Don't mess with Belfast hipsters... my advice to London posh boy anarchists
A little under a year ago two brothers, Alan and Gary Keery, from Belfast, opened a cafe in Brick Lane in the East End of London.
The cafe is called Cereal Killer and sells only cereal, milk, pop tarts and a few other breakfasty treats. The brothers are hipsters and the patrons are hipsters.
What a lovely idea everyone thought, until a journo at the official opening asked one of the brothers if he thought it was ethical to open a hipster cafe charging three quid for a bowl of cereal in a deprived part of London.
That remark got the ball rolling and the Cereal Killer Cafe over the last year has become the target of a hate campaign by anti-capitalist protesters, anti-gentrification protesters and by the anarchist group Class War.
The paper I read, The Guardian, has largely been pro-protester, publishing articles from various factions who cannot abide the presence of the Cereal Killer Cafe in their midst.
The protests have rumbled along in the background for about a year until last weekend when Class War decided to march down Brick Lane and attack the Cereal Killer Cafe. The Class War protesters were carrying severed pigs' heads and brandishing torches, and rather in the manner of Kristallnacht, bricks were thrown at the cafe's windows, paint was daubbed on the walls and the patrons were prevented from leaving. The Guardian article on the attack has video from inside the cafe as part of the assault was happening. Children can be heard crying while Gary assures the customers that they will be kept safe.
Over the next two days The Guardian newspaper published an article from someone who took part in the march where he sort of apologised if children were upset by the incident but insisted that the real criminals were the people who were destroying Brick Lane with their trendy ideas; and a day later they published an interview with the founder of Class War who not only approved of the attack on Cereal Killer but said that it was much more effective to go after an independent cafe rather than the nearby chains of Starbucks, Costa Coffee etc because it got a lot more publicity for the cause and an independent could be much more easily intimidated and driven out.
Well yes, except that the brothers are from Belfast and people from Belfast don't go to pieces because a bunch of upper middle-class chinless wonders carrying torches are trying to intimidate them.
The average kid from Belfast is tough... and a beardy twin hipster boy from Belfast would have had to have been very tough indeed not to get the ***** knocked out of him walking home from Lavery's come a Saturday night.
The whole episode moreover is rife with irony: one of the banners the mob was carrying said 'Refugees Welcome', just not, apparently, refugees from Ireland.
It should also be remembered that the East End of London used to display signs in shop windows stating 'No Blacks, No Irish'.
The journey from fascist to fervent anti-fascist and back again is not the journey of a million miles.
In a response article in The Guardian last Tuesday Alan Keery said that he and his brother had grown up under the shadow of sectarian gangs in Belfast and the Class War mob didn't scare them.
This is a promise I would take seriously if I were one of the Class War social justice warriors commuting back to mummy's home in Hampstead.
Never mess with a Belfast hipster when his business is on the line.
Posh boy from north London wearing a Dolce & Gabbana hoodie v working class kid from Belfast defending his customers? I know who my money would be on.