Rise of the woke beer brands!

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.

How woke is your beer or passionfruit-flavored cider?

This week a number of big brands discovered they had a conscience and pulled their adverts and cash from the U.K.’s newest TV station, GB News.

The network has vowed to fight “cancel culture” (which is code for “I like saying horrible things, please let me carry on saying them”); gives airtime to voices not heard in the media such as the publicity-shy Nigel Farage; and promises to fight back against the “metropolitan” news from its base in the Welsh Valleys. No, sorry, central London.

It’s basically the TV equivalent of that bloke in the pub who traps you by the fruit machine to tell you how everything was great around here before the “bloody [insert name of current foreign bogeymen] moved in.”

This right-wing stance has spooked a number of companies, including Swedish cider-maker Kopparberg, which said it is “a drink for everyone;” Dutch beer company Grolsch, which said it “prides itself on core values of inclusion and openness;” and Octopus Energy (which is an electricity provider and not a maker of drinks full of caffeine and fructose), which said it does not advertise on “platforms whose primary purpose is the distribution of hate.” By the way, are octopuses (and before you complain, the plural of octopus is octopuses, not octopi) known for having lots of energy? Limbs, yes, but …

Perhaps funniest of all is the withdrawal of advertising from Swedish flatpack furniture maker IKEA, because if any TV channel needs better tables and chairs it’s GB News, which has the production values and set design of an ISIS hostage video.

There’s been a predictable backlash. Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator told the BBC that “if Kopparberg is clever enough to sell cider to the English — who have the best apples on earth — then it should be clever enough to realize its mistake.” So belated congratulations to England for winning the “Best Apples” award. I’m embarrassed to say I forgot all about that competition.

The channel’s chairman and biggest on-air name, veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil, is also taking the news well. He tweeted: “IKEA has decided to boycott GB News because of our alleged values. Here are IKEA’s values — a French CEO who is a criminal with a two year suspended jail sentence for spying on staff.” Neil, incidentally, had at the time of writing not added GB News to his Twitter bio. Perhaps he’s giving it six months, just to see how it goes.

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Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

Last week we gave you this photo:

Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag (there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).

“What do you mean there’s no diversity in the cabinet? Look, this one’s left handed,” by Tom Morgan.

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.



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