The GB News boycott is a turning point: business must end its woke campaigning or it may not survive the backlash
Companies have made a fatal error by declaring war on Tory voters
16 June 2021 • 9:30pm
First it was their implacable, undemocratic hostility to Brexit, then their embrace of wokedom, and now their pathetic boycott of GB News, the centre-Right TV start-up. What is going on in boardrooms across Britain and the West? What has it come to when the likes of Ikea and Nivea cannot tolerate free speech and media plurality, and yet continue to trade in China and Saudi Arabia?
A generation of craven corporate apparatchiks, in thrall to the latest American nostrums, have lost their moral bearings. There was a time when business was conservative-leaning but apolitical, and senior executives voted Tory or, at a stretch, for Tony Blair. Increasingly, this is no longer true: in a historic miscalculation, swathes of British businesses have shifted to the radical Left, embracing its cancel culture and adopting explicitly political mission statements.
The result is that many global firms have declared war on the Conservative voters who, until very recently, used to support them. In many cases, they are now openly hostile to the values of the majority in every country. These firms will soon find out that they no longer have any friends. Grovelling before the revolutionary Left won’t spare companies from its proto-Marxism, and the Right will never again lift a finger to help a sneering corporate world that claims to no longer believe in Western enlightenment values. Even worse, many on the centre-Right will probably now embrace antitrust measures and taxes that they would never have dreamt of a few years ago.
Take Ikea, which says it won’t advertise on GB News: why insult so many of its customers by stating, on the day the retailer was fined in France for spying on staff, that it has “safeguards in place to prevent our advertising from appearing on platforms that are not in line with our humanistic values and vision to side with the many people”? Did it really want to remind the public of the fascist past of its founder? The person whose complaint triggered Ikea’s tweet was a socialist and supporter of Welsh independence. Can’t these big companies see that, by politicising every act of consumer choice, they will kill capitalism? Do they want to live in a world where Tory voters shop with some firms and Labour voters with others?
The double-speak is beyond satire; the hypocrisy nauseating. The cider firm Kopparberg declared itself “a drink for everyone” while suspending advertising on GB News – “everyone”, in this case, must refer only to those on the Left. Grolsch, the brewer, claimed to be “a brand that prides itself on core values of inclusion and openness to all people”. It is offensive verbiage, insinuating that only the Left can be anti-racist or anti-sexist.
Some firms employ the wrong, badly trained people in their social media teams. Instant judgment is rendered by a junior employee, often one who is so imbued with Twitter culture that they no longer realise the difference between social media and the real world. They confuse confected campaigns, as with advertising boycotts, with spontaneous outrage. A better strategy would be to ignore Twitter bullying: the mob’s power is usually illusory.
Very Good Points
Some companies believe that it is costless to insult Right-leaning consumers but dangerous to annoy Left-wing ones. The assumption here is asymmetric preferences: the Left is thought to care more about politics and be more likely to engage in action, while the Right are either oblivious or apathetic. This is increasingly untrue. The companies boycotting GB News will have greatly infuriated hundreds of thousands of consumers and only mildly pleased a few million Left-wingers. Intensity cuts both ways.
Placeholder image for youtube video: uasQT1iBj9I
Woke true-believers think that cancelling non-Lefties is a brave moral act, a stand against “violence” and “evil”, a proof of inherent “goodness”. Not advertising on a fledgling TV channel is a form of blanket absolution for all questionable behaviour, past and present. Virtue-signalling counts for more than genuinely virtuous behaviour. In reality, trying to shut news ventures is itself fascistic.
Overdosing on Good Points now
Yet many boards have now signed off on woke mission statements. In some cases, CEOs treat them as a tick-box wokewashing exercise, the details delegated to HR departments, to be used as cover for demanding long working weeks. Others are true believers: capitalists have always been their own worst enemy, and some are so desperate to find a meaning to their lives that they latch on to every fashionable ideology.
Good Point. When I have made my millions I shall become a philanthropist
There is another force wokeifying firms: organised labour is making a turn. This is not about the old blue collar unions: they are still withering away, and many of their erstwhile members are now Tory voters. Instead, some organisations, including in professional services, in tech and ordinary business, in the arts, in education and culture, are letting themselves be influenced by small groups of young woke employees intent on generational warfare.
Good Points I sort of get but I am not a Fox News subscriber or the talking dog on Family Guy
In a perfect illustration of what the anthropologist Peter Turchin dubs “elite overproduction”, the instigators generally feel alienated in the Marxist sense: they studied for the wrong degrees, feel under-paid and overworked, live in cramped rentals in London (all genuine grievances) and vote Labour or Green. They feel entitled yet precarious; such left-behind elites are adept at using internal discussion boards to foment trouble and seek to turn capitalist organisations into “social businesses”. They can’t distinguish their private from their professional lives, and seek to impose their values on their workplaces.
Good Point Genie bus bottle fed baby
There is a better strategy for companies that still want to compete in the real world: have no truck with this madness, stamp out all prejudice, embrace absolute meritocracy and instigate a nurturing culture of mutual support and respect. Offices should be ideology-free and devoid of thought-police: the corporate purpose must be to unite people from all backgrounds to make money ethically, not to organise readings of Robin DiAngelo’s abysmal White Fragility and purge dissenters.
Good Point Back to Springfield Simpson Land now
The boycott of GB News is a turning point for business. They must choose: are they for-profit ventures selling to customer-kings, or weapons of the Left, political organisations masquerading as commercial outfits, militating against freedom? If it’s the latter, the backlash, when it comes, will be ferocious.
Good Points. I think we did the 20th Century interwar years at school
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Surprisingly Good Points from the Daily Telegraph Today
Good Points but no more Futurama please
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