There is nothing racist in Enemy of the State.
Quite the contrary: what emerges from Robinson’s story are the Sikh, Russian, Jewish, Asian and black people that supported him along the way, but who were airbrushed out by the media.
Why? Because Tommy Robinson had the misfortune to emerge into the public eye at the end of an electoral cycle dominated by the Iraq war. But we will come to that later.
Firstly, Tommy Robinson isn’t even his real name. Stephen Christopher Yaxley was born into a working class family in Luton. In the book he describes his early years, of a bright lad racing through unchallenging school work, easily distracted, and always up for a scuffle.
Already, in his teens, he saw Muslim friends he’d grown up with reach an age, and then drift away into big groups of Muslim youths. But a commonplace playground tussle would see dozens of Muslim men arrive soon after, brawls, injuries, and the police called.
Robinson then describes Muslim gangs running drugs and prostitution rings in Luton, and of the times he and others were mugged and beaten for being in the wrong place and at the wrong time. The disappearance into that world of a girl he knew mobilised him and a few friends to action.
Without summarising the book, what is remarkable is how alien Robinson’s story seems to what we have been told of him and the EDL, or English Defence League.
In interview, he is usually asked about once being a member of the BNP, years ago. The truth is very simple: desperate to do something to stand up to the Muslim gangs, he joined, and the first meeting he turned up to he brought along a black friend.
Horrified at the reception afforded his companion, they stormed off and Robinson realised how that party exploited local issues to attract members to its racist ideology.
Instead, he put together a ramshackle series of stunts, marches and protests that eventually became the EDL. From the start, his black friends were part of it, and were later joined by others from ethnic minorities, and gay people. This is all while he worked on building sites, doing up properties, and trying to raise a young family.
Robinson refers to the effort of constantly having to reiterate to a largely unorganised movement across the country that it was the segregation, criminality, and intolerance of others by Muslim thugs that the EDL was supposed to be against, exclusively. There was no place for the far right, but they would keep on coming to the marches and play into the hands of the media.
Horribly, we now know that what Robinson has devoted most of his adult life to so far is not confined to Luton.
Child grooming by Muslim gangs in Rotherham, Oxford, Rochdale, Halifax, Keighley, Birmingham and beyond have all been exposed in recent years – as has the failure of social services, police and local politicians to intervene for fear of causing cultural offence, or upsetting Muslim voter blocs.
But nearly ten years ago none of this was widely known, and the EDL was seen as toxic.
By this time, it was the late 2000s. The Iraq war had cost the Labour government votes not only among its core, socialist base, but among the ethnic minorities and Muslim voters it had taken for granted for decades. The 2010 general election loomed.
Tommy Robinson and the EDL were easy prey for Labour MPs and councillors to set up as racists and Islamophobes, for them to lead the counter-attack against.
For Labour, despite disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, castigating the EDL demonstrated that the party remained worthy of Muslim votes.
For Conservatives in the coalition government, it was an opportunity to show how much they’d changed since the days of being ‘the nasty party’, and appeal to ethnic minority voters.
Enemy of the State details the extraordinary lengths the police, Crown Prosecution Service and successive governments went to over the years to discredit, censor and imprison Robinson, which are deeply alarming and are best read for yourself.
Ultimately, he left the EDL, because of the toll it was taking on his family. His attempts to retain anonymity – hence the pseudonym – also failed. Robinson is candid about the mistakes and last-minute planning that led to him being considered, wrongly, as far right by most of the country.
But that’s changing. Watch his speech to the Oxford Union. He’s an articulate, thoughtful, and considered contributor to BBC political programmes. He’s studied Islam much more than you or I, and knows not all Muslims are thugs, and he respects the peaceful Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, themselves victims of sectarian horror.
In a sense, society has taken nearly a decade to catch up with Tommy Robinson, and isn’t quite there yet. Read Enemy of the State, be surprised, and tell others of what you learn.
Lastly, a prediction. It will take long and bitter decades, but in 30 years’ time Sir Stephen Yaxley will be at Buckingham Palace, being photographed on the occasion of his knighthood for services to community integration.
Absurd? He was onto something a long time ago, which Britain is only just now waking up to. Give it time, and I’ll be proved right.