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June 21, 2008



"Stopping overt intimidation merely transferred power from workers to capitalists." It also transferred power from Union Officials to members. Having sat through a meeting where the bullying of members by an official was like some Daily Express parody of a union meeting, I welcomed it. Perhaps you are too young or too naive to know much about those days?


P.S. Am I really to believe that you think that the only power available to the "black working class" is by the threat of violence? "Isn’t there a hint of racism here?" Am I also to believe that you think it OK for anyone pissed off by the incompetence of a company to threaten its employees? Is that the famous "solidarity" that we used to hear about?

All in all, this may be one of your most gormless posts ever, though I suppose the flavour of fascism will excite some.


Having experienced Union "intimidation and violence" I am glad to have seen the back of it. The power has been transferred from Unions to the workers and capitalists.


"What we see here is that quashing violence transfers power from the black working class to the white rich."

Do you really think that quashing violence harms the weak and powerless?


"But were the police investigating the alleged theft of her suitcase and thousands of others?"

I don't know; has Naomi Campbell or anybody else contacted the police to complain that BA has stolen their property? Is there any evidence of actual theft on BA's part?

john b

"Am I also to believe that you think it OK for anyone pissed off by the incompetence of a company to threaten its employees?"

It's pretty clear from the transcript that Campbell didn't threaten BA's employees. She was rude to them, but "being rude to" != "threatening". The assault and threats were reserved for the police.

Also - and note I don't do this, because I'm boringly English and polite - but why the hell *shouldn't* it be considered fair to take out a company's incompetence on its staff? If more people did so, then incompetent companies would either need to pay their staff more to compensate for the inconvenience (which is already why bouncers and policemen get paid more than other people in unskilled, low-qualification jobs) or invest more in customer services.

john b

"Do you really think that quashing violence harms the weak and powerless?"

It's a hierarchy. Broadly:
1) wealthy and physically strong
2) wealthy and physically weak
3) poor and physically strong
4) poor and physically weak

Quashing violence primarily benefits group 2 at the expense of group 3; not quashing violence primarily benefits group 3 at the expense of group 2.

Group 4 are screwed either way, since even in a "quahing violence" society, the only violent crime that gets taken seriously unless someone dies is that committed against 'respectable' types.

john b

Campbell transcript here, FYI (was in original post, but Chris's weird no-HTML policy ate it):


"Naomi then began hurling her belongings at cabin crew." Not on.

Mark Harrison

In about 2001, while going on holiday, Continental lost our bags. This wasn't as "terrible" as losing a multi-thousand pound suit that I'd been contracted to wear on TV... it only left me with NO clothes other than what we were able to buy at Houston airport (the Disney store was the only place selling underwear, let's leave the image at that, eh?)

I didn't make racist comments at the plane staff.

I didn't kick and spit any security staff or police officers.

If I _HAD_ kicked and spat at anyone, then I'd not have found it unreasonable to be treated as a criminal, and would have found it odd to be portrayed as a "victim".

Chris - I've said this before about your (otherwise excellent) book - but you seem to be willing to scream "racism" the moment a black face appears on the scene, and seem to be unable to apply any objectivism.

Do you seriously think that a white "celeb" would have been treated any differently???

Naomi Campbell, to her credit, pleaded guilty (ie - accepted that what she'd done was wrong.) If SHE can accept that, why can't you???


Actually, I blame the computer. Noone takes responsibility for anything anymore, because, for example, if you're on a complaint line, the person at the other end is looking at a screen, and won't say or do anything which isn't on the screen.
In fact, before computers, complaints were quickly resolved, because someone took responsibility for putting it right. Now, oone does. One of the great economic miracles was when Dell gave its customer service people the right to give up to $500 to whoever they were speaking to who had a problem. Most of the problems were quickly, cheaply and efficiently solved.
So it's actually the computer that people are screaming at in frustration

Bishop Hill

I think we need to consider the effect of the right to bear arms on all this. If we let everyone have a gun, the strong/weak dichotomy (is that the right word?) is removed at a stroke, giving us a much more level playing field.

It would also lead to much higher salaries for airline cabin staff apparently.



I too think you are way off beam with this post.

I don't follow BB. But compare

"So, for example, it increases Rex’s ability to manipulate the house by using the sense of authority he gets from having a rich dad."
(taken from the BBC report of the C4 broadcast)
"Personal offence is never forgotten, do you know what I mean? We're just inside the house...I've got a very, very, very, very, very strong team outside the house, strong, so solid, strong. I look forward to whatever the result"

When I was 20, someone who claimed to be right, but was patently wrong but was thought to be like this because he felt superior because he had a rich dad would be called a tosser to his face without hesitation.

Someone who put up a good case he had access to organised violence would not be.


This is got to be the dumbest thing I've ever seen pop up in my google reader. Naomi Campbell is a "victim"? She has a history of acting like she's above the law because she poses for pictures.

Big brother - fwiw i have no idea who is on the show and what happens. I just followed the link in the story and it sounds like this black lady was being intimidating to others threatening them with her gangster friends on the outside.

What does the race of either person you mention have to do with anything?


John B, it's pretty clear from the report you linked to that she did more than just threaten the BA employees, she threw stuff at them too.

This woman put other passengers in danger. She also has a history of violent temper tantrums. Ahe was only let off becasue she is a rich celebrity. Any normeal person with her record would have been banged up.

Chris and JohnB, had this been a rich ex-Bullingdon Club member behaving in such a disgraceful way, would you have defended him too?

john b

Sorry, I missed the "hurling her belongings" line from the piece. Yup, that's unacceptable.

I'm not sure how she "put other passengers at risk", though (indeed, this is typical airline nonsense spin - unless you're at the controls of the plane or in possession of a bomb, you can't "put other passengers at risk" any more than you put other bus-stop users at risk from kicking off at a bus stop.)

Re "rich ex-Bullingdon Club member" - good qn. In general, I sympathise with anyone who gets arrested in an 'air rage' incident; as someone who bites their tongue to be civil to the incompetent bastards all the bloody time, there's an obvious "about time they got their come-uppance" to the whole thing.

However, I don't think that Chris's original point really makes sense re Campbell - she's obviously in the rich-and-powerful bracket, not the poor-and-powerless bracket - so from head rather than from heart her actions do have to be condemned, as do those of the Bullingdonite.


"the only violent crime that gets taken seriously unless someone dies is that committed against 'respectable' types."

John b - have you heard of the hunt for Jack the Ripper, or do you believe that his victims were all "respectable types"?

If you have a violent society the people who benefit are not the "poor but strong". The people who benefit are the rich and well connected (the two groups rapidly become synonymous).

Connections mean allies, and the ability to hold what is yours, and take what belongs to others.


Chris - a consensus has emerged: this post is a bit mental. Are you losing your damn mind somewhat out there in the sticks?

"Naomi Campbell is found guilty of assaulting coppers. But let’s be clear here. She was the victim: BA had “mislaid” her property. But were the police investigating the alleged theft of her suitcase and thousands of others? No. They were there to prosecute someone who responded to corporate venality with “intimidating” behaviour. The police - the bootboys of the ruling class - were quelling “violence” whilst allowing a big company to get away with mass vandalism."

You've been taking crack, yes? Because there's SFA else to do out there?

john b

ad - did you entirely fail to read my sentence that you quoted? Jack the Ripper is an excellent example - had he "just" raped and beaten his victims, as many men have done to prostitutes both then and now, the law wouldn't have cared in the slightest.


John B - I reckon chucking stuff around in a crowded aeroplane cabin would put passengers at risk. No-one's aim is that good.

I agree with your conclusion though. She is in the rich and powerful bracket. It's that, rather than her ethnicity, which led to the judge's leniency.

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