BY JIM BROWNE
I make two trips every week to the Tesco’s Superstore just a few miles from the Browne house. The first trip involves dropping my wife off and then pulling into a parking spot at The Red Lion next door. I confess I enjoy my Friday afternoon hour of freedom. A pint of cider goes down splendidly with pork scratchings and a chinwag with the locals.
I’m not being chauvinist. My wife prefers to shop alone. When we shop together we tend to argue. Or I accidentally run over her tiny feet with the shopping trolley. There was one occasion when she asked me to reach for some incontinence panties for the mother in law in front of a group of tittering schoolkids and, after that embarrassment, I’ve stayed well clear.
So why two trips per week to Tesco’s?
Well, my wife doesn’t pick up what I need on the first trip. She imagines me on a diet or actually fond of soup and low fat turkey breast. So, normally on a Monday or Tuesday, while she’s out at pottery classes, I return alone to the superstore and pick up the vitals that she has missed: snacks for the hounds, a pack of nougat for sustenance, some ale in case of dehydration, a bottle or two of claret (just because I’m building up a collection as an investment you see) and a family pack of assorted crisps.
Now, it’s the latter that I wanted to write about.
Firstly, because I’m British and we Brits eat a hell of a lot of crisps. They may well be fried in fat and smothered in salt, but still we Brits scoff a heart-stopping six billion packets of them a year. I’ve been all over the world and nowhere comes close to producing the variety or the quality of crisps that can be found on the shelves of any decent British supermarket. The physical experience, the crunchiness, the odour, the taste, how the salt dissolves on one’s tongue, how the flavours fuse in your nose. Crisps are heavenly. (Incidentally, crisps in Germany aren’t so bad, although they do have a tendency to splash them with paprika, which is sacrilegious to say the least).
Secondly, because I, like many Brits, am not a crisps snob. I don’t go for the Thai sensations or the Kettle crisps or want to pop Pringles. I don’t mind the occasional Wotsit, Quaver or Monster Munch but I genuinely prefer a simple bag of crisps. Flavours? Salt & Vinegar, Cheese & Onion, Ready Salted and Prawn Cocktail will do me fine.
Thirdly, because it’s generally a bad idea to mix business and politics. (Unless, of course, your business is politics.)
Finally, because Walker’s Crisps are the best product by far for what I am looking for. They do good-sized, assorted family packs of individual bags of crisps at a reasonable price. The crisps they sell are not over-salted or over-flavoured nor are one in twenty of them teeth-proof (never buy Lidl’s home brand by the way unless you’re a dentist or a beaver). Walker’s have sealed packs which, when you open them, give you fresh, perfect crisps that go down a treat with a pint of beer in front of the rugby, or as an aperitif at Gin O’clock.
So, I hear you ask, what has point three – mixing business and politics – got to do with crisps?
I’m sorry but why the hell are Walker’s still using Gary Lineker to front their crisps advertisements when the man has, for the last two years, gone off on a social justice warrior’s mission to upset anyone who happens to disagree with his luvvie liberal point of view?
Lineker is allied in a vendetta against the UK press with the wingnuts surrounding Hacked-Off and Max Mosley. As a BBC employee, albeit a so-called freelancer, he’s hardly impartial when it comes to current affairs and the media. Remember, this is the man who claimed a man posing as a child refugee was a Home Office interpreter:
The blunder led to many asking him to decide if he’s a political activist or BBC sports journalist – he couldn’t be both.
The Home Office confirmed the unidentified migrant was not their employee and instead among the group entering the UK claiming to be children.
Aside from that error of judgment, Lineker’s Twitter vitriol continues to be overtly political. Lineker’s views on Brexit have been insulting to more than half the voting UK public yet still he fronts Walker’s ads?
So why should I buy Walker’s crisps anymore? Knowing that for every pack I buy, blinkered Mr Lineker is earning a fraction of a penny. (Let’s face it, I already begrudgingly pay the license fee and the fool is earning off that for his football punditry and propaganda about the declining FA Cup – £2 million a year of license fee cash by all accounts).
I detest the Stop Funding Hate campaign against advertisers in the likes of the Mail and Sun. That is an attack on free speech of which Stalin would have been proud.
Asking Walker’s to ditch Lineker, however. That is surely not asking too much? Crisps have nowt to do with free speech. Why are Walker’s making the fatal mistake of mixing oil and water? Business and politics?
I totally get the Leicester connection. Lineker was a Leicester player and professes to be a Leicester fan. Walkers was founded in 1948 in Leicester by Henry Walker. So, why not switch to Jamie Vardy? Or the brilliant Riyad Mahrez? It’s not as if the Leicester connection is vital. The company was acquired by Lay’s owner, Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, in 1989. And, in any case, Leicester Football Club look like they may be going down (certainly the best players look like they will be poached come the end of the 2016/17 Premiership season).
And I appreciate that by taking to a public platform sometimes Lineker can get as good as he gives:
But, come on Walker’s. Ditch old jug ears. He’s bad for business. He’s making your crisps stale. Lineker’s no fun anymore. He’s a former footballer earning good money off the back of the people while sneering at more than half of them. Wake up and see the reality.
Time the BBC and Walker’s sent Gary Lineker out to pasture, where he can tweet his bigoted views until his little footballer’s brain conks out.
Until then, Walker’s, I’m on the Twiglets.