Danny: ...He's a very low temperature spade, the Coal Man. Went into court wearing a kaftan and a bell. This doesn't go down at all well. They can handle the kaftan but they can't handle the bell. So there's this judge sitting there sitting in a cape like fucking Batman with this really rather far out looking hat... So he looks at the Coal Man and says "What's all this? This is a court, man. This ain't fancy dress." and the Coal Man looks at him and says "You think you look normal, your honour?" ...Cunt give him two years.Jamie is making sense here, talking about the joker who pied Rupert Murdoch, amongst various other protest hi-jinks of late.
There's been plenty of outrage on Twitter recently as various protestors have been handed what look like harsh sentences for a variety of offences. It tends to go like this...
"It's ridiculous that Johnny Tithead-Smythe has been sent down for 14 months for such a trivial offence when Villain (x) gets less for something worse. Clearly, this is a politically-motivated judgement. I thought we had an independent judiciary??!!!?"
I hate to come off all waggy-finger with youse, but here's the deal - the law is what it is, and one of the things it is, is really, really Draconian on civil disorder. There are reasons for this. Some of them are understandable and some less so.
Take rioting, for instance. Mobbing and rioting is a Big Deal, not just because it disturbs the Man (although it really does, and not often in a good way) or because it causes property damage (which it does) but because what looks like a lot of hurly-burly between the coppers and a bunch of rowdy teens can turn very quickly into people being trampled or beaten to death by angry mobs, buildings being torched with the occupants inside, and so on.
That all sounds like great fun until it's your street it's happening on*, and most people have an innate aversion to being subjected to missiles and police charges on their way to work. Thus, the sentencing guidelines read To prison with the hoodlums, and don't spare the horses.
Similarly, judges frown upon people being assaulted in the Houses of Parliament and attacks on policemen, not least because they also frown upon attacks on judges, but also because the H'es of P and the cops are symbols of democracy and good order. For obvious reasons, those who make the law want citizens to think twice before getting into boxing matches with the constabulary.
Now, you might think this is unfair. You might think it's scandalous and symptomatic of whatever societal ills, but the one thing it isn't is politicised. Get caught committing these types of offences, and it's Wormwood Scrubs for you. If anything, half of these folk could've been given far worse sentences and they wouldn't have had many grounds for complaint.
I'm not a great protester and I'm an even worse rioter, but I will say this - if you're intent on registering your discontent, take a look at the law books and pick something that doesn't carry a prison sentence. If you do go for the criminal option, you pretty much have to take it on the chin when they send you down for it.
*While I'm at it, I don't recall ever hearing much sympathy for rioting football fans who get hefty sentences.