Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Man Opposes Government Action, Eats Lunch

The second largest protest ever to hit the streets of London took place last Saturday. Around half a million people opposed to the government's planned assault on benefits and public sector jobs made their feelings known. The Daily Fail of course has the behind-the-scenes scoop. Cos y'know the infront-of-the-scenes scoop - the half a million people against the cuts - wouldn't be interesting enough would it? So lets have ourselves a little line-by-line shall we...

Riots? What riots? I mean I know there was some spray painting but I'm not sure I'd call it a riot.

"To the descendant of a baronet, who grew up in a castle, the splendour of Fortnum & Mason must have seemed like a home from home."

No-one's home looks like Fortnum and Mason's. If it does, you've ordered too many jars of marinated olives.

"But unfortunately for Adam Ramsay, the police did not see it that way and arrested him for aggravated trespass and criminal damage."

Yes and a video on the Guardian website clearly shows that was a terrible miscarriage of justice. The sort of thing any self-respecting newspaper would cover.

"Yesterday, the young aristocrat was ruminating on his night in a police cell alongside other protesters who had stormed the luxury Piccadilly grocer."

Based on what I've seen he would have been ruminating on the unreasonable police behaviour.

"However, unlike most of his fellow activists campaigning against the cuts to public services, Ramsay, 25, hails from a remarkably privileged background."

Is this the Daily Mail asking me to hate the rich? I mean we can talk but I'm just checking this is your new editorial policy. You might want to mention it to Melanie Phillips and Dick Littlejohn.

"He comes from a long line of Ramsay baronets starting in 1666 and ending with the 12th baronet who died in 1986."

Confusingly if the 12th baronet died and there wasn't another one, that would seem to imply that line has run out of descendants. But does this affect his opinions about the government? If not it seems oddly irrelevant.

"The family seat is Bamff House – described by them as a ‘small castle’ – set in a stunning 1,300-acre estate in East Perthshire, Scotland."

So I've got a great game you can play with all your family. Imagine you're a penniless working class riot-loving protestor furious at the way the rich are ripping you off. Now, look at these two "castles" and decide which one you should trust the owner of:

Well castle (a) is owned by some member of Adam Ramsay's family, allegedly. And castle (b) is owned by Viscount Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail. Seriously the alleged Ramsay "castle" would make a really disappointing National Trust day out.

"The magnificent pile boasts more than 15 rooms and an ancient tower, with views stretching over hills, fields and woods that have been owned by the Ramsay family since 1232."

Yes, they're talking about castle (a), and yes they use exactly that same photo, and yes they haven't put any quote marks round the word "magnificent". And the extravagance of fifteen rooms rather depends how many people are there.

"Wild boars roam the estate and, in the pheasant season, the Ramsays offer guests the chance to go shooting."

They have guests? So some of the 15 rooms are rented out to guests? How do they find room for the stable-master and all the scullery maids?

"But despite their aristocratic lineage, they may have more reason than some to oppose government cuts – for they recently received a £40,000 gift from the taxpayer to fund a new boiler at the castle."

Meanwhile Viscount Rothermere despite living at the actual castle, is registered as non-domiciled in the UK for tax purposes. But lets hear more about an overpriced boiler shall we?

"Yesterday, Ramsay came under fire from other activists who mocked him over the grant, which was paid by an arm of the Scottish government."

I can find no evidence of this. Not a scratch. Most people were sending him messages of support and concern about his treatment by the police.

"He responded on social networking website Twitter, claiming the public money had been a ‘renewable energy grant for the farm’."

No he didn't - really I've been through every post he made on Twitter yesterday and he didn't say any such thing. He says the Daily Mail have been round his parent's house and openly admits he is a bit posh.

"Ramsay – whose family motto is ‘Ora et Labora’, which means ‘Pray and Work’ – also wrote a long internet post describing how he was arrested following the occupation of Fortnum & Mason."

Dang! My best latin translation was "ears and labia"... How does this affect my opinion of him? Does his coat of arms include an image of a guy with a megaphone shouting "David Cameron's a fucking idiot"? Perhaps one day it will...

"Ramsay spent the night in a cell at Ilford police station before being charged the next morning with aggravated trespass. He said the criminal damage allegation was dropped."

So he WAS charged but he only SAID the criminal damage allegation was dropped. Shame we can't ring the police station and check. But hey, we're not a national newspaper or anything.

"Since leaving Edinburgh University, he has worked for a student campaigning network called People & Planet, based in Oxford, as its activism, volunteering and events manager."

Is this a typo? Did you mean horsed about in a Barbour jacket taking pot shots at clay pigeons?

"Last night, several messages were posted under Ramsay’s blog by readers mocking his background."

Yes I think the Daily Mail should be reporting on comments made under a blog post. And if you can't find any, why not add some comments yourself?

"One of them pretended to be his mother, writing: ‘Adam darling, We’ve got no caviar left and the staff have taken the day orf... please be a dear and pick some beluga up when you and your Uni chums pop into Fortnums... Mwah, mwah, Mumsy.’"

Wow, thanks Daily Mail. Let me be the first to break the latest news: someone else has added "I’m not clever enough to discus politics here, so il just call you a moron and hope you suffer instead Moron!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!!". Why has this not been reported by the BBC?!

"Ramsay was released on police bail and is due to face Westminster magistrates in May."

Yeah due to face magistrates charged with "aggravated trespass" for sitting on the floor of a public shop and not causing any damage. Perhaps they'll find him a cell next to Ronnie and Reggie? I suspect more than £40,000 of taxpayers money is now being wasted attempting to prosecute a man for singing in a tea shop.

"Responding to a request for comment, last night he sent the Mail a message saying: ‘I think people with all kinds of backgrounds are starting to see that these cuts threaten to undermine our economy and ruin people’s lives.’"

Exactly. And your response to that is? No, no, don't strain yourself. Just change the subject, no-one will notice!

"Meanwhile, it emerged last night that the founder of UK Uncut – the protest group that arranged the invasion of Fortnum & Mason – makes taxpayer-funded films for the BBC."

Yes everyone who works for the BBC is taxpayer-funded. I did a BBC Radio Five Live interview this evening about whether men should pay for dinner on a first date. This was taxpayer-funded. Since your chairman doesn't pay any tax, I, who do pay tax, will be the authority on how to spend it, thanks.

"Thom Costello, a 22-year-old Oxford graduate, works as an assistant producer for CTVC, a television production company that has worked for the BBC’s One Show and Newsnight."

So he works FOR a company that has worked FOR the BBC. Are you trying to smear his character cos you're really not doing all that well here? You should probably go on about the other guy and the fancy Bed and Breakfast his parents run. Knock yourselves out - see if you can interview a labrador.

"Yesterday Mr Costello said: ‘I was not involved in organising the occupation of Fortnum & Mason’s and I was neither inside nor outside Fortnum & Mason on Saturday."

On other pages: Geri Haliwell also not at protest! This is looking like a quiet news day.

"‘In fact, I was in a pub having a drink with a friend whilst the sit-in at the shop took place.’"

Man not at protest, it's a great story, lets run with it, look for an interview... Hang on, stop press, stop press, I think we've got one...

"His father Martin, 53, who runs a theatre in Catford, South London, said: ‘He would not organise anything like that."

Breaking news: man's father corroborates "not at protest" story.

"‘To say he is the mastermind is inaccurate. It’s ridiculous.’"

Is there any chance we can ask Martin to take a few minutes a week off from running his Catford theatre and get him to edit the Daily Mail, cos I think he'd have had the sense to scratch this one before it got this out of hand...?

Because the whole piece is just stupid. If the rich cannot speak up for the poor, the able-bodied for the disabled, if white people in power cannot speak up for black people denied it, men speak up for women's rights or straight people speak up for marginalised gay communities, then where the hell are we? The people who will be worst affected by the cuts Cameron and Osborne are planning were not in Fortnum and Masons on Saturday, and not on the streets protesting, they were stuck working overtime in dead end jobs, trapped in their homes by disability, financial deprivation and responsibility for the care of those the Big Society has long since left behind. We need every body we can get behind this movement, latin family motto or not.


Unknown said...

Spot on!

Unknown said...

You won't be getting me behind your 'movement' that's for sure. This article reads like poet having an epilectic fit. Typical uber-liberal, fantasy-world nonsense. No acknowledgement of the grave economic situation we are in whatseoever. Ridiculous.

Unknown said...

Oh, and no doubt my comment won't be appearing...

Cruella said...

Oddly Zoe you seem to have completely missed the point of UK Uncut. The point of UK Uncut is to highlight big businesses who are avoiding paying tax and pressure them to start paying their share. Now if you want to talk about our "grave economic situation" I could make the point that our current debt level is very low relative to where it was after world war two for example. I could also make the point that by taking money away from the poorest in our society and giving it to the richest (e.g. by cutting housing and disability benefit and bailing out the banks...) we further slow the economy. To put it simply - the rich can afford to save, the poor need to spend now.

Unknown said...

Lol lol lol.

I think you could so an entire blog sending up the daily Fail.

Do you think they will report this comment in the newspaper tomorrow?

Kirst said...

I think my favourite bit is that the castle has "more than 15 rooms." 16? 17? 1549?

Unknown said...

I think it is a sad oversight by Cruella not to mention of the grave economic situation as Zoe says. So I will: the grave economic situation was caused by the greed and risky behaviour of bankers. These same bankers are doing it again. Again they will hold the country to ransom. So what will we do Zoe? Bet this comment doesn't get printed in the Daily Mail.