This article from Guardian writer Matthew D'Ancona puts its finger on the problem democracies face in dealing with the far-right and populist demagogues. These hystericised attention seekers - and we're thinking here too of the narcissism of Trump, Baudet and Wilders in the Netherlands, Kurz in Austria, Boris Johnson et.c etc. - even if not all are technically far-right - are driven by a need to draw attention to themselves by saying outrageous things they know absolutely to be false - but which resonate with the half-wits who support their simplistic bigotry. And they are half-wits. Unfortunately, in today's social media age, opinion counts for more than fact and these nasty bastards use that to great effect.
As the writer points out Tommy Robinson's real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. He's effectively in "showbiz" and doing a "Madonna" by using a stage name... and is using it to project himself as a kind of media-event "first responder"- for example, to terrorist events or court-house proceedings - which provide him with a platform. Steven Bannon is the same. It is astonishing to see how internationalised these minor celebrities like Robinson have become. Robinson is the darling of the US Alt-Right movement and Wilders has even gone to London to address a rally on his behalf, tweeting almost daily about his friendship with "Tommy.".
As the article states..."What Robinson knows, or at least senses, is that our traditional institutions have been radically weakened in the past 20 years: public trust in parliament, government, traditional media and the financial order is in the gutter. The immune system of our old-fashioned political structures is well and truly shot.
As the Oxford academic Philip N Howard argues in his fine book, Pax Technica: “The state, the political party, the civic group, the citizen: these are all old categories from a pre-digital world.” To understand the new world, Howard continues, we must look at it “as a system of relationships between and among people and devices”.
Tommy Robinson - amongst the attention-seeking elite of the truly obnoxious. Borat Johnson is jealous.