Tuesday, 25 June 2013

[Gallery Post] Does Trenton Really Deserve The Boot?

I read with amusement and a discerningly raised eyebrow that Trenton Oldfield, spoiler of last year's University Boat Race, is being asked to leave the country. According to reports, the Home Office feel that his presence is not "conducive to the public good". Last year I posted my feelings about Oldfield on this blog and on Twitter. I called him an idiot and chastised his actions as stupid and thoughtless. I stand by those statements, believing that what he did endangered lives, including his own, and did nothing to further the cause against elitism and privilege. Yet there is something inherently petty and a little unnerving about our government's moves to push this man out of the country.

For his actions, Oldfield served an overly harsh six months in prison for causing a public nuisance. So here is a man who committed a crime and served his sentence. Since then, other than maintain his position through a series of blog posts and interviews, Oldfield has done nothing inherently wrong or criminal. He is a married man, wed to a British citizen who is pregnant with his child. Yet the government seems adamant he must go, and that his continued presence in the country would be disruptive. It is only fair that the question be asked of the home office; how exactly? I am not sure what Oldfield has done that warrants the wrath of the UK government and so one wonders if the decision to push this man out of the country has to do with the views of a number of well to do Oxford and Cambridge alumni within the government. If this is so then it is petty and probably does more to reinforce Oldfield's anti-elitist position then his watery stunt last year. 

Foolish and petty it may be but the government's call for Oldfield to leave also sets a very dangerous precedent for anyone looking to live in the UK. Piss off the toffs and we'll give you the boot. The Home Office have stated that those who wish to live in the UK must abide by our laws, a concept I have no issue with, and that is the basis for their decision and why they feel he is a bad influence. Except, Oldfield has committed no crime since serving his sentence. The right to protest and the issue of free speech has to apply to all who live here, both UK born and from far off shores. What is the point if it does not?. However misguided and reckless Oldfield's actions were, nevertheless they constituted a protest (albeit rubbish one) and I cannot help but feel that because it was aimed at the privileged and wealthy few, he is being singled out. 

It is not unheard for the authorities to overreact against any protest aimed at the privileged class. I recall the guillotine protest which was to be staged during the Royal Wedding in April 2011 and an Execute the Queen party to be held during the Queen's jubilee celebrations. I didn't agree with their opinions, and their actions were very much in bad taste. Yet as these were aimed at "privileged royals" I felt the actions of the authorities were somewhat excessive. So between these examples and the government's wish to see the undesirable Trenton Oldfield hop onto the next boat off our green and present land, it feels like the rich in charge are sending out a message that if "the have nots" protest against "the have mores" you will feel their wrath. In the case of Oldfield it's a boot off the island. The fight is not over yet as Oldfield prepares to fight his call to leave. I really wish lady justice could remove her blindfold and see what a mockery the government is making of her behind her back. 

Image Credit;  Cory Doctorow 

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