Church and hate: Meet Britain’s conspiracy theorist cleric

Having been sacked by GB News, Father Calvin Robinson is now spreading his unpleasant rhetoric all over the internet. Why was he ever picked to be a presenter on a regulated news channel?

March 29, 2024
Calvin Robinson, cleric at the Nordic Catholic Church and a former GB News presenter. Image: Jennifer Forward-Hayter / Alamy
Calvin Robinson, cleric at the Nordic Catholic Church and a former GB News presenter. Image: Jennifer Forward-Hayter / Alamy

A couple of weeks ago, at the start of Ramadan, the Archbishop of Canterbury posted a message on Twitter/X wishing all Muslims peace and joy, and giving thanks for the great contribution of Muslims to our society.

Who could possibly be against that? Step forward Father Calvin Robinson, an esoteric cleric in a tiny Nordic Catholic Church based in Harlesden, northwest London. In Robinson’s view, the tweet rendered Welby unfit to be Archbishop.

The Nordic Catholic Church has a mere 414 followers on X. Fr Robinson, by contrast, has nearly 331,000 followers, dating from his time as a prominent presenter on GB News. Few people notice or care what the Nordic Church thinks about anything. Quite a few people hang on every word of Fr Robinson.

He is, it is fair to say, obsessed with Islam. He truly believes that “Mohammedans”, as he calls them, are trying to take over this country, and that we have to fight back. He thinks the Church of England is weak, cowardly and obsessed with things like same-sex marriage—or “sacramental sodomy”.

Black Lives Matter (he is himself mixed race) was “clearly a con.” He hates London because it has been “captured.” Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, “clearly hates white people.” Islam is not compatible with British values. And so on.

Since being sacked from GB News after showing solidarity with his fellow presenters Laurence Fox and Dan Wootton, he and his followers have decamped to the internet, where they are not regulated by the “communists” at Ofcom—not that Ofcom paid very much attention to him when it was supposed to be regulating his output.

Thus you might stumble across him on his own show interviewing, of all people, Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League, where they will chew the fat about the need for a fightback, or crusade, against “Mohammedans.”

Or you might find him on YouTube with his old colleague Laurence, defiantly puffing on cigars or pipes as they rail against assorted enemies of the woke variety. Here’s a recent exchange between the two men, as they discuss paedophilia and child-trafficking:

Robinson: “I don’t think Joe Biden is necessarily against the exploitation of children.”

Fox: “Are you trying to say that Joe Biden’s daughter may have misplaced her diary?”

Robinson: “…and that diary may have said she had inappropriate showers with her father at an inappropriate age …All the footage of him sniffing children and groping children is just disgusting. I don’t know the level of cognitive dissonance that will make you, like, kind of compartmentalise that in your brain to still support him.”

This is the stuff of QAnon. Even weirder was hearing Robinson telling Fox how he’d suffered “interference from the enemy” when he’d recently been refused entry into Norway to attend a religious conference because he’d forgotten his passport, and had tried to get through passport control with his driving licence.

Fox suggests the devil didn’t want him to go to Norway. Robinson thinks it’s a pattern: you get “enemy interference” when “people come together to try and do good work.”

Well, the internet is full of oddballs, but regulated broadcast channels in the UK are supposed to aim a bit higher. You have to wonder why Fr Robinson—of all the religious figures in this country—was handpicked to be a presenter on a channel which pronounces (like its fellow traveller Fox News) that it is “balanced and fair” and “puts facts first.”

One of the co-founders of GB News is Sir Paul Marshall, a devout Christian Evangelical who, it is now emerging, has been lavishly supporting causes which would transform the religious fabric of the nation. He aspires to own the Daily Telegraph as well as GB News, which would elevate him to the Murdoch class of media mogul in this country.

Sir Paul is also active on Twitter, if blessed with fewer followers than his erstwhile presenter, Fr Robinson. But he was recently embarrassed by the revelation that he was in the habit of endorsing or sharing tweets which warned, for instance, of “the four stages of Islamic conquest”, arguing that Muslim immigration was a form of “infiltration” that would lead to “the establishment of a totalitarian Islamic theocracy.”

One post he “liked” read: “It is just a matter of time before civil war starts in Europe. The native European population is losing patience with the fake refugee invaders.” Another read: “If we want European civilization to survive we need to not just close the borders but start mass expulsions immediately. We don’t stand a chance unless we start that process very soon.”

Sir Paul has claimed that his views are not necessarily reflected by the tweets he has liked or shared. But it is difficult not to notice some overlap between the obsessions of Fr Robinson and the material with which Sir Paul himself signalled a form of engagement or active endorsement.

So, is the mission of his channel truly to be balanced, fair and fact-based—or is something else going on? As we near a crucial general election, how can GB News, as a regulated channel, continue to frame 90 per cent of its output through the lens of presenters on a spectrum ranging from Conservative through Reform to Reclaim? If Ofcom won’t apply any real sanctions, then will the Electoral Commission wake up?

Fr Robinson is worth noticing in all kinds of ways, not least in that Marshall’s GB News gave him a platform and credibility which previously he lacked. The channel says it aims to become the UK’s largest news channel by 2028. As Maya Angelou said: “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”