#ClimateCamp earnest hilarity

You’d expect the New Stateman’s scribblers to be at least somewhat sympathetic towards the monkeys at the ClimateCamp in Edinburgh, but I don’t get much sense of that from the picture painted by Laurie Penny for the Staggers blog.

image

Why does the revolution have to involve so much crap? I’m talking literally. When I arrive at Climate Camp after a six-hour journey by train, bus and a half-hour cross-country hike to the Edinburgh parkland headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland, I plonk down my bags and ask if I might use the facilities. A helpful young man with a nice little beard brightly inquires – "Wee or poo?"

This is a question that hasn’t been put to me since I was in nappies, but it’s apparently important – in an effort to leave no trace of their presence on the land, the seven hundred climate activists gathered here for a week of direct action donate their separated excreta to local farmers. What this means in practical terms is a horrifying squat above a gusty, splintered wooden plank, trying hard to hold your breath whilst concentrating on the anti-capitalist slogans daubed on the inside of the door. Clearly, this weekend is going to test our dedication to the limits.

Dedication is the watchword here. By the time I arrive, several activists have already been arrested for breaking into RBS and loudly declaring their refusal to "pay for their crisis", with one having disguised herself as a banker and superglued herself to the front desk. On Friday, the atmosphere at camp is somewhere between a music festival and a military base. The park is full of unwashed students ambling out of tents, but painted signs make it witheringly clear that we are here to work, to exchange ideas and to entirely close down RBS’s base of operations on Monday via a series of democratically organised protest stunts whilst re-examining the links between our financial institutions and climate change: any fun that might occur is entirely incidental to the process.

Read on.

And consider that RBS has a vast selection of large offices across Edinburgh from which to conduct its business while the soap-dodging Borg collective are flinging their shit at the Gogarburn HQ.

Idiots.

AJ

Education, Emasculation, Elimination

Even as someone who didn’t go to a private school, I find this outrageous.

image

Yeah – so far so meh. Read on.

Two out of three top independent schools approached by The Daily Telegraph said teenagers were finding it harder to get into higher education this year compared with 12 months ago.

In some cases, pupils predicted to get three A*s at A-level – along with a string of perfect GCSE results – are being turned down from all five of their choices.

This would have been unheard of back when I was in the University system. The point about the value of all these A* A Levels is striking though. I mean, if you can get top marks across a dozen or more exams, but remain undistinguished, what’s the sodding point?

Entry to Oxbridge is especially hard this year, heads claim. Some schools reported a drop of around three-quarters in the number of students with offers from Oxford and Cambridge.

Heads said the squeeze was being exacerbated by the Government’s “widening participation” policy. It encourages universities to give lower grade offers to bright pupils from poor schools showing the most potential.

This is a classic expression of Labour’s chippy ‘tall poppy’ approach to equality. Providing opportunity for the (meritocratically) less deserving not by making additional opportunitites available, but by directly removing opportunities from those best placed to make the most of them – for themselves, for the economy and for society.

And why? Well for all the talk of equality and social mobility, it’s hard not to believe that Harman, Brown, Prescott et al relish opportunities to spank those of any perceived privilege. The on-going class warfare politics of Labour make it all too plain.

Fucking get them out and keep them out.

AJ

Perfect Labour Material…

In the confected pre-election class war we’re entering into, Sally Bercow (Illman), the wife of Speaker John Bercow is a glistening beacon of Labour propaganda.

This political serpent with mammaries, first came onto my radar when CF relayed news of the hot water of her nebulously crafted CV had got her into.

image

The wife of Commons Speaker John Bercow was sacked from a leading City firm after it claimed she had lied about having a degree from Oxford University.

Sally Bercow was dismissed by public relations business Consolidated Communications after it contacted the Oxford authorities and discovered they had not granted her a degree.

The company accused her of having lied on her CV. It also claimed that Mrs Bercow – who at the time was known by her maiden name, Sally Illman – had used ‘multiple CVs’ with different ‘facts’ about her past on each one.

Via various twatterings, I know she she’s given an interview to the Evening StanLaurel, which contains some quite revolting quotes.

While I am not going to cast judgement on her lush cavorting past (glass houses etc), I do think that since she seeks public office, what she thinks now and how her personality influence her politics are important.

Just one line in the part of the interview that deals with her past stands out for me as worth reposting:

A boyfriend warned her that she was behaving badly while drunk. "I said he was being sexist and misogynist. My response was to attack him rather than think about the truth."

Okay.. one more. Think ‘Zeal of the Convert’, and what that likely entails in her future proclamations on the eeeevils of booze.

She stopped drinking abruptly in October 2000, "because it wasn’t fun any more. I went to AA for a couple of meetings. It was very helpful at first. But I thought I could give it up myself: and I did. Never touched a drop since".

So why also the fuss over this flibbertigibbet?

Now she’s trying to become a Labour councillor in a Pimlico ward that is solid Tory and has her eyes on a Parliamentary seat at the next election.

Right, so…

He’s still very Eurosceptic, I’m pro-European.

"I’m really keen on Harriet Harman and her equality agenda – she’s done such a lot to advance the cause of women and I completely agree on her all-women shortlists: they transformed the Labour Party.

"I don’t even want to send the children to the grammars in John’s constituency. I’m strongly against selection, because it entrenches privilege."

And in spite of her having, on account of an inheritance, attended Marlborough College and Oxford:

"Deep down, I do think the Tory party is for the privileged few and what it stands for isn’t in the interests of most ordinary people."

In remarks that will grate with the Tory leadership, she says she doubts his commitment to the public services. "They’re not really interested in opportunity for all. He has his children at state school now but let’s see what happens at secondary level. There’s not a real commitment to the state sector among the Tories. The vast majority of the shadow cabinet send their children privately."

And plenty of the cabinet too, dear, like your esteemed Hattie…

In 1996, Harman sent her younger son, Joseph, to the non-Catholic St Olave’s Grammar School, Orpington, after she had sent her eldest son, Harry, to a Catholic grant-maintained school the London Oratory School, on the grounds that her family were Catholic. This appeared to go against the spirit of the pledge by David Blunkett not to increase selective education. Harman said of her choice: "This is a state school that other children in my son’s class will be going to. That he has got in has got absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I am an MP. Any child in Southwark can apply, many go and admission is open to every child in Southwark irrespective of money or who their parents are.".[32]

There’s sure to be amusement ahead, as it becomes clear that:

In this class war, Labour are on the side of those with none.

On a more superficial note, Conservative media handlers will be on high alert to make sure she doesn’t get on the same platform as poor old Nadine Dorries:

image
Sally Shagger

 image 
Nadine rushed from the chamber shouting
“I’ve gotta fly – Bingo starts at 3.”

Know what I mean?

AJ

UPDATE: No sooner have I clicked Publish than a new update comes via @sscrltt on twatter.

Mad Nad is already there with her claws. Protesteth too much? Lol…

Nadine Dorries, a Tory MP who opposed Mr Bercow’s selection as Speaker, said: “We desperately need to restore both authority and respect to Parliament. What this interview has done is remove any painstaking progress Parliament has made and reduced the Speaker and his office to that of a laughing stock. How can we ask the people to trust us, when the man who holds us to account has such poor judgment that he allowed his wife to give such an appalling self obsessed interview?”

Self obsessed? Ha! Politician, vote for thyself.