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July 20, 2011 / ultrafox1963

Jonnie Marbles and His 15 Seconds Of Fame

We shouldn’t really dwell on the ill-advised one-man protest against Rupert Murdoch when he gave evidence to a Commons Select Committee this afternoon.

There are many other places on the planet where an assault, in full view of TV cameras, on a frail and vulnerable 80-year-old American would be used as the pretext for air raids, even an invasion.

But many UK observers, particularly on Twitter, took a more light-hearted approach, viewing the incident as being reminiscent of a scene from the fondly-remembered TV show Tiswas.

It’s not known what Chris Tarrant, the main presenter of that show (and alleged victim of News International phone-hacking) made of the foam-pie-throwing incident.

Nowadays Tarrant is more renowned as a quiz show presenter and is an established member of the mainstream media.  The perpetrator of today’s attack is anything but.

Jonathan May-Bowles (aka Jonnie Marbles) describes himself on his Twitter page as an “activist, comedian, father figure and all-round nonsense”.  Judging by his actions today, the last element would appear the most accurate.  It was subsequently revealed that he had held simultaneous membership of both the Labour Party and semi-anarchist group UK-Uncut.

Both groups were swift to distance themselves from him and will have been intensely annoyed that his self-indulgence has overshadowed their recent successes.  Only yesterday, CPS announced that charges against demonstrators (mainly UK Uncut members) involved in the 26 March protest at Fortnum and Mason were being dropped.

After his attack, May-Bowles was immediately arrested, though not before Murdoch’s wife Wendi had exacted retribution on him, for which she was later commended by Tom Watson MP (one of her husband’s main tormentors).  Once justice has taken its course in the courts, May-Bowles should be allowed to return to the obscurity he deserves, and attention should return to the purpose of today’s hearing.

During much of the three-hour session, Murdoch and his son James frequently appeared uncomfortable and evasive.  However they were allowed to deliver some soundbites, far more lavishly prepared than the rest of their evidence, in which they expressed humility and contrition for actions committed in their name.  No doubt their media around the globe will use that footage extensively in their coverage of the meeting.  But the Parliamentary committee,  and the public at large, are likely to take a far more critical view.

Their power and influence, in the UK and elsewhere, has been severely dented in recent weeks.  It is difficult to see how they can ever recover.

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