Hypocrisy of Criminal Martyrdom in Protests.

1 04 2011

This was posted elsewhere back in January but I decided to repost it here for archive reasons. Since then, I have understood more the desire for violence at protests but being one of those weird hippy pacifist types, I still can’t condone it – even when the rage in me is firing up.

Hypocrisy of Criminal Martyrdom in Protests

12th January 2011

I wrote something yesterday. It was long, ranty and if I do say so myself, rather well written!

Well in a true ?Internet sucks? way, it was lost in cyber-space. Gone forever. So I shall attempt to recreate it? Likely very different, badly written but same subject matter?

Yesterday Twitter was awash with ?Virtual-Protesters? complaining about the incarceration of A-Levels student Edward Woolard who believed fire extinguishers were made of foam and would merely bounce off the heads of the policemen below? Or perhaps he believed it would sprout wings and fly away before it neared the people below.

Various excuses were made such as He?s young and didn?t think what he was doing, or even, the police deserved it. (all paraphrased as I can?t be arsed sourcing individual tweets and tweeps a day later.).

People felt the sentence was excessive and many believed jail was completely unwarranted.

Essentially, thuggish behaviour made this kid a martyr in the eyes of the protesters because he was ?stuffing it to the man?.

Now don?t get me wrong, I give my full support to peaceful protesters. I have participated in many protests since childhood CND marches to Hyde Park with my parents. It was a doctrine instilled in me from an early age and I understand that if done right it is a highly effective tool of campaign.

I had wanted to attend the student protests in London but deep down I *knew* there was going to be trouble and violence and as I would have had a baby with me at the time, I wasnt taking any changes with her safety.

I don?t believe violence is warranted at any protest from either Police or Protesters.

It seems now, however, that any behaviour in the process of protesting against ?the man? is acceptable behaviour. Doesn?t matter how potentially dangerous it is to others, justifying this belief with a comparison of the dangers of the actions of ?the man? aka the authorities on society at large. There will be casualties, this is war.

Well I?d like to question this warped thinking and I?m sure quite a few people won?t like it but quite a few common sensers should see where I?m coming from.

Y?see, had it been a Glasgow Ned (aka Chav dahn saaahf) who had thrown a fire extinguisher off a building in what was essentially gearing up to be a full-blown Ned Riot, there wouldn?t have been the same degree of support for him or disgust as his sentence.

Let me tell you of a protest I stumbled upon while walking my dog many years ago. It was about the closure of a local swimming pool. A stunning example of Victorian architecture inside and out. Locals weren?t happy and protested it?s closure. The local Ned contingent turned up with whatever missiles they could buy in Somerfield. Mostly eggs.

Hey, at least they purchased their missiles, contributing to the economy.

One guy threw a pineapple, yes a pineapple, not a tin of slices, the whole jaggy thing and it hit a policeman on the head. Can?t have been a pleasant experience for the recipient but it was almost entertaining purely because it was a pineapple and as someone once said to me, ?pineapples are inherently funny.?

There was outrage at this neds behaviour from all camps. Lots of discussion about unacceptable antisocial behaviour. No martyrdom for the infamous pineapple wheecher. Protesters distanced themselves from that kind of behaviour and were quite vocal about how it damaged their cause.

Very few people have mentioned how moronic behaviour such as throwing fire extinguishers from roofs is damaging the 2010/11 protesters cause.

So what?s the difference between an A-levels student from Hampshire and a Glasgow Ned? Why is the student made a martyr, while the Ned would be sent to eternal hell and 99% of society would support it?

The difference is perception.

The A-levels student is perceived as the future of the country. He had potential and his level of education was due to continue beyond age 18. His life was worthwhile. He comes from a rather affluent county. He also became the scapegoat for their cause, took the heat away from others.

So why such different thinking for the hypothetical Ned? Why was he written off at age 9? He?s not even a school leaver because he didn?t attend school. If he were to commit the same crime he would not be a martyr and his jail term could never be long enough to satisfy society, even the right on protesters. he lives in one of the poorest cities of the western world. He does it just cos, not in the name of a cause.

It seems to me, from stalking randoms on twitter that for most of the middle-class virtual protesters, goodwill only extends as far as the level of education of the recipient. Edward Woolard had promise therefore what the justice system did to him was wrong, yet the Non-Educated Delinquent had no promise, is a drain on society and no amount of justice is ever enough.

And this angers me!

An ageing 80s pop star had a twitter rant about how unfair Woolards conviction was as he will have the stigma with him for life, which in turn will affect his future career.

Just like every other ex-con then.

Why should this student who committed a dangerous crime that could have killed those below indiscriminately, receive any pity for the consequences?

If he showed such promise in an academic capacity, why did education fail to teach him, common sense, right from wrong, cause and effect?

If he was so bright and with so much future potential, why did he not stop what he was doing?

The hypocrisy amongst the left ?right-on? confuses me. In one statement they?re fighting for needs of the poor, in the next they?re condemning them for what is perceived as culturally unacceptable behaviour. But for generations of Glasgow gangs, it?s been culturally accepted and socially expected for many young people living in the schemes.

I often wonder, then, about the level of dedication or commitment to the protesters favoured cause. Is it because they genuinely believe what they are saying or because it is culturally acceptable within their peer group to be seen to do so?

Edward Woolard was a tit. A term I coined a while back, suits him well, PED: Posh-educated delinquent. He may have been the first of his family expected to go onto higher education, but his background obviously allowed for him to do so. He may not have been ?posh? in the generally accepted meaning of the term but compared to the child of junkie parents from Springburn who couldn?t attend school because he had to care for younger siblings, Edward Woolard is posh. He had every opportunity to attend university and do something with his life.

Edward Woolard made a fucking stupid decision and he has to live with the consequences of it. When he gets out he will probably go to university anyway and find himself work. He can leave behind his criminal past and move on.

The Glasgow Ned is more likely to be stuck in a vicious cycle, where he cant escape his past, where his employment prospects started off low before committing any crime.

Woolard got what he deserved.

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