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This resulted in the BNP’s Nick Griffin calling Robinson ‘a big girls blouse’ in an attempt to win over many discontented EDL supporters. His plan never really worked, with most setting up their own breakaway groups or drifted away from the far-right completely. 2013 saw  Robinson sentenced to a 10 month sentence for ‘possession of a false identity document with improper intention’ which he used to gain entry to the US in late 2012, allegedly on a visit to meet with fellow counter-jihadists; Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Robinson was later released on an electronic tag. May saw the appalling murder of off-duty soldier; Lee Rigby. Rigby was brutally murdered in public on the streets of Woolwich, London by two Muslim extremists. Robinson, who’s interest in the EDL was waning, saw an opportunity to exploit and use it for his own agenda in rebuilding the EDL. A drunk Robinson and a small number of supporters went to the murder scene to demonstrate not against the two Muslim extremists who committed the murder, but to condemn all Islam and all Muslims. The result was a short lived resurgence of the EDL, both online and off. Fortunately, the organisation which has been plagued with internal feuding and squabbles appears to be in serious decline, with a drastically reduced activist base of just 500-1500.

Politics

Robinson and Carrol had a fleeting daliance with politics in 2012 where they became Vice-Chairs of the British Freedom Party, a party originally established by breakaway BNP members. The man behind the BFP was former City gambler and UKIP Member; Paul Weston. Robinson and Carrol lasted six months in the BFP, The BFP has now been de-registered by the Electoral Commission.

Departure

During October 2013 Robinson and Carrol held a joint media conference with Islamic ‘counter extremism think-tank’; Quillam, where the both announced their departure from the EDL citing reasons of “dangers of far-right extremism’”. Robinson stated he still wanted to “counter Islamic ideology....not with violence but with democratic ideas” . The two former EDL leaders announcing their exit from one of the most far-right groupings in the UK in a joint appearance with the Muslim Quillam organisation appeared a strange way to announce their exit. Cynics suggested it was more to do with carrying favour before his court case a month later for two charges of mortgage fraud rather than any genuine attempt at rehabilitating himself. Robinson was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in January 2014. He is currently serving his sentence at Category A, HMP Woodhill, Milton Keynes.

What Now?

The EDL leadership mantle was passed onto Tim Ablitt. Ablitt used to run the very lucrative EDL merchandise operation and also headed up the EDL’s failed bid to enter mainstream politics with the British Freedom Party. With terminally declining support, Ablitt and the EDL Regional Organisers will hopefully be the last leader of the EDL; or maybe he is just keeping the seat warm until Tommy gets out of jail?

David Holt/ Creative Commons

Top: US ‘Counter-Jihad’ Movement Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Middle: Tommy Robinson & Kevin Carrol on London Demo before they quit. Bottom: EDL National Organiser, Tim Ablitt with keys to merchandise safe.

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