26 marzo 2011
Non più McDonald’s, o TopShop, o Starbucks. La protesta contro i tagli decisi dal governo di David Cameron per far fronte alla crisi ha preso di mira un bastione della Vecchia Inghilterra: Fortnum and Mason, l’esclusivo negozio di tè e specialità gastronomiche fondato nel 1707 su Piccadilly. Fortnum and Mason, un nome mito, con la sua celebre sala da tè, le centinaia di chutney, lo Stilton nei vasi di ceramica, in una parola un simbolo della Old Britannia che un tempo dominava l’impero: fornitore di Sua Maestà per le sue prelibatezze che di recente ha incluso in catalogo formiche arrosto e altri insetti, questo tempio della gastronomia è stato occupato per alcune ore da manifestanti di Uk Uncut (il cui condivisibile scopo e’ quello di esporre i ladrocini perpetrarti da corporations e banche – con la collusione spesso della politica – colpevoli di aver speculato sulla crisi finanziaria) e del Socialist Workers Party che si erano dati appuntamento su Twitter mentre a poche centinaia di metri di distanza un grande cavallo di Troia di cartapesta veniva bruciato su Oxford Circus. ‘Non erano legati al resto della manifestazione”, ha detto Scotland Yard accorsa in assetto antisommossa chiedendo ai negozianti delle due strade di abbassare le saracinesche. Alcuni manifestanti sono entrati nel negozio, altri hanno dato la scalata alla terrazza. Hanno affisso striscioni e scritto sui muri: “Tory Scum, Pay Your Taxes”, mentre i commessi di Fortnum and Mason lasciavano i banchi del Cheddar e degli scones per rifugiarsi all’ultimo piano. SkyNews e la BBC parlano di 202 fermi e 35 feriti, tra cui cinque poliziotti. E in verso la mezzanotte italiana alcuni tafferugli sono scoppiati vicino alla centralissima Trafalgar Square, dove un grosso schieramento di polizia si è scontrato con un gruppo di anarchici a Duncannon St., che dalla piazza porta alla stazione di Charing Cross. Il messaggio di oggi a Londra va oltre quello del movimento no global partito da Seattle: Whittington Investments che ha la proprietà di negozio, avrebbe evaso, secondo il gruppo di anarchici, oltre 40 milioni di sterline in tasse. La protesta era partita in modo pacifico a Hyde Park e tale, per la maggior parte della giornata e dei partecipanti, è rimasta.
…Scene ridicole come queste mi rimandano all’occupazione del municipio di Madison nel Winsconsin, dove per una settimana lavoratori e rappresentanti sindacali bloccarono le attivita’ legislative per prevenire il passaggio del budget proposto dal sindaco e dalla giunta in carica, Repubblicani, che prevedeva tagli alla spesa pubblica. PS: il budget alla fine e’ stato approvato non ostante l’ostruzionismo dei Democratici (vedi mio post)
Un quarto di milione, secondo altre stime mezzo milione di persone, studenti, sindacalisti, lavoratori di ogni categoria, pensionati venuti da ogni angolo del regno si erano radunati per ascoltare il segretario del Labour David Miliband*:
I Tory non volevano che partecipassi, ma voi siete l’alternativa. ‘David Cameron, questa è la Big Society. Ed è unita a quello che volete fare a questo Paesè”
*David Miliband (FOTO) e’ figlio dello stimatissimo defunto professore di sociologia marxista Ralph Miliband, sostenitore convinto della necessita’ di praticare la “lotta di classe”, sta mettendo in pratica gli insegnamenti del sociologo tedesco alla lettera (un vero GENIO!)
Ma mentre Miliband si riappropriava del messaggio del Labour davanti a una folla oceanica come non si vedeva riunita a Londra da anni, le frange della protesta attiravano le telecamere delle tv su Oxford Street dove pochi black bloc hanno lanciato lampadine piene di ammoniaca contro la polizia, infranto vetrine di negozi, sfregiato con le bombolette di vernice catene come TopShop, la mecca dello shopping giovane, Boots, McDonalds. Prese di mira anche filiali della banca globale Hsbc e la rivale Santander, ma anche, oltre Fortnum and Mason, un’altra icona della Londra ‘posh’ come il Ritz di Mayfair, simbolo dell’establishment Tory famoso in tutto il mondo.
As Nick says, it’s all go this weekend. Sometimes – you may have noticed – I find this blogging thing a bit tough. I expect if I’d enetered it off my own bat, rather than being invited, I’d have packed it in by now. I either can’t think of anything to say, or – and this weekend is an example – there’s so much stupidity, idiocy, and downright mouthbreathing fuckwittery going on in Britain that it seems like some kind of Herculean labour to chronicle what I’ve noticed about it and vent my bulging spleen. So I don’t bother.
I can’t hold it in today, though. Some people are just so fucking… oh, I don’t know. I can’t find words in the English language sufficient to describe the utter, wilful defiance of objective reality. Take the small number of morons who took to the streets of London yesterday. I mean, where to begin? As I said about the students last year, here we have self-styled “anarchists” protesting against a reduction in the size of the state. A reduction, moreover, that isn’t actually happening. If the legacy media and my own acquaintances were all I had to go on, I’d think the entire country was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s [GRANDE!]. It’s downright bizarre. How ludicrous are these people? Helen, at Your Freedom and Ours, gives some idea of the intellectual level:
… several hundred demonstrators, who came in order to cause trouble, did just that, smashing shops, banks and occupying Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly, a store that is owned by Whittington Investments Limited that is, in turn, owned largely by the Garfield Weston Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world or, in other words, an organization that actively helps people through various targeted charitable donations.
What really promted me to start writing today, though, was reading about it in my mum’s Mail. I should respect her property and leave it alone.
GMB leader Paul Kenny said the local elections on May 5 should be a referendum on the Government’s economic and social policies.
‘GMB will urge voters to reject unemployment, poverty and cuts in public services. We will ask them to support an end to tax evasion by the super-rich and multi national companies and support a financial transaction tax. These two measures alone will raise at least £40 billion,’ he claimed.
Frankly, I strongly suspect he’s talking shite – “tax evasion” to these brainless wonders means foreign subsidiaries not paying tax to the British government on business conducted abroad, as Vodafone discovered to the cost of a few branches’ windows – but even assuming his figures are correct, where’s the other £20,000,000,000 coming from? And that would just eliminate the deficit, not start a surplus to begin paying the debt off.
In the print edition – I can’t find it online, as it isn’t part of his regular column – Peter Hitchens noted the BBC’s impartial coverage of the riot:
It began with a bizarre report on Friday night on Newsnight. Reporter Anna Adams provided minutes of free publicity to protest group UK Uncut, whose spokeswoman was identified only by her Christian name, Lucy.
Here’s a sample: “UK Uncut is a new kid on the block.
… Yeah, the very latest front group for the SWP…
They only got together after the Chancellor’s Budget cuts
last year, but they’ve already got quite a following. They are a social media success story and more than 1,000 of them will be out tomorrow. They think that’s more than enough to close down shops and banks.”
So what are their policies? Where do they get their funds? Are they linked to any political organisation? No idea. Nobody asked.
Remember that, next time some BBC-Guardian type starts waxing lyrical about “public service broadcasting” and “Reithian values” (as if Reith was anything to shout about*; if I’d invented the Public Corporation I’d keep bloody quiet about it). Remember this, too, from El Reg.’s coverage of the Fukushima panic:
Two days ago, levels of radioactive iodine-131 were found in the city’s water which were above the safety limit for baby milk calculated on the basis of a year’s consumption: in other words, if babies drank such water for a year constantly they would have a tiny, minuscule extra risk of thyroid cancer.
One should note that iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days: it disappears almost completely within a matter of weeks.
The spurious water announcement, of course, caused pretty much everybody to stop drinking from Tokyo taps and there was a run on bottled water. This was reported globally under such headlines as “Tokyo Water Works is new ground zero” (since retracted, but the Google cache will show you the guilty organisation for a while) even as the announcement came that, of course, the harmless minuscule iodine-131 spike had passed.
Here’s a screengrab from Google:
I expect it’s something to do with the unique way it’s funded. TV news is, as I think I’ve probably said before, inherently tabloid in nature. The BBC isn’t “the Guardian of the air”, it’s the Mirror. Dressing the newsreaders in smart suits, playing portentious orchestral music, and using marginally less shiny graphics than Sky doesn’t make the lack of context any more excusable, or the sensationalism any less breathless. (In fact, Jeff Randall’s show on Sky News is the best current affairs coverage on British TV by some margin. And that’s not saying much. But it’s certainly the only thing I can bear to watch these days.)
Also from the Mail (and also, apparently, only in print – I am, of course, notoriously hopeless at web searches: as they say in the Open Source world, patches welcome) comes the earth-shattering news that Hugh O’Donnell MSP (who?) is to stand as an independent next month. He’s resigned from the Lib Dims in some kind of protest.
I joined the party because I believe in free-thinking and personal liberty.
Oh, excellent. One of us, then. Resigning because he can no longer put up with the maternalist, nannying, profligate statism of the Coagulation, no doubt. Er… no. As he makes clear in an apparently self-penned op-ed piece in the Jock edition:
… the social progress made on pensions, education, and the welfare state created by old Liberals
is slowly being dismantled by the coalition.
He’s disappointed they voted against imposing an illegal minimum price for alcohol, too. But oh, he’s all in favour of “personal liberty”. Except for shopkeepers, presumably. This man is no liberal. There’s probably a lot more I could cram into this portmanteau post, but it feels good to get that off my chest. I despair for this country, I really do.
*His father was a Free Kirk minister. Sound familiar?