I am writing on the sensitive issue of Tommy Robinson and his recent arrest. Whilst I agree in principle with the Contempt of Court charge and immediate imprisonment (he knew the risks he was taking), what incensed me about his actual arrest was the media clampdown imposed by the judge for a day or so afterwards. The seemingly contrived delay in hearing his appeal can only cast further doubt on the fairness of our judicial system. Should justice not only be done but also be seen to be done?
Although Mr Robinson (or whatever his real name might be) is undoubtedly a brave man, I am concerned that Gerard Batten is playing a dangerous game in being seen to share a platform with the guy on several occasions as well as to actively support him. We do however live in dangerous times and we must not lose sight of the fact that Islam is more than just a religion, it is an all-pervasive politico/religious ideology that is committed to worldwide domination. Anyone who thinks otherwise has their head firmly stuck in the sand. The appalling human rights abuses; the subjugation of women; the persecution of homosexuals; the obligation to Jihad (Holy War); the imposition of Sharia Law; even the ritual halal slaughter of animals are dogmas which have no place in modern western society. At least they should have no place here but are actively courted by most EU governments. This is appeasement and places the lives of all EU citizens in peril. No less than 12 Islamic terrorist plots were foiled in the UK alone in just the last year, let us not forget.
My contemporaries and I may not have to endure it, but for the sake of future generations – our grandchildren – someone has to open up the debate on this issue and start challenging the shield of political correctness that has been erected around this wicked and medieval ideology in the name of religious tolerance, that allows them, quite literally, to get away with murder. One has to applaud TR for having the courage to do that, albeit rather clumsily and for Gerard Batten for doing it somewhat more intelligently.
There is no doubt that the vast majority of Muslims are law abiding citizens just going about their business, but they are afraid to challenge the extremists that effectively control them – for fear of death or other lesser punishments. As the old saying goes, “The only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing”. That adage applies not only to the majority of peaceable Muslims but equally to the rest of us, particularly our politicians. The first duty of any government is the safety and security of its people – and in that regard, we are being systematically failed.
Having said all that (and my apologies for ‘banging on’ a bit) at the end of the day, UKIP needs votes in order to have any chance of influencing mainstream debate over this and other pressing issues and we are unlikely to achieve that if we alienate ourselves from the proverbial ‘man in the street’ by espousing right-wing extremism. So concerned was I that this was our direction of travel that I went to see MEP Stuart Agnew last year when he was supporting Anne Marie Waters’ UKIP leadership campaign. I cautioned against following her ‘confrontational’ approach, suggesting instead a more subtle, insidious, low-key, cerebral approach – a cleverer one if you like – that played our enemies at their own game. Of course, I have no voice in the corridors of UKIP power, but I hope this might create some food for thought. Certainly, I think GB has pitched it about right so far, but as I say, I believe he needs to exercise greater discretion if he is not to be judged by the company he keeps – indeed if WE are not to be so judged.
UKIP is (as ever!) completely divided on this issue and whilst some are in the Patrick O’Flynn/Suzanne Evans camp on the ‘left’ of the party (if you will forgive the phrase), I confess to being further to the right, in the Gerard Batten camp. Perhaps we party members must agree to disagree. I went to Brussels with Mr O’Flynn recently and was able to engage him in discussion on this matter, for it needs discussing and we ignore it at our peril. I am pleased to report that he agreed with my views on dealing with this existential threat to our way of life. I don’t mind admitting that it worries the hell out of me and I give it much thought. If UKIP doesn’t address it – who will? Set against any argument for a more cautious approach however lies the fact that in recent weeks, UKIP’s membership has increased significantly, and this is probably due in no small part to the Tommy Robinson effect.
Sorry to run on a bit but I know so many members of UKIP have heartfelt concerns over this issue. The famous quote, attributed to the philosopher Voltaire springs to mind: “I might disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it”. This is another basic freedom that is under threat from our Muslim brethren – and indeed our own political class. Come the revolution, however, I know which side of the barricades I’ll be standing!
Meanwhile, we must translate our rekindled support into votes, for if we are to avoid actual revolution we must pose our threat at the ballot-box, just as we did over the EU issue. Obviously, the Brexit effect has also played its part in this dramatic turnaround in our fortunes – and is set to continue to do so for some time and we must capitalise on this momentum. To achieve electoral success once again. the party has to produce a cohesive and coherent policy that we can all work with and help to promote. I hope it happens soon, for time is running out if we are to shake the political establishment out of its complacency (or should that be complicity?) before it is too late.
Geoff Lazell, UKIP South Norfolk