Postscript: Charlie Gilmour

Posted on July 27, 2011

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Yesterday I published a long overdue article on Charlie Gilmour, his sentencing last week, and his position in the student movement.

It appears my point wasn’t made quite as clearly as I’d have liked.

Ever the professional, I posted ‘Charlie Gilmour’ on my blog on the proviso I’d add to and edit the “comment” section (towards the end of the article), before adding hyperlinks, photographs, all the rest of it. I forgot that Facebook would immediately publish the article though, and by the time I got back to it (some time later), a handful of responses and compliments, and a couple of criticisms, had come in. It was too late to change anything.

I did, however, remove one paragraph – the one (for all you early readers) which named another “Cantab-ist” faux-revolutionary peer of Gilmour’s. The paragraph was basically innocuous, but it didn’t seem necessary to involve anyone else. The rest of the article stands, and I stand by it. May be I didn’t “send it home” quite as much as I should have at the end (or in exactly the right direction), but anyone who criticises the article simply because it criticises Gilmour should look at the evidence.

I never went in for character assassination. There is absolutely no assumption of objectivity in my article (rarely is there). I criticised Gilmour based on what I saw on the day, what he said to me (or near me), and what went on in the newspapers afterwards. All three were ridiculous; Gilmour running around like Jerry Rubin at the Pentagon, him quoting Byron (as well as shouting, for example: “We will not eat cake, we will eat fire and ice and destruction”), and how the press exemplified this 21-year-old in a malicious and resoundingly politicised way.

This is the reason for my anger. Gilmour’s narcissism, ego and self-fashioning just about overshadowed the entire day. He tried to portray himself as a representative for the cause – a worthy thing, in itself – but not when it is done in such a way that you must drape yourself in the red flag, drop acid and lob shit about to try and do so. He does not represent me or whatever I stand for, and as such, I feel free to criticise him.

Then again, Gilmour was a victim in one of the fiercest, and most consolidated, media hate campaigns I can remember in recent years. The press used him to delegitimize the events in hand. I cannot imagine what it felt like, that first moment he realised what was happening, that he was right in the middle of it; the moment he heard his name called from the bottom of the stairs in a tone of shock, confusion and anger; the first of the hundred phonecalls at all hours of the day and night. I also cannot imagine what it feels like to face that 16 month sentence.

This is the reason why I didn’t publish my article about Gilmour at the Parliament Square protests, nor did I send the photographs I’d taken that day to any newspaper – which I have on some authority, would have fetched a fair few bob, had I wanted them to.

This is my own demonstration of solidarity with Charlie Gilmour.

Gilmour’s sentencing is draconian. It is an attempt by the Establishment, supported by its middle-class media, to keep control of what it sees as a bunch of pesky kids and shit-stained trade unionists left over from the Miners’ Strikes. So they gave Gilmour 16 months for violent disorder.

But consider former Labour MP Jim Devine. Following the MPs Expenses Scandal, Devine was charged with false accounting in February this year, for £8,385 in false claims. It was alleged £5,505 of this was used to pay for stationary. This is a man who directly damaged the democratic process, ever widening the gap between elector and representative, as well as cheating his electorate. What did he get? 16 months imprisonment.

Cambridge Defend Education put it a bit more simply, tweeting: “Charlie Gilmour got 16 months. Glenn Mulcaire got six months.”

The scales of justice imply an equal balance between the act done, with the punishment given. No such balance exists with Charlie Gilmour. He has been made an example; a bloody pursuit by the hacks, wigs and pigs of the Establishment who forgot (ignored) justice in favour of intimidation, hegemony and control. Everything in its right place, remember; with the students, peace protestors, trade unionists, leftists and anyone else; all in the fucking bin.

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Posted in: Politics