I do not have any clear idea what Tommy Robinson says or stand for. That is perfectly irrelevant. What matters is that he was seized by the state from a UK streetcorner, in the middle of a videocast, by seven policepersons, bundled into court, tried without a lawyer, convicted, sentenced, and sent off to prison for thirteen months, all within a few hours. He obviously had no time to arrange his affairs or for the support of his family.
And it was immediately and summarily declared illegal for anyone to even report on what happened to him.
This is not the sort of thing that can happen in a free society. This violates every codicil of Magna Carta, the ink between the lines, and the rule of law itself. This is Star Chamber. The British government is just doing what it wants.
Robinson was able to videocast the arrest. A constable said he was being arrested for “suspicion of disturbing the peace.” The problem is, he had been videocasting for an hour or more. Everyone could see he was not disturbing the peace in any commonly accepted sense of that phrase.
I suspect the real charge was violating a gag order on the trial of several Muslim men accused of serial rape. This is what Robinson was reporting on at the time, from outside the courthouse. But authorities do not want to say so because saying so would itself defeat the purpose of the original gag order by attracting public attention to the rape trial. And so they put a gag order on the gag order. And a gag order on the gag order on the gag order.
Is Orwell the proper reference here, or Lewis Carroll?
If my suspicion is right, the actions of the British authorities are not as immediately sinister as they appear. They could argue their intent was to avoid any anti-Muslim sentiments in the general population, in reaction to the details of the original trial. Incompetent, then, before sinister. But still sinister. We cannot have the establishment arresting, trying, convicting, and punishing people in secret. This is a basic protection for our liberties. This is why we have things like trial by jury and habeas corpus. This must override what might seem good in any individual case. And the present example shows where it leads even when it might seem good in this or that individual case. Now there are riots in the street, and people have a right to suspect the worst. These protections work just as much to protect the rights of the original Muslim defendants as of Tommy Robinson.
But it was not good even on the original thesis, taken on its own—of protecting Muslims. If Muslim rape gangs are a real thing in Britain, as they may well be in principle—regardless of whether you believe they actually are—and it seems obvious that they are—the public has both a right and a need to know. In the first place, it is directly relevant to the public debate on immigration. Even apart from that, it is vital information for individual citizens to know in order to protect themselves from what might be a daily hazard near where they live. Innocent lives could be destroyed by silence. Indeed, it seems that innocent lives have for a long time been destroyed, in Rotherham, in Telford, while the authorities looked the other way.
Accordingly, seeking to keep the information from the public shows not only contempt for the public, but contempt for the public’s interests. It shows a ruling elite who looks out only for itself. It even appears they banned press coverage of the original trial not to protect Muslims, but to protect their own reputations and power. First from irate Muslims, then from an irate general public.
Speaking purely technically, purely as a matter of information, so don’t arrest and disappear me, just this sort of action by a government, according to our theory of government, as enshrined in the writings of Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, and the US Declaration of Independence, not only justifies but morally demands civil disobedience. Such a government has waived all legitimacy and deserves to be overthrown. And some on the web are now indeed actually calling for revolution. God forbid. But nobody in the colonies really wanted the American Revolution either.
If the UK government has any sense of responsibility, let alone any moral sense, they must have the Queen issue an immediate unconditional pardon for Robinson. Then appoint a Royal Commission to determine how this all happened, and how to prevent it in future.
Otherwise all hell may well break loose. Incidentally, Muslims and immigrants may stand to lose the most.