I’ve previously described my scepticism towards businesses weighing in on the culture wars, or even politics in general. As I put it, the mechanism for choosing ice cream should be distinct from voting.
One way of putting this policy into practice is to ignore any political messaging a company puts out. Whether Ben & Jerry’s is woke, based or indifferent you buy that ice cream.
Another strategy is to boycott any overtly political companies regardless of stance, but in practice this is likely to be a lopsided strategy. Consumer-facing brands seem almost only to see value in being woke, with the British pub chain Wetherspoon’s a rare rightwing exception in its political activism.
(A separate exception I can think of is the Spectator, which recently threatened to blacklist a company over some woke threats around advertising. But that’s a political magazine, which justifies special treatment, and newspapers should resist such pressure from companies buying ads.)
Consistency aside, unless one monitors such things I suspect the tendency will be to pick and choose depending on your own politics. I confess I was only mildly perturbed by Spoons pro-Brexit campaigning, which included beer mats and literature, if my beer-addled memory serves. Woke campaigning annoys me more.
Speaking of beer, the craft brewery Affinity recently opened a bottle shop in Crystal Palace. Its Twitter account asks people to: “Be excellent to each other. Unless they’re Tories.”
The cheapness with which people write off more than 40% of their countrymen is sadly no longer news, nor is an indie brand having a politically bigoted social media feed. Antipathy to conservatives could be common among craft brewers, but that doesn’t make this any better.
Although Affinity’s beers have never impressed me, I’d normally be willing to give any bottle shop a chance. As it is there are many more brewers who – besides NHS charity cans and relevant statements on hospitality’s plight – keep their politics to themselves. They can have my business instead.