The Smell of Bullshit, part 78: That Pesky Public

In part 77, we talked about Lush’s campaign related to the undercover police officers nicknamed “spy cops,” and how upset many of the public were. A little while ago, I received this email from a Lush staff member.


My Favourite Recipe Books

I like to do a batch-cook once a month. I spend a weekend cooking as many main meals and lunches as I can fit in the freezer, and these are the recipe books I use most often.

Madhur Jaffrey

  • Curry Easy Vegetarian
  • The Madhur Jaffrey Cookbook
  • Curry Easy

Anjum Anand

  • Anjum’s Indian Vegetarian Feast
  • I (heart) Curry

Kaushy Patel

  • Prashad Indian Vegetarian Curry
  • Prashad at Home

Meera Sodha

  • Fresh India

Krishna Dutta

  • the Dal Cookbook

Mona Hamadeh

  • A Lebanese Feast of Vegetables, Pulses, Herbs and Spices

Salma Hage

  • The Middle Eastern Vegetarian Cookbook


Why? Because they are filled with recipes for tasty, nutritious vegetarian meals,which freeze and re-heat well. Because they use a combination of common (to white British people) and unfamiliar (to white British people) ingredients, which encourages me to eat a wider variety of foods and buy from a wider range of shops. I tend to use Jordan Valley on Nicolson Street and Bismillah Food Store on Nicolson Square, but Maqbool on Potterrow is good too. I like to support small, local businesses where I can. Jordan Valley is great for pulses and spices and huge jars of artichokes at good prices. Bismillah is good for spices, pulses and Asian vegetables. Which reminds me, I bought medlars and I need to see if they are bletted yet…

The Smell of Bullshit, part 77: Another Lush Campaign Upsets People

Several years ago the press revealed that the Metropolitan Police had sent officers undercover into various organisations, to infiltrate the organisations and get evidence of criminal activity. During their undercover time, several of the officers began relationships with women, who were understandably distraught when the truth of their identities were revealed.

I don’t know enough about police work to comment on whether infiltrating groups is common or acceptable police behaviour. I don’t know whether any of those police officers genuinely fell for the women they had relationships with, or whether it was all manipulation and abuse of power. Only the officers involved know that and regardless of any real feelings they might have had, those relationships were strictly forbidden. Certainly the women involved feel that they were manipulated, abused and deceived.

When this information first became public, Mark Constantine had a right bee in his bonnet about it. He posted about it on the Lush forum a lot, along with posts about news reports of MI5 and MI6 using torture or information gained by torturing suspects. He didn’t often post on the forum about anything but he had a lot to say about these issues, in his usual pretentious, trying to be cryptic, pseudo-intellectual way.

Now, Lush believe that the public inquiry into the claims of wrongdoing by the undercover officers is protecting officers, and they have chosen to draw attention to this by what might be their most over the top and not in a good way campaign yet.


On their website, Lush say

“This is not an anti-state/anti-police campaign. We are aware that the police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job whilst having their funding slashed. We fully support them in having proper police numbers, correctly funded to fight crime, violence and to be there to serve the public at our times of need.

This campaign is not about the real police work done by those front line officers who support the public every day – it is about a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed. Our campaign is to highlight this small and secretive subset of undercover policing that undermines and threatens the very idea of democracy.”

But unsurprisingly, the public are seeing it as an attack on all police. Thousands of people on social media are threatening to boycott Lush, their facebook reviews had approx 16,000 one star reviews added overnight, and at least one shop has removed the campaign from its window (note to staff: make sure you’ve joined a union for when the shit comes down on you).


The thing that bugs me most about this is – Lush knew that this window display would trigger strong reactions from the public, and they clearly didn’t give a fuck about how that would affect the frontline shop staff. I’m sure that 99.99% of police officers are professional enough not to let this ill-conceived campaign affect their attitude to their work, but if I worked in a shop with that display up, I’d be at best embarrassed and at worst reluctant to call the police to an emergency situation. Some Lush staff used to be police. Some police used to be Lush staff. Lots of Lush staff have family who are police. Lush can’t have given a second’s thought to what this display would feel like to those staff. And what of the women abused by these few police officers? How do they feel, going into town for a bit of shopping and finding their trauma all over a shop window, selling increasingly laughable products at increasingly inflated prices?

Of course the prices are inflated; Mark keeps giving his money away.

Edited to add: how do the abused women feel about the campaign?

The Smell of Bullshit, part 75: Whistleblowing in the Wind

An email from a Lush employee (edited to remove some identifying details).

How the press lied about the little girl staying with Muslim foster parents. Here are the facts.

Pride's Purge

The tabloid press (and I include The Times in that description) lied about the story of the little girl put into care with a Muslim family.

Here are 10 of their worst lies – along with the real facts of the case as we know them:

1) According to court documents, it was the police not the local authority (as stated by the tabloids) who decided the child should be put into foster care:

2) According to court documents, the foster family criticised by the tabloids was a temporary placement.

3) According to court documents, the child herself is from Muslim heritage and her Muslim grandmother has now been cleared by the courts to look after her. This fact is only disputed by the girl’s mother but none of this was mentioned by the tabloids as it would obviously totally destroy their narrative:
foster muslim 4

4) The temporary foster…

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Susie Dent’s Guide to Swearing is top bollocks

Strong Language

Fuck, shit, bollocks, twat, bloody, and cunt are not the seven words you can never say on television – they’re six words that Susie Denthas said on television. Susie Dent’s Guide to Swearing, a new mini-series from Channel 4, offers an informative and irreverent summary of the history and use of some of our favourite bad words. You can watch the full series below.

A word-history specialist and broadcaster, Dent has written several books on language, most recently Dent’s Modern Tribes. She is best known as the resident lexicographer in ‘dictionary corner’ on Countdown, a perennially popular British TV game show. We can’t not mention that Countdown inadvertently produces the odd rude word to great general amusement.

Though she…

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I hope the people whose neglect allowed this to happen go to prison for a long, long time. Sympathies to the families and friends of those affected. Best of luck to Grenfell Action Group. Thanks to the emergency services and the NHS.

Grenfell Action Group

Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time. Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf:

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Local authorities often use their own employees to run polling stations during election days and to count votes once the polls have closed. This is because they can be sure that the staff will be available for training and are guaranteed time off from their real jobs, and because it’s easier to pay them as they’re already on the payroll.

Consequently, I have worked as a polling clerk (at the polling station) once and as a vote counter numerous times. Take it from me, the idea that you need to vote in pen to prevent people tampering with pencil votes isn’t just offensive, it’s laughable. Staff take the integrity of the process very seriously and would not condone or collude with vote tampering. Take a pen if you want, but there’s really no need.

The Smell of Bullshit, part 74: Consistency (Constantincy?), Thy Name is Not Lush

A couple of emails have come into the blog over the past few days (emails to southside socialist at hotmail dot co dot uk) which suggest that the problems within Lush previously raised by employees here haven’t been resolved. This is one of them, with identifying details omitted.

Cat in a Flat Edinburgh Southside

Caring for the City's Cats

Hollie Poetry

Spoken Word. Poetry. Workshops

Dr. Jen Gunter

Wielding the lasso of truth

Belfast Child

Remembering the Victims


The Pet Authority's Official Blog

The Lab Report

Fake pet news. Follow us on Twitter @hellolabreport

Captain Awkward

Advice. Staircase Wit. Faux Pas. Movies.

Gazzetta della Rum Fucker

Italian Mancunian woman with an unholy love of cake. Blogs for the politically angry, but personally pleasant.

Caro's Creams

Handmade herbal creams and salves


The World's Best Guide To Cold & Open Water Swimming

Sarah Ditum

Writing, etc.

Lisa O'Donnell

Writer of The Death of Bees and Closed Doors out July 4th 2013.

Tales of One City

Edinburgh Libraries blog

Irregularly Irregular

Just another site

The Secret Diary of a Beauty Counter Girl

Exposing the myths, monsters and misogyny.

Iain Macwhirter

Read Iain in The Herald and Sunday Herald, every Wednesday and Sunday.

The Chronicles of Pete

A Somnolent Rescue Cat

Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Making Sense of Modern Fitness

Trekking through a super-saturated, over-bloated industry

leaving the shadow

of a billion pound killing machine

Feminists Unknown's Blog

Together We Are Stronger

Happy is the new healthy

…finding my healthy and smiling the whole way!

OT on wheels

Just another site

Root Veg

dig deeper

Paul Bernal's Blog

Privacy, Human Rights, Law, The Internet, Politics and more

the void

narking off the state since 2005

Springs1's Blog

Just another weblog

...a can opener in a worm factory...

The skull beneath the skin: sex, food, subjectivities.


Jem Bloomfield on culture, gender and Christianity

Helen Blackman

Riding; cycling; writing

Edinburgh Bakers

Formerly known as the Edinburgh Cake Ladies


Radical Feminist Resistance

Davena's Deliberations

My personal take on politics, life and the world

Media Diversified

Foregrounding voices of colour