Lost his Marbles?
Jonnie Marbles is a complete and utter clown. His ‘cream-pieing of Rupert Murdoch was a stupid stunt. Did it deserve six weeks in prison? Watching my Twitter timeline, and reading around, the obvious answer is no, however you read it, this sentence was excessive under the letter of the law. Ultimately, that is what matters, no matter how stupid he was, we cannot say he deserved it, even if we are appalled by what he did. We have to criticise an uneven, and it looks like a politically motivated, application of the law. I don’t care about Marbles or his case, but I do care about that.
However, do we have to take that as far as alibiing the idiocy of Marbles? I don’t think we do. The way to respond is to criticise both Marbles and the judge who handed down this decision. Marbles not only discredited himself but he also discredited the concept of direct action and in some peoples minds, by his choice of venue and time, brought it into direct conflict with Parliamentary democracy.
I don’t think the two things should be opposed. Parliament is an imperfect form of democratic representation even and sometimes, direct action, speaks to a void or a failing it has. For example, direct action over tax avoidance & evasion, an issue Parliament has consistently failed on, is therefore legitimate and necessary. It’s a positive thing. We have to be honest and open and not snobbish and elitist and say ‘Parliament always knows best’ – it doesn’t. In the longer run, this is why I favour a move to direct democracy but through a mechanism where Parliament is naturally superseded or possibly, through reforms and changes, it itself enacts.
Was Parliament failing when Marbles intervened? With the exception of Tom Watson’s grilling, Murdoch’s Select Committee appearance, wasn’t as an effective scrutiny as it should have been. However, that is barely the point; the intervention of Marbles was still puerile and counter-productive. Parliamentary democracy is not all it should be, but direct action in the sense as practiced by Jonnie Marbles is not the solution; however, the answer to it is not to celebrate an excessive and unjust sentence but to fight and argue politically against the likes of Marbles and his apologists.