Egg News

PastedGraphic-1When the principles and aims of the anti-austerity left are often purposely manipulated, warped and discredited by the time they reach the mainstream – it has been encouraging to see figures of influence take a stand lately and publicly voice their disillusionment with our current political system.

Russell Brand, during his sudden burst of political relevancy, managed to use his celebrity and popular appeal to push left wing arguments onto a growing following of intrigued youth, with his brutally honest Question Time performance dominating social media traffic for the night that it aired. Actors Emma Thompson and Greg Wise took a practical stand against our culture of banker privilege when they refused to pay tax in the wake of the HSBC tax evasion scandal, and the HMRC’s subsequent refusal to carry out a criminal investigation. Even more recently, Charlotte Church – the soprano vocalist with the “voice of an angel” – has found herself on the picket line, addressing anti-austerity rallies and being ushered onto media platforms as the latest darling of the left.

However, following the mass demonstrations that took place outside the Tory party conference this weekend – Charlotte Church has taken it upon herself to act as an apologist and has somehow cemented herself as the spokesperson of the march, promising to “…write an open letter on behalf of the majority of people who were protesting that day just to say we are really sorry” for those who chanted “scum” (which Church would “never have called anybody”) as Tory officials entered the conference, and for those who spat on journalists.

There were several other instances in Manchester this weekend that the mainstream media have chose to focus on. Disability campaigners threw plastic balls at Boris Johnson as he walked into the conference and a Tory youth activist was egged. Remember: here in Scotland, we all saw the media storm that was created when a high profile right winger had an egg thrown at him in Kirkcaldy during the referendum campaign.

It’s no surprise, that on a day when 100,000 people took to the streets to protest against their own government, the headline stories across mainstream media are all centred around the actions of a minority at the demonstration. The main points have been entirely missed, and this again highlights the constant spin of the right wing media, and it’s ability to divert the public’s attention away from the real issues. Those of us on the left should really be aware that such manoeuvres are simply distraction techniques. What we need to do is focus less on writing open letters of apology, spurred on by media pressure, and carry on with organising against this government.

What has been missing from many of the headlines is outcry at the disgusting tax credit cuts that Cameron has just announced are still going ahead, despite all of the controversy. The IFS has stated that these cuts will result in 13 million families losing an average of £240 a year, and a further 3 million losing £1,000 or more, when they come into effect in April. Jeremy Hunt, in defence of the scheme, argued that they will encourage people to work harder. How more out of touch can these people get?

The Tories and their sycophantic cheerleaders are peddling the myth that the introduction of a “national living wage”, and improved access to free childcare, will balance out the effects of the tax credit cuts. They’ve conveniently forgotten that the cuts have been rolling out since 2010, whilst the living wage will not come into full effect until 2020.

If we take this argument at face value – then what are those who are detrimentally affected by this scheme supposed to do for the next four years? Advocates of the “national living wage” act like it is the saving grace that will soften the blow. So what, then, are we left with? Four years of The Hunger Games, whereby those who survive this testing period can claim their reward – a £9 per hour wage?

In light of this ideologically driven attack on the poor; we have individuals with life limiting conditions who are the subjects of a state driven persecution, some of whom are likely to have scraped together what’s left of their scant finances to travel to Manchester – just to get the opportunity to throw some plastic balls at the very oppressors who have made some of their lives unbearable. Many of them exist in a constant state of fear; wondering where the next attack is going to come from, and how the next batch of cuts are going to affect them.

In all honesty, isn’t it a very sad state of affairs when the only resistance and fightback that many people have is to throw eggs and balls, or occasionally chant scum, at a group of untouchable politicians who live in something of an ivory tower – far away from the pain, anguish and suffering that has been unleashed on ordinary people below them – many of whom have extraordinary needs.

Spitting, throwing balls, hitting people with eggs, shouting scum… all of these acts that the media use to evoke hysteria, are – in essence – outlets of working class anger and frustration. This poses the question: can we condemn people for actions like this, when many of them are on the brink of desperation?

Perhaps what those who are quick to judge the desperate actions of protestors should remember is the amount of blood that covers the hands of this Tory government. Let’s remember the stories of those who have suffered directly from the brutal, draconian policies of the state: Mark Wood, a 44 year old man who starved to death four months after his sickness benefits were taken away, weighed just 5st 8lbs when he died. He had been living on £40 a week. Jacqueline Harris, a 53 year old former nurse who had severe difficulty walking, was also found fit for work and subsequently took her own life as a result. Stories like this are far too common: we could go on. The DWP’s own figures show that between December 2011 and February 2014, an average of 90 people per month died within two weeks of having their ESA benefits sanctioned.

If the left starts to condemn people for throwing eggs – what do we then say about those who smashed up Millbank? What about those who occupy city council buildings? Rather than castigate people for their reactions, perhaps we should begin to question why they are attempting to fight back – and look at the conditions that people are forced to endure under the brutality of this regime.

For the record, here’s the dictionary definition of the word “scum” – “…a worthless or contemptible person or group of people”.

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  1. Anne Milligan says:

    Well said, the gap between the elite and the rest of us is growing wider every day and it feels like there’s no way to effectively defend ourselves, our family members , our neighbours against the tory plans to cull the less fortunate of our society. It s not shocking to me that people react like this when these scum politlcians date to get close enough to the people whose lives they are destroying. Imagine the response they’d get if they held their conference in Scotland.

  2. bill fraser says:

    People must have the belief in the power of their convictions and not allow media lies to outweigh them.The Tories must been a bit crazy to think they could hold a party conference in the north of England and not forsee demonstrations against their policies.

  3. Bill Low says:

    I am reminded of the words of Aneurin Bevan, who said that no amount of cajolery could remove the hate that he held in his heart for the Tories, they were lower than vermin. I do not think that this lot are even that good. They have abused the unemployed, the employed, the disabled, children, the NHS and everyone from middle incomes downward – but more significantly have lied, cheated and destroyed the economy and any hope that people have. No wonder there are protests – but the press in this country as ever will report in ways that will destroy any chance that the serfs have of throwing of the shackles and enjoying freedom. Roll on Scottish independence and the creation of a republic where we can all be citizens and equal

    1. dunderheid says:

      Bevan also said in 1937 “If we accept the contention that the common enemy is Hitler and not the British capitalist class, then certainly Churchill is right (to re-arm). But it means abandonment of the class struggle and the subservience of the British workers to their own employers”

      He had changed his mind by 1939 but it just shows the ugly places hate and tribalism can take you…

  4. florian albert says:

    Spitting is an ‘outlet of working class anger and frustration.’

    No. In working class culture, spitting is despised. That is why it causes so much aggro when it happens on the football field.

    1. Reviresco says:

      Vied with Ferenc Bene for centre forward position, did you not?!?

  5. dunderheid says:

    “In all honesty, isn’t it a very sad state of affairs when the only resistance and fightback that many people have is to throw eggs and balls, or occasionally chant scum, at a group of untouchable politicians who live in something of an ivory tower”

    We also have these things called elections in which these apparently unspeakably evil politicians can be resisted and even sacked. In fact we even had one quite recently in which the very same villainous politicians you accuse of everything short of feasting on working class babies, managed to win. So either people on the whole agree with baby eating, which being an optimist about human nature I tend not to believe or maybe just maybe millions of ordinary hard working people looked at the reality of the choices before them and took a decision that on the whole reflected their values and, may god forgive them, their percieved self interest.

    Now you obviously disagree profoundly with that choice but surely you would be better served by tyring to respectfully understand that choice and then marshall arguments against it that appeal beyond your leftwing echo chambers, than to spit and apparently threaten to rape people who represent that choice.

    Finally another commenter imagined, seemingly gleefully, what would happen if the national Conservative conference was held in Scotland. Is that really who we are or who we hope to be…a nation so insecure in our beliefs that we can only react with vitriol and violence to the idea that a party who while admittedly currently unpopular in Scotland, represent beliefs and values shared by millions in UK and worldwide, might want to host a 4 day conference here.

    1. Anne Milligan says:

      The sentiment behind my words is not glee, I do not promote such behaviour, I simply do understand that when the government tramples all over you and you see this happening in your own family, community on a daily basis it does not shock me. Scotland did not vote for this scum government indyref 2 cant come quick enough.

      1. Dunderheid says:

        I’m glad to hear you don’t promote the use of violent intimidation to try and shut down democratic debate, just condone it. Also 15% or 450000 of Scots did vote for this government but I guess they are scum too and don’t deserve their voice to be heard…oh what a self confident, inclusive Scotland you nationalists are selling….

        1. Anne Milligan says:

          Your throwing words around like “violent” and “evil”, I cant think of anything more evil than making a vulnerable human being feel so hopeless and desperate their driven to suicide. IDS, Cameron et al don’t lose any sleep over their actions, I’m sure not going to lose any over the actions of the protesters.

          1. Dunderheid says:

            Given this thread is now a posting board for our personal tragedies let me say that I unfortunately have a very intimate understanding of suicide and trust me it is the act derived ultimately from illness not economic desperation. The self proclaimed triggers can vary but the root cause is always the same.
            However I’m glad the deaths of these ill people allow you prosecute your politics while basking in the righteous glow of moral certainty

        2. Anne Milligan says:

          I was not referring to a personal tragedy but rather those individuals who have been subjected to the immoral practices of atos on behalf of the government. Perhaps you should read the postings properly and keep your own personal tragedies out of it.

        3. They’re not scum, well not all of them anyway, but they don’t have a mandate to run my country

          1. florian albert says:

            Not all of them are ‘scum.’

            That is reassuring.

            Calling people ‘scum’. like spitting, alienates people. It is one of the reasons it is highlighted by unsympathetic media outlets.

            Is there nobody at Bella Caledonia aware of this ?

          2. dunderheid says:

            Wasn’t there a referendum last year that established quite clearly that they do…or at least over the areas not devolved to the Scottish Parliament?

    2. Auldcynic says:

      We do have elections and the Conservaties did WIN, if you class 24% of the electorate or 36% of the vote winning. The electoral system in the UK is broken and won’t be changed any time soon.

      My reading of the article is that the media reports focus on the ‘shock’ of egg throwing, name calling etc – all of which I regard as poor behaviour but recognise people do behave poorly when frustrated, angry etc – rather than on the 100,000 people marching in protest and pushing the Powers that be on their policies and not just accepting sound bite responses.

  6. Anton says:

    “Actors Emma Thompson and Greg Wise took a practical stand against our culture of banker privilege when they refused to pay tax in the wake of the HSBC tax evasion scandal, and the HMRC’s subsequent refusal to carry out a criminal investigation.”

    Yeah, right. Hugely wealthy couple, not to mention the hugely wealthy Russell Brand, refuse to pay tax because (apparently) others are getting away with it. This is rather like Morrisons customers refusing to pay at the checkout because they once saw someone leaving the store without paying. I’m willing to take bets that Messrs Wise, Thompson and Brand will pay up meekly in due course.

    As for the claim that HMRC refused to carry out “a criminal investigation”, well, this is just complete tosh. Apart from anything else, HMRC isn’t part of the justice system, so it can’t carry out “criminal investigations”. All it can actually do is to forward information to the Crown Prosecution Service. Which it did. Anyone interested in the detail can see it here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-by-hmrc-on-tax-evasion-and-the-hsbc-suisse-data-leak

  7. Bill Low says:

    I do not recall that I accused the Tories of eating babies. Nor would I suggest spitting at nor rape as an answer to the problem. As I recall the economic crash was caused by Lehman et al and I do not think that Labour were involved in that organization. In fact the economy by 2010 had been turned around and was growing, thanks to the efforts of the then Labour chancellor. As I recall the Tories supported the spending plans of Labour and agreed to follow them for two years. Subsequently a different narrative has been proposed by Osbourne and co. and it is NOT TRUE!! The economy tanked under austerity – a flawed economic argument – which could have been successful had there been 15% inflation. The press in this country did people no service whatsoever in the run up to the 2010 and the 2015 elections.
    The evidence is there, as I said the Tories lied. I can understand the frustration that people have and also the protests. Of course take away legitimate trade union rights and you end up with the violence. Perhaps ‘dunderheid’ would like to check out the wage rates for hotel staff in New York, working in hotel chains that are also represented in London. The room rates are similar, but the wage rates are not, being nearly double in New York. I wonder how those hotels can make a profit in New York-where they recognise unions- and not in London unless very low wages are paid and union recognition denied. Perhaps that sort of evidence needed to be disseminated before the last election and before Boris’s crocodile tears today

  8. Dunderheid says:

    So if I get you straight violent protests are understandable because:
    A: the general electorate are stupid and believed Tory “lies”
    B: Sommeliers at the Waldorf Astoria are paid more than their counterparts at the Claridges

    Ok!! I’m convinced…sign me up to the struggle Comrade…in fact stuff this namby-pamby stuff…I want to go full Baader Meinhof

  9. Alba Woman says:

    Dunderheid ah yes a very appropriate title. It must be lovely to live in your world apparently protected from the realities of life in the UK.

    My daughter who was an intensive care nurse, picked up a viral infection and was rendered disabled within a few weeks. Tragically,she died. My daughter with the assistance of a benefits advisor, was waiting on the outcome of an appeal on the DWP’s decision to not allow her full sickness benefit.

    This appeal continued following my daughter’s death. The DWP’s letters were slightly tweaked but they still read as if she was still alive. Compassion in UK gone, never to return it seems.

  10. Dunderheid says:

    If you must know I’m currently living in Africa and trust me the realities of life I am exposed to here daily would put many of the issues raised in the initial article into stark context.

    With regards to your personal tragedy, I am not going to respond. Firstly, not because I can’t empathise with the pain and anger of anyone in your position, but because that pain and anger can cloud us from the reality of a situation and the hard choices and decisions that lied behind it. And secondly because I imagine that is what you wanted by sharing this information…to close down the debate by shaming me into silence…if that gives you some comfort then so be it.

  11. kate says:

    Dunderhead you were not silenced, had to have the last word & seem quite shameless.

    The idea that the extreme right values life outside its own supporter base, let alone harm inflicted by eggs, should be rejected . additional to those of the poor, the lives of the left in particular have no value to them. Why apologize to someone who would probably kill you in the blink of an eye if they felt it protected their interests. for example the tories & the international right backed the pinochet military dictatorship’s murder, torture, rape of thousands, the mass killings of franco’s left opposition in spain , supported apartheid, wanted to hang mandela
    & still back murderous, tyrannical & genocidal regimes such as egypt, saudi arabia & israel

    On the other hand the French Terror was an orgy of violent revenge fuelled by centuries of middle & working class hatred of aristocratic privilege. Egg breaking protest comes much earlier in the process.

    later vanguard led left revolutions have also taken many lives to silence dissent within left & from right

    As we aren’t all on the same side there can be consequences for that which far exceed egg breaking, for which the right and the most arrogant and anti democratic of the left is not sorry and will never apologize.
    Empathy, remorse, mercy to those outside their own class or ideological elite are just seen as weaknesses.
    These good qualities shouldn’t be squandered in inappropriate or non reciprocal situations

    1. The reality is that this was a massive and overwhelmingly peaceful protest including a Peoples Assembly using tools for participatory democracy. This was completely re-spun by the media as some kind of imminent threat. Disabled protesters lobbing beach balls …

  12. Bill Low says:

    No ,’dunderheid’, the electorate are not stupid, they have been subjected to intensive propaganda that clouds the vision – in fact denies vision. The staff in hotels of whom I wrote were the lower paid ‘menials’, such as chambermaids, kitchen porters etc. How is it that organisations can make substantial profits in other countries, using a similar cost base, but in Britain the staff costs must be reduced or profits and jobs go? There are many other examples one could use, look for the evidence.

    1. dunderheid says:

      Propaganda that only you and your brethren have the intelligence, wisdom and clarity of vision, to see beyond, while the rest of us soldier on wreathed in befuddlement.

      If you not calling the the general electorate stupid then you are being breathtaking in your arrogance

      1. Bill Low says:

        No ‘dunderheid’, I have no brethren, I am not alone in seeing another vision. Again I suggest that you look at the evidence. The British press are reluctant to publish same. The Mail and the Express and the Sun prefer sensational headlines that appeal to jingoism, and in many ways the lowest common denominator. It is easy to inflame passion with the slogans but a reflective approach takes time and consideration. The Tories have manipulated the narrative, look again at the serious economic arguments. Democracy is not just going with the majority, it is living with the consequences and for many in Britain today those consequences are serious and even fatal.
        Why were the DWP reluctant to publish the figures that show the number of people who have died since their benefits were cut? The market is not necessarily the best model. Well not in terms of healthcare, utilities, transport and other aspects of infrastructure. We shall no doubt see in the fulness of time. I feel that protest will grow as people realise that what they voted for is not what they got.

  13. Brian Fleming says:

    I’m sorry if this is a bit ‘violent’ or ‘extreme’, but Dunderheid seems rather an appropriate moniker.

    1. dunderheid says:

      As is yours…boring, instantly forgettable and lacking in any wit or imagination

      1. Brian Fleming says:

        🙂

  14. arthur thomson says:

    Thousands of people take to the streets of Manchester and demonstrate peacefully against a borderline fascist government. The net result is that the media have a field day scaring the general public and perverting what I believe to be the pursuit of natural justice.

    Simultaneously there is a clearly orchestrated media smear campaign against the SNP – hypocritically supported by Labour in collusion with the other unionist parties because it serves their purpose.

  15. Craig says:

    Scotland has not voted Tory since the 1950’s. The vote last year was not about The Tories. They have no mandate to run our country and our country is Scotland. Remember that.

    1. dunderheid says:

      No last years vote was not about just the Tories…it was about whether we wanted to be independent or not and therefore whether we might be willing to accept our democratic mandate being included in and possibly outnumbered by that given by the English, Welsh and Northern Irish (at least in areas not devolved to the Scottish Parliament)…and you lost.

      If you had won last year would you have accepted as reasonable that because Shetland and Orkney or even Dumfries voted 67% against, a refusal to accept the result and a declaration that they remain part of the UK?

  16. Crossest Man In Scotland says:

    Why is it that a vociferous minority rant and rave about “austerity” and the wickedness of the UK government yet you never seem to hear about anyone emigrating to live in “progressive” countries such as Greece or Venezuela ?

    Why are so many immigrants attempting to enter the UK if it as terrible a place as depicted by Bella Caledonia ?

    1. Joe Killman says:

      Possibly because they don’t get bombed out of their homes here. Many of them also seem to get better benefits than our own population. By the way, most of the refugees head for other European countries.

  17. Anne Milligan says:

    That’s a nonsensical argument, there are terrible things happening in a lot of countries, I can only guess that when your home is bombed and people are dying around you, risking everything to come to any western country is the last resort to having a future. Meanwhile countries like Greece and Vevezuela are also seeing a rise in the “vociferous minority” fighting for social justice. As for these people who aren’t queuing up to emigrate, maybe they’re prefer to stay and try to make their country a better place to live for all its citizens – or maybe when your low waged/ low income your struggling to afford the bus to work nevermind a new life abroad.

    1. dunderheid says:

      Those people fleeing their countries still choose to come here…in most cases they travel overland through most of europe to get here…hence the queue of people at Calais. Therefore they are making an active choice not to stay in many western european countries before they get here. Why? Because they realise the UK economy gives them the best chance of finding work and our generous welfare system will protect them and their families if they don’t immediately. And before you start hurling knee-jerk UKIP accusations I want to stress that is absolutely fine. I am in fact very pro-immigration – as a free-marketeer the free movement of labour from areas of low demand to high demand is natural and essential

  18. Anne Milligan says:

    By “here” do you mean Africa?
    I’m not really inclined towards knee-jerk reactions about ukip whenever immigration is mentioned.
    The welfare state has a cruel and powerful master who use underhand tactics to sanction jobseekers leaving them without money for months. They take away money from people who are not fit for work through disability/ill health. They cut the tax credit from low income families. Food banks and charities are in ever greater demand.
    As for immigration, Scotland has open arms, while Westminster drags its feet, spitting out more and more ways to make them as unwelcome as the can.
    Ukok – nah.

    1. Anton says:

      You say that “as for immigration, Scotland has open arms”. Certainly the Scottish Government has no control over UK immigration in general, but there’s lots it could do to ameliorate the plight of the existing flow of immigrants, perhaps by way of offering free accommodation, initial living expenses, and so on.

      What specific measures taken by the Scottish Government do you have in mind?

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