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Opinion

Tommy Robinson's Arrest Shows It's Time for Britain to Save itself from PC Culture

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Posted: Jun 03, 2018 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent the views of Townhall.com.
Tommy Robinson's Arrest Shows It's Time for Britain to Save itself from PC Culture

A week ago, Tommy Robinson (whose real name is Stephen Lennon), a British journalist and an activist, was arrested outside a Leeds courtroom for livestreaming information about a grooming gang, almost all of whom are Muslim men, on trial for raping and grooming hundreds of British victims, mostly girls. Robinson was all by himself and didn't have a crowd following him nor did he cause any public disturbance. Yet, U.K. police arrested him for "breach of the peace." It was reported that Robinson was promptly sentenced to 13 months in prison without his lawyer present. Some report said he was sentenced so quickly for violating terms of his parole, which included not continuing to protest in from of court hearings. It's difficult to know what Robinson was sentenced for because the same judge also issued a gag order, a reporting ban that forbids U.K. reporters from reporting on the case since he has reasons to believe the reporting could prejudice a trail.

I knew nothing about Tommy Robinson until I heard of his recent arrest. He is often referred to as a right-wing anti-Muslim activist. He has been an outspoken critic of Islam and very vocal against Muslim migration to the U.K. I have no doubt that his opinions have offended many people. If I have time to go through all his interviews, I will probably find things I myself object to.

But one doesn't have to agree with Robinson's political view to be concerned about his Friday arrest and about the direction the U.K. is going. Robinson had done nothing wrong Friday other than exercising his right of free speech as a free U.K. citizen. Through exercising his rights, he tries to call attention to a serious problem in Britain that has been ignored by mainstream media and society at large--grooming gangs, often made up of Muslim men, have abused many U.K. victims, mostly women and girls, for decades.

The first shocking report came from Rotherham, where gangs have groomed, raped, beaten, and trafficked more than 1,500 victims, including 1,300 females (some were as young as 11 years old) for nearly two decades.The type of abuse seen in Rotherham only makes up a fraction of sexual exploitation in the U.K. More than 700 women and girls have been identified as potential victims of sexual exploitation by similar grooming gangs in New Castle in the North East U.K. In both places, the perpetrators are mostly non-white, Muslim men (some gangs do have white U.K. nationals). Their victims are almost all white females. This racial mix is one of the main factors why, according to British professor Alexis Jay's reportthat local authorities, including city councils and police, have been scared of being accused of racism.As a result they either ignored repeated reports or took considerable effort to cover them up for years.They did little to prosecute the criminals, but rather"treated the victims with contempt and deemed that they were 'undesirables' not worthy of protection." Yet, even after the revelation of the scale of the abuse and the collective failure of the authorities, no city officials or any police have been held accountable.

The sexual abuse cases in Rotherham and New Castle have demonstrated that the prevalence of political correctness hurts the most vulnerable in the society, the very group that a progressive government is supposed to protect the most.Whatever the failing of Robinson's rhetoric, he at least is lending a voice to the victims and calling attention to a serious problem and a criminal activity that is long overdue and deserves punishment. By doing so, he was promptly punished by the British authorities. One has to wonder, had the U.K. police and judicial system acted in a similar speed and fashion in dealing with Rotherham and New Castle, many victims would have avoided the fate of being beaten, raped and trafficked.Unfortunately, it seems the U.K. authorities have learned very little from these widespread abuses and government's failures. Rather than facing its challenge of how to best assimilate its immigrants to a nation based on the rule of law, U.K. authorities rely on political correctness to censor ideas from the right it deems "offensive" and relentlessly punish people who hold and spread these ideas.

Bruce Bawer of Gatestone Institute wrote that"The swiftness with which injustice was meted out to Robinson is stunning. No, more than that: it is terrifying... In the United Kingdom, where rapists enjoy the right to a full and fair trial, the right to the legal representation of their choice, the right to have sufficient time to prepare their cases, and the right to go home on bail between sessions of their trial. No such rights were offered, however, to Tommy Robinson."

Friday's arrest isn't Robinson's first run-in with U.K. authorities for speaking his mind and Robinson is not the first one from the right who has been reprimanded by the U.K. government for sharing their ideas and rhetoric. In March this year,several high-profile right wing activists and journalists from the U.S. and Canada, including Lauren Southern, were held in ‘detention centers’ before being deported out of Britain. After President Trump commented on last November's London terrorist attack via twitter, several U.K. lawmakers and the London Mayor called for cancelling Trump's state visit to the U.K.Not so long ago, the same U.K. judicial system that sentenced Robinson also practically sentenced 2-year-old Alfie Evans to death by forbidding his parents from taking him outside of Britain to seek treatment because the government knows better than Alfie’s parents do. The same U.K. police department warned that the "social media postings in relation to Alder Hey hospital and the Alfie Evans situation are being monitored and may be acted upon." These are signs that U.K. has become a police state.In this regard, how is it any better than Communist China or authoritarian Egypt?

Today's Britain is a far cry from the nation that once produced the magnificent Magna Carta, whose core principles such as equality before the law are echoed in the United States Bill of Rights (1791) and in many other constitutional documents around the world, as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). It's also hard to believe Britain once produced great thinkers like John Locke, whose idea of everyone's natural right to life, liberty and property inspired Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence.

John Locke once said that "whenever legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience." Robinson's arrest and swift trial is the latest sign that the U.K. government puts itself into a state of war with selected groups of its own people by using state power to shut down open debate and restrain individual rights.It's unclear what happened with Robinson but what we DO know is that these Rotherhamand New Castle grooming gangs do deserve public attention and suppressing people trying to talk about that is a terrible look that will breed more animus against Muslims.

Today's U.K. not only faces serious domestic challenges, but also is losing its international influence and its economy is in a long term decline. If the U.K. wants to return to its former glory, maybe it's time to save itself fromPC culture first.