Charlie Gilmore was before a court for committing a ‘crime’ the likes of which young men throughout the land commit most Saturday nights unhindered by the police. Indeed swinging from a flag pole is just the type of jolly jape Bullingdon club members are famous for, when not knocking a Policeman's hat off. Bertie Wooster would have been proud of young Gilmore.
Lets be clear, Gilmore’s real crime like hundreds of other young people who have since been arrested and charged by the Metropolitan police for having the audacity to protest earlier this year outside parliament and in London’s West-end against the rise in tuition fees and the scraping of the EMA.
Whilst former assistant commissioner John Yates of Scotland Yard was “too busy fighting terrorism” to assign a squad of officers to investigate phone hacking by News International. He and his superiors had all the time in the world to assign upwards of 200 officers to Operations Malone and Brontide, to track and arrest hundreds of students for their involvement in the anti fees protest. There was no appointment to be arrested for these youngsters, their doors went in at dawn as is the way with the Metropolitan police; unless you work for News international that is.
It would be interesting to know, when Yates told parliament he had been investigating 70 terrorism cases, whether operations Malone or Brontide fell into that category?
As Mike Mansfield and others have pointed out, the Murdoch press was first in line to set up a hue and cry against the student protesters. This enabled the Met to go about their business investigating and charging these comparatively harmless youngsters, whilst ignoring the countless bin bags of NI evidence which had taken up residence in a locked room at Scotland Yard.
Of course the judges are no slouches when it comes to stepping up to the plate in defense of privilege, as the scandal of the ‘Super-injunctions have shown. Thus they were more than willing to help ruin many a young life by sentencing protesters like Charlie Gilmore to terms of imprisonment. Far from being imprisoned young people like Gilmore should be congratulated for standing alongside their peers and campaigning against the rise in student fees and the abolition of EMA, a scheme which helped the most disadvantaged six formers gain a university place.
As Michael Mansfield, Len McCuskey, Liam Burns and 17 others wrote in a letter to the press:
“All prosecutions against protesters as a result of these investigations by this tainted police force and charging decisions by the CPS should be dropped and that an inquiry be held into the process that has led to punitive sentences being meted out by the judiciary to those already convicted.”