I will say so, but at present I only see bureaucratic ineptitude.

  • bobby b

    One thing I remain confused about: he seems to be complaining about being placed in segregation (or solitary), but, given his situation, I would have considered it to be a violation of the prison’s duty to him if they had NOT segregated him. Given the taunting and threats, he probably should have been even more segregated than he was.

    And I hope everyone realizes that he is likely going to go back in for some months when he finally gets back in court.

  • Ian

    @bobby b,

    One thing I remain confused about: he seems to be complaining about being placed in segregation (or solitary), but, given his situation, I would have considered it to be a violation of the prison’s duty to him if they had NOT segregated him. Given the taunting and threats, he probably should have been even more segregated than he was.

    Yeah. He has complained about being placed in “solitary confinement” but has also complained that the prison warders left his cell door unlocked on three occasions. Perhaps he should be asked precisely how he thinks he should be treated in prison in advance of his future incarceration.

  • Paul Marks

    On the continued establishment smearing of “Tommy Robinson” – anyone who has actually watched his interviews knows that he was fair in relation to prison staff, pointing out the ways in which some prison staff in some establishments behaved well. And his basic case that he was moved from a prison with relatively few followers of Islam to a prison with a lot more followers of Islam is clearly true.

    However, one must not side tracked – the establishment hate EVERYONE who tells the truth about Islam. The idea (that one sometimes hears) that “if we let them destroy “Tommy Robinson” the establishment will let other people speak freely” is not correct. The establishment will continue to work very hard to find some way (any way) to destroy anyone who tells the truth about Islam in a way that the truth will reach the public. The establishment is not just interested in smearing “Tommy Robinson” – they will smear ANYONE who is successful in getting the truth to the attention of the public.

    The key to dealing with the rise of Islam is NOT bullets and bombs – not wars in the Middle East launched in the well intentioned, but sadly mistaken, view that the problem is a few nasty dictators and if only the people of these Islamic countries could elect their governments all-would-be-well. The key to dealing with the rise of Islam is in the West itself.

    It is not reasonable to suppose that a democratically elected government in, say, Afghanistan will allow Muhammed and his teachings to be publically condemned – and we should not expect that. But it is reasonable to expect that in WESTERN countries it will be allowed for people to condemn the personal conduct and the teachings (doctrines) of Muhammed in the strongest terms – seeking to limit (or if possible peacefully roll back) the rise of Islam in WESTERN countries.

    This is why the conflict with the establishment (not with Islam – with the Western establishment itself) is so important. For if people are not allowed to DENOUNCE Muhammed (his personal conduct and the doctrines that he taught and which his most devoted followers carry out to this day) then all-is-lost.

    A country that bans such people as Lauren Southern or Robert Spencer from speaking against Islam is clearly in terrible trouble. And it is NOT the forces of Islam who ban anyone from speaking in Britain or who put anyone in prison in Britain – it is the establishment (the British establishment) who do these things.

    The British establishment are NOT “closet Muslims” or whatnot (the “Secret Barrister” and co are NOT rushing off to get orders from some Mullah) – the British establishment, and the Western establishment generally, are just terrified of “trouble” – they think if they just prevent people telling the truth about Islam (“you can do it private, or with your friends down the pub – just please do not do it ways that will reach the public” that is the real message) then there will be “peace” – and peace (to the establishment) is vastly more important than courage or basic truth (the same people who are obsessed with the accuracy of irrelevant details are the last people to be interested in getting the BASIC truths correct).

    But sadly the Western establishment is mistaken, “keeping the lid on” and making sure everyone “keeps their heads down” and does not “offend” the forces of Islam will NOT maintain the peace. On the contrary it will lead to Islam getting stronger and stronger in Western countries – and this will end in terrible tragedy.

    Those who think that “Tommy Robinson” denounces Islam in the wrong language or just dislike his “working class” accent and manner, have the solution to the problem in their own hands. They need to denounce Islam themselves (thus removing the need for “Tommy Robinson”) – explain (in ways the public will hear) why Muhammed was a bad man (not a good man) and explain that the doctrines that he taught (for example that infidel women and girls may be taken by the right hand of the faithful) are bad (not good). It must also be remembered (as his followers remember to this day) that Muhammed maintained that none of these doctrines, for example than anyone who mocked him must be killed, came from him. Muhammed was very clear that all the doctrines he taught came from GOD (not from him – not from Muhammed) and so could not be changed by people – not in his time, or ever.

    The establishment needs to stop desperately trying to destroy “Tommy Robinson” (and anyone else who stands against Islam) and needs to stand against Islam themselves. Then they would not need to worry about X person using the wrong language (or whatever) as they, the establishment, would be choosing the language themselves.

    Presently the establishment does nothing to oppose the rise of Islam in the West (on the contrary the establishment, the “education system” and the “mainstream media” and….., actually pretends that Muhammed was a good man, and that he taught peace and tolerance) – and yet desperately smears and tries to destroy anyone else who seems to be successful in getting the truth about Islam to the public.

    The establishment should either do the job themselves or, if they will not do the job, get out of way and let “Tommy Robinson” and co do the job – “but he does it wrong”, then do the job of denouncing Islam yourselves. The establishment must stop desperately smearing a man, “Tommy Robinson”, who is engaged in the vitally important task of opposing Islam in the West (he is not rushing off to Saudi Arabia or other Islamic countries to attack Islam – he is seeking to oppose its rise in NON Islamic countries such as the United Kingdom) – establishment either get out of the way and let other people oppose the rise of Islam in the West (stop desperately trying to smear anyone who tries to oppose Islam in the West), or do the job yourselves.

    To oppose Islam publically does indeed carry terrible personal risk – and risk to the family of the person who opposes Islam. But I am not asking establishment types to be heroes (although it would be nice if they were heroic) – just stop smearing (and stop trying to destroy) people who undertake the work (the vitally important work) that you, the establishment, refuse to do. Preventing this work being done (if you prevent it being done by smearing and destroying ANYONE who tries to do it) will NOT produce “peace”, on the contrary establishment people – preventing the work of opposing Islam in the West being done will produce horrible consequences, and may well lead to the destruction of the West.

  • Alisa

    When TR goes on Fox effectively to label this country a basket case

    Presuming you mean the Tucker interview, I just don’t see it there. What TR did there was to relate his personal experience as requested, understandable warts and all (aforementioned inaccuracies etc.)

    part of a broader trend in the US right at the moment

    I don’t think anyone reasonable (no, Mark Steyn does not qualify and has not for quite some time now) outside the UK thinks of the latter as an overall basket case. However, if you don’t think that on some issues specifically related to TR’s activities the UK is in serious trouble, then Paul’s frustration with your comments becomes even more understandable. In any case, I fail to see how any of this has any bearing on the ‘transtlantic alliance’. If anything, the fact that people in the US and the rest of the Anglosphere (and the free world in general) do care about what is happening in the UK, is because of and for the benefit of that very alliance (telling your friend he’s in trouble is part and parcel of being a friend). Trees and forests and all that.

  • Alisa

    The establishment should either do the job themselves or, if they will not do the job, get out of way and let “Tommy Robinson” and co do the job – “but he does it wrong”, then do the job of denouncing Islam yourselves.

    Indeed, Paul.

    BTW, about my point of this not being about Islam: incidentally, it is – but in principle it is not, because if TR was speaking out about any other issue that in his mind (as well as in the minds of many other ordinary citizens) on which the ‘establishment’ would try to silence him, all the points I made here would still stand as far as I’m concerned.

  • Alisa

    Sorry, that should read:

    any other issue that was equally important in his mind (as well as in the minds of many other ordinary citizens)

  • Ian, thanks for taking my constructively-intentioned critique in good part.

    I do not think Tommy is harming the special relationship – not when Trump is president. An impression that we all loved the new hate speech laws and agreed with the beeb/grauniad view of them would surely do us more harm with anyone whose views we should care about.

    (I will slightly qualify the above in one respect. The legal details of jury-sequester versus gag-order reflect different traditions, and that caused some confusion.)

  • Ian

    @Alisa,

    Like probably many of us here, I pay a lot of attention to US conservative/libertarian media, and it has seemed over the past year or so that there has been an unusually high number of articles talking about just how bad things have been getting over here, on a variety of topics. As an unreconstructed patriot it has pained me deeply to hear old Blighty done down. I take your point about friends telling friends when they’re in trouble, but there’s been an edge to the recent discussions of the UK (following Trump’s victory) that troubles me. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, and I can see that a lot of the criticism is justified, but it troubles me.

    In this case, I believe the criticism should have been directed at the police, local government officers, councillors, local MPs, Whitehall and in particular the Home Office, the lamentable BBC and so on who were/are directly involved in covering up all this stuff, and at the Labour Party who were/are protecting these criminals in more-or-less open ways… to name a few. That would be helpful. But I want to scream out “you’ve got the wrong target!” when I hear talk about the judge in this case and the Prison Service, who seem guilty merely of being damn stupid. It’s cockup vs. conspiracy.

    In terms of what TR could have done on Fox, he could have named some names and used the US spotlight to highlight those responsible for the horrendous situation we’ve got ourselves into, e.g. Naz Shah for the “shut their mouths [… f]or the good of #diversity” stuff. He could also have discussed the Sarah Champion affair, etc. My problem with this whole kerfuffle is that I think it’s been ineffective at shifting the terms of discourse. When TR seems to be complaining that police told him they were attending his house because they’d heard that a threat of an acid attack had been made against his wife, what impression does that create in the mind of any reasonable person, other than that TR is making spurious complaints?

    I suppose on some level Paul is right, that it is a class issue too. TR just doesn’t present himself well, and I do detect in him that irrational distrust of the police that is typical of some “working class” (i.e., mostly welfare-dependent – they often don’t work at all) families on the edge of the law. I recall an incident at a rural pub in Kent that had been in decline for years and was being managed for the summer by a couple of “working class” girls, one of whose mothers was a junkie and had often been in trouble with the law. There was a party in the pub at the end of their tenure (turned out they weren’t paying suppliers, so they must have known they were going to be kicked out by the owner soon), at which there was a lot of MDMA available and a DJ playing that sort of music, etc.

    At around midnight, a couple of police officers turned up because of a noise complaint, and this girl went outside and started berating them loudly. A minute or two later, she came back in to ask me (as the one responsible adult) to help her deal with them. The cops said they didn’t want to come in and search the place (which they could legally have done without a warrant), but said they would if they didn’t get some co-operation – they were simply asking her to go into the car park to talk to them, with the aim of getting her to turn the music down. I spoke to her in their presence, describing the officers as “these two gentlemen” (they were being gentlemanly), and advised her to co-operate. She was visibly stunned that I took their side. She did go out to the car park to talk to them, but carried on berating them very rudely, however the cops didn’t search the place (which would have been messy, and would have seriously screwed over the licencees who I later learned were totally anti-drugs and didn’t know about this), telling her that the only reason they didn’t search the place was because I had treated them like human beings, basically. My point is that sometimes the way people are treated is a response to how they treat others – especially true when it comes to the police.

    So I can’t help but think that TR’s complaints about how he’s been treated by the police over the years (which I only know about from a previous James Delingpole podcast, I haven’t read his book) are not the full story, and that the various police officers he’s had dealings with over the years probably thought he’s an obnoxious git liable to be the cause – directly or indirectly – of public order offences, and have treated him accordingly. This is neither to defend the police in respect of the rape gangs, nor to deny TR credit for helping to expose that scandal. But there are better ways of going about things, and I do think TR’s statements should be checked before being repeated.

  • Ian

    @Niall Kilmartin,

    I suppose it’s reasonable to argue that the fact there are opponents to the decline of our once great nation willing to speak on US TV is evidence that there’s some fight in the old dog yet, but I guess I just don’t want TR being the one to carry the standard.

  • bobby b

    “The legal details of jury-sequester versus gag-order reflect different traditions . . . “

    That’s putting it lightly. I remain shocked at the conflict in political philosophy that these differences illuminate. The specifics of the TR saga trouble me not at all – good impulses on his part combined with poorly-considered actions – but the gulf between underlying attitudes that this has revealed truly does make me wonder if the “special relationship” was ever grounded on similar understandings of, and reverence for, individual rights.

    As Perry pointed out, the concept that jury-sequester is preferable to a gag order on sixty-five million people is “self-evident” to me, and to most Americans. That it is not to people in the UK – and most especially, to libertarians in the UK – reveals an occulted difference that is both startling and dismaying.

  • Alisa

    Ian, on the one hand I do understand where you are coming from, but on the other I feel that you are being very unfair to TR. Both have to do with prejudice – i.e. I do understand the prejudice arising from previous encounters with ‘people like him’ (in whatever sense – class, race, gender, you name it), as I have been making such judgments myself all my life (I could well describe myself as an amateur profiler); and at the same time I strongly feel that such prejudice is very unfair, unless you have some evidence to support it relating to that specific individual (which you have not provided).

    Speaking of prejudices, TR may well have some of his own against the police – but can you really blame him? Note that you were the only one here who mentioned a conspiracy against TR (although probably not the only one on the internet in general), but earlier up the thread Perry did mention a decade long conspiracy by public officials in which mass rapes were allowed to happen, and rightly so. Now those would be two different conspiracies. But if like me you agree with Perry’s assessment, can you really claim that at least a sense of animosity towards someone who has publicly and repeatedly called that spade a spade should not be expected?

    But there are better ways of going about things, and I do think TR’s statements should be checked before being repeated.

    Seriously, give the man a break. Everyone’s statements should be checked before being repeated, if only because people make mistakes. To single out TR as someone who’s statements should not be trusted because he belongs to a certain class, or to berate him for not being a better ambassador for Britain and its police a few hours after he got out of prison, is not helpful.

  • Ian

    @bobby b,

    On this point about jury service, I’m not sure how this works in the US, and am interested in the liberty aspect. Are jurors who are liable to sequester able to avoid serving on such a jury, without needing to provide a reason?

  • bobby b

    “Are jurors who are liable to sequester able to avoid serving on such a jury, without needing to provide a reason?”

    Without reason? No. But the threshold of adequate reason isn’t all that high. If you need to go home to take care of your kids, if you have medical issues, if your old mother needs your help – usually enough. Courts and lawyers know that an angry juror isn’t worth the trouble.

    A normal jury is in effect sequestered – taken away from their normal life and duties – for the entire working day. A sequestered jury is simply taken, at the end of that working day, to a nice hotel nearby.

    And it’s rare that it happens. In my years of lawyering, I worked with only two sequestered juries. At the end of a trial, lawyers can speak to jurors (to see what worked and what didn’t, etc.) In both cases, more than half of the jurors told me that they thought it a fun adventure – they liked the hotel and its amenities, they enjoyed feeling special, it was a fun lark, etc. Most of the rest didn’t particularly enjoy the experience, but saw the reasons for it and didn’t complain. Those most likely to complain had already been excused at the beginning.

    There are many law review articles exploring the issue of how outside information effects the ability to receive a fair trial. The gag order is incredibly ineffective – have we on this UK-based board (which is available to any juror with a computer) censored our opinions? Does the gag order affect non-UK sources? In a hotel, the twelve individuals (plus alternates) don’t get to use the internet, and don’t watch news or social commentary.

  • Ian

    @bobby b,

    Thanks for your reply. I guess you know I was heading towards habeas corpus.

    You have accepted that a US citizen cannot escape jury duty, which might involve sequestration (i.e., imprisonment without trial), without providing answers agreeable to the state. In other words, the citizens are not free. Would you care to dispute that?

  • bobby b

    Ian, can your citizens escape jury duty on a whim? Isn’t there a 1000-pound fine for not showing up? If you fail to pay that fine, won’t you be imprisoned? Aren’t UK jurors effectively imprisoned in the courtroom all day during trial?

    So, no, I won’t dispute that US citizens aren’t completely free.

  • Ian

    @bobby b,

    So, if a juror in the UK refuses service, they get a fine, whilst in the US they are “sequestered” (i.e., imprisoned). You seem to be admitting that the abdridgement of rights with respect to jurors in the UK amounts to a fine, whilst in the US it amounts to a prison sentence. Am I wrong?

  • bobby b

    “Am I wrong?”

    You’re certainly a selective reader.

    Perhaps we should ask Robinson about the relative freedoms.

  • Ian

    You’re certainly a selective reader.

    Perhaps we should ask Robinson about the relative freedoms.

    I have no idea who “Robinson” is, and I’m not sure you’ve made the case for sequestration. So when you talk about your wonderment that ‘the “special relationship” was ever grounded on similar understandings of, and reverence for, individual rights.’, I am left puzzled. I really have no idea what principle you’re defending. The principle of sequestering jurors?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Um, “Robinson” is the subject of this whole discussion. Tommy Robinson. (See title of posting.)

    .

    As somebody noted above, in the U.S. it’s generally not terribly difficult for one to get oneself excused from jury duty. How easy it is in a given case probably depends on the jusrisdiction.

    .

    As for sequestration, bobby (above, August 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm) wrote:

    “But the threshold of adequate reason [for being excused from sequestration] isn’t all that high. If you need to go home to take care of your kids, if you have medical issues, if your old mother needs your help – usually enough.”

    Your average “incarcerated” person is generally understood to be not merely “confined,” but actually imprisoned. [Per the online OED (ruddy-Gawd-help-us, but never mind) defines “to incarcerate” as “to imprison or confine.”] No one, for instance, would say that a horse in a fenced pasture is “incarcerated,” though it is certainly confined (unless the fence is busted).

    The OED defines “sequester” as meaning, in this context, “to isolate or hide away.” It says nothing about “imprisonment,” with or without trial.

    .

  • bobby b, August 9, 2018 at 8:05 pm, I could well be persuaded that sequestering is better than gag orders. I could more easily (along with many in the UK today, perhaps) be persuaded that in today’s world-wide-web-world, it may be a necessary change for us to make, regardless of which is better.

    The point is that in the UK we know this ancient rule of temporary gag orders is not like the very modern rule of hate speech law. Our rage at the pure evil of the recent imposition of hate speech law resembles what we would feel if invaded and conquered. We never raged against the gag orders in the old days, from custom and from recognising (as your sequestering does) that there is a potential issue which they seek to address. In the US, some people discussing TR understandably but mistakenly conflate the ‘you can say that’ of hate speech law with the ‘you can’t say that yet’ of gag orders. Before criticising UK libertarians, check whether they are just making that distinction – which they are wise to make in a UK context.

    The thing is even more complicated by the possibility of ulterior causes in this case. Just as one must wonder whether TR being sent to that particular prison was not mere accident, so one must wonder whether the somewhat technical violation of Tommy’s second offence was not mere deference to law. (So I guess I’m agreeing with you a little – some in the UK who usually show up on the freedom side seem more trusting of the powers-that-be than I think wise – but I too may seem so to others since I’m allowing that the assessment may be a bit subtler than slam-dunk.)

  • Ian

    @Julie,

    Um, “Robinson” is the subject of this whole discussion. Tommy Robinson. (See title of posting.)

    Oh dear… I seem to have suffered a sudden rush of excrement to the brain. In my defence, I’ve come to think of him as “Yaxley-Lennon” or “Tommy”, not “Robinson”… though I would also point out in mitigation the 10.43pm timestamp.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Ian,

    Ah. You suffered what is known to the vulgar of my country as a “brain fart.”

    (I, of course, am distinctly not among that class of persons, and therefore do not even know the meaning of the phrase, and certainly have never experienced such a thing myself. 😉 )

  • Alisa

    Julie, surely you meant what is known among us, the unafflicted, as ‘cerebral flatulence’?

  • Ian

    I think it’s time to draw a line under this. Mistakes were made. It was a long time ago, and my client has suffered enough.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alisa, at least I needn’t be ashamed of getting the general gist of your phrase consisting of trisyllabic words. Indeed, you put it very well.

    Ian, perhaps your suggestion is best. Excuse me while I go eat supper — beans, washed down with beer.

    :>))

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>