Much outrage in the Guardian because
The Australian activist who disrupted the 2012 Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race in protest at government cuts has been ordered to leave the country, after receiving a six-month jail term that many thought was severe.
The degree to which I shall miss Mr Oldfield’s anti-elitist activism when he leaves these shores is impossible to underestimate. He should regard deportation as an opportunity to activate his home nation of Australia instead. I believe you start the process by holding hold down the “sleep” button.
However the issues are wider than the question of whether he, or elitism, or the ejection of lawbreaking foreigners, is a good thing or a bad thing. One can see why the government felt they had to stomp down hard on this sort of protest. He ruined a contest for which the crews had trained for months and messed up the pleasure of thousands of spectators on the riverbanks and many more on TV. If one protester gets away with that then every sporting and cultural event is going to be liable to disruption by any fool with a grudge, particulary if, as in the case of the boat race, the event takes place on the public highway, so to speak. The cultural life of the country would be greatly diminished.
Would that actually be bad? My gut reaction says yes, but my gut would like some backup from principle.
Even if it would be bad, does “the country” have the right to stop it happening? Sure, the people who want the event to proceed uninterrupted are the majority, but so what?