Saturday 27 July 2013

The Boycott Warburtons campaign

In July 2013, standing in a Warburtons bakery in Wednesbury near Birmingham, the Chancellor George Osborne gave a positively Orwellian press conference about the so-called economic recovery.

The contents of George Osborne's speech are worthy of criticism, but I'll leave that to the economist Ha Joon Chang who expertly trashes Osborne's misleading propaganda in this article, and to the New Statesman magazine, who provide another five compelling reasons to reject Osborne's misleading "economic recovery" propaganda.

What I'm going to focus on is the ties between the Conservative party and Warburtons Ltd, where Osborne's speech was made.

In April 2010, in the build-up to the General Election, Warburtons Ltd gave the Conservative party a £25,000 donation. In the very same month, David Cameron launched the Tory election campaign in a Warburton's bakery, against a background of Warburtons products.

After three years of devastating ideological austerity, Warburtons once again allowed their facilities to be used as a backdrop for Tory party propaganda by allowing George Osborne to make his ludicrous "recovery" speech at their Wednesbury plant.

Perhaps Warburtons were under the impression that donating cash to the Tories and hosting Tory publicity stunts would somehow result in some positive publicity for their brand? I rather suspect the opposite is happening. There is now a growing Boycott Warburtons campaign on social media, meaning that they are likely to regret their close association with David Cameron and George Osborne, and their implicit support for the ideological austerity experiment which has impoverished so many of their own customers.

If you do intend to boycott Warburtons, one thing I would recommend is that instead of just boycotting their product range, you should send them a quick email to make them aware of your reasons for boycotting their products.

Here is their customer services email address:

Here is their customer feedback form:
Click here

An individually written email is always more effective than a copy n' paste job. However, if you are pressed for time or don't have the confidence to write your own, please feel free to copy n' paste the standard letter I have prepared below.

Here are a few tips on what to write if you decide to contact Warburtons with your concerns:

1. Remember to be polite. A rude email is unlikely to convince anyone of anything, other than to harden their stance against anything you say.

2. Tell them that you are a customer and that you will be boycotting their products until you are certain that they have publicly apologised for their involvement with the Conservative party and ideological austerity. 
3. Be concise. The recipient is almost certain to be a busy working person. Try not to exceed a few short paragraphs, anything longer and your message is likely to go unread.

4. Request a response. Ask that someone in authority replies to your concerns.

5. Follow up: If no response is forthcoming, forward the original email to them after a few days with a covering note explaining that you are awaiting a response.

Dear sir/madam,

I am just writing to let you know that I am boycotting the Warburtons product range because of your support for the Conservative party.

The political party your company has chosen to support with a £25,000 donation in April 2010 (and with publicity stunts such as George Osborne's recent appearance at the Wednesbury bakery) have caused economic havoc. The average wage has fallen by 9% in real terms since they came to power, long-term unemployment has sky-rocketed, youth unemployment too. The UK has suffered two all time record trade deficits in the last 18 months, all of George Osborne's economic predictions have been spectacularly missed and we have been stripped of our AAA rating by two of the three credit ratings agencies. The poor and ordinary have been made to bear the weight of austerity (benefits cut in real terms, in-work benefits slashed, below inflation rises in the National Minimum Wage, bedroom tax. workfare, sanctions, public sector pay freezes, cuts in public services, attacks on legal aid, mass public sector redundancies and the appalling Atos WCA assessment regime) whilst the wealthy have been coddled (top rate income tax cut, repeated corporation tax cuts, bankers bonuses defended in the European parliament, £billions in corporate outsourcing contracts, new tax-loopholes, mass privatsation of public assets into private hands).

It is particularly appalling to see that Warburtons have allowed their premises in Wednesbury to be used in order to allow George Osborne to spin his Orwellian misrepresentations about how the UK economy is "recovering", when the reality is that his ideological austerity experiment has caused economic chaos and a great deal of suffering to millions (including your own customers).

Until a public apology is made about your support for the Conservative party and the ideological austerity agenda you have implicitly supported through your association with this party, I shall be avoiding your products entirely and advising my friends and associates to do likewise.

I would appreciate it if you would take the time to respond to the concerns raised in this letter and either confirm or deny that a public apology will be forthcoming.


[Your name]


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