Thursday, November 23, 2017

Taking a Stand

I believe that it is sometimes necessary to take a moral stand - it doesn't need to be anything spectacular, just a boycott of services someone or something you disapprove of provide is usually enough.  If nothing else, it eases one's conscience.  To this end, I refuse to have anything to do with the Murdoch empire if I can help it: I won't buy his newspapers and I won't subscribe to Sky.  I once even changed my Internet Service Provider (ISP) when I found that my existing one was being sold to Sky, such is my dislike of the Murdochs.  In the scheme of things it makes little difference, I know, but it allows me a sense of triumph.  I can't be bought with promises of live football or movie channels.  In a similar vein, I refuse to have anything to do with Richard Branson's Virgin empire.  In part, it is down to my bad experiences with NTL broadband, which is now branded as Virgin Media, and partly due to the fact that I think he's a hairy twat.  Now, some might think that I'm only inconveniencing myself by refusing the opportunity to view more TV channels or those 'great' broadband and phone deals.  But the fact is that I'm perfectly happy with Freeview and my current ISP offers me a cheap and reliable service.

Now, it obviously isn't possible to avoid Sky and Virgin completely: if I go into a pub with the TV playing, the odds are that it will be connected to Sky and sooner or later I'm bound to be forced to use a Virgin-branded train.  But where I have a choice, I try to enforce my principles.  Now, I know that I'm not always consistent in my application of my principles, but if I boycotted everyone and everything I disapproved of, I wouldn't be able to shop anywhere.  The reality is that some principles are easier to enforce than others - I find it very simple, for instance, to boycott Dyson products, on the basis that James Dyson is a millionaire Brexit hypocrite who has such regard for British jobs and the UK economy that he moved his manufacturing to far eastern sweat shops so as to maximise his profits.  The fact is that I can't afford his vacuum cleaners anyway.  Speaking of Brexit bastards, this finally brings me round to the point of this post: my boycott of Wetherspoons.  The owner of said chain of bars featuring no character whatsoever, but lots of cheap, badly poured, beer, is a notable Brexiteer and I've decided that I don't want to add to his profits.  Most of my beer drinking acquaintances,  regardless of their political views, disagree with my stance, 'but they've got cheap beer', is their sole argument.  Aparently principles go out of the window when some right wing bastard who is partly responsible for this country heading toward economic oblivion offers you a cheap pint in his plastic pub.

Now, I don't expect anyone else to follow me in my boycotts - they are entirely personal choices.  But I was left wondering exactly what it would take for some people to boycott something.  I mean, if Hitler had opened a bar locally and offered cheap beer, would my acquaintances have been happy to negotiate the Nazi regalia adorning the walls for a cheap pint?  After all, just drinking there wouldn't necessarily be an endorsement of the owner's political ideology would it?  And even if the money you spent there went into the Nazi Party coffers, it wouldn't be a significant contribution, would it?  After all, most of it goes to paying the staff, who probably aren't Nazis.  OK, the fact that they won't serve Jews, blacks, the disabled and just about any other minority you can think of might be problematic, but Hell, we don't have many such minorities around here anyway, and there are plenty of other places they can drink, aren't there?  So, it wouldn't be a problem, I guess.  But I'm being terribly judgemental, (not to mention hypothetical).  I'm just happy to keep up my personal boycott - which is easy to do because, despite the cheap beer, I really don't like those plastic pubs with their plastic staff and airport departure lounge decor. 



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