First They Came for the Pasties, and I Didn’t Speak Out Because I Wasn’t Hungry…

Then they came for the crisps, and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t have 50p anyway…

That’s right, Britons–get ready to pay an extra 20% on your beef and onion pasty thanks to Oxford twat George Osborne, who while increasing the tax on a beloved food item of the 99%, decreased the taxes for all the Lord Nimblybottoms in the financial sector:

The tax controversy, which the British press has called, inevitably, “Pasty-gate,” has come to symbolize the increasingly vitriolic debate in Britain over who should shoulder the burden of the government’s drive to cut debt and spending.

Of course the tax decrease on the wealthy pasty-avoiders is justified by the standard logic that accompanies any tax decrease for the wealthy: if the wealthy have more money to spend, they’ll improve the economy. Yes, the wealthy; not some plodding sow from Shropshire with pasty crumbs on her rubbery bosom.

Not surprisingly, the Times highlighted the pasty’s populist credentials:

At lunchtime Thursday at the closest shop on the Times list — less than a mile from Mr. Osborne’s residence in the Westminster area of central London — a line of civil servants, construction workers and others waited to pay 90 pence, or $1.43, for a sausage roll or £1.42 for a heartier steak bake.

Yup, for about a quid you’ll get a delicious pastry filled with ground beef, sausage, or whatever the hell they feel like putting in there–and that’s the same for everyone, doctors to ditch-diggers. It truly is the food of the people.

Thus, methinks this tax situation is going to get pasty.

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Breaking News: Europeans Hate Shitty Coffee

Alas, poor Starbucks–I knew it, Horatio.

While many of us are desperately wishing for a melancholy Dane to ponder over the bleached skull of the most irritating corporate force in America, those mad geniuses behind your burned coffee are seeking to conquer that Dane’s homeland–think of them as Fortinbras with a Frappucino.

Starbucks is embarking on a multimillion-dollar campaign to win over more of Europe’s coffee aficionados — with a upscale makeover of hundreds of stores to cater to an ingrained cafe culture, and adjusting beverages and blends to suit fickle regional palates.

Yet despite the full-court press Elsinore is, for the moment, safe:

After eight years spent setting up 63 French Starbucks stores, the company has never turned a profit in France. And even in the parts of Europe where the company does make money, sales and profit growth lag far behind results in the Americas and Asia.

Europe’s debt crisis and sluggish economy are a factor. So are high European rents and labor costs, which impinge on profits more than in any other region in which Starbucks operates. But the biggest challenge may lie in tailoring the Starbucks experience to appeal to a variety of European tastes.

Ah, I see–young Europeans aren’t yet used to the idea of a soul-killing career for a company that does not pay a living wage. But there is hope for the ‘Bucks, and that hope lies within the simulacrum:

“In markets where there is an entrenched coffeehouse culture, like Paris or Vienna, I was expecting to hear more requests to be like them,” Ms. Gass said. “But I heard the opposite — people want the true Starbucks experience.”

Presumably this desire for “the true Starbucks experience” necessitates a surly barista, a urine-soaked homeless person, and some asshole with a clipboard whose resume lacked the civic activities required for admission to Harvard Law.

Ultimately, Starbucks will conquer Europe. McDonald’s, that other beacon of American food corporatism, eventually found traction and so will the ‘Bucks. Whether it’s Eurotrash hipsters desirous of lemon pound cake and a watery latte, or bloated American tourists too afraid to try a local cafe, people will make their way into the black and green empire of aestheticide that is Starbucks.

On the other hand, the British need Starbucks: shitty or not, it’s likely the only passable cup of coffee you’re likely to find on that entire miserable island.

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