December 16, 2013
He was the man who tried to wreck the 2012 Varsity Boat Race, received a six-month jail sentence back on dry land and was subsequently branded ‘undesirable’ by the Home Secretary and her department.
One year on, Trenton Oldfield has pulled off yet another stunt which, in its own way, is as spectacular as the original. And it is one which leaves the rest of the world asking: what does it actually take to get kicked out of Britain?
For the Australian amphibian will not now be going back Down Under, after all. His argument, absurdly, is that his home country is full of ‘racists’. And it has been enough to persuade an immigration judge to overrule the Home Office and let him stay put to entertain us all indefinitely.
If our own Home Secretary cannot deport a criminal to perhaps the most civilised place on earth, maybe it is time to give up this deportation lark altogether.
Oldfield now joins the ever-growing list of foreign criminals who have managed to avoid the efforts of the British Government to have them returned to their motherlands.
Of course, many of those have committed more heinous crimes than Oldfield. But his case is yet another mockery of our immigration system.
Certainly, any Brit jailed for scuppering a great Aussie sporting ritual like, say, the Melbourne Cup or the Sydney-Hobart race, would soon be on a plane once they’d done their stint in the slammer.
For all the tired old jokes about its convict origins, Australia has a robust record on such matters. In 2008, it deported Simon Wilson to Britain, even though the convicted murderer and rapist had left Britain at the age of two. (And who can blame the Aussies? Three months after coming ‘home’, Wilson launched a horrific sex attack on a 71-year-old woman in North London).
But what is particularly striking — and risible — about the Oldfield story is the garbage offered up in his defence, and the readiness of our liberal establishment to swallow it.
The usual tactic deployed by foreign criminals trying to dodge deportation is to pull the ‘human rights’ joker from the pack. No matter what Theresa May and her staff — let alone the public — might think, they just need to convince a judge that they would have a horrid time in their home country.
But Oldfield was due to return to perhaps the nicest place on the planet. According to the UN’s latest Human Development Index, Australia is second only to Norway as the best place on earth to live. Britain, by comparison, is down at number 27 — which may explain those long queues of miserable Brits queuing up at Australia House in search of a new life Down Under.
Despite all this, Oldfield managed to argue he shouldn’t go home because his country is full of ‘passive aggressive racists’ and his wife, Deepa, is of Indian descent. ‘Australia to Deepa,’ he told the court, ‘is a particularly racist country. There are particularly racist attacks on people of Indian descent.’ He added: ‘I don’t think I could put either Deepa or my child through that.’
He wasn’t just peddling the old cliche about Australia being a land of beer-chugging, Sheila-squeezing ockers. He was presenting his homeland as some sort of grim cross between the Raj and post-war Mississippi. If I were Australian, I’d want him back in court on a charge of perjury.
Modern Oz is more politically correct than a North London diversity seminar.
On top of this canard, we have also heard friends of Oldfield attempting to justify his actions as if he were some latter-day Emily Davison. Thankfully, no one has compared him with Nelson Mandela, but it’s probably only a matter of time.
One group fighting his cause, an outfit calling itself Defend The Right To Protest, argues that disrupting the Boat Race was a legitimate act of civil disobedience. ‘Trenton’s choice of target,’ it proclaims, ‘was designed to highlight the injustice of growing inequalities being presided over by a government Cabinet composed of almost 70 per cent Oxbridge graduates.’
The Oldfield camp even managed to rustle up 200 signatures from Oxbridge academics and alumni. ‘The Boat Race is a game,’ states their petition. ‘Its disruption should not result in any individual’s deportation.