THE ATLANTIC: The British Trial That Became a Free-Speech Crusade for the Right

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 2/8/2018

Description

“In the U.S. and much of the European radical right, this is being portrayed as a politically-motivated imprisonment,” Rob Ford, a professor of political science at the University of Manchester and co-author of Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain, told me. He noted that had Robinson been broadcasting any other criminal trial, he would have faced the same legal fate. “This isn’t a libel case, this isn’t a case about what he was saying. It was a case about what he was doing in terms of interfering with the legal process of another court case. That is completely lost on all of his supporters.”“The reason he works very well as a symbol is because one of the most powerful arguments the radical right can deploy is ‘We are the true liberals, we are the ones who are bravely standing up for true liberal values,’” Ford said. “Any other figure could easily slot in as the focal point of that narrative. … I don’t think he adds a lot of value to any of that. He is just a symbol as part of that narrative.”

Media contributions

TitleThe British Trial That Became a Free-Speech Crusade for the Right
Media name/outletThe Atlantic
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited States
Date2/08/18
Description“In the U.S. and much of the European radical right, this is being portrayed as a politically-motivated imprisonment,” Rob Ford, a professor of political science at the University of Manchester and co-author of Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain, told me. He noted that had Robinson been broadcasting any other criminal trial, he would have faced the same legal fate. “This isn’t a libel case, this isn’t a case about what he was saying. It was a case about what he was doing in terms of interfering with the legal process of another court case. That is completely lost on all of his supporters.”“The reason he works very well as a symbol is because one of the most powerful arguments the radical right can deploy is ‘We are the true liberals, we are the ones who are bravely standing up for true liberal values,’” Ford said. “Any other figure could easily slot in as the focal point of that narrative. … I don’t think he adds a lot of value to any of that. He is just a symbol as part of that narrative.”
URLhttps://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/tommy-robinson-wins-appeal/566549/?utm_source=feed
PersonsRobert Ford