The Ethical Consumer

I’ve recently been asked what I, as a ‘normal’ person actually do to fight against Brexit. It’s a question I regularly ask myself and come up with many different answers. I’m neither a politician nor a diplomat, I don’t know anybody in government who I could influence, and to have myself chained naked to the White cliffs of Dover out of protest… ummm… well let’s just say that’s not quite me. I used to sign petitions but gave up on that as I feel that parliament, the way it operates at the moment, simply ignores everything they don’t like anyway. Also the fact that 48% voted remain doesn’t seem to interest anybody anymore. So what shall I do? How shall I deal with the fact that my voice is not heard? Well, I go to rallies, I campaign with the3million and I try to add my voice to social media discussions. But somehow this doesn’t feel enough (and I hear from a lot of friends they feel the same) I get the impression that, like with many things in our society, the only voice that gets heard is the voice of money. Money is power. Money is influence. Unfortunately I don’t have enough money to finance a campaign or employ someone to get chained naked to the cliffs of Dover for that matter But I do have some money, my own money, the money I do my shopping with every day. And this, I am convinced, is where the “power of the ordinary man” lies. If 48% of the people questioned their consumer habit, that would create enourmous economical power. Boycotts have had a huge impact in the past already; recently with LEGO in the UK I base my consumer decisions mainly on the “Stop funding Hate” website (stopfundinghate.org.uk) and “The Ethical Consumer” Magazine (ethicalconsumer.org). Both try to create an awareness of companies who finance via their adverts in the Daily Mail or the Daily Express those tabloids’ campaigns against foreigners and for Brexit. Whereever I can (and I’m not a saint obviously) I try to avoid those companies (sorry Waitrose) Whenever I fly British Airways I complain to them, giving out the Daily Mail for free to their customers. And finally, I try to talk to people. A Daily Mail reader next to me in a Cafe or the tube? Ok, let’s talk about it. It is only very rarely that people don’t want to talk I have found (sometimes they want to talk more than me!) And yes, not all these conversations are convenient, but very often it turns out, that Brexit was not about foreigners in general (“we don’t mean you darling”) or about taking back control (of what anyway?), but about the daily personal worries: the rising rent, the sick mother, not enough spaces at the local school, closing A&Es, a broken marriage… Brexit promised change after all. And that sounded good first of all. Details? Well we can sort all that out later. I saw a statistic yesterday in the Independent which said, that 69% of Leave voters consider Brexit a rather low priority. That matches my experience from my conversations. It’s not about Brexit or Brussels or Europe or foreigners or control, it’s about change. It’s about the hope to create a better life. And these changes we can only achieve together. So let’s use what power we have to its best effect; where it hurts. With money. I’m looking forward to hearing from you, how you get active!