Tory MP defends UKuncut demos on BBC

9:40 am - December 15th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    

      Share on Tumblr

The Conservative MP Patrick Mercer robustly defends peaceful protests last night on Newsnight, while next to Daniel Garvin from UKuncut.

Good to see some Tories still standing up for liberal values. Good performance by both.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  

About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by

Story Filed Under: News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Reader comments

Wow t’is a Tory shock indeed. I guess because it isn’t about the Market or money, no Tory commenters are well, commenting!

I didn’t see it (completely put off by the fact that fat hypocrite Michael Moore was on), but, well, good.

Does anyone not support the right to “peaceful” protest?

The devil of course is in the detail!!

“Wow t’is a Tory shock indeed”


NB the apostrophe should be before the t, ie ’tis , replacing the missing i.


What would you like ‘Tory’ commentators to say (or even libertarian-whig-whatever the hell I feel like today-liberals like me)?

What Mr Mercer said is 100% accurate – peaceful protest is fine. You will note that few if any commentators have for examples suggested that students should not be allowed to protest. The problem is with rioting, violence and the like, which is not peaceful protest.

This is really a non-story – democraticly elected representative supports democratic right to protest in democratic society. Well, duh!

@ Watchman: I’m not sure its a ‘non-story’. It would have been very easy for a Conservative MP to come on and say ‘Look, this is getting out of hand, something must be done, etc. etc.’ I suspect that’s what most viewers expected (well, I did).

That Patrick Mercer didn’t follow this predictable script is to his credit.

That’s Patrick Mercer the racist remember.


I suppose a have an optimistic view of people, so kind of regard doing the right thing as a given. I suppose it would be easy to be populist, but he may then have to spend a lot of time explaining himself to whips, ministers, local party, constituents and the like.

I would only really see this as a story if there was any evidence at all that the Conservatives oppossed the right to protest peacefully.

I didn’t see it (completely put off by the fact that fat hypocrite Michael Moore was on), but, well, good.

What is it with you people and Moore’s waistline? You all seem to have spent more time reflecting on his girth that most virile men or women have spent pondering on, say, Marilyn Monroe’s curves or James Dean’s cheekbones.

Mercer’s still a cunt

10. Chaise Guevara

@ 4 Watchman

“You will note that few if any commentators have for examples suggested that students should not be allowed to protest.”

Not directly, no. But there has been an attitude from some quarters that if peaceful protesters get hurt or kettled by police, that’s their problem because they knew the risks (the “he shoudnt of bin standin there” defence).

There is a difference between banning peaceful protesters and just turning a blind eye when their rights are infringed, but it’s not a huge one. Same goes the other way for people who think violence against the cops is somehow acceptable.

i’ve come across something thats mighty curious i call it ‘get them whilst their young’ its taking the piss to me.
it involves a company called Deloitte who ‘advises’ companies like vodafone etc on how to fiddle their tax…ie avoid paying it…
they are accountants…quite big too..they get mentioned in private eye a lot.

well hows this this then? they have a recruitment drive recruiting would you believe
SCHOOL LEAVERS! on the basis that all this university tuition fee hike might put off school leavers going to university..
can you imagine the irony of all this..
a company training kids into becoming tax avoidance advisers?
since its down to the tax fiddlers in part not paying their fair shares which is why the tuition fee hike is ‘needed’ (bollox)

ok heres some quotes from deloittes own uk site about careers..

” Deloitte, the leading business advisory firm, is stepping up its support for school leavers with the creation of 100 A Level entry roles, in recognition that a university education may no longer necessarily be the most attractive option for many of the UK’s brightest students.

John Kerr, managing partner for talent at Deloitte, commented: “We are launching Bright Start, an A Level entry scheme, to open up a route for 100 high achieving school leavers to join our firm in September 2011. We want to offer an alternative career path to bright students for whom university may not be the desired choice or an available option. We will provide the opportunity to embark on a career with exceptional prospects and to gain a full professional business qualification.

“The consequences of the recent Browne and Milburn reports aren’t yet fully understood, but two things are clear to us. Firstly, the UK needs to open up access to the professions to a much wider group of people and, secondly, the prospect of increasing tuition fees may make some very bright people think twice about going to university. Talent is the lifeblood of a business like ours and it is crucial that we do all we can to ensure that talented young people with the ability to succeed can find their way into Deloitte, whatever their background.”

doncha just luv it?

ok heres the link to their site with that crap on:


Accountancy is a well-paid, white collar professions that isn’t exclusively for graduates – and it never has been. Plenty of major firms have always taken school leavers. Deloitte are playing catch up if they’re only just starting. I’m afraid I can’t bring myself to see any of this as a bad thing.

@12 deloitte are pretty hi profile of late they ‘advised’ vodafone on how to avoid tax and also of late been brought in by tory ministers regarding inland revenue deal with vodafone tax fiddle…. and you cant see a problem with it?

” in a bizarre change of British tax law, the offshore millions of multinational corporate tax avoiders are to be taxed at less than half the rate paid by those little people who earn £7,500 a year. Treasury minister David Gauke set out his vision of low-tax corporate Britain last week.

The ex-City lawyer was addressing appreciative suits at tax avoidance advisers Deloitte. First he boasted of already having cut company tax rates to “the lowest rate of any major western country”. Then he revealed there would be yet more reliefs and concessions.

A few days later he produced his “corporate tax roadmap”, agreed with the Treasury’s “business forum on tax and competitiveness group” which comprises finance directors from the very companies that will benefit most from the changes, including Shell, Diageo, Glaxosmithkline and, er, Vodafone (Eyes passim).

Gauke was keenest to advertise a tax break for income from patents, which coincided neatly with the choreographed announcement of an investment by GlaxoSmithkline. It was quickly dismissed, however, by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which found that the tax break “will lead to a large reduction in tax receipts… and it is far from clear that any additional research resulting from the policy will take place in the UK.”

Oh cjcj fiddle sticks like the Tories would say!

Watchman, it is a shock. Tories LOATHE any kind of protests-civil disobedience!-of any kind.

When the Tamil people were protestng in Parliamnet sq v, v peacelfully, you should’ve heard the stuff coming out of the Tory MP’s mouths at the start of PMQ before the PM came. One back bencher actually said to hose them down!

here’s Deloitte being mentioned a parliament’s public accounts committee

“If HM Revenue & Customs chief executive Dame Lesley Strathie is to be believed, Vodafone’s sweetheart tax deal (see Eyes 1270 and 1275) relieving it of several billion pounds of potential liability, was all above board: “I am satisfied as the accounting officer that the proper process took place here.”

So she said to parliament’s public accounts committee last week in what, for a Sir Humphrey-grade mandarin, is a neck-on-the-line statement. When Tory MP Richard Bacon pressed her on specifics, however, she affected to know nothing, prompting the obvious question – which alas nobody asked – of how she had satisfied herself the deal cut the mustard.

Questioned on the way HMRC tax boss Dave Hartnett had brought in his favourite tax consultant, David Cruickshank from Deloitte, to advise Vodafone, Strathie replied: “I don’t know that he was brought in”. This was either a fib or an admission that she has not actually looked into the deal with which she professes satisfaction. It was, she blustered, “absolutely wrong to suggest the permanent secretary for tax did some deal in private” (er, which is precisely what happened), before stonewalling awkward questions on the detail in order to protect “taxpayer confidentiality”.

still no problem with it?


Watchman, it is a shock. Tories LOATHE any kind of protests-civil disobedience!-of any kind.

Oh yes, I remember the Conservatives condemning the Countryside Alliance protests loudly. How could I forget?

You sometimes seem to live in a paralell universe where left=good (how do you explain Phil Woolas?) and right=bad (remind me, on which wing did the MP who stepped down over detention without trial sit?). Unfortunately, the world is more complex that that. I am right wing, but I value equality and fairness of opportuntiy far more than the right to make profits. And many big corporations openly supported the Labour party – which suggests their (benign) desire to crush individual freedoms (I don’t trust corporations) were perhaps better suited by left than right?


You’re confusing two things. Do I have a problem with tax avoidance, and firms who practise it? Of course. Do I have a problem with professions that take school leavers as well as graduates and allow the former to do potentially as well or better than the latter? Well, no, of course not.

The solution to tax avoidance is to change the law so that Deloitte and others can’t do it. Not slate them for, er, employing people. How does that make any sense, especially in the current climate? The opportunities accountancy offers to non-graduate background kids are one of its few redeeming features.

i think my problem is this..this recruitment is mentioned on the back of recent tuition fee its like saying its using the tuition fee hike as a means to recruit young kids…and the irony of all that…


I certainly agree they’re targeting them pretty cleverly. And it’s a bit of a shock, perhaps, after so many years of being told that university is the only way forward for bright kids. But if we’re moving towards a situation where there are more options than the automatic “get a degree” I think that has to be a good thing.

Also, I guess I’m coming at this as someone who did leave tax accountancy (not Deloitte!) – partly due to exactly the reservations you cite about how the tax system operates. But then I can afford those sorts of morals – it’s all very well for the likes of me to flounce off and get another graduate-level job somewhere else. If you’re not a graduate, and you’re bright and want to get on, it’s good work, moderately interesting, high status and well-paid, so I’m reluctant to judge people for wanting to do it.

to me its shameless profiteering to use the tuition fee hike as recruitment drive…a bit like saying the problems with NHS are good for private healthbusiness ie scupper the public service to make it almost unworkable then use the old excuse that privatisation is the answer…the ‘saviour’ the tories tried that old tosh before with thatcher regime…pnot only that do they pay theses kids much?

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Tory MP defends protests; UKuncut interviewed

  2. ABC

    RT @libcon: Tory MP defends protests; UKuncut interviewed

  3. safefromwolves

    RT @libcon Tory MP defends protests & @UKuncut interviewed #ukuncut #demo2010 #solidarity -> @falseecon

  4. ABC

    RT @tamsinchan: RT @libcon Tory MP defends protests & @UKuncut interviewed #ukuncut #demo2010 #solidarity -> @fa …

  5. cheesley

    RT @libcon: Tory MP defends protests; UKuncut interviewed

  6. sasastro

    Tory MP defends UKuncut protests on Newsnight | Liberal Conspiracy via @libcon

  7. Hammy Cammy

    RT @libcon: Tory MP defends protests; UKuncut interviewed

  8. Dirk vom Lehn

    RT @libcon: Tory MP defends protests; UKuncut interviewed

  9. Trakgalvis

    Tory MP defends UKuncut demos on Newsnight

  10. wolflady

    RT @trakgalvis: Tory MP defends UKuncut demos on Newsnight

  11. Bored London Gurl

    RT @libcon: Tory MP defends protests; UKuncut interviewed

  12. Andrew Ducker

    Tory MP defends protests

  13. Desmond Spice

    Tory MP defends UKuncut demos on BBC | Liberal Conspiracy via @libcon

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.