Good afternoon and welcome to the Sappho Award event. The Sappho Award is the Free Press Society’s Freedom of Expression Award, which is given to a person who has shown uncompromising courage and tireless struggle for the free word.
The award was first awarded in 2007, to journalist and author Flemming Rose.
Other notables to have received the Sappho award are – among others - Mark Steyn, Thilo Sarrazin, Ezra Levant, Douglas Murray and the regrettably late Sir Roger Scruton.
All of them prominent opinion-makers who have, in every way, exhibited great personal courage and steadfastness - often standing in the middle of opposition headwinds and conflict and often with significant consequences for their own lives and their work.
Tommy Robinson, today's recipient of the Sappho Prize, does not differ in this regard to previous recipients. If anything he can be said to be the very personification of the particular fearlessness and uncompromising courage needed.
Indeed he is the recipient of the Sappho Prize, who has had to endure the most for saying what he thinks while standing firm on his position:
Both he and his family have been threatened and attacked by his opponents.
He has been singularly harassed by British authorities and police force.
He has been shamed and defamed by politicians, opinion makers and mainstream media.
He has been blocked on virtually every social platform,
and for the past two years he has been subject to court cases and prison sentences, one after the other, based on highly questionable cases. Cases that would otherwise have never triggered a prison sentence.
All in an attempt to shut him up.
What is it that Tommy Robinson has done that is so dreadful that the ruling classes are almost all unanimous in wanting to remove him from the public sphere and making of him a non-person in line with dissidents during the Soviet era?
It is, upon scrutiny, very difficult to see:
as an Islam critic, he has, for many years, pointed out the negative social and cultural consequences of the growing population change that is taking place in England these years. A population change which is causing more and more conflict in the UK community - with Islam at its core.
As a street journalist, he has uncovered a number of cases representing the rising social problems and inequalities in English society.
He has tirelessly covered the lawsuits in the wake of the grooming scandals, and thus also maintained that all these horrific abuses against British girls down to the age of 13 were not only committed almost exclusively by Muslim men, but he has also highlighted the horrifying fact that British authorities for years, chose to turn a blind eye to these abuses - rather than risk being called racists by intervening.
He has furthermore organized freedom of speech rallys – one of those, “The Day for Freedom rally”, we in the Free Press Society also participated in.
None of this is controversial from a democratic perspective. None of what Tommy Robinson has said has been anti-democratic, has glorified violence, nor been racist or totalitarian.
On the contrary.
We at the Free Press Society have dealt with Tommy Robinson in depth, and we have never come across any statement or agenda that falls outside the Democratic purview.
On the contrary, democracy and free speech is the very foundation underpinning all of Tommy Robinson's work. He fights for democracy in a free and open English society. The kind of society under which he grew up, but which is now under intense pressure and threat of eroding altogether.
What is striking is that his critics have ALSO been unable to find valid reasons for the defamation they are subjecting him to. Therefore, they consistently choose to reference a 15 year old sentence he received for violence against an off-duty police officer, attempting with this ancient case to discredit him and shame him from the so-called "good society".
It is truly a sad and pathetic reasoning. Have you really forever lost the opportunity to speak out in public - merely because you in your youth have made a mistake?
Who stopped listening to Michael Jackson, and who wouldn't read Günther Grass' or Knut Hamsun's works, citing their past misdeeds? These are, otherwise, men who have greater crimes on their conscience, but whom none of the so called liberals who hold their noses when Tommy Robinson's name is mentioned could dream of refusing knowledge of.
And let me just remind you in a Danish context that the founder of the Antifa in Denmark, Pelle Dragsted, has been a member of Parliament for two election periods without anyone who today are defaming Tommy Robinson and calling for censorship against him – raised a finger to prevent, let alone questioning Pelle Dragsted’s eligibility.
Dear Tommy Robinson,
Today the Free Press Society awards you with the Sappho Prize. With this prize we honour your tireless work and struggle for the free word and the fact that, despite the great opposition against you, you continue this fight, undaunted. The award is a recognition of your work and the costs your struggle has incurred and still has for you and your family. And it also is an encouragement to continue this struggle on a peaceful and democratic basis.
Congratulations with the award.