Patriotism, the last refuge of the scoundrel or the Miliband. Or as that old trade union firebrand Clive Jenkins once put it, “when the British ruling class is in trouble it wraps itself in the Union Jack”.
The trade unions were the death of the last ‘Back Britain’ campaign, they flew into a hissy fit when a series of patriotic Britons decided to work an extra half hour every week for no pay in an attempt to help Britain out of the doldrums. The campaign faltered to a stop when it was discovered that the ‘Back Britain’ patriotic t-shirts which had been selling like hot cakes, were actually made and printed in Portugal, on account of them being a fraction of the price of British ones.
Thereby lies Miliband’s problem. Very few of his voters can afford to ‘Buy British’. His union backers have forced up the prices of everything from food to clothing – Sofa King is full of Polish sofas, Tesco’s fills their shelves with Chinese apples, Argos will sell you a Taiwanese washing machine – Britain no longer makes or grows the staples of life for the average Labour voter.
We do well on things like financial services, the aerospace industry, and the pharmaceutical industry – but there is no opportunity there for the voter to get out and support Britain.
The first ‘Buy British’ campaign back in 1931 had more success, the man in the street answered the call of the Empire Marketing Board and bought his linens from Lancashire, his shoes from Northamptonshire, his Bacon from Wiltshire, his apples from Kent.
Now Ed wants a ‘Made in Britain’ stamp on everything which is, er, ‘Made in Britain’ – like what Ed?
“There are three words we don’t hear enough, or see enough. Those three words are ‘Made in Britain’.
Seroxat, the cure all for depression is still made in Britain, give it a ‘Made in Britain’ stamp (do check the stamping equipment wasn’t made in Korea, won’t you?) and the voters just might find a way to answer your call to ‘Buy British’.
Because there are two words we hear far too often. ‘Ed’ and ‘Miliband’.
Whoops! Hit Publish too soon. I quite forgot to add a reference to the ‘Buy Irish’ case (1982). When the Irish tried to instigate a ‘Buy Irish’ campaign – the European Union, our totalitarian masters that Ed so admires, promptly ruled that the campaign constituted a measure having equivalent effect to a quota in breach of Art. 28.
Even though the campaign was aimed at increasing the consumption of domestic products, and not restricting imports. Since, it was reasoned, there was only a market of a particular size for a particular product, encouraging consumption of domestic products would have the practical effect of restricting importation.
Irish Domestic consumption fell by 6% during that campaign….