Keith Newbery: Puerile attempts at justification

During the student protest against tuition fees in London, one long-haired herbert was pictured swinging from the Cenotaph.

It turned out to be someone called Charlie Gilmour - the son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour - and he quickly issued a statement apologising for his actions and expressing his mortification.

It would be interesting to know whether such contrition would have been forthcoming had his bovine escapade not been plastered all over the newspapers. I suspect not.

One thing is certain. His apology contained certain conditions and was laced with examples of his ignorance and puerile attempts at justification.

Take this remark, for example. “I did not realise that it was the Cenotaph, and if I had I certainly would not have done what I did.”

What makes this remark even more crass and laughable is the fact that Gilmour junior is in the second year of his degree at Cambridge. The subject? Why, history of course.

Then he added: “I feel additionally mortified that my moment of idiocy has distracted so much from the message the protest was trying to send out.”

He can rest assured that the message was received loud and clear. We recognise a bunch of privileged young oiks on the rampage when we see them, masking their ‘rebellion’ in a cloak of self-righteous blather.

Having received a hasty lesson on what the Cenotaph represents, young Gilmour then proceeded to clamber upon his high horse.

He wrote: “Those who are commemorated by the Cenotaph died to protect the very freedoms that allow the people of Britain the right to protest and I feel deeply ashamed to have, though unintentionally and unknowingly, insulted the memory of them.”

However, this expression of remorse was somewhat undermined by what his mother wrote on her Twitter page.

“Son in a mess after day at protests. Battered and bleeding with smashed phone. Not making much sense. Am fearful.”

She portrays herself as some stricken, hankie-clutching mother who had been dreading news from the battle front.

Worse still, she makes him sound like some sort of brave little soldier who returned to the bosom of his grateful family, wounded and mentally scarred by his experiences.

In doing so, she has insulted the memory of real warriors all over again.

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What on earth has Ann Widdicombe started?

Having been hauled, hoisted and manhandled in the name of dance, she seems to have inspired Vince Cable to try his luck on a Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

The Business Secretary - a keen hoofer by all accounts – leapt at the chance to appear.

However, his predecessor, Lord Mandelson of Almost Everywhere You Can Think Of, declined the opportunity.

This will have come as a considerable relief to the domestic staff at the BBC, who would have had the unenviable task of cleaning up the slimy trail left across the dance floor.