Tommy Robinson has stoked the flames of a row over a potential visit to Tynecastle to take in a Hearts game - as the right-wing activist’s plans were once again condemned today.
He posted a mocked-up picture of himself in a 1985-1986 Umbro Hearts home strip on his Instagram account for his more than 100,000 followers to see.
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also included the caption ‘Coming soon’.
The image is a doctored image of the late Ronnie Corbett, the legendary comedian and Hearts fan, from a photoshoot in 1986.
It follows the 35-year-old’s pledge that he would be attending a Hearts game after a group of men had been pictured wearing masks of his face in front of a McCrae’s Battalion Hearts flag at an event in Edinburgh to raise money for an autism charity.
Robinson, who co-founded the English Defence League, posted the picture on his Instagram with the message: “You will be seeing me at a hearts game soon.”
Jack Alexander, the author of McCrae’s Battalion: The Story of the 16th Royal Scots, expressed his concerns in a letter to the Edinburgh Evening News (published in Tuesday’s paper) and his disappointment in seeing the Battalion linked to Robinson via the photo which included the flag.
In it, he wrote: “A photograph has appeared online and in print which sullies the reputation of what was arguably the finest infantry unit in all of Lord Kitchener’s New Armies.
“I have spent many years studying the battalion and I was privileged to know many of the original members, and many more of their descendants. They would be saddened by today’s developments and by the recent upsurge in offensive behaviour around Tynecastle and beyond.
“Ever since the inauguration of the memorial cairn in the Somme village of Contalmaison, it has attracted the attention of a small cadre of intensely stupid individuals who like to think themselves keepers of some mythical tradition of Heart of Midlothian FC as a Protestant “Loyalist” club. It’s as if they imagine they can better guard old Derry’s walls from breastworks of Ypres, Arras and Albert. They come to the Western Front, meet up with their equally bigoted cohorts from Lanarkshire and Northern Ireland and sing their dubious songs of hate.
“They have no business drawing McCrae’s Battalion into their petty little world.”
McCrae’s Battalion Trust distanced themselves from Robinson by issuing a statement on Friday.
It read: “McCrae’s Battalion Trust wishes to emphasise in the strongest possible terms that we, McCrae’s Battalion Trust, have no association whatsoever with any and all groups with a political agenda; McCrae’s Battalion Trust has no political affiliation or agenda.
“Since the inauguration of the memorial cairn in the Somme village of Contalmaison in 2004, thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to commemorate the sacrifice of all who served. McCrae’s was Scotland’s sporting battalion. They represented their mother country with courage and pride, and it is our opinion that everyone should return that pride and resist at every opportunity any attempt to politicise or desecrate their memory.
“The battalion was a broad church, embracing all religions, numerous nationalities and the widest possible variety of occupations. They were all pals together and that is not the least of their enduring legacies.”
Robinson, a political activist and journalist for Rebel Media, has received multiple criminal convictions, including fraud and assault.
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