It’s been announced in the last few days that Boat Race protestor Trenton Oldfield is to be deported back to his native Australia. This is a shocking overreaction by the Home Office, and by extension the state. Mr Oldfield was sentenced to six months imprisonment for his swim in the Thames, of which he served two. Again this was horribly over-strict, as would any custodial sentence have been for the offence in question. Anyone would think he’d got under the skin of important people somehow.
Some have chosen to point out that Mr Oldfield’s protest was misguided at best, being a protest against elitism targeted at a meritocratic contest, but this seems a spurious argument. It is the same as saying the suffragette Emily Davison was misguided in stepping in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby, because female horses took part as well as male. Mr Oldfield chose to disrupt an event symbolic of elitism, and one which would guarantee members of the elite he protested against would be aware of his actions.The Oxbridge universities, their stranglehold on access to important posts in politics, the national media, the civil service and the judiciary, and the self-perpetuatingly disproportionate attendance there of the offspring of the holders of these posts would seem a good target to start with if you wished to attack the effects of elitism.
As an aside, it’s interesting that Mr Oldfield’s wife is about to give birth. The much-derided European Convention on Human Rights, which we are all told must be repealed from British Law because it prevents the deportation of terrorists on the basis of their right to family life if they have families in this country, does not seem to apply in this case. It would seem the ECHR does not in fact prevent deportation on this basis. Theresa May & David Cameron will be delighted to learn they don’t have to bother pushing the repealing of this legislation through both Houses.
It has become a theme of recent years that peaceful protest is discouraged by the actions of the courts and the police. This is merely another instance in a long strand linking the prosecution of the Fortnum & Mason UK Uncut protestors with police default tactics of kettling anyone with a megaphone in central London. Unfortunately, this is not the most disturbing aspect of this case. The actions of the elite controlling our nation, savagely punishing someone daring to disrupt one of their most favoured social events, prove how justified he was in making his protest in the first place. Our controlling elite are themselves out of control, becoming ever more overt in their determination to maintain their control of us, and in their contempt of the majority who will never have the opportunities they enjoy and who suffer the effects of their mismanagement.