David Thompson


Blog powered by Typepad

« Elsewhere (107) | Main | Friday Ephemera »

December 11, 2013



Someone should explain to Laurie that freedom of speech doesn't mean 'anarchist' posers in masks can barricade fire escapes, throw smoke bombs and trap staff in their offices. If they do, the police are going to respond good and hard. As they should.




Steve 2

David, man flu is the worst. I hope you feel better soon.

While you're hopefully safely bundled up warm at home, spare a thought for those suffering under the fascist military dictatorship of modern British universities.

But say a prayer
Pray for the other ones
At Christmas time, it's hard
But when you're having fun

There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing
Is a bitter sting of tears

And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom
We'll, tonight, thank God, it's them
Instead of you


The pain and suffering of Man Flu is similar to that of child birth.


The pain and suffering of Man Flu is similar to that of child birth.

I do like the Man Flu Survivor badges.

[ Emits feeble kitten cough; reaches heroically for tissues. ]


Amazing how Laurie never mentions *why* the police end up having to use force.


Amazing how Laurie never mentions *why* the police end up having to use force.

As we saw from her cheerleading for – sorry, reporting on - Occupy, in Laurie’s mental landscape she and her peers are always and forever the victims, irrespective of who did what to whom first, and then did it again harder. The fault is never theirs. This conceit necessitates certain omissions and in turn implies that the occupiers were collectively subject to some inexplicable and unprovoked beating. The violence just fell out of the sky for no particular reason. It’s colossally dishonest, indeed delusional, but it follows the general rules of such behaviour. From what I can make out, those rules are fairly simple:

1. Adopt the nearest available minor cause – say, the privatisation of some campus support services - and amplify hyperbolically, preferably invoking unprecedented hardship, class war and the end of civilisation.

2. Claim to speak and act on behalf of all members of whatever this week’s oppressed group happens to be, even (or especially) if actual support for the ostensible cause is contentious and limited. Don’t let impracticality stop you. Or logic, or maths. Remember to be grandiose and self-flattering at all times.

3. Occupy someone else’s property, obstruct and intimidate law-abiding people, cause as much disruption as possible and make absurd demands. Wear a mask and act like you’re an Anarchist Ninja (and not just an obnoxious little wanker). Remember to establish your Marxoid / ‘anarchist’ credentials with some gratuitous shoving and vandalism. Property is theft, man.

4. Continue aggravating others with noise, trespass, expense and inconvenience, escalating as necessary, until enough people are sufficiently scared or pissed off to call the police.

5. On their arrival, provoke the police by refusing to obey the law or normal standards of civility. Scream and swear at them, make threats, while congratulating yourself on just how brave you are. Barricade fire escapes and trap and frighten random people. Heighten tensions with more abusive chants, projectiles, shoving, etc. Use mob force and the threat of violence repeatedly while denouncing any kind of physical retaliation or attempt to enforce the law. With cameras everywhere, remember to be passive-aggressive too. You’re the victim here. Pretend that you’re being kicked by a police officer who isn’t actually kicking you.

6. When the police do respond physically and things get out of hand - just as you’d planned - cry “police state” and “brutality” then use it as a pretext for the next fit of delinquent psychodrama.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Colleges and universities are becoming a dictatorship, but it's to impose the sort of political orthodoxy that people of Laurie Penny's ilk want.

the wolf

Only people who never had to experience a real police state would behave this way and call the reaction a "police state." Laurie is vile.


Sorry david, you've been mis-diagnosed....it's actually Manthrax, which is a far better description of the symptoms and effects


Laurie is vile..

Well, I find it hard to believe that Ms Penny somehow hasn’t seen the videos of what led to the scuffles and punching. They were, after all, taken by her comrades and uploaded with pride. So either she’s managed to construe that behaviour as pacifist and not at all threatening or provocative - say, to the people working in the building and who suddenly found themselves under siege, trapped in their offices by a masked and chanting mob. Or… she’s just lying.

It’s like the faux naiveté of the occupiers themselves. If you lay siege to a building and terrorise staff, and trap them, while barricading fire exits and chanting “fuck the police”… well, this is an unambiguous invitation for scuffles and violence. And if when the police arrive you don’t disperse peacefully and instead use mob force against the police - repeatedly… well, inevitably, some heads will get pounded. To then affect shock and indignation when this happens, while relishing the publicity and Heroic Victim Status, is laughable.

And again, these are students we’re talking about. Tomorrow’s intellectuals of the left.


it’s actually Manthrax

Don’t make me laugh. Everything aches.

Mr Grumpy

Commiserations from one in the latter stages. Now Mrs G says she's getting it but that's obviously nonsense - it'll be a mild cold at worst.

Our Laurie's not a million miles off, for once in a while. If British universities were a nation state they'd be Saudi Arabia.



This is what happens in universities in a real police state:



I feel a need to share this. Mr Cooper is a cheerleader of the occupiers, a labour movement activist and Vice President of the University of London Union. He’s big on grandiose self-flattery and claiming ownership of things that aren’t actually his. He also has trouble spelling. But no, we shouldn’t laugh. These are the deep and radical thinkers for whom occupying Manchester University’s social responsibility office is an accomplishment to be proud of.



My sinuses blew up when the Huge Winter Storm precipitously dropped the air pressure on or about 30 Nov. Fever's over but I'm having a hard time shaking it entirely. Still a bit brain dead and sleepy.

I am, however, able to hock up some righteous loogies, which is compensation enow.


Thanks to Mr Grumpy for posting the link to the 'Krakau' article, it is similar to the German WWI plan to introduce German 'Kultur' to France and Belgium. I am now an external student at ULON so any meeting between the said activists and this bunny, will have the response of 'when I was your age, I was working under ground in a dirty dangerous job...' Which is actually true, my sympathy for these people nill.



I briefly considered liveblogging my mucus production. With photos of the jars and everything.



. . . in Laurie’s mental landscape she and her peers are always and forever the victims . .

Pennyism; The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy?

The overall circumstances are reminding me of current Google news headlines . . .


Wow, this takes me back. In about 1980 at Melbourne University there were proposals to privatise the main cafe. This was depicted as the "end of the world as we know it" by the local activists, to the colossal indifference of the general student body, who were of the opinion that the existing service and food were terrible.


I briefly considered liveblogging my mucus production.

When it's happening to you, it's fascinating; when it's someone else's phlegm, it's not.

OMG. That last phrase is really awesome phonetically. I didn't even try.


And so it goes: http://www.salon.com/2013/12/11/racism_in_the_classroom_when_even_our_names_are_not_our_own/

"When even our names are not our own: As a minority student, I've learned racism doesn't end in higher ed. And sometimes even our names are judged"

Written by Matthew Salesses, an Asian guy. His parents might as well have named him "Sue."


Man flu - not nice at any time of the year. Get well soon.


Today was a huge show of our force. Who's universities? OUR universities! Who's streets? OUR streets!

Wait a minute. They think they're fighting against fascism? I feel so much safer with these knob-ends in charge.


Wait a minute. They think they’re fighting against fascism?

Quite. It’s comedy with so many levels. Setting aside the primary school spelling fail, Mr Cooper and his fellow radicals claim ownership of whatever they please, imposing on whomever they please, while not wanting to pay for anything. Say, their own tuition fees. It’s the socialist way.

And yesterday the students were supposedly protesting against the police response to criminal and antisocial activity on campus. Activities involving people much like themselves. “Cops off campus,” they chanted. And to make their feelings on the subject clear, the students broke down other people’s gates, set bins on fire, blocked traffic for hours and trashed police vehicles. To show the world how unnecessary police involvement is.

Thank goodness these intellectuals are showing us the way.

Dr Cromarty

Thank goodness these intellectuals are showing us the way.

Seeing that picture makes me want to double tuition fees. Pour encourager les autres.


A segregated military dictatorship it seems.......


I wonder what dear Penny thinks about this? A segregated inclusiveness.....Hmmm....


Like so many of her comrades, Laurie relies on a kind of faux naiveté - according to which, laying siege to a building and trapping staff for hours, while chanting “Fuck the police” is in no way provocative or an invitation for scuffles and violence.

I wonder how she'd spin it if the people being 'occupied' were the ones fighting back and kicking the scumbags out of the building? Not the police, just ordinary office workers. That wouldn't fit her narrative, would it?


To further Hal's point:

'Pennyism; The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy?'

It can be refined further to 'Pennyism: the certainty that if enough toys are thrown out of the pram then everyone will be unequally unhappy, everywhere.'


I meant, of course, equally unhappy. It would never do for socialism to foster inequality.



That wouldn’t fit her narrative, would it?

It would rather jar with the pretence of victimhood. It seems to me that what Laurie and her peers want is basically “free hits.” A license to antagonise, vandalise and generally piss about without any of the normal consequences. As we’ve seen repeatedly, the affectation of righteousness is always non-reciprocal. Like her peers, Laurie’s never shown much interest in the people being imposed on and harassed by these actions. The people being occupied. They don’t seem to count in her moral calculus. They’re just theatrical furniture; the people who pick up the tab and clean up afterwards.

[ Added: ]

According to Channel 4’s middle-aged class warrior Paul Mason - that’s this guy - what we’re seeing is “the new face of student protest.” He sounds quite excited by it, almost titillated. Mr Mason mentions “alleged violence by the police,” but he doesn’t mention who initiated the violence and made the subsequent scuffle with police hard to avoid. And I can’t help wondering how Mr Mason might feel if a crowd of masked youths stormed Channel 4 HQ, forced their way into his office and started throwing smoke bombs and trashing the place.


Oh man. Do NOT miss these: Parodies of SomeECards, called SomeDCards, (D for Democrat).

Prime example: "It's not a grocery list. I just write down my food purchase aspirations. Men are rapists."

How is it that conservatives continually pwn Twitter yet we don't win elections?

::head tilt::


"And I can’t help wondering how Mr Mason might feel if a crowd of masked youths stormed Channel 4 HQ, forced their way into his office and started throwing smoke bombs and trashing the place."

He'd be re-enacting the Orgasm scene from When Harry met Sally.

He finds riot VERY sexy.


"Who's universities? OUR universities! Who's streets? OUR streets!"

If they're yours, then you get to pay for them.

Also, if anything goes wrong with them, you get to take responsibility.

I wonder how many of these chumps have given these points any consideration?



Don't make me go all hoof-and-mouth on you...


"Who's universities? OUR universities! Who's streets? OUR streets!"

It's a good question. Who is universities? I demand to know.



If they’re yours, then you get to pay for them. Also, if anything goes wrong with them, you get to take responsibility.

Ah, but these are leftist radicals so they don’t follow your bourgeois neoliberal rules. They just claim territorial ownership of the campus, the streets, other people’s stuff, whatever catches their eye. It’s like a roaming fiefdom. But they don’t want to pay for any of it, even their own tuition fees, even with generous credit. It’s like clearing up the wreckage after their Totally Non-Violent And Righteous Occupations™ - that’s someone else’s problem.

The whole saga is surreal. Around 100 students, many wearing masks, barged into Senate House, made absurd self-important demands, denounced the “disgraceful and unaccountable manner” in which the university is allegedly run… and then behaved in a disgraceful and unaccountable manner. By disrupting people’s work, intimidating staff (who described the invaders as “aggressive and threatening”), building barricades with furniture, blocking fire escapes and trapping people in their offices. And when, inevitably, the police were called, the supposedly “peaceful” occupiers were outraged and started throwing stuff. Apparently the protestors regard their own use of mob coercion as “a legitimate form of dissent,” but any attempt to dissent from their position and reclaim one’s property and freedom is, in their words, a “disregard for both the welfare of students and the university community.”

It’s Kafkaesque in its contortion.


It was the upturning of wheelie bins that convinced me of their arguments. Say NO to wheelie bins! Wheelie bins off campus NOW!


It was the upturning of wheelie bins that convinced me of their arguments.

Yes, they definitely have it in for wheelie bins. Perhaps they’re a symbol of the capitalist hegemon. It’s almost anthropological, watching the occupiers’ videos, which are often accompanied by comically pompous and self-flattering text. This one here has the standard mix of leftist freeloaders, happy-clappy hippies and wannabe anarcho-ninjas. And yes, wheelie bins feature prominently. Having endured about a dozen of these things, you have to wonder if they comprehend what their assumptions and behaviour convey to those outside their immediate peer group.



Just watched that video.

My oh my! You might almost get the impression that rioting was fun.

Who would have thought that smashing stuff up without any fear of accountability or life-threatening injuries – and an added dash of getting off with that boy/girl you fancy – could be a more pleasant way to spend your day than, say, studying?

And all to a funky soundtrack.

When did rioting get so safe?


And then there’s this totally peaceful and not-at-all-threatening chant, “Police, retreat! We control the streets!” That must have been a comforting thought for all the nearby residents and businesses, and all the other people who would’ve liked to use those same streets. Ideally, without having to push through a mob of arrogant little shitstains acting out their power fantasies. I scarcely need to point out the irony of people exulting in sub-rational behaviour while demanding free degrees. Because of all that intellect.


. . . . you have to wonder if they comprehend what their assumptions and behaviour convey to those outside their immediate peer group.

Hmmm. Let’s have a look at what the socialist masters have to say, according to this week's headline stories . . . .

. . all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods. . . . All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him. . . traitor for all ages . . . worse than a dog . . . dreaming different dreams . . . desperately worked to form a faction within the party by creating illusion about him and winning those weak in faith and flatterers to his side,

And of course there is also womanizing, drug use, gambling, eating at expensive restaurants and undergoing medical treatment in a foreign country. as well as distributed pornographic pictures among his confidants and took at least 4.6 million euros ($6.3 million) "from his secret coffers and squandered it in 2009 alone.

So, that’s the current news of the benign and totally innocuous staff shuffling in the free and universally admired and absolutely friendly democratic people's government in North Korea, so clearly a uni somewhere else is required to go in for the same.

Therefore this British variety that claims to be the same thing should perform a series of onsite reports and appropriate socialist analysis, making certain they perform the exact same actions when in Pyongyang. It will be the new face of student protest . . . .

Nik White

It’s almost anthropological …

If it is, it applies equally to the media.

The dizzying crassness of the text accompanying the video is one thing – though its actually quite hard not to be marvel at the unintended irony in the writer's smug sense of superiority over the use of mindless drones who we are told are little more than faceless, social clones … who could not produce an original, imaginative thought given the fact that his/her own words have a heritage dating back several decades, more or less unchanged.

But you would hope (in vain, obviously) that the media might try to be just a little bit less dishonest regarding the almost complete unimportance of the action. Some of the best bits of this video have to be the swarm of what looks to be at least a score of photo and video journalists bearing their whole weight down on the backs of – what? – not more than a half a dozen or so "protester/ninja types"? While the journos don't physically push through the gates themselves, they might as well have done.

Talk about the observer's paradox.

The two gems from the videos, to my mind at least, are:

[1] The young builder on the scaffolding who is shown waving his hands in the air … it's obvious that the video-makers intend this to be proof that 'the workers' are in solidarity with the students (that's workers plural, despite the apparent total lack of interest from the other builder, who just gets on with his job).

From that short clip, as well as lived experience, the possibility that the younger builder is actually …

    a. signaling to someone in his crew and/or

    b. trying to catch the attention of a fit student in the crowd and/or

    c. just taking the piss out of the pretentiousness on display

… strike me as being really quite high.

[2] The rasping cry of 'Call the fire brigade! This needs putting out' by one guy, who then shoves over the burning wheely bin in the other clip. Not really sure what that proves …

Wait a minute. They think they're fighting against fascism?

LMFAO! Especially after you've seen this
(Lauran Childs, eat your heart out!) – which, whatever other differences there are aside, is barely indistinguishable in tone and intended effect from this


If it is, it applies equally to the media

I’ve seen several articles by student journalists – the reporters of tomorrow - who simply ignored the accounts of the police and the people whose workplace was being violated, and instead blamed everyone else. University management, security staff, the police, society at large. Everyone except the people who actually caused the trouble – trouble they needed in order to attract attention and make themselves feel important. All while telling their readers, proudly, how the occupiers “flooded into Senate House… entered the offices of management staff and, depending on the situation, either demanded that they left or politely informed them about the occupation.”

You see, there’s nothing at all intimidating or provocative about 100 youths, many wearing masks and balaclavas, storming your building, barging into your offices and demanding that you leave. And then trapping those who didn’t. The narrative continues, “The students feared that their considerate lack of force might not be reciprocated by campus security, so secured their position with some very tidy barricades.” Yes, the occupiers were being considerate by disrupting people’s work, intimidating them with sheer force of numbers and ordering them out into the street, while piling office furniture against doors and fire exits. Tidily, of course. And thus ensuring conflict.

Peter B

"The students feared that their considerate lack of force might not be reciprocated by campus security, so secured their position with some very tidy barricades."

Comedy gold. I want to know what these geniuses thought was going to happen after they'd built their barricades. What then? Were they planning to hold out until the socialist revolution?


What then?

This old graffiti gag seems somehow appropriate.

As we saw with the post about Adam Harper and the student dramas of 2010 – and with just about anything on Occupy - there’s a remarkable lack of foresight and an obliviousness of how things might seem to a broader audience. Say, the people whose earnings the occupiers are hoping to confiscate.


One of the videos posted by David is quite amusing. The students had a rather transparent plan: to attempt to provoke the police into violence - no matter how badly they had to behave to do so - while one of the mob attempted to catch this on film.

Nevertheless the only thing that becomes evident, to anyone watching the clip, is just how badly the activists are behaving - also that the police are showing admirable restraint.

As well as screaming abuse, the students obstruct the police and try really awfully hard to start a fight. As soon as a he gets close to the police, a student will cry out with the pretence of pain. Method acting at it's finest

I'm taken aback - every time I see it - by just how dishonest these goons are. They manufacture these badly acted scenarios for their home videos; then they organise idiots like Laurie Penny to call them freedom fighters, all the while calling for revolt.

Still it's all in a good cause. Er..

Rich Rostrom

svh notes that Laurie’s article, which denounces the modern campus as akin to “a military dictatorship,” omits any mention of why the police might find it necessary to be on campus, let alone use force against students.

Bad Penny and her ilk are the proud, if unknowing, inheritors of a great - perhaps one should say only major - tradition of historical "interpretation".

Discussions of the American Civil War are (and have been for over a century) perfused by apologias for the actions of secessionist Southerners. The most constant refrain of these apologists is that The Woah was the fault of Lincoln & Co., and that Southerners took up arms only because of the "Union invasion". The most common variants are "They were defending their endangered homes" or "They were resisting unconstitutional coercion." The more passionate votaries of this school can cite chapter and verse on the devastation wrought by Sherman's March to the Sea or Sheridan's campaign in the Shenandoah.

Entirely omitted from these narratives is any discussion of why Union troops were in the field at all.

I think the parallel is pretty obvious.



Method acting at its finest. I’m taken aback - every time I see it - by just how dishonest these goons are.

And that’s the thing. As Laurie unwittingly illustrates, the dishonesty is quite shameless. And as the videos confirm, that willingness to deceive is hardly uncommon among those she champions. It’s therefore difficult to see how one could even begin a realistic discussion with people so determined to flatter themselves and construe their own provocations as heroic “dissent.” These, after all, are people who gleefully violate the space and freedom of others, and the codes of student conduct to which they’ve agreed, and who evidently feel they should never have to face the consequences of their own obnoxious and threatening behaviour. Because… well, socialism! Apparently they have a “right” to do whatever they wish to whomever they wish, all at someone else’s expense, because their cause is so glorious. I mean, we’re talking about people who imagine that their reliance on mob coercion is somehow disguised by the presence of a few idiots carrying sleigh bells.


Well it certainly had nothing to do with slavery, Mr. Rostrom. They taught me that much in school. I'm no dummy.

Spiny Norman


Confederate apologists remind me too much of Nazi apologists who claim, entirely straight-faced, that Hitler was actually trying to save Europe from Stalin and Bolshevism.


The Japanese, in their Yasukuni Shrine, make a similar claim that the were saving Asia from the evil European dominators. Or so it stated when I was there in the early 90's.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Amazon Link