Tommy Robinson’s tactics have gone too far – as journalists, we’re calling out his intimidating and racist behaviour

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Tuesday 12 March 2019 13:48 GMT
Tommy Robinson hammers on door of critic in middle of night

We the undersigned journalists and media workers are deeply concerned about members of far-right organisations trying to silence reports of their activities.

The latest episode was former EDL leader and now Ukip consultant Tommy Robinson’s harassment of journalist Mike Stuchbery. Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, awoke Stuchbery twice in one night earlier last week – first at 10.45pm and then again at 5.00am on Tuesday morning by aggressively banging on his front door. The harassment followed the journalist’s investigative reportage.

Stuchbery called the police who he says claimed they would arrest Mr Yaxley-Lennon.

The incident follows the mass protest that Robinson organised outside the BBC’s Salford studios last month following Panorama’s exposé. He has also made serious threats against several journalists via Facebook streaming.

A member of the far right also threatened a journalist in Leeds during a yellow vest gathering in January.

Intimidation, threats and violence carried out by far-right protesters systematically targeting the media, especially photojournalists, are becoming more frequent. And, as the Stuchbery incident shows, some such as Robinson now believe they can intimidate journalists at their homes.

We will always call out this behaviour and report criminal activity to the police. We advise all media workers to seek protection in the National Union of Journalists. We also encourage them to join, and report on, anti-racist protests at every opportunity.

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary NUJ
Gary Younge, editor at-large, The Guardian
Paul Mason, journalist
Michael Stuchbery, journalist
Gerry Gable, editor Searchlight
Pete Lazenby, northern reporter, Morning Star

Morning Star NUJ chapel
Leah Sinclair, online editor, The Voice
Steve Bird, newspaper rep, NUJ NEC; father of the chapel, the Financial Times chapel 
Julia Armstrong, South Yorkshire NUJ branch chair 
Mike Simons, journalist
Tim Lezard, NUJ National Executive Council
Peter Chapman, Financial Times journalist

Janina Conboye, Financial Times journalist
Jess Hurd, photo journalist
Tom Wall, journalist
Alan Lodge, photo journalist
Alan Gibson, NUJ National Executive Council
Phil Turner, journalist
Tim Sanders, cartoonist

MPs, don’t abandon the people over Brexit

The prime minister has gone on record repeatedly with the assertion that “the people have spoken”, and insists the government is honour-bound to follow their mandate. However, it must be remembered that in common with all referenda in the UK, this one was advisory. Argue all you like that the public expect the government to follow their will, but this remains the case.

Now let’s consider the small matter of the duty of each and every MP to uphold the principle that, similar to a physician, they must place the well-being of Britain and all its people above all else. This, if accepted, must mean the future well-being of all the electorate regardless of their political affiliations, today and far into the future.

Again, if the principle of the duty of an MP is accepted, and you believe (as I believe the majority of all MPs do), that we would be better off remaining full members of the EU, the next steps become very clear.

There is simply no good reason or excuse for supporting either May’s deal or no deal. Whilst there may be an argument for a pause to Article 50 to enable a full re-negotiation, the reality is that it would need to be undertaken by a new government after a general election, and with a new prime minister. Our MPs have to reject both May’s deal and leaving without a deal.

It is time for our politicians to learn to take the people with them, rather than washing their hands of their responsibilities by following a non-binding referendum result.

David Curran

We don’t call it Brexit any more in our household. We call it “Charlie Foxtrot”.

David Hill

How many more horses must die?

Last year, we saw the tragic but very predictable deaths of six horses at the Cheltenham Festival. More than 200 horses have died racing in the UK over the past year, yet many people – dazzled by the industry’s self-proclaimed glitz and glamour – seem to have blinkers on, preferring to focus on the dizzying array of hats worn by punters while ignoring the fact that the only sure bet at the races is that magnificent horses will lose their lives.

Pushing animals beyond their natural abilities on an intentionally dangerous course is a recipe for disaster.

Many collapse, crash through railings, sustain broken legs and necks, and endure what the industry euphemistically calls “breakdown”.

Others face heart attacks, bleeding in their lungs, painful ulcers, and other health problems that come only from being forced to run to their breaking point.

Now that this year’s festival is underway, we must ask ourselves this: how many more horses must die before horse racing is put out to pasture once and for all?

Jennifer White
Address supplied

Climate change is no laughing matter

Fascinating article by Josh Gabbatiss (Spray sun-blocking chemicals into atmosphere to cut global temperature rise in half, scientists say, 11 March), which clearly shows pro-activity from some quarters in the vital campaign to save our planet.

I am no scientist, so my opinion on the efficacy would be superfluous. However, it did occur to me that they are veering towards the same avenue occupied by a policy from one of our minor political parties.

The Monster Raving Loony Party have for many years advocated the placement of air conditioning units on the outside of buildings to combat global warming.

I wonder, is it just possible this could happen – after all, it was another Loony idea to have passports for pets, although laughed at by many, we have now enjoyed them for years.

Robert Boston

A ‘forgotten skit’ remembered

In answer to the enquiry from Denis Huot of Montreal in your Letters page yesterday, the sports newscaster skit was performed by Michael Bentine who was also one of the Goons (the other famous protagonists of The Goon Show being Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe).

J Wells

Denis Huot’s “forgotten skit” was Michael Bentine (The Goon Show, It’s a Square World, etc) as an announcer reading the football results.

As he is reading the results, he realises he may be heading for a win on the football pools and gets somewhat excited.

A recording can be found on YouTube here.

Graham P Davis

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