There is an interesting article over on the Guardian website, Revealed: the hidden global network behind Tommy Robinson by Josh Halliday, Lois Beckett, and Caelainn Barr. For those who don’t know, Robinson is a sort of right wing poster boy in the U.K. He is a loud and consistent voice for British populism and nationalism. The kicker? According to the Guardian, he’s backed by some very non-British figures.
Notes the article, “The British far-right activist Tommy Robinson is receiving financial, political and moral support from a broad array of non-British groups and individuals, including US thinktanks, rightwing Australians and Russian trolls, a Guardian investigation has discovered.”
In particular, say the authors, Robinson is supported by:
A Philadelphia-based thinktank, the Middle East Forum (MEF), acknowledges it has spent about $60,000 (£47,000) on Robinson’s legal fees and demonstrations staged in London earlier this year. A senior MEF executive has been closely involved in preparations for this weekend’s march, though the thinktank said she was there in a personal capacity.
A US tech billionaire, Robert Shillman, financed a fellowship that helped pay for Robinson to be employed in 2017 by a rightwing Canadian media website, the Rebel Media, on a salary of about £5,000 a month.
A small Australian rightwing group, Australian Liberty Alliance, says it has helped fund Robinson, but did not disclose how much.
A New York City-based thinktank, the Gatestone Institute, has published a succession of articles supporting Robinson’s cause.
The David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), a California-based thinktank that describes itself as a “school for political warfare”, has published a series of pieces defending Robinson, and has lobbied for him to address US politicians.
This is fairly astonishing, and damning. There is no way that you can’t see Robinson as part of a genuine “vast right-wing conspiracy” designed to undermine democratic institutions and spread hate and fear world-wide.
The question, of course, is who is behind it, and why?