back to article Guy Fawkes stunt arrives early

A Libertarian celebration of Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night has put junior transport minister Tom Harris in trouble - and yet again, it is his shoot-from-the-hip style of blogging that is the cause of his discomfort. Back in June, he delighted hard-pressed families in his Glasgow constituency struggling with the credit crunch by …


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  1. Alex
    Thumb Up


    Or as the Aussie Slacker put:

    "Epic Fail!"


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guy Fawkes and his Master?

    I was apprenticed in the UK to a Master back in 1956 so I can sympathise with the use of the word. It really means more that the apprentice is learning a skill through a transfer of knowledge and savoir-faire than being in a subservient role. Of course when you're doing this you are underpaid and bound by contract.

    A similar thing is happening today in the field of Free software although today thanks to the arrival of the Internet there are fewer Masters in charge, fewer contracts to respect and much more freedom for "the apprentices".

  3. abigsmurf
    Paris Hilton


    ah libertarianism, I've never understood why followers of a political ideology that's even more flawed than communism feel so self rightous and holier than thou.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If we can use the phrase "civil servant," then isn't "master" a synonym for "employer" in their case?

  5. Trevor

    With luck, he is an elected official

    With luck, he is an elected (rather than appointed) official. In which case, I hope my British brethren demonsstrate to him who his masters are next election.

  6. dervheid


    of the attitude of the current crop of self-obsessed NuLabourian politicians.

    A total Baw-heid!

  7. Gareth Jones Silver badge


    Agree to disagree? That means "I haven't got a coherent argument." or "I'm wrong, but I'm not big enough to admit it" doesn't it?

    FWIW I just cam across the following definition of the word master: "An employer of workers or servants." That probably differs from the definition in the New Labour Newspeak dictionary, but unfortunately for them the rest of us still speak English.

  8. Chris Matchett

    but he's right

    MPs are elected peers not appointed slaves

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missed opportunity

    I'm betting the "message" would have been taken far more seriously if they had sent them a DVD of "V for Vendetta" (or the comic if you want to waste it on a politicians), a single red rose, a CD of the 1812 overture and a note saying "People should not be afraid of their governments..." instead. Not only is if far more ominous it makes you sound less like a spotty teenager who has just read 1984 for the first time.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Employers vs masters....

    "It seems my objection to the term 'masters' is causing some annoyance. For the avoidance of doubt, I regard my constituents as 'employers' rather than 'masters', fellow citizens to whom I am accountable. But 'masters' is so 18th century, don’t you think?"

    Yeah, 'cos a master you have to obey, whereas an employer... just keep @r$ing about on the internet pretending to be doing work and make sure the money keeps coming in.

    Anonymous coward, because... well DUUUUUH!!!!!!

  11. Sceptical Bastard

    Uneducated as well as arrogant

    Whether Shawcross said "We are the masters now" or "We are the masters at the moment" is neither here nor there - the fact is that Harris, a ghastly little Nu-Lamer nonentity, failed to recognise the reference and also failed to see the relevance of Orwell's classic. He thereby showed himself to be not only a self-important bullying motormouth but a pig-ignorant and unread self-important bullying motormouth. A curse on him and his whole tribe.

    "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." Come the revolution, Harris will get a sharp reminder (perhaps by Taser, perhaps by rope-and-lampost) that WE, not him and his cronies, are the more equal. Aux armes, citoyens!

  12. Mark York
    Black Helicopters

    It seems he has finished the book?

    I DON’T seem to have anything to read at the moment, so I went into Waterstone’s half an hour ago and bought “Dreams From My Father” by Barack Obama. Thought it might be appropriate to read it right

    From the blog.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ten people went for a walk today. Searched, and by the look of it, arrested.

    Story is emerging slowly on

  14. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Down

    "Don't you think?"

    No. We're not allowed to. Only terrorists and paedophiles think. I'd refer you to the law about it, but it's classified on grounds of national security.

  15. Peter Ford
    Thumb Up

    Re: Sceptical Bastard

    "Come the revolution"...

    Isn't it about time we got on with this revolution?

    I need a date to pencil in to my diary...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris Matchett

    Too bloody right, "Masters" my arse. If there was less of this gumpf in the UK I would be more happy.

    @Gareth Jones - please, less of the 18 century and maybe more of the 21st.

    @Sceptical Bastard - so your "more equal" are you matey. I think not.

    This was a pathetic stunt. In style its right up there with Fathers' for Justice and their ilk. There much better things you can spend £3k on in my opinon.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Libertarians? Orwell?

    George Orwell was no libertarian - he advocated state socialism (for example in his 1941 essay "The Lion and the Unicorn": "private capitalism – that is, an economic system in which land, factories, mines and transport are owned privately and operated solely for profit – does not work").

    So while he and the libertarians both oppose totalitarianism, I'm not sure they want to be proudly holding him up as a warning - he "warned" against libertarian ideals as well as against totalitarian ones.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Nov 5

    Message to the Government: The people do not celebrate Guy Fawkes getting caught !

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    glaringly obvious newspeak

    > For the avoidance of doubt, I regard my constituents as 'employers' rather than 'masters', fellow citizens to whom I am accountable. But 'masters' is so 18th century, don’t you think?"

    Because we live in such an egalitarian society that the ideas of master and servant are unwords now? Tsk. This man believes in PR.

  20. Adrian Jooste

    Metallica said it best

    Come crawling faster (faster)

    Obey your master (master)

    Your life burns faster (faster)

    Obey your master (master)

    Master, master

    Master of Puppets I'm pulling your strings

    Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams

    Blinded by me, you can't see a thing

    Just call my name, 'cause I'll hear you scream

    Master, master

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    well, they did need telling

    "Young man, This is a reminder that this book, contrary to what your leader might think, is NOT an instruction manual, but a warning."

    class,,, pure class....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    spank the wanker

    Right out of office. don't you have a recall right?

    Epic Fail.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Book Masters

    Reading this late in the day, the word "Libertarian" merged into "Librarian" and the whole article started to make some perverse kind of sense.

  24. Sceptical Bastard

    @ Peter Ford

    Damn it, Peter - don't rush us!

    As to dates, you've put me on the spot. I'll have a word with my comrades in the proletarian council and get back to you on that.

    We have been hoping for 25 October (or 7 November if you are still on the Gregorian calendar). Are either of those dates good for you? If so, what year? We can do 2017 (for old times). How's 2017 look for you?

    PS. We can supply you with weapons, a loudhailer, a Mao jacket and a very nice beret but please bring your own blanket and some empty milk bottles. Any petrol you can rustle up would be much appreciated too. Please also learn the words to 'La Marseillaise' . See you at the barricades, comrade... aux armes!

    @ the humour-bypassed dolt who wrote: "so your "more equal" are you matey. I think not."

    In terms of who serves whom, yes we, the people, are more equal than the pygmies we elect and pay for. Matey. Also, most of us are more equal than belligerent twats like you, particularly in the use of apostrophised contractions.

  25. Joe Zeff
    Black Helicopters

    What we need next

    The next thing we need is for somebody to do the same thing next year at Barak Hussein Obama's inauguration. Regardless of what you think of him or his politics, it'd be the equivalent of the slave saying to the general (during a triumph) "Remember, you too are mortal."

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    If Nice Mr. Blair (who went by the nom de plume "Orwell") were around today, he would have philosophically and and rhetorically bitchslapped his namesake and snivelling quisling flunkies back into the stoneage before breakfast.

    The choice of book is entirely appropriate. Read some of his essays some time- they're readily available on The Intarwebs.

    Great story, thanks Reg. Gave me a grin.

  27. Daniel B.

    Re: Missed opportunity

    They did miss that opportunity, but that "mass-mailing" scheme sounds a lot like the "Guy Fawkes masks-on-mail" idea from the movie. (A scene which isn't in the original graphical novel, though.)

    The funny thing is that most people out there think about some stupid TV show when they hear "Big Brother", and are oblivious to the original concept.

  28. dervheid

    @ Chris Matchett

    "MPs are elected peers not appointed slaves"


    MP's are elected *representatives*, not peers. It's just that most of this lot give the impression that they believe they have a God-given right to 'be in charge'. This baw-heid is a prime example of this arrogance.

    They need to be reminded, regularly, that this is NOT the case.

    Unfortunately, most of the "I've always voted <insert party>, just like my father, grandfatther..." sheeple have forgotten that their MP should be putting them first, and the 'party' second.

  29. The Other Steve


    "Unfortunately, most of the "I've always voted <insert party>, just like my father, grandfatther..." sheeple have forgotten that their MP should be putting them first, and the 'party' second."

    Would that it were so, that our glorious "democracy" functioned in such a manner, unfortunately, it's party first all the way unless you're an independent, or wish to become one due to having the whip withdrawn. Political parties in the UK expect their members to toe the party line or find themselves out on their ear, a system which rather obviously leads to corruption and totalitarianism but no doubt is allowed to stand due to being a "great tradition" or some such shite.

    Only very occasionally, and even then only by convention rather than protocol are MPs actually allowed to "vote their conscience", q.v the Human Embryology Bill.

  30. dervheid
    Thumb Up

    @The Other Steve

    Too true my friend.

  31. Ted Treen

    @ dervheid & Sceptical


    Unfortunately old son, the majority of the NuLab-supporting voters (love the word "sheeple") STILL see Keir Hardie, and not Stalin-in-a-frock when scratching their "x" on a ballot form.

    And this is despite the evidence of their own eyes when in the late twenties/early thirties, the Labour Party ceased to be a party of and for the working class, having been hijacked by self-proclaimed "intellectual liberals" and others, so aptly described by Comrade Lenin as "useful idiots".

    the situation has not changed at all in the following eighty years. Your comment re regular reminding is totally appropriate, and I favour Sceptical's rope-and-a-lampost manner of reminding.

    Sceptical, you also have my admiration and approval for cutting through the camouflage and associated crap, making your point succinctly and convincingly.

    Please, no more career politicos/failed barristers whose motto is "L'etat, c'st moi".

    All we need is a latter-day Charlotte Corday.

    One for the moderatrix, peut-etre?

  32. Neil


    We prefer 'Masters', bitch.

  33. Eric Crippen
    Thumb Up

    Misunderstanding of the context???

    Being a native speaker of american english, I was under the impression that the message meant that the people (i.e. citizens of said country) were the masters and the government (i.e. elected officials) was the servant. I thought it was pretty amusing, though not as good as having Tina Fey impersonate a mental tart.

  34. Richard

    Use of the term Master

    Firstly, well done to the people posting the books for making a point. It is about time politicians learned their place in the UK structure.

    While I can see the objection to the term "Master", lets be honest thats what we are in reality. They are elected by us to serve our interests, not their own. When we say "We don't want the Lisbon Treaty" it is their BOUND DUTY to throw it out, instead they tell us some colourful places to put it, and do as they please anyway.

    We have one of the most corrupt governments in the world, who's success at being corrupt is measured by the fact that most people still think they live in a fair democracy.

    I hope '1984' has given all MPs a stark reminder of what they should be doing, versus what they have been doing for the last 98 years.

    -- Richard

  35. DT


    @abigsmurf The holier than thou sentiment comes from the fact that the ideology is based on fundamental moral principles - It is wrong to initiate aggression or coerce your fellow man - something which no other political movement can claim. Hence they have the moral high ground.

    I don't know what part of that you perceive to be flawed.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    @ Sceptical Bastard

    "I'll have a word with my comrades in the proletarian council and get back to you on that."

    That will be with borwn, jackie and all then.

    Am currently reading a biograohy of astalin, in the 1920's at the moment where they have commission and subcommission and commitees to decide everything, and staff by stalins mates, quangos then, and are using fear to tow the line. This is fear of a counter revolution, think terrorism. Oh and anyone who doesnt agree with lenin and stalin are thrown out of the party. Because its just not cricket.

    No parrallels at all to the removal of our freedoms and the way the governements quangos which decide everything are populated by their mates and anyone who will give them a free holiday.

    Therefore if the revolutions coming from the proletarian council I do believe you are about a decade late :)

  37. Gianni Straniero


    He can prefer to think of his constituents as "employers", if he wishes. But we seem to prefer "public servant" over "public employee" to describe his role. Let us head without delay to the first refuge of the pedant, the Oxford English Dictionary:

    servant, n. A person of either sex who is in the service of a master or mistress; one who is under obligation to work for the benefit of a superior, and to obey his (or her) commands.

    Marvellous. Not only were the Libertarians scrupulously precise in their choice of title, it seems his constituents are also his superiors. I don't find that particularly difficult to believe, tbh.

  38. Ishkandar

    @Chris Matchett

    You missed one "e" in your sentence. It should be "pee-ers", not "peers" since they piss on everyone and everything except their right to wallow in the public trough !!

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