Britain is not a gateway for Trenton Oldfield

Trenton Oldfield is irritating. In fact, if you met him (I never have) he would probably tell you that one of his aims is to be an irritant. He is one of the founders of This is Not a Gateway which describes itself as an organisation that ‘creates platforms for critical projects and ideas related to cities’. He is also the man who swam into the Thames to disrupt the boat race. Which I thought was pretty silly. But not silly enough really to send him to jail.

Oldfield is also Australian, and that is relevant. Because the British government has decided he can no longer stay here. True, he has cost this country rather a lot of money. But that was mostly because of the cost of keeping him in prison. This country used to have a great tradition of dissent. It still does in some corners. But it seems you have to be properly British if you want to misbehave.

Oldfield has set up his own website which says ‘In 2007 Trenton founded This is Not a Gateway to “create platforms for critical projects and ideas related to cities”, which is just another way of saying he drinks a lot of lattes and hates the concepts of hard work and property ownership. Trenton is a weirdy beardy.’ Schoolboy, irritiating but also quite endearing. Comments on it (not that many) are a mix of supportive and vitriolic.

Perhaps though he has had his most radicalising effect yet, by showing that if you are not born British – even if you are privileged, white and English speaking – the amount of freedom you have to behave even a little badly is constrained.






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