BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Laurence Fox’s abandoning of Sainsbury’s for taking part in Black History Month seems a tad OTT and authoritarian. It reminds me of an American ex who – she identified as a progressive – would spend her days fearfully avoiding various brands and stores, warning those around her of the perils of all kinds of goods and services. That’s the wrong path to take and a negative one. In the end her behaviour grew awfully tiresome – as uphill as going out with a hypochondriac or some paranoid conspiracy theorist (alas…tick, tick… in mitigation, beauty often trumps rationality).
God knows how we lasted as a couple for over a year. Karma, perhaps. Then again at university I stepped out with a French Communist for a couple of years. I guess sexual attraction supersedes political sensibilities. A pair of perky nipples often negates the need for much pillow talk.
“Don’t you dare buy groceries from Walmart,” the American used to bleat. “I shall refuse to consume anything from that sweatshop. You know full well the shrimps there are farmed by 8-year-old Thais.”
“But I was going to buy chicken,” I used to plead, pathetically.
She left me with an undesirable choice – only softened by discreet visits to a Polish restaurant where a meat-eating waitress, aptly named Angelika, somewhat distracted me in the latter months of our relationship with her pierogi – “It’s Wholefoods, Trader Joe’s or starve.”
So off we used to trot to the local Wholefoods where vegans and other half-emaciated, multi-pierced personages would shuffle the aisles spending a fortune on hamster food in biodegradable boxes. I regret the many hours we spent reading the small print on food packets and asking androgynous, blue-haired shop assistants called Sky or Kaydence whether items were shade-grown or grass-fed.
Looking back I didn’t mind those months of being somewhat Prince Harryed. As an Englishman in the Mid-West I chuckled rather a lot, as Brits often do in the States, at the array of amusements adorning such squirrel feed stores. At signs for “Tazo Brambleberry Herbal Infusion juice” promising “an enticing source of wonder, inspiration and antioxidants” and “mouth-watering nut burgers”. If I recall correctly our relationship ended soon after her casein-free, eco-friendly rubbers ultimatum.
I learned that one thing such progressives need to feel to think they are getting closer to happiness is a “true sense of community”. Fortunately, I was playing far too much rugby to join in any of the Liberal chapter groups my ex used to attend, although occasionally I’d pick her up in my planet-poisoning SUV from a Borders downtown where I’d see her through the huge windows of the bookstore holding court before a gaggle of bespectacled corduroy wearers. You could always tell when she’d attended a Liberal chapter group session – a remnant of chia seed fart would be discernible on her person mixing conflictingly with her usual animal-cruelty-free lavender scent.
A true and desirable sense of community – like all Utopian fallacies – only works if you are FREE to pick and choose participants and locations. Anyone who has been for a mass flu jab session at the Doctor’s surgery attended by the great and good of the local community can attest to the benefits of free market selection. Life is simply too short to befriend the local Marxist librarian born with an eye on the end of his nose, while seated on a line of bum-torturing plastic seats in front of a sleep-inducing tropical fish tank. Why should one be forced to sit with the nutter on the bus or exchange numbers with the winking granny in the checkout queue with her halitosis and weepy legs? Politics, unlike mass vaccinations, is individuals. Selection – precision – works, not scattergun strategy.
And that is the problem with Laurence Fox’s boycotting of Sainsbury’s. First, stick is only palatable in politics if there’s some carrot – avoiding Sainsbury’s is a massive burden for many potential voters, especially rural ones who have nowhere else to go. Second, cancelling and boycotting business aspires to left wing nonsense, affecting innocent shareholders and the very businesses that dangerous “Diversity Directors” are there to turn into cooperatives in the first place. That “freedom” tattoo on his right hand should remind him that we are FREE to go to Sainsbury’s if we so wish because we bloody well can, thanks. Just because some Sainsbury’s Diversity Officer has scared the board into supporting some Marxist poststructuralist nonsense doesn’t mean you abandon them. You don’t fight leftist fire with fire and try to emulate them. No, you fight the lunatic left by exposing them one by one and giving them a well-targeted hosing. Find out who Sainsbury’s Diversity Director is and expose them, along with the rest of the divisive (and relatively tiny) diversity brigade, who tend to herald from St Petersburg or have got to where they are via past communist associations. As for your new party being neither left nor right – make up your mind, as all you’ve come up with so far is authoritarian blancmange which is not thought through and annoys too many blocks of voters. Precision targeting works.
You see, spending time with a progressive or a liberal, Benedictine monks, or God forbid a hellbent Marxist drone, educates a man. You soon realise how restricted and trapped such people are and feel. You also work out their weaknesses. Tied in a Gordian knot of rules and regulations, freedom from their system for them is anathema – therefore elusive. Read Justin Krebs’ “538 Ways to Live Work and Play Like a Liberal” and you’ll never become a progressive. There are more parameters to that dreadful existence than cricket. Understand the restrictions that diversity officers work in and the last thing you’ll start doing is boycotting supermarkets, all of which put profits into pension funds and work a useful capitalist social function through their philanthrocapitalism. Educate boards shamed into employing diversity officers in the first place.
The truth is there is little freedom-loving about being a modern liberal. Your belief system bars you from half the shops on the high street and you have to waste oodles of time thinking a million unnecessary thoughts, engaging as publicly as you can in a heartfelt Project Fear just to be deemed apropos. Simultaneously – should you face up to logic with honesty – you are forced to deal with dozens of contradictions. It’s far easier being a conservative – stick with what is sound and reform what is not, while passionately embracing freedom, meritocracy (thus rejecting racism) and avoiding boycotts.
As for my ex, I trust both that you are well and never read this. Let’s keep it at adieu in any case.