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Uk Uncut Movement Invades Stores

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I love the smell of superglue on a Saturday.

UK Uncut targets Topshop and Vodafone over tax arrangementsMovement invades stores in push for government to tax the rich and big companies more instead of making budget cuts

Share Comments (68) Tracy McVeigh guardian.co.uk, Saturday 4 December 2010 15.13 GMT Article history

Demonstrators from the UK Uncut group inside Topshop on Oxford Street, central London, during a demonstration against the tax arrangements of Arcadia group owner Sir Philip Green. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

With superglue and megaphones, pop-up protests forced several branches of Topshop and Vodafone around the country to close today on one of the busiest trading days of the year.

Campaigners staged a sit-in at Sir Philip Green's flagship London Topshop store, and in Brighton a few glued themselves to the branch windows, while other high streets in towns and cities across Britain saw similar protests in a day of action against the tax arrangements of rich individuals and big businesses.

Green, the Arcadia retail group tycoon, and other wealthy individuals and big businesses including Vodafone, Barclays and Boots are the focus of rising anger over the programme of government cuts that campaigners say could be avoided if tax dodging was stamped out, bringing in some £25bn a year to the public purse and making a sizeable dent in the national debt.

Security guards in Oxford Street bundled protesters and journalists, including Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, out of the London store before the group of about 70 to 80 protestors, chanting "Philip Green pay your tax", left voluntarily and moved on the Arcadia's BhS store, which also had to be closed briefly to shoppers, as did a Vodafone shop. The demonstrations remained good-natured and peaceful with many of those out shopping fairly sympathetic.

The billionaire Green, recently made an adviser on cuts by David Cameron, is under fire because his wife, Arcadia's direct owner, lives in the tax haven of Monaco.

The latest tax avoidance protests took place in Birmingham, Glasgow, York, Bristol, Manchester and Nottingham, under the banner of UK Uncut – a fast-growing movement that is gathering support via social networking sites

One protester, Ed Greens, 20, from north-west London, said: "Topshop ... together with companies like Vodafone owe billions. We are taking direct action on companies like Topshop which avoid large amounts of tax."

Eileen Smith, 78, had come along to join the protesters. "I support anyone who is fighting against these terrible cuts. How dare this government say we are all in this together when 24 members of the cabinet are millionaires and men like Philip Green and his cronies are feted. The hypocrisy is sickening."

The group held similar protests against Vodafone in October after the telecoms group settled a large tax avoidance claim with the government but ended up paying a lot less than had been expected.

James Kelly, a spokesman for UK Uncut said: "Tax avoidance is a big issue and we believe this is the alternative to the cuts the government are making. Philip Green is a well-known tax avoider and today we're bringing our campaign right to the heart of his empire."

Richard Murphy, director of Tax Research UK, said he thought that UK Uncut's actions were justified. "I do think that what they're doing is appropriate, I do think there's a problem. Large businesses are paying a smaller proportion of their income in tax than many individuals and small businesses in the UK and that's unacceptable."

Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "People are rightly angry that the government is targeting the most vulnerable in our society with massive cuts in spending, and yet it appears to be very relaxed about rich and powerful tax dodgers."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/04/uk-uncut-protest-topshop-vodafone?showallcomments=true#end-of-comments

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Just had a look at their site:

There is no set model for UK Uncut actions. It’s up to you to come up with creative ideas to make the tax avoiders pay. Here are some ideas we’ve been sent.

Human Mannequins

Most fashion stores have nice big windows with elaborate displays. Perhaps create a tax avoidance themed display of your own?

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay

Go on a shopping spree, load up a basket, queue up, let them ring all of your purchases up then... don’t pay. Explain politely that if the company won’t pay their taxes, you can’t pay for these items.

Changing Room Takeover

Every clothes store has changing rooms. Occupy them and turn them into a space to give the company an ethical tax makeover.

Make Some Noise

Turn the store into a cacophonous echo chamber of chants, songs and general anti-tax-dodging mayhem.

Stink Bombs

Is that a stink bomb, or just the stench of corporate tax avoidance? Give customers a smell to remember.

How Alarming

Set off a personal alarm to call others to your aid against the tax dodgers. Don't have one? Maybe the store sells them.

Voucher Madness

Distribute your own buy-one-get-one-free vouchers.

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/resources/voucher.jpg

Surprise, surprise

Leave propaganda, cheese or other treats in the pockets of any clothes that might be around

Sit In

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/ideas

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If we had a government that would put a 10% surcharge on any income over £1 million, for all individuals and corporations, all problems would be solved.

Unfortunately, that will never happen.

You are going to get poorer and poorer over the coming decades. Are you ready?

We have stopped drifting towards neo-feudalism and are now waist deep into the transition.

This is Britain. Same as it ever was.

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I like Guido Fawkes take on this:

'Self-styled “Anarchists” calling for higher taxes to fund a bigger state are no anarchists.'

Hear, hear!

Who says they're "anarchists"? Guido's drift towards dissing dissent is annoying.

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Who says they're "anarchists"? Guido's drift towards dissing dissent is annoying.

True. Refusing to tolerate moral injustice doesn't make you an anarchist.

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True. Refusing to tolerate moral injustice doesn't make you an anarchist.

Why is it moral to pay taxes? I'd rather not pay mine, am I immoral?

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Why is it moral to pay taxes? I'd rather not pay mine, am I immoral?

I'd rather not pay tax either. I simply accept it as one of the facts of life.

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Just had a look at their site:

There is no set model for UK Uncut actions. It’s up to you to come up with creative ideas to make the tax avoiders pay. Here are some ideas we’ve been sent.

Human Mannequins

Most fashion stores have nice big windows with elaborate displays. Perhaps create a tax avoidance themed display of your own?

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay

Go on a shopping spree, load up a basket, queue up, let them ring all of your purchases up then... don’t pay. Explain politely that if the company won’t pay their taxes, you can’t pay for these items.

Changing Room Takeover

Every clothes store has changing rooms. Occupy them and turn them into a space to give the company an ethical tax makeover.

Make Some Noise

Turn the store into a cacophonous echo chamber of chants, songs and general anti-tax-dodging mayhem.

Stink Bombs

Is that a stink bomb, or just the stench of corporate tax avoidance? Give customers a smell to remember.

How Alarming

Set off a personal alarm to call others to your aid against the tax dodgers. Don't have one? Maybe the store sells them.

Voucher Madness

Distribute your own buy-one-get-one-free vouchers.

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/resources/voucher.jpg

Surprise, surprise

Leave propaganda, cheese or other treats in the pockets of any clothes that might be around

Sit In

http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/ideas

I love the creativity. As long as they keep coming up with new ideas, then any attempt to stop the protests just becomes an arms race. The guerilla faction always has the upper hand in that scenario, and the VI faction has to rely on being reactive.

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Good for them.

It's quite clear voting doesn't work. Sugar feted by Brown, Green feted by Dave. Waste of time.

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I bet about half these 'protesters' were wearing topshop group clothes and communicating via vodafone.

If youre not happy with them, boycott them. Dont behave like animals.

If they were wearing top shop clothes and using vodafones that would presumably give them even more right to complain about profits they have contributed towards being tax avoided?

Looking at the video they seem pretty reasonable. I am not sure where the animal comment comes from.

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Who says they're "anarchists"? Guido's drift towards dissing dissent is annoying.

I agree, these tax dodgers need to pay their way. How can hit benefit fraud when it's peanuts in compared to what these people are getting away with.

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I like Guido Fawkes take on this:

'Self-styled “Anarchists” calling for higher taxes to fund a bigger state are no anarchists.'

Hear, hear!

they are calling for the same law to be applied to all. perhaps point guido to the gospels for a good definition of a hypocrite - or he could just look in the mirror

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I love the smell of superglue on a Saturday.

Fantastic courageous action. This is the solution to our problems. Rich filth need to be brought to justice

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I agree, these tax dodgers need to pay their way. How can hit benefit fraud when it's peanuts in compared to what these people are getting away with.

Funny - the tax dodgers probably pays a few million of taxes a piece and the benefit fraudster are paying -several ten of thousands.

My computer seemed to say a few million is more than -ve several ten of thousands...

Even Guardian was doing it:

http://order-order.com/2009/02/02/guardians-tax-hypocrisy-is-ridiculous/

OH..Google and Microsoft are other big tax avoiders (the Ireland scheme) - think these anarchist use Google and Microsoft Windows too.

Wonder if their believe is strong enough to persuade them to go back to BT phone book and use Linux ?

And of course there are the 'use other people tax to help people' brigade (e.g. U2 borno).

And then there are the a million Brits or so who resides in low tax/no tax country (and pay no UK tax) who will no doubt return to the UK shall they require long

term care at the NHS or when they are in a position to collect their state pension.

Edited by easybetman

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I like Guido Fawkes take on this:

'Self-styled “Anarchists” calling for higher taxes to fund a bigger state are no anarchists.'

Hear, hear!

Nope. Straw man!

Guido has misjudged this one big time.

They are not self styled anarchists, they are not calling for higher taxes and they are not calling for a bigger state. They are simply calling for the same rules to apply to everyone.

Even the Daily Wail are being sensible about this one. It could turn out to be the surprise popular 'movement' of the year.

Good luck to them.

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Nope. Straw man!

Guido has misjudged this one big time.

They are not self styled anarchists, they are not calling for higher taxes and they are not calling for a bigger state. They are simply calling for the same rules to apply to everyone.

Even the Daily Wail are being sensible about this one. It could turn out to be the surprise popular 'movement' of the year.

Good luck to them.

The same rules do apply to everyone.

You're as entitled to use the same tax avoidance methods as Philip Green.

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