Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
7 October 2016, 12:27
The Tories are in such a flap to change the public's perception of them as the nasty party that they are flailing around like a squid that wants a cuddle.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has hit out at big businesses for ‘angering their customers’ by not addressing issues such as workers’ rights and executive pay.
Does he mean banks? They are the biggest criminals when it comes to executive pay and yet, even though it is easy and can be done in 7 days, only about a million of us a year switch our bank accounts.
That sounds a lot until you know that there are 46m current accounts open in the UK and we stay with our banks, no matter what they do, for an average of 17 years, which is 6 years longer than most people stay with their partners.
And we get to have sex with our partners!
Philip Hammond is wrong. We are not remotely angry with companies that don't treat their staff well and use their profits to fill the swimming pools of their executives with cash.
Are we boycotting the tech companies that not only don't pay taxes but get their shiny things made in sweat shops in the Far East that are so bad that for their workers, that suicide seems like a better option than coming to work?
We couldn't care less about those workers' rights. We ignore their pain and form an orderly queue the next time they release some new thinner, larger, more shiny and curvy phone.
We care about as much for workers' rights as we care about the welfare of the animals we eat or that squeeze out eggs for us.
If we cared, we would buy ethically produced, organic, free trade, pollution neutral, workers' co-op goods, but we think that people that do that are hippies at best and Jeremy Corbyn at worst.
People that care about the environment and workers' rights are derided as kooks, dangerous radicals, socialists and 60's throwbacks.
It was such an odd thing for a Conservative minister to say. Perhaps he is a caring and thoroughly modern chancellor, but I wouldn't bet on it.
I don't want to come over like a nutcase conspiracy theorist, but it makes me wonder whether he is saying that to make it appear that the Conservative government cares, to step on Labour's territory and negate any surge in popularity for Jeremy Corbyn, because if the people just read what he is proposing, they might find that they agree with him.
Philip Hammond said ‘Business needs to understand it isn’t sustainable to have large household brand-name businesses angering their consumers,’
But customers don't change their behaviour based on how big brands treat their staff and executives.
He said it is important that firms see how consumers view them and their image.
Well, what is the image of the burger place on the high street? What is the image of the tax dodging phone manufacturer, what is the image of the polluting oil company, the rip off bank?
They are all doing fabulously well despite having terrible images because we do not care that they all engage in terrible behaviour.
Our opinion of a company is not rooted in what they do, it is based on the number of cute cartoon bunnies they have in their television advertising.