Starbucks Anyone

I’m no expert. Some may say therefore I should “fermer ma bouche”?

Yesterday, on recommendation by someone I cannot remember on Twitter I watched “Have I Got News For You.” Whoever tweeted mentioned that Louise Mensch appeared on the programme. This gained my interest. Louise has been following me on Twitter for a while. I’m not a hugely political animal and know very little about her so this was an opportunity to see her “in the flesh” so to speak.

That said I have always had a tad of respect, or sympathy, for those MP’s who agree to appear on this program. The mainstays of the program are slick operators and can talk over, belittle and humiliate guests very easily. This isn’t a criticism. It’s a comedy program lampooning the news but as a result I do think some of the argument needs closer scrutiny.

I’m one of those people who often has a different view on a topic. I don’t tend to flock with the crowd just because it’s populist.

One topic in the program covered the Anti Capitalism protest, “Occupy London” outside St Paul’s Cathedral. Louise observed that the camp was anti capitalism yet the queue for Starbucks nearby was the longest in the history of the world. She said;

They are against capitalism except the lattes

She also made a rather trite comment about tents.

You can’t be against capitalism and then take everything it provides and say this is fantastic

As I would expect this was pounced upon by the rest of the panel and the audience applauded and laughed. Yet again I find myself in the minority.

If you are against capitalism then surely you are against those individuals and huge organisations that stand testimony to capitalism in practice? Is it not equivalent to saying you are a strict vegetarian and then queuing up at McDonalds for a burger?

I’m still thinking on this issue and don’t propose to have the answers or the right view. I do wonder if the reaction would have been different if Mr Merton had brought up the Starbucks reference?

I have no political agenda here. I’m still in the “none of the above” camp as far as politics is concerned. However I think two things come from this.

1. The point was missed
2. Leave the comedy to the others Louise

Take a look for yourself here

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5 thoughts on “Starbucks Anyone”

  1. As I have just pointed out to Ms Mensch via the very excellent medium of Twitter, the queue in question was for the toilet. It quickly dissipated when the portaloos turned up. The only people buying coffees, as far as I could see, were journalists (and me). That being the case, I still think it’s a rather weary canard to point to protesters’ use of the trappings of the status quo as invalidating their claim to want to change it. It’s a boringly over-simplistic argument, one that the HIGNFY panel were quite right to call her out on.

  2. I am with Ms Mensch – no self-respecting anti-capitalist would buy from Starbucks – particularly when there are a few small independent coffee shops near St Pauls. The whole ‘protest’ is a farce. I am not quite sure what their ‘beef’ is or, more to the point, I am not sure what they are hoping to achieve?

  3. I can think of a number of answers to your question, but probably the simplest is to suggest a parallel with Christianity. It’s as impossible to be a perfect anti-capitalist as it is to be a perfect Christian, but the fact that anti-capitalists fall short of perfection doesn’t make their ideals less important or their message less worth listening to. So I think it’s fair to say the Louise Mensch was holding the protesters to an impossible standard and deserved to be called out for that.

  4. What makes me sad is that they go and put tents up in random places and get in the way, thus making me ignore them because they’re irritating, rather than trying to talk to people like me who aren’t quite sure what their alternative is and why it’s better (I’m quite sure the current system has a lot of problems, I’ve seen some of them first-hand). Also, we have a democratic political system, supposedly, shouldn’t these people be running for elected offices so they can enact the changes they desire?

    So nobody will vote for them, eh? Maybe they need to work on their explaining again. Or moderate their goals a little. Abolishing capitalism is all very well if you have something good to replace it with (do they? I have no idea, as all I hear about is them living in tents in inconvenient places which doesn’t impress me with their economic knowledge) but wouldn’t it be more practical and more achieveable at least initially to attempt to effect a change to a form of capitalism in which entities are nicer to each other? Maybe we could even start to migrate to one where the money’s not imaginary.

  5. Following on from our Twitter exchange, this gave me food for thought. Which is no bad thing. I agree that if Merton or Hislop had uttered the same sentences then we would all be laughing and say how funny they were. However Ms M was trying to use it as a serious political point. The comment wasn’t original either as she lifted it from Old_Holborn the day before. For what it’s worth I unfollowed him as I thought he was being trite and ridiculous, it is a shame that LM didn’t recognise the absurdity in the comment. So, I haven’t changed my personal opinion but I was pulled up and made to think.

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