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.â€™s newest TV station, GB News.
The networkÂ has vowed to fight â€œcancel cultureâ€ (which is code for â€œI like saying horrible things, please let me carry on saying themâ€); gives airtime to voices not heard in the media such as the publicity-shy Nigel Farage; and promises to fight back against the â€œmetropolitanâ€ news from its base in the Welsh Valleys. No, sorry, central London.
Itâ€™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 â€œbloody [insert name of current foreign bogeymen] moved in.â€
This right-wing stance has spooked a number of companies, including Swedish cider-maker Kopparberg, which said it is â€œa drink for everyone;â€ Dutch beer company Grolsch, which said it â€œprides itself on core values of inclusion and openness;â€ 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 â€œplatforms whose primary purpose is the distribution of hate.â€ 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 â€¦
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 itâ€™s GB News, which has the production values and set design of an ISIS hostage video.
Thereâ€™s been a predictable backlash. Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator told the BBC that â€œif Kopparberg is clever enough to sell cider to the English â€” who have the best apples on earth â€” then it should be clever enough to realize its mistake.â€Â So belated congratulations to England for winning the â€œBest Applesâ€ award. Iâ€™m embarrassed to say I forgot all about that competition.
The channelâ€™s chairman and biggest on-air name, veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil, is also taking the news well. He tweeted: â€œIKEA has decided to boycott GB News because of our alleged values. Here are IKEAâ€™s values â€” a French CEO who is a criminal with a two year suspended jail sentence for spying on staff.â€ Neil, incidentally, had at the time of writing not added GB News to his Twitter bio. Perhaps heâ€™s giving it six months, just to see how it goes.
â€œAnd what do you do, young man?â€
Last week we gave you this photo:
Thanks for all the entries. Hereâ€™s the best from our postbag (thereâ€™s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).
â€œWhat do you mean thereâ€™s no diversity in the cabinet? Look, this oneâ€™s left handed,â€ by Tom Morgan.
Paul Dallison isÂ POLITICOâ€˜s slot news editor.