Monday, July 07, 2008

Good news - only 22% of Daily (Maybe) readers are utter fools

And headlines like that are what makes being an independent minded blogger so delicious.

Yes, I am of course referring to the fact that my poll on whether the moon landings were faked has returned its results and we find that 77% say that they were not, 22% say they were and 1% seem to have fallen through the cracks somewhere. I'd say that this proportion of fools is far better than most of the internet - so welcome to this small pocket of sanity to calm the passing blogette.

But on to more important stuff - I'd like to use the occasion of my last post in my celebratory week to launch a far more significant poll - significant in terms of my life anyway. Many moons ago I started a series of posts on boycotts. You see I used to boycott MacDonalds and Coke for bloody years and one day I just had a crisis of confidence and decided enough was enough and caved in.

Emulating some sort of reality TV like experiment I decided to put my boycotts to the public vote and vowed to boycott whichever two items came top of the list. Except it never quite happened. Yes, like those unwritten suggest a topic posts that I'm currently stuck on. So now the great day is finally approaching. Below is a list of links to posts on various consumables to stop consuming and why. In two days I'll launch the poll and I will, genuinely, boycott whatever the public decides for the forseeable future.

I'm giving two days grace for the simple reason that I want to give you the chance to add to the list before voting begins. If you do want to suggest a boycottable simply leave a comment and briefly outline your reason or leave a link to a relevant site. As long as it isn't silly the public will have the chance to vote on your suggestion.

Boycott list
I can't tell you how nervous I am about all of this... but a promise is a promise. Voting starts Thursday.


Aaron said...

Boycott all animal products and become a vegan! ;)

Douglas Coker said...

Hmmmm! Going vegan? Monbiot wrote this recently here

Less meat yes of course. Vegan - not for me.

Douglas Coker
Enfield Green Party

Aaron said...

It sounded like he was trying to put people off because some vegans look slightly ill. They were more than likely just not having a healthy and balanced diet as it is proved that a vegan diet can give you all your body needs and still be fulfilling.

But I know it's a lot to ask from people (veganism), but how do you feel about becoming vegetarian?

Jim Jay said...

The arguments I've put forward for boycotting meat actually hold pretty firm for going vegan too.

There's a problem though - I don't think I could do it. So, in order to avoid setting myself up to fail I thought I'd go for the veggie option - and if it becomes easier than I thought I'll consider the vegan thing.

Jonathan said...

A serious point: - boycotts (like Cola) come in two main flavours - principled boycotts based on abhorence; or tactical boycotts to try and change the behaviour of the target.

This though, is more of a whimsical boycott. It's not over a point of principle (otherwise you'd be boycotting all of the below anyway). And it's not strategic, because you aim to do it for the foreseeable future.

So, my point is - is it appropriate to boycott something based on the anonymous votes of blogspot readers?

And, if a whimsical boycott is justified, why not add in some surreal targets such as cabbage, zebra crossings, or Jazz.

Jim Jay said...

Actually Jonathon I don't agree that the boycotts I'm proposing are whimsical.

I may be having a bit of fun in the process but all those on the list so far are both a) areas where I agree action is needed and b) where the boycott is already being applied tactically. Check out the links I've provided, by raising these issues I'm hoping to promote some discussion around them.

I'm not boycotting them all because if I tried to live my life like a monk it wouldn't last very long - i have to be realistic about my own abilities to cut particular goods out of my life.

Obviously with something like coke if they stopped killing trade unionists and fucking up the environment to the extent that the victims of these policies said "thanks guys you can stop boycotting now" then I'd stop - however I think that counts as forseeable as this may be some time away unfortuantely.

One work mate has suggested I boycott pants (underwear). Which is whimsical/surreal. When I asked skeptically what the ethical justificiation was he actually made rather a good job of putting the case - but unless he puts that case here I'm not adding it to the list.

Jonathan said...

At least if you boycotted things like pants, you could write a Morgan Spurlock / Danny Wallace style book about the hilarious consequences.

Okay - this is my reasoning.

In order of inconvenience to my lifestyle, I would list them as:

Flights (wouldn't want to rule out ever flying again)
Alcohol (I enjoy a glass of wine too much)
Israeli goods (unless you have OCD, who wants to have to check the label of everything you buy)
Meat (been veggie before, but it's a hassle when you're a guest in somebody's house)
Coke (there's usually Pepsi)
Nestle (easy to boycott)
McDonalds (haven't been there for years)
Bacardi (never drink it anyway)

So because I like you, and I don't want to make your life difficult, I'm voting for Bacardi.

Unless you love the stuff, it should be fairly easy to boycott, and there are other rums available.

Anybody who tries to pin you to one of the top four of my list should be working in an S&M dungeon :)

neil h said...

I suggest boycotting religion of all sorts.

Douglas Coker said...

Aaron, you ask ... "how do you feel about becoming vegetarian?"

Panicky quite frankly. I checked out where lamb is on the emissions scale using George Marshall's Climate Denial site. To my horror it comes at the top (bad) end. At the risk of upsetting you ... lamb tastes wonderful. I eat it ... sparingly.

If you suggested I stopped eating fish I'd be very troubled. Farmed salmon and (Cornish) sardines (they tick lots of the boxes) are delicious and a regular part of my diet.

And I drink milk I guess partly due to my Scottish upbringing. Can you be addicted to milk? I recall being in Greece (Crete - Plakias) in the 80s and developing a very definate craving for milk which was not generally available. I found some in a mini-mart and positively devoured it.

Neil h you suggest "boycotting religion of all sorts." Absolutely with you on that one. Religion what's it for ... and who needs it ... who needs it????????????

And finally I think some consideration should be given to the idea that a boycott might be completely ineffectual if the corporation/business/product you are boycotting doesn't know you, and ideally lots of others, are boycotting it.

Douglas Coker
Enfield Green Party

PS In case readers think I'm a complete lost cause. The last time I flew was Easter 2004. I've cut my car mileage by a half. And I have a very modest lifestyle.

Pippa said...

I nominate Kettle crisps because of their union busting.

Aaron said...

Shop around! There's lots of imitation stuff if you don't think you could do without the taste.

I third you for the boycotting of religion also.

scott redding said...

- I think you should boycott all goods further than 50 miles from your home.

- Red wine slows down the aging process, so alcohol's out.

- Bacardi - you can get fairly traded rum from the Co-Op now.

- Fish – unless you can be sure it's been caught by British fishermen using sustainable methods

Dave Cole said...

I once put a motion into my students' union to boycott British goods. Sadly, it was ruled out of order.


Sunny said...

lol at Dave.

I boycott Nestle, McDonalds (I'm veggie anyway, for moral reasons)... and erm quite a few others but I can't remember off the top of my head. British airways, yes, for deporting asylum seekers.

Jim Jay said...

Neil: boycotting religion. OK, I'll add it to the list, it would be helpful if you wrote a post on it that I can link to on why but more importantly what a boycott would mean... I think I could live my life without attending religious ceremonies (which would include many funerals and weddings, so you can see this wouldn't be a walk in the park) - but would it include talking about religion - in other words are you proposing a boycott of organised religion by not going to their "dos".

Douglas: people should know you're boycotting them - you're right.

Pippa: good call on kettle crisps, I know the union guy who's been helping the factory workers out on this - very worthy cause - they also own waggamama although that would be no great loss...

Scott: ok let's throw fish in the basket. Over fishing is short term economics gone mad.

Sadly I'm going to turn down your goods further than fifty miles from my home because basically I couldn't be sure I was sticking to it in this globalised economy - I will however continue to try to shop local and independent where I can.

Dave C: I would have SO voted for your motion, that would have made me very happy indeed.

Sunny: I've got flights in there so BA would feel like splitting the vote, hope that's ok - thanks for raising it though.

scott redding said...

A friend did the 50-mile thing for Lent this year. A lot of chicory coffee, apple juice, and using honey for baking: