Tuesday, 29 March 2011

My Emails with UK Uncut

Email Nr 1, almost entirely lifted from George Pitcher

Dear UK Uncut,

Further education is hardly worth the Government investing in, if the standard of research behind Saturday’s student demo against spending cuts is anything to go by.

The breakaway group that headed for Piccadilly had evidently chosen their target, or “secret location”, well in advance: the grocers to Her Majesty, Fortnum & Mason. This target presumably represented to you, the inheritors of the finest traditions of direct action everything that was Cameronesque, fat-cat, exploitative and privileged.

To which the only reasonable response is the one that students might most readily recognise: “Duh!”

Fortnums is owned by the Weston family, which probably ranks third behind the Wellcome Foundation and all the Sainsbury trusts added together in the amount of money it gives away – yes, gives away in addition to the tax it pays – to exactly the causes that are close to the heart of UKUncut and the services that it was supposedly marching to maintain.

Now, pay attention at the back, especially the youth that I spotted in the Fortnums atrium holding a sign saying “Share the Wealth” without any apparent sense of irony. The Garfield Weston Foundation owns nearly 80 per cent of Wittington Investments, a company registered in the UK, which is the ultimate holding company of Associated British Foods, Fortnum & Mason and interior stylist Heal’s. Dividends flow upwards to the Foundation, principally from ABF given that retail is having a tough time and Fortnums has just been through a major investment programme, which then distributes grants (a word students may still be familiar with).

Typically, the Foundation distributes about £40 million a year, though in good times much more. A glance at the trustees’ report – I presume UKUncut’s organisers know how to use the internet – would reveal that the Foundation gives grants to schools and universities, as well as to hospitals and housing associations. The Weston Foundation gave £25 million, for instance, to Oxford University last year alone for the development of the Bodleian Library, so I hope any Oxford students who “occupied” Fortnums will honourably refrain out of shame from using that facility for the remainder of their studies, out of respect for the Westons.

There is barely a new college benefactors’ plaque in the country that doesn’t bear the Weston name. So much for “Share the Wealth” (you muppet). And it’s difficult to think of an institution more likely to step in to the gap left by Government funding. The trustees’ in their latest report explicitly say that they have prudently made some reserves because they “have also been mindful of the possibility of requests for urgent funding being made by charities which have had their funding from other sources cut due to the difficult economic conditions”.

So well done, you students. Of all the locations you could have picked, you’ve actually chosen to bite one of the hands that promises to feed you – and one of the most generous hands at that.
Not that these were particularly hungry protesters. Not exactly in the Jarrow tradition. I hear these sons and daughters of our bourgoisie made their way through the food halls to loot the fine wines and Champagne. Clearly close to the the harsh realities of the 21st-century.

Incidentally, I also hear that afternoon tea was served throughout on the fourth floor, with AndrĂ© undisturbed at the piano. Which I suppose means that it really was a thoroughly middle-class riot throughout – while the children played downstairs, their mummies and daddies were properly “kettled” upstairs.

So all I can say is 'thank you' for having comprehensibly pulled off one of the dumbest protests ever, and I must say I do not think I have ever seen such a pathetic spokesperson as was on BBC tonight – she was even more evasive than a real politician and that is saying something. You never even got a flying start, shame really, perhaps next time when you have learnt a thing or two about economics your impact might be more sustainable.

Kind Regards


PS. Again I must just marvel at the sheer incompetence of the whole operation. I do not think I have ever seen anything quite so stupid.

Email Nr 2

Further I just noticed that you have put up a blog post titled 'Why Fortnum & Mason' http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/blog-why-we-sat-in-fortnum—mason

Presumably you did this to screen yourselves from the incompetence you have shown in not doing ANY target research, seeing as the date of the blog is dated the 28th. It would have increased your credibility if you had posted it during the protest rather than after; retrospective defence is rather vacuous (google that word if you do not understand it, and I trust you understand how to use google), particularly since people like me and others have since the protest informed about the actual roots of F&M.

But again, thank you so much for the comedy it's been pleasure, truly.

Kind Regards


UK Uncut Reply (who would have thunk it)

Listen XXXX, it is a little hard to post up blogs during a protest, and after it everyone got arrested and was in jail for over 24 hours. We did it as soon as we could.

We released a press released on the day, and there were also speeches inside F &M which explained our prior research with tax experts.

You see UK Uncut is such an organised gathering of intelligentsia (read: rag-tag random gathering of wannabe marxists on benefits with private education) that even its press officers get arrested. It is mighty funny that they did not ask their "experts" how to not get arrested in the first place. This of course being the same experts who told them to attack a charity...

I think I will have to extend them a big fat wet kiss if I ever see them, this really is priceless comedy.

(back to applying to banks.)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Graeme Archer; My Hero x

We don't visit the West End much, being adopted East Enders; but, just like characters in the Walford soap opera, we do make occasional forays Up West. Get yourself a treat, love, Keith says, tossing me a tenner. Get a cab 'ome. (OK I made that up). On Saturday I began to wonder what curse we were born under, because both occasions on which we've ventured into a W postcode recently have coincided with the descent into central London of several thousand violent hooligans. To make matters worse, other than in prompting me to write this piece, we appear to be cast as icons of the Tory middle-class, either (the first time) picking our way past chanting 'students' in order to buy a new table-lamp from John Lewis, or (Saturday) trying to take a cab to St Martin's Lane for the theatre (Ghost Stories, since you ask, and yes, it's very good). We had to walk from Holborn, thanks to the protestors. And this made me think.

Because, of course, whatever else Keith & I are, we're neither properly middle-class, nor characters of Austen-esque gentility. Neither am I by instinct anti-protest. In the 80s, I went on a spectacularly unsuccessful 'kiss-in' to protest the iniquity of Section 28 (no-one wanted to kiss me, predictably enough, which left the 'demo' somewhat lame). We both turned out to shout our disgust at Gordon Brown's fawning over the Chinese Olympic torch, as it made its shameful procession through our streets. My feelings towards climate-change camp border too strongly towards fondness for most readers of this website, I'd bet. And I have written, here, about my concerns over the leadership of the Metropolitan police. Watching the riots on Saturday, however, as we prepared to make our way into town, my over-riding feeling was gloominess. And something else it took a while to put my finger on.

You see, I read about the Miliband family's property empire, and reflect that our own household is never more than a handful of salary payments from homelessness. I listen to trades union leaders' hysterical speeches about very mild changes to public sector pension schemes, and am reminded that our guaranteed income in old age, other than what the state will give us, is (despite saving more than a quarter of our salaries every month into 'defined contribution' schemes): nothing. I watch BBC journalists breathlessly mouth their horror at the prospect of a small reduction in public sector staffing levels, and remember the thousands of colleagues I've lost to redundancy in the last few years. I wade my way through Polly Toynbee's sanctimonious and hypocritical rages about Tory tax-avoiders, and remember that I'm in that lucky band of people who are taxed at a rate you wouldn't believe (trust me: there is a bigger problem in our tax banding than the 50% rate), and that thanks to the Lib Dems, I can't look forward to this ever being reduced.

And then I saw Ed Miliband's boyish little face on the screen, mouthing platitudes to the crowd, at the same time as real violence started to happen. (Is this is one of life's rules? I wondered: Labour lose an election, so a cohort of the Left starts to vandalise central London, repeatedly?). And I thought about Keith, not just for the obvious reasons (we were going to the theatre to celebrate his birthday, and I could already feel I was going to write this piece, and he hates it when I mention him), but because he's my living, solid link to what Labour in government did to working-class men and women.

Every housing benefit payment that's higher than the mortgage of the people who fund it: the working-class pays for them. Every skilled job whose wage is suppressed by the immigration deliberately engineered by Labour: the working-class pays for them. Every school with more first languages than you can shake a stick at: the working-class pays for them. Every fat-cat council chief executive, every knighthood for services to banking awarded to any spiv who caught Mandelson's eye, every penny on every trillion of the debt interest: the working-class pays for them. Most of Blair's wars too: the working-class certainly pays for them.

And I thought, watching the blaze take hold at Oxford Circus: this is no more real than the play we're going to St Martin's Lane to see this evening. You don't get angry enough to throw a brick at the Ritz because of small reductions in the future growth of public sector spending. You can see it in Miliband's face: he's excited, yes, like any actor receiving the adulation of a multitude, but he's not enraged. He must have to practice really hard to simulate the emotion of anger.

I don't. Not any more, not after Saturday. Ed Miliband, until your party faces up to the squalid way it has treated the working-class; to admit that it has become a cypher for trades union bosses, student activists and various Hampstead millionaires; to wonder just what happened to your historic mission to empower the working man; until you've apologised for all this, then you can burn as many stupid paper horses, you can glue yourself to as many Top Shop windows, you can rant about Eton as much as you like. For nothing. We don't mind paying to watch a horror story in a West End theatre. But we'll never vote to put one into power at Westminster.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Labour loves the TUC, whilst the rest of just wished they got a room

David Cameron must be so happy that his opponents are so comprehensibly stupid. Milliband speaks at the TUC rally and Balls has the balls to propose that there is another way even though they planned to HALVE the deficit in this parliament with their proposals. In the meantime of course the violent element of the TUC, the anarchist if you will, are attacking the police and the logical discourse is to connect them with Labour. Labour will of course condemn any form of violence, lefties always do (yet look at any major conflict in the past century and see how many were caused as a direct result of left-wing ideology; and I dare you mention the nazis at your own peril), but the fact remains that they willingly associated themselves with a violent demonstration that had a significant element of destruction embedded within.

Never get involved with trade unions.

In the meantime I am going to continue to read my book called 'All you need to know about the city' by Stoakes. All-in-all fuck you, you tax-eating, good for nothing lefty-wankers.

(Just to round-off with some irony; Marx's seminal work was called 'Das Capital' and it spans three volumes).

An addendum, I am going to write this from my perspective as a proper student once more. Most people in my class have got internships this summer with some very large companies and a lot of banks. Some have already landed their first permanent job offers. It would be fair to say, arrogantly of course (but you must surely be used to that by now), that the majority of my class will be net contributors to society via the extortionate amount of tax the government already makes us pay. But let me ask you this; do you think we will stick around forever and wait around for these tax rises to remove every hard-earned penny we have? Do you think I am going to work 80 hours a week in a bank just so that I can see my money being spent on £197bn worth of a British well fare state? The answer is no, I will leave and take my skills with me and so will others, and we wont return until the tax regime is more favourable. Where we get to keep the majority of our earnings. Why the flaming fuck should the government be allowed to take 50% of my money just because it happens to be above some arbitrary threshold, a threshold which they themselves could never aspire to reach because they have studied unproductive subjects like english and history. Do not get me wrong we need writers, historians and artists, but why is it so wrong to start a company and make money from that venture? Why is it wrong to work hard and see your ideas come to fruition? Why is it wrong to be clever and use your talent in a company (or, shock and horror, in a bank!)?

Who is going to fund your socialist shit hole once we are gone?

Friday, 18 March 2011

US, UK and France go to War* in Libya


...would be quite nifty if we had some planes to do with. It is not entirely out of order to suggest that the British defence review must surely, by now, hold the speed record for becoming outdated.

*This is a declaration of war, a nation which does not control its airspace does not control the nation.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

EU Referendum Campaigns - which one?

Am I the only one who is currently a bit confused by all the EU referendum campaigns which are currently running along side each other? To date I can count;
Now as far as I can understand these three bullet points are all interlinked in some way. But I am not entirely sure how, all I know is that it is very confusing and if they truly hope to consolidate and concentrate support then surely that would be a lot easier with ONE website and not three.

If anyone is in direct relation to the campaign please forward these concerns to them.

Sunday, 13 March 2011


One does sincerely apologise for not gracing the world with his incisive commentary on the day-to-day cock-ups of the people in charge. University is gearing up with several reports due in before revision period starts, and after revision period we all know that exams usually tend to follow. This makes for a potent mix of despair which I can but bow before but will not kneel.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Thank god for our politicians

Thank God for this. I am not a smoker and I have always been afraid to go into my local newsagent to buy anything in case I catch a glimpse of a cunningly designed cigarette packet that will compel me to buy one and light up.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


H/T Guido

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Cheating at University

I think this is a very interesting article. It is on the subject of academic malevolence one could call it, others call it cheating. It is funny since we have that to an extent as well, but more than people just tend to copy work from friends from the years above.

Apparently they think they wont get caught out but what is more they do not seem to realise whilst their mark may be sky-high once they come to that all-so-important job interview they will be exposed for what they really are; cheaters who have no place in a serious workspace.

Our exams are a different story altogether though. We had one exam just after we arrived back after christmas holidays. It was interesting to say the least. The fellow on my right left after 15 minutes and the chap to the right after about 30 minutes - both laughing. When people opened the test most people let out a yelp of amusement or at least bemusement. Everyone started laughing when the invigilator left the room for five minutes, which he really is not supposed to for then people can cheat and that is exactly what happened in this exam, or at least it was attempted.

What was the source of all this amusement you might one, university exams are normally very serious business particularly at a real university like my own.

It was very simple; people were laughing, I was laughing, because the exam was so hard that no one could do it. Half the room was empty after 45 minutes and it was a two hour exam. Some of us decided to soldier on, to little or no avail most likely. But such was the extent of the exam that some 60 very bright minds, all scientists with straight As at A-level, just could not do what was put before us because it was too hard. It was several magnitudes harder than the previous year. When the invigilator left, conversation broke out amongst students, a serious breach of examination regulations; they could not even help each other that is how hard it was.

What do you do when you realise that you have failed an exam minutes after attempting it? You laugh.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Advice for the EU Referendum campaign

It is now becoming increasingly clear even to the people outside of London, that we must leave the EU or we will be consumed into it. Some people like this and some don't I and many others are part of the latter community. However there needs to be a more concerted effort to make people join the campaign for the EU referendum. We have already seen the Daily Express putting on a valiant cape of defiance when it delivered more than 350,000+ pieces of opinions to Nr. 10 saying that we bloody well should have a referendum on the leviathan that now controls our lives more than the local police.

The insurance industry is the latest clique to have been assaulted by the EU preceded by doctors, fishers, nurses, bankers etcetera. What needs to be done by the campaigners is fairly simple. They must, nay need to, capitalise on the sudden outburst of fury that inevitably will strike into the minds of senior management and directors. There is blatant fury within the banking industry as a result of the EU takeover, but they cannot speak out for fear of being seen as 'anti-Europe' the same story goes for every other sector which is being increasingly regulated by the EU and not Parliament and its constituent bodies.

Send out emails to all sectors, mangers, directors and even the workers. Go there and inform them very simply what needs to be done, and why they should lend their support and their funds. I hear the campaign is amassing thousands of new signature every weeks so it is doing well already. Make sure that they know that there is a concerted effort to have a referendum. The government can ignore the people now but once the numbers start piling on and we are reaching figures of millions who want a referendum then it will be hard to ignore the masses. It is obvious that there will be a bust up over Europe sooner or later and the government needs to choose a side fairly soon, and pray that they choose the right one. It will be a nasty day indeed when they stand apart from their own people and stand against them. The latter will not be forgiving to say the least.

My own impression is that many people feel there's nothing they can do about the EU so they'd rather not think about it. They may even resent being reminded about it, because to remind them of the extent to which their country and their lives are now subject to EU rule is to remind them of their own impotence. I would include a fair number of MPs among those people who've simply given up in the face of main party leaderships which are united in their conviction that the British people should not be permitted to govern their own country and their determination to prevent that ever happening.


EU hypocricy

Just one month after the U.N. and EU launched a furious campaign against Israel's security fence, culminating in the International Court of Justice ruling that the fence is illegal, the EU announced it's planning to build a separation fence of its own, and invited Israel to participate in the construction.
H/T Mr. North