He is Mr Chippy, an Australian intellectual so carried away by his peculiar world view that he put his life at risk to publicise it.
He doesn’t appear to have done anything criminal, he simply went for a swim in the Thames and if the authorities have any sense they will not press charges. The only advantage he can now get from his behaviour is through a show trial and the possibility that he will become a folk hero to those of similar persuasion.
His blog “Elitism leads to tyranny” is crazy nonsense which calls for civil disobedience from those serving the ruling elite. It anticipates his actions and to give the guy his due, has total integrity; he talks as stupid as he acts.
What comes over from reading his rant is the disconnect between his ideas and the world he lives in. The final section of the rant attempts to show him in touch with the world of taxi-drivers, house-cleaners and other menial workers. I wonder how many of them are members of the Royal Society of Arts and would relate to paragraphs such as this.
The boat race itself, with its pseudo competition, assembled around similar principles of fastest, strongest, selected …etc, is an inconsequential backdrop for these elite educational institutions to demonstrate themselves, reboot their shared culture together in the public realm.
It is also inconsequential to the performance that the overwhelming majority of the population continue to remain interested in their own lives and disinterested in the boat race.
The boat race, while accessible to everyone, isn’t really advertised or promoted as something for the general public to attend, you know when it’s on because it is part of the social networking calendar.
This is a public event, for and by the elites with broader social relations aims. The fact that it happens in the public realm (visible) almost exactly as it has done for the last 158 years also becomes important; the untouched; the unchanged is significant.
Most standing alongside the Thames today are in fact the pumped-up though obedient administrators, managers, promoters, politicians and enforcers; functional, strategic and aspirational elites.
The transnational-corpo-aristocratic ruling class (invisible) haven’t turned up today and would never consider doing so, despite the best endeavours of Bollinger, Xchange and Hammersmith & Fulham’s mayor.
Fan-flippin-tastic! Were I not travelling down from Scotland (listening to Five Live’s feeble coverage of the race on the radio), I would have been at Barnes Bridge myself. The people who lined the bank would have been a mix of Londoners, tourists , students and oarspeople.
Most people who have rowed , whether for a town rowing club, their school or at university, will have rowed on the Tideway or known people who have.
The point to me of the boat race is to relive the experiences of rowing this exact course at school, college and more recently for my town rowing club. I am sure the person standing next to me has his or her own reason for enjoying the event.
I am sure that if you took a group of fifty spectators you would get fifty different views and all those views would be equally valid because they were the personal views of people who chose to be there.
Trenton Oldfield is a plonker because he has no understanding of anyone’s view than his own but is determined to undermine personal choice by abusing the freedoms we cherish.
The reason he was able to do what he did was because of the very system he seeks to destroy. If it’s maintained by the efforts of the types who chose to row (and watch) the boat race, so be it.
His stupid behaviour will give ammunition to those who call for ever greater security. Ultimately , the ability to spectate will be confined to the very elites he is trying to destroy. The rest of us will have to watch marathons, boat races and cycling from “cordons sanitaires” or the safety of our living rooms.
While he characterises himself as a latter day Emily Davison, the lady who threw herself in front of the horses at the Derby to promote universal suffrage, he is nothing of the sort. He didn’t die because of the vigilance of the umpires who no doubt form part of the tyrannical elite in his scrambled brain.
Anger is not really a suitable reaction - no one died- even though Oxford’s Bow collapsed unconscious at the end of the race from his magnificent efforts. We should thank goodness that like Muamba, a guy who has done something brilliant has been spared. Oldfield has contributed nothing , he too has been spared and we should be thankful for that too.
Society cannot rid itself of idiots like Oldfield. It worries me that the Royal Society of Arts seems to have given this guy some publicity (come on RSA!?).
It will worry me if I hear any more expert opinion on how we should be tightening security in advance of the Queen’s bash and of course the Olympics. It will worry me most if we decide that we can no-longer have match racing on the Thames.
But right now I am laughing at Trenton Oldfield and his crazy world.
The best thing we could do with this idiot is to send him back to Australia on a one-way ticket and have a chuckle as we do so.
- Swimmer Charged After Halting Boat Race (news.sky.com)
- Boat race swimmer charged – Sports Mole (sportsmole.co.uk)
- Swimmer halts Oxbridge boat race (scotsman.com)
- “An act of civil disobedience”: The protester who caused chaos by swimming into the path of the Boat Race (mirror.co.uk)
- University Boat Race 2012: towpath guerrilla sticks his oar in (telegraph.co.uk)
- Boat race swimmer was protesting against ‘elitism’ (itv.com)
- We don’t want another Trenton Oldfield! Royal Marines will help police boat race (standard.co.uk)
- Royal Marines to provide security at Boat Race (itv.com)
- Protester slams ‘militarisation’ of London boat race (abc.net.au)
- Marines to patrol Boat Race course (standard.co.uk)