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A contribution from Sandy – “a retired hack and hairy old Scotsman”.
“We didn’t pay our dues/We knocked ’em dead in Dallas/They didn’t know we were Jews” – The Next Big Thing, by The Dictators.
Strange how things aren’t always what they seem, isn’t it? You’d think a rock band called The Dictators would be a bunch of Nazis, maybe? Back in the day, people used to fret that maybe Blue Oyster Cult was a bit iffy too – they were from the same producer and were also not exactly goy boys though. I remember a debate about why the logo of Kiss had those two final letters depicted like that – aieee, were they paying homage to Hitler’s SS?
Seriously, people did debate these issues back in the 70s, unbelievable as it may seem. And we’re seeing it again in the 21st century on a more disturbing level, where anyone who espouses populist ideas is thought by the Guardian et al to secretly plan on becoming the new Fuhrer, and should YOU try to defend those people you get it in the neck too.
First, let me tell you a bit about myself. I was raised in an old Labour Clydeside home. My dad, although being exempt from war service (as he was working in the shipyards), volunteered for dangerous convoy duty with the merchant marine. After the war he was in a ship that was attacked in Israel despite having delivered Jewish refugees to Haifa – apparently, it had been used to deny others entry. Dad managed to save the ship from total destruction at considerable risk to his life, but nevertheless, I always remember him supporting Israel when I was a lad. Very reasonable under the circumstances!
My ma was born in Canada, but her folks came home during the depression so, dressed like Shirley bloody Temple she was thrust into a tough Glasgow school where she was bullied for her accent by pupils and teachers. This ceased after she duffed up the leader of a mob of kids who challenged her. Feisty, my old mum. With my background I’m hardly likely to be “far-right”, right?
I was a bit of a softy at school (not that I was well behaved – I was almost expelled for arguing I ought not to be thrashed for something I didn’t do) and determined to take no crap from anyone ever again from the day I left.
I remember being ordered to join the union in one factory job. I faced down the guys and said I thought unions a good thing and was happy to join if they ASKED me, but not if they ordered me. They agreed.
I always wanted to write about music for the weekly rock papers, and despite my folks telling me I was “living in fookin Disneyland” if I thought I could just go to London and do that with absolutely no connections, that’s precisely what I did. My best mate came with me as he wanted to play guitar in a proper band. Bizarrely, within weeks of arriving, we both succeeded. We were inspired by the individualism and can-do philosophy of Colin Wilson, who wrote his first smash hit book while living in a tent on Hampstead Heath. Strangely, he’s been called far-right by some too.
Thinking for yourself is far-right, apparently?
I was headhunted for Sounds by the great Vivien Goldman, a Jewish writer, and was soon interviewing Mick Jagger and flying to the USA on assignments. Best job I ever had.
One thing I didn’t like was the assumption that we all must be left-wing. I once asked a colleague why it was assumed that all rock music was leftist by default? He stared at me in disbelief. “Of course it is!” he spluttered as if I was daft.
Nevertheless, any band who turned out to be not clearly so were viewed with suspicion. I recall one group – who DID turn out to be very dodgy – asking if they could explain why they were not far right. I proposed that I should go and meet them and at least hear them out. This proposition was met with horror. A chance to explain themselves? Was I mad? The fact that they were found to be pretty bad actors is beside the point. I found the fact that they weren’t allowed to try to defend themselves rather more scary.
I’ve never been much into politics, but Tommy Robinson has changed all that for me. I always like to look into things for myself and was shocked to discover that most of what the media says about the man is selectively skewed, and politicians are willing to go along with this. Mike Stuchbery can send a thug to the Robinson home, a man who threatened to rape Tommy’s wife in the eye socket and murder her children by burning them, yet MPs line up to call Tommy “odious and loathsome” for knocking on Stuchbery’s door. And the media have yet to mention those threats by his protege.
The twerp lies that he’s a historian and author – he’s a supply teacher and his agency people, who disassociate themselves from his hate speech, inform me he has yet to publish a single book. However, the press always inform us that Tommy’s real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon as if it’s a big revelation!
If I point out facts on Guardian comments, such as Nazis don’t usually burn Nazi flags, antisemites don’t usually support Israel and have Jews campaigning for them and working with them (hi Avi and Ezra!). Racists don’t usually have black mates and a black goddaughter, etc. etc. All I ask is that I get a chance for a polite rebuttal to these proven debunks and lies about Tommy Robinson, I get told that I don’t deserve rational answers because “creatures” like me aren’t worth speaking to?
I’m not saying, nor have I ever said Tommy hasn’t made mistakes, but neither does he. We are in a situation where civil and sensible debate has been replaced by screams of abuse, deplatforming and physical attacks, it is absurd. I could go on, but I suspect most people reading this are familiar with these sad facts already.
For anyone who is not au fait with the truth about Tommy Robinson, I always suggest reading his autobiography “Enemy of the State” and watching his “Oxford University” speech, but the problem is not lack of available information, it’s that people are scared even to discuss the possibility that Tommy might NOT be a monster. An old girlfriend who is still one of my best friends gets agitated when I mention him, not because she is sure he’s a bad guy but because she gets stick if she tells her pals I support him. They ask how she can possibly associate with me. To her credit, she said she does so because I’m a good friend and a decent person, but for a lot of folk, the pressure to conform is immense.
While betting on Tommy to be an MEP (sob! £100 lost! Never mind, I won on Trump) I met a lovely old Irish builder who was surprised when I told him Tommy did NOT actually endanger a grooming trial and that the judge at his appeal confirmed this. “Ah well,” he said, “I suppose we only know what them in the papers tells us…”
Let’s all think for ourselves.