When it comes to victims everyone has their own standards as to who qualifies. And at least for one writer on the student website the Tab, apparently hipsters who run cereal cafes are not included.
On Saturday night, hundreds of protestors seemingly led by the anarchist group Class War massed in Shoreditch with the intent of demonstrating against the gentrification of the area.
At least some of them ended up outside the Cereal Killer Cafe in Brick Lane, a shop which sells bowls of cereal for £3.20 that has become a symbol of the fact that young, rich folk are increasingly dominating what used to be a poor neighbourhood.
The cafe was then pelted with paint as people hid inside, with one of the owners fearing the windows were about to be smashed before the police arrived to break up the crowd.
Yet for William Lloyd, assistant editor at the Tab, the owners of Cereal Killer Cafe are “barely even victims at all”, and indeed the mob that attacked the shop are described as “heroically” arriving at their intended target.
The writer then goes on take issue with the following tweet, made by the cafe just before it opened as usual on a Sunday:
The mob won’t win, wearing masks with pitch forks and torches, it’s 2015. #hatecrime
— Cereal Killer Cafe (@CerealKillerUK) September 27, 2015
According to Lloyd:
“A hate crime is generally defined as ‘a prejudice motivated crime that occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group’.
“What happened to the boys who sell cereal for £3.20 a bowl in an area synonymous with existent poverty and nonexistent infrastructure wasn’t a hate crime. It was pantomime with some criminal damage thrown in.”
This is a baffling display of illogic, given the words of the so-called Fuck Parade organisers on the Facebook page for the event:
“We don’t want luxury flats that no one can afford, we want genuinely affordable housing. We don’t want pop-up gin bars or brioche buns – we want community.
“Soon this city will be an unrecognisable, bland, yuppie infested wasteland with no room for normal (and not so normal) people like us.”
At least on the face of things, it appears that the Cereal Killer Cafe was attacked exactly because of the owners’ “perceived membership in a certain social group”, even if that social group happens to be well off. But Lloyd goes on:
“Tower Hamlets, with its reeking fast food pits, breeze block shacks, multi-storey pound shops, brazen Isis recruiters, festering junkies and lunatic local politicians is simply too real, too claustrophobically human an environment for a twee, kidult catering business like the Cereal Killer Café to operate in without fear of reprisal.”
“Without fear of reprisal”? Just what kind of illiberal savagery is Lloyd excusing? Does he want London to be the sort of city where people can vandalise a shop just because its owners are not the right sort of people?
Thankfully the liberal commenters on the offending Tab piece largely disagree with Lloyd. And should the mob apologist wish to live in a country more suited to his tastes he already knows where he can organise passage to Islamic State.
Image Credit – Cereal Killer Cafe via its official website