30 Nov 2010

Talkin' Bout A Revolution

Bit of a tricky one, this. As a fashion blogger, I probably shouldn't be trying to piss off Topshop or Philip Green, but i'm also a staunch supporter of the student protests, incensed by the goings-on under the coalition government that will prevent my younger siblings getting the education they deserve.

If a Topshop PR happens upon this post, then so be it. I have nothing if not my integrity.

'The Flashmob', accessorizing in orange rags to symbolise the bondage of student debt, outside Topshop Oxford Street

Mobilising through Twitter and Facebook, students from UCL and more have gathered in front of Topshop's flagship store on Oxford Street as part of the ongoing protests around tuition fees and the removal of the Education Maintenance Allowance, plus other government cuts.

Their target today is Arcadia boss and alleged tax-dodger Sir Philip Green , the retail billionaire and efficiency adviser to the government. Arcadia cashed in the largest cheque in corporate history in 2005, Green squirrelling it away to his wife in Monaco, a tax-haven. No UK income tax was due. Lucky boy. Tax Research UK reckons Phil saved an eye-watering £285m by paying the dividend to his wife. UK Uncut want these missing millions found and invested back into public services, like education.

A striking image for the protests: school girls in uniform protect a police van from further unwelcome violence

The main purpose of UK Uncut's campaign against Arcadia is to drive a wedge between pal David Cameron and the Lib Dems who are calling for tax avoiders to be driven out.

It is not without irony that I am blogging about this, rather than protesting. But I think Sofie Buckland, an English Literature student at UCL sums the situation up pretty well from inside the bubble, in this article in The New Statesman:

"The defining image of the student occupation at University College London is probably a MacBook. [But] the social media obsessed, apathetic, celeb-enamoured generation of popular myth are taking the emblems of this stereotype - the laptop, the Blackberry, the internet - and turning them into political tools."

From the Twittersphere:

For more Twitter updates on the UCL/general student protests from the front-line, follow @UCLOccupation and The New Statesman writer @PennyRed. UK Uncut's Twitter hashtag is #ukuncut, but also in use have been #2010demo and #dayx.


"Philip Green, national thief, pay your tax or we won't leave!"

"You'll get the daily mail down here saying you're having an orgy."


Topshop employee: "please, destroy the store for us! Company profits are up nineteen percent and our yearly bonus was just five pounds." (someone's in trouble)


UCL Occupation blog 
blinkofaneye's Flickr

The Guardian: Philip Green to be target of corporate tax avoidance protest 

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