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The Con-Dem Christmas Carol

The ’12 Cuts of Christmas’, sung by student protesters on the tuition fee demonstration at Parliament Square, summed up this year’s defiantly festive spirit. You can join in the iconoclast carol with the video and lyrics in this post.
Niki Seth-Smith
23 December 2010

Snow, the stranded huddled in airports, cuts enfeebling local government, the looming prospect of the rise in VAT – you could be forgiven for seeing only coal in the country’s stocking this year. But this Christmas also brings a sense of expectation, of boundaries challenged. For me, hearing the carol ‘The 12 Cuts of Christmas’, sung at the tuition fee demo at Parliament Square, sums up this year’s defiantly festive spirit. 

A group of protestors began the carol just as the surreally beatific light that had graced the marches was beginning to fade from Big Ben. I turned round from the renegade choristers to see a group setting fire to a bench – one of several ad-hoc blazes being fed by placards and pamphlets on what to do when arrested.  The riot police had not yet arrived by that time, but the mood was changing.  

While the mainstream media would have us believe that this group of singers, wrapped in ultra-wholesome scarves and smiles, could not have been among the ‘anarchist’ protesters resisting that evening’s brutal kettle, the lines are not so sharply drawn. So can it be an angry, as well as a joyful Christmas? Well, take the protest song. It’s a celebration – not of the events of which it speaks, but of camaraderie, free expression, and a shared sense of purpose.

Below are the lyrics to the ‘Con-Dem Christmas Carol’, composed by the UCL occupation (hear the full-length version from inside the occupation here).

The Con-Dem Xmas Carol

On the first day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, a three-fold increase in my fees. 

On the second day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the third day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the fourth day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the fifth day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, LIFE-LONG DEBT!! Less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the sixth day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, no school sporting, LIFE-LONG DEBT!! Less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the seventh day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, corporate business training, no school sporting, LIFE-LONG DEBT!! Less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the eighth day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, no graduate jobbing, corporate business training, no school sporting, LIFE-LONG DEBT!! Less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the ninth day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, tax-dodging banking, no graduate jobbing, corporate business training, no school sporting, LIFE-LONG DEBT!! Less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the tenth day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, less graduate funding, tax-dodging banking, no graduate jobbing, corporate business training, no school sporting,LIFE-LONG DEBT!! Less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the eleventh day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, my department closing, less graduate funding, tax-dodging banking, no graduate jobbing, corporate business training, no school sporting, LIFE-LONG DEBT!! Less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff and a three-fold increase in my fees.

On the twelfth day of Christmas the Con-Dems gave to me, democracy not working, my department closing, less graduate funding, tax-dodging banking, no graduate jobbing, corporate business training, no school sporting, LIFE-LONG DEBT!! Less humanities, no EMA, fewer teaching staff…

                                                  …and a kettle that's not for tea!


Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


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