QC who called UKuncut-ers ‘scum’ for gatecrashing party


5:46 pm - September 25th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Last week, a group of activists affiliated with UKuncut (update: calling themselves ‘The Intruders’) made a friendly appearance at a speech from the retired HMRC boss Dave Hartnett at a conference.

They were there to offer their thanks for saving big companies billions of pounds through tax avoidance schemes.

Hartnett was not pleased. But what’s more interesting is the aggressive response by one of the fellow guests.

He is shown in the video saying: “these people are trespasser and intruders”, and “… you will depart immediately before we set the dogs on you”.

He later adds, “you are trespassing scum,” before one of his colleagues stops him by name. So who is this guy?

That aside, the UKuncut action is brilliant. Not only highly innovative and peaceful, but subtly keeps up the pressure on the HMRC.

The new head of the HMRC now knows she too will be targeted with such stunts if she continues in her predecessor’s manner. The UKuncut stunt was covered in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Financial Times and other outlets.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


the 99% always makes me chuckle. For them to say they are the same as a kid dying of starvation and aids in a war torn african country is arrogance beyond belief.

2. Siôn Eurfyl Jones

dave – show me, anywhere, where anyone has ever said that?

@dave – riiight. Can you cite any example of them saying that? I wasn’t happy the time a bike clipped my arm, but that doesn’t mean I thought I was in the same position as someone who’d been run over by a 4×4.

(Rereading my own poorly-phrased metaphor I feel the need to clarify: saying “This situation isn’t great” isn’t saying “This situation is exactly the same as the worst situation ever”. bike = 99%; 4×4 = starving in Africa.)

Sunny – it was actually done under the name of ‘The Intruders’, not UK Uncut.

twitter.com/IntrudersAction
facebook.com/WeAreTheIntruders

While I don’t have much time for ”toffs”, I really don’t like this kind of activism.
In twenty years time, when these student activists are all comfortable middle class professionals, they will talk fondly of taking part in stunts like these at dinner parties.

Probably just like Otis Ferry wiil forever glow in the memory of his infamous intrusion at the House of Commons.

It’s just my opinion btw, that’s all.

7. the a&e charge nurse

[6] OK, you don’t like the messengers, but what about the message?

How odd* for an HMRC guy to be friends with a leading proponent of offshore tax avoidance *(odd only if the entire system had not been regulatory captured by elite tax cheats).
I expect Richard Murphy of Tax Research knows about Venables.

@6. I don’t really care for the message either. (What was it again?) I know it’s the kind of things that could attract new students at uni for the first time. It looks like fun. I was walking around Leeds university campus just last night getting to know the area, and this kind of thing might be popular.
Like are nights out at the pub drinking and taking part in student pub quizzes etc.

But as politics, it really lacks something IMO.
What I have learned though, is that LC is not the site to raise any criticism of such movements. Even if it was done trying to be constructive.
These stunt/actions are (it seems) to be seen as positive no matter how silly they can end up being.

10. the a&e charge nurse

[9] ‘I don’t really care for the message either. (What was it again?) – I took it to mean the stench of greed can sometimes envelope those complicit with encouraging it?

@8

Murphy? well he knows about tax avoidance as he advised on it when he was an accountant.

See here http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2003/feb/16/tax.observercashsection

Also, he ran a business offshore (in Eire).

@2, @3 Sorry i thought the world was seperated into the 99% and the 1%. forgive me if i misunderstood the message. Seems confusing, how do i find out what percent I am? If Im a 56% can i then crash next doors party because they are 57%

@12 The 99% is mainly a USA reference, in that a significantly disproportionate amount of that nations wealth is concentrated in the hands of 1% of the nation. Something around the 40-50 percentile mark.

Well the guy is right. UKUncut and their kind are scum. They are worthless because they never do anything worthwhile except shouty stuff complaining about life not being fair.

Well grow up. Life is not fair. Some are lucky some aren’t. Some throw their luck away, others take advantage of it. Yet others work hard and just survive whilst someone else works hard and makes a lot of money. Everyone is different.

@11 so does something become ok when a person who now criticises it once advised it? And he has talked about this so it’s really an hoary old piece of nonsense.

Anything that reduces a QC to using such powerful rhetoric as “you are scum”, and threatens violence wins my vote.

Better still was the way some of the audience gave a round of applause – just shows how the herd mentality operates amongst the nation’s “wealth creators”.

No doubt Venables thinks the action is just the politics of envy. When in fact it is anger at the Kleptocrats.

One of the best vids so far. Tell it how it is to the old farts.

Lol , right wingers: These protesters are generally bad, i don’t like them. I pretend to not know what they are protesting about, and I will not give any specific reason other than appearance or personal style for my animosity towards them.

Lets get this straight, wealthy right wingers who are maybe 5% of the Tory party, don’t like these protests because they see them as a threat to their ability to avoid Tax.

Pay your tax you greedy sods, be patriotic. If you don’t like the UK then shove off, we won’t miss you.

Great video!

19. Raymond Terrific

I agree wholeheartedly with the message of the protesters while at the same time finding those protesters slightly annoying. But then I knew the issues already – it’s been on mainstream TV, mainstream radio news and many media outlets where many more people will have been exposed to the message. I’m more jaded and more cynical these days and might even hint at it being self-promotion by people who want a future in the left, but yeah, they seem to be essentially good people saying the right thing, but shouting about it to those who largely already know.

Back in 1984,the middle class were in that % we railed against…

20. Chaise Guevara

@ 12

“Sorry i thought the world was seperated into the 99% and the 1%. forgive me if i misunderstood the message.”

Dave makes silly accusation. Dave is asked to cite said accusation. Dave cannot do this. Dave goes off into a non-sequitur based on a “hilarious” misunderstanding of a term.

This is what is known as “stream-of-consciousness trolling”.

@13 still seems daft to me. With all the poverty in the world some rich people are complaining because some richer people won’t share their football. A better message would have been to cancel the tuxedo hire and donate some money.

Then again Ive done neither so a bit hypocritical of me to complain

22. James from Durham

Max
Of course he ran a business in Ireland. He’s Irish. Get a grip, man!

@20 – I wasn’t trolling, (well I suppose by LC’s definition i was) That was my understanding of the term. It seems reasonable to me to assume that if there are 1%s and 99% then the world is split into two groups.

I’m sorry if Ive upset you

24. Chaise Guevara

@ 23 Dave

“I wasn’t trolling, (well I suppose by LC’s definition i was) That was my understanding of the term. It seems reasonable to me to assume that if there are 1%s and 99% then the world is split into two groups.”

So now you realise that a 56%er would not exist. Well done for working it out.

“I’m sorry if Ive upset you”

You haven’t. Desperate content-free rants are amusing; they suggest the other side has no arguments left.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 14 SadButMadLad

“Well grow up. Life is not fair. Some are lucky some aren’t. Some throw their luck away, others take advantage of it. Yet others work hard and just survive whilst someone else works hard and makes a lot of money. Everyone is different.”

Could you please start The Complacency and Callousness Party so I can feel good about not being a member?

@21 Well when that ‘football’ is close to 50% of the worlds wealth, with the other 99% having to fight for a share of the remainder between them all, I fail to see why complaining that there’s a bit of a distribution failure going on is out of bounds.
Plus it’s not like people don’t go hungry in the western world, it just doesn’t get reported much.

So now you realizs that a 56%er would not exist. Well done for working it out.

-Ok im more confused. If a 56% doesn’t exist then there are only two percents to belong in. the 1% or the 99%. So presumably a ukCut member and the starving african are in the same group, unless they have been ignored completely

“I’m sorry if Ive upset you”

You haven’t. Desperate content-free rants are amusing; they suggest the other side has no arguments left.

Ive not taken sides, im just pointing out what I consider hypocrisy. Dont take it so personally.

Presumably they said an unironic thankyou to HMRC for getting £1.5bn more out of Vodafone than they had any legal right to?

29. Chaise Guevara

@ 27 Dave

“Ok im more confused. If a 56% doesn’t exist then there are only two percents to belong in. the 1% or the 99%. So presumably a ukCut member and the starving african are in the same group, unless they have been ignored completely”

Indeed! And all humans are in the group “human”. But that doesn’t mean that all humans are identical. A starving boy in Africa and I are both in the group “male” but that doesn’t mean that I’m starving, or African. Do I really have to explain this to you? In all seriousness, you don’t seem that stupid.

“Ive not taken sides, im just pointing out what I consider hypocrisy.”

If you’re gonna make false accusations against side A, and then get evasive when asked to source said accusations, it’s a pretty fair assumption that you’re batting for side B.

“Dont take it so personally.”

I’m not. Why would I?

@26 – Its not out of bounds, the only complaint I have is that I think the 99% is an arrogant term to use. Ive explained why i think that, and what the term suggests to me. Thats all. Just to be clear my only issue is with the term “the 99%”. I know there are people in the western world who cannot aford to eat and Id personally be embarrassed and ashamed to try and claim my petty financial woes were the equal of theirs.

@29 – When I said “for them to say” that wasn’t a direct quote. What I should have said was “it suggests to me by the use of “99%”

32. Chaise Guevara

@ 31 Dave

“When I said “for them to say” that wasn’t a direct quote. What I should have said was “it suggests to me by the use of “99%””

But that suggestion is totally illogical, unless you’re also going to claim that I’m starving and African because I and a starving African boy are both in the category “male”.

Fairness where it’s due – you weren’t making false accusations in your first post (although you didn’t help your case by going off on a tangent when asked to clarify). So I withdraw the “trolling” remark. But surely you can understand that being a member of a group doesn’t make you identical to everyone else in that group?

@31 – Thanks. If you and the (SA) starving African are in the group male, this means you are both male, that may be where the similarity ends, as the group male refers only to gender.

to me “99%” specifies wealth, (but that may not be its true meaning.) and so to only create two distinct groups of “99%” and “1%” would appear to group all the 99ers together, which i still think is wrong. as we could have a millionaire 99% and one who is having all their benefits cut and has to take a wonga loan

34. Chaise Guevara

@ 33 Dave

I really wouldn’t try to read more into group definitions than is claimed as part of the definition. Wealth is a sliding scale, so if you tried to group people so they only sat with people who have exactly the same wealth, there’d be pretty much one person per group. Which defeats the object of using groups in the first place.

Suffice it to say that 99%ers are not claiming to be in the same position as starving third-world people simply by using the term “99%”. Rather, it’s a term of solidarity, a way of saying that people of many walks of life have a shared opponent.

If you want an example where the true interpretation and false interpretation are in the same ballpark, try height. Say you meet someone who’s 6-ft 5-in high. They describe themselves as “tall”. Would you say “but someone who is 7-ft high would be tall! You’re not 7-ft, you liar!”

It’s really not fair for you to upbraid people for things they never said. If you read extra information into a statement that was never meant to be there, that’s your decision, not theirs.

I usually hate these kind of smug middle class protests where the participant dresses as a dolphin and throws some paint before falling asleep on the premises but actually I thought this one was quite good.

The “golden handshake” award nicely demonstrates the complicit relationship between the state and large corporations.

And the attendance of a QC, who makes millions from defending large companies in taxation cases, at the retirement party of the head of HMRC rather makes the point too.

Small businesses are routinely harassed and bullied by the revenue whilst, at the corporate level, cosy deals are negotiated over a Chateaubriande.

It was a very stylish protest, and a rather stylish ejection!

Though these protesters really do need to bone up on the concept of tax incidence.

Here is a blogger whom you regularly cross-post to explain it:

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2010/04/corporate-tax-incidence-some-evidence.html

@16 Davidh

”Anything that reduces a QC to using such powerful rhetoric as “you are scum”, and threatens violence wins my vote.”

Took a lot of nerve , for that QC read the sort of person who funded Pinochet, Franco etc.

He is the sort who would have funded death squads in Latin Americain the seventies.

Right wing Tory scum

Weird.

A few upper class twits try and ruin a guys retirement do.

Wait? You lefties actually think this stuff makes people respect your views?

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/

Website for those who want to donate more more of their hard earned income. HM R&C always welcomes donations. Go ahead. Have a feeling you wont be.

As stunts go it was mildly amusing, although should have wrapped up probably about a minute earlier than they did. The QC was a dick. It will of course change no one’s opinion on the subject but assuming that was not the aim I don’t see the harm. Always nice to see the young people enjoying themselves.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Black tie activists crash HMRC boss’ retirement do « Keithpp's Blog

    […] The QC who called UKuncut-ers ‘scum’ for gatecrashing party Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  2. SheffieldUncut

    The QC who called @UKuncut activists ‘scum’ for gatecrashing HMRC party http://t.co/Ca9ClWMq

  3. Mick Smith

    The QC who called @UKuncut activists ‘scum’ for gatecrashing HMRC party http://t.co/Ca9ClWMq

  4. pam lorenz

    RT @sunny_hundal: The QC who called @UKuncut activists ‘scum’ for gatecrashing HMRC party http://t.co/2F1dAlbW

  5. Shantel Burns

    Still brilliant! (UKuncut, not the QC)//The QC who called UKuncut-ers ‘scum’ for gatecrashing party http://t.co/1mZPSepj via @libcon

  6. Allan Skerratt

    The QC who called @UKuncut activists ‘scum’ for gatecrashing HMRC party http://t.co/Ca9ClWMq

  7. Pleb_Supporter

    The QC who called @UKuncut activists ‘scum’ for gatecrashing HMRC party http://t.co/Ca9ClWMq

  8. Jez Scott

    @UKUncut humiliate retiring head of HMRC who let so many major companies get away with their tax bills. Genius stuff. http://t.co/3qjsKf3C

  9. jane mccourt

    The QC who called @UKuncut activists ‘scum’ for gatecrashing HMRC party http://t.co/Ca9ClWMq

  10. ahxcjb

    The QC who called @UKuncut activists ‘scum’ for gatecrashing HMRC party http://t.co/Ca9ClWMq

  11. Simon Edwards

    “@sunny_hundal: The QC who called @UKuncut activists ‘scum’ for gatecrashing HMRC party http://t.co/l93MJC9F” won't be using his services

  12. Richard Truscott

    Impressed by this #UKUncut award to HMRC boss & tax avoiders, one particularly rude & obnoxious: Robert Venables QC http://t.co/qQzBHDA6

  13. Tent101

    "Do as we demand, or our activists will harass you personally" Where's your mandate, @sunny_hundal? #ukuncut >> http://t.co/N3YNOwCV

  14. The Fat Councillor

    "Do as we demand, or our activists will harass you personally" Where's your mandate, @sunny_hundal? #ukuncut >> http://t.co/N3YNOwCV

  15. Leo McLeman

    "Do as we demand, or our activists will harass you personally" Where's your mandate, @sunny_hundal? #ukuncut >> http://t.co/N3YNOwCV

  16. Steve Pocock

    QC who called UKuncut-ers ‘scum’ for gatecrashing party | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/WMGZEt2N via @libcon

  17. Andrew Walmsley

    "Do as we demand, or our activists will harass you personally" Where's your mandate, @sunny_hundal? #ukuncut >> http://t.co/N3YNOwCV

  18. BevR

    QC who called UKuncut-ers ‘scum’ for gatecrashing party | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/N6QdHbqu via @libcon

  19. sunny hundal

    @jilliancyork this isn't particularly nuanced. But it's very effective http://t.co/7ctliBDo – and they're also accused of narcissism

  20. PAM REMON

    The QC who called UKuncut-ers ‘scum’ for gatecrashing party http://t.co/X2l2kKQb

  21. Tristram Wyatt

    QC who called UKuncut-ers ‘scum’ for gatecrashing party | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/3aly4ZIc via @libcon





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