Today has seen a pair of contenders for the year's Missing The Bloody Point award. First up is the family of Frankie Field from York who went down for twelve months for violent disorder:
As The Press reported last week, Frank was among 500,000 people who travelled to London to protest peacefully on March 26.Um. Where to start? It's great to be proud that your brother was standing up peacefully for what he believed in, but that doesn't really cover hurling poles at police does it? That's why it's called violent disorder.
But he was captured on CCTV throwing two poles at officers in London’s Piccadilly in the middle of mob violence and then immediately walking away. Victoria, who lives in Wakefield, said she did not condone the violence, but she was proud he was prepared to stand up peacefully for what he believed in.
She said: “As family, you always think they don’t deserve it when someone is punished, but all the Facebook supporters agree with us.”
Following that, Cristina Odone in her Telegraph column makes the possibly more baffling claim that young Charlie Gilmour was persecuted by the court for being posh, hence his 16 months sentence last week:
Compare Gilmour’s fate to that of Wendy Lewis. When Miss Lewis, who like Charlie Gilmour had a drugs problem, vandalised the Cenotaph by urinating on it, she got a suspended sentence and was ordered to enrol in a drugs rehab programme. Miss Lewis is 32 and a mother of two: like Gilmour, she should have known better. So why did she get a more lenient sentence than the Cambridge student?Well, there was the minor point that Ms. Lewis, unlike Mr. Gilmour, didn't try to set light to a building, trample through a smashed shop, or participated in the attack on the car of the heir to the throne and the Duchess of Cornwall. Indeed, Mr. Gilmour was not (as far as I understand) prosecuted or sentenced for the Cenotaph incident at all. But as a privileged young man who was on his way to university he had fewer excuses for his behaviour, and maybe that helped the judge push his sentence towards the right hand side of the available tariff. Perhaps Cristina Odone feels that Mr. Gilmour being high on illegal drugs was a mitigation? Odd then that she doesn't raise the point.
Ms. Odone appears to be an intelligent woman, so quite what she thinks internally about her column I really don't know. Her commentators seem to have a better-formed set of opinions, judging by the kicking she gets there. Is there some link from her son (also present at the riot) to Mr. Gilmour? Is she friends with the Gilmour family? I'd hope for her sake that such an undeclared motivation is behind her column, for at least that would be better than the alternative implication.
Where did we pick up these notions that violence in the streets is acceptable, defensible and should not be subject to the rule of law? Is it something about intention? In which case I can only concur with Pulp Fiction's Jules in his attitude to those mouthing platitudes about "best intentions".