Tag Archives: John Lewis

Lego ends advertising with Daily Mail after calls for companies to ‘Stop Funding Hate’

[Image: Reuters.]

[Image: Reuters.]

“We are both humbled and honoured to see how much consumers all over the world express their care for our company and our brand,” said Lego spokesman, the delightfully-named Roar Rude Trangbaek, making the perfect point.

Advertising with a newspaper that promotes “hatred, discrimination and demonisation” is bad for any company’s reputation.

That is what firms like Co-op, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis need to consider carefully – the harm to themselves – rather than making spurious claims about “editorial judgement on a particular newspaper”.

Stop Funding Hate has made a short video about the issue, which you can see here.

Lego, meanwhile, is on a PR high. As Mr Trangbaek added: “We will continuously do our very best to live up to the trust and faith that people all around the world show us every day.”

Now let’s see some British firms follow suit.

Lego will stop advertising its products in the Daily Mail, following a public campaign calling on big companies to drop adverts from newspapers accused of promoting “hatred, discrimination and demonisation”, the company has announced.

The Danish firm, which has previously run free giveaways in the newspaper, responded to social media campaigners Stop Funding Hate by tweeting: “We have finished the agreement with the Daily Mail and are not planning any future promotional activity with the newspaper.”

Stop Funding Hate urges advertisers to rethink their ‘support’ for rightwing newspapers over what it sees as misleading headlines about child refugees, and the recent ruling by High Court judges that Parliament must be consulted before Article 50 is triggered.

The Co-Op Group has said it is ‘reviewing’ its advertising but other companies have, until now, refused to withdraw their adverts.

John Lewis, another key target of the campaign said: “We fully appreciate the strength of feeling on this issue but we never make an editorial judgement on a particular newspaper.”

Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are also being urged to drop their Christmas advertising in certain tabloids.

Source: Lego ends advertising with Daily Mail after calls for companies to ‘Stop Funding Hate’ | The Independent

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Why can’t Labour support working people AND be pro-business?

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here's your answer - Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here’s your answer – Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Michael Meacher has missed a trick in his recent blog article about Lords Myners and Mandelson – who say they want Labour to be pro-business.

He correctly identifies these two peers – one of whom (Mandelson) is a Blairite Labour Party member and therefore might as well be a Tory, while the other (Myners) is not aligned to a political party and therefore might as well be a Tory – as being very rich and refers to them sarcastically as “those stalwart supporters of working people”, meaning the exact opposite.

He correctly states that they are wrong to claim that Ed Miliband’s attack on “predatory capitalism” is harmful to Labour’s election prospects, pointing to poll results showing that the next election winner needs to be tough on big business.

And he correctly – yes, Ukippers, correctly – points out that businesspeople know an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union could cause huge harm to their firms if the vote goes in favour of leaving.

These are all good points, but Mr Meacher could have gone much further.

Labour should be pushing its policies as better for business than anything the Conservatives have to offer – because they are.

The party wants more firms and public sector organisations to pay the living wage. As this blog has stated time and time again, this can only help British industry as it would show employees that their contribution is valued, encouraging them to improve the quality of their work and build up their employer’s profitability and prospects of expansion.

That’s not all that Labour can do. The party should be much bolder in its aims. For example:

The party should be promoting employee-ownership to more and more firms – the advantages of becoming co-operatives. Look at the success of John Lewis, whose employees receive a bonus equal to around four months’ extra pay – every year – because of the way that company is set up. John Lewis is going from strength to strength and so is its workforce. There is no valid argument against it.

Yes, there are some within the Labour Party who continue to push timid concepts about “strengthening” the minimum wage, but like Lords Myners and Mandelson, they might as well be Tories and it is time they were purged from the party. Neil Kinnock got rid of the Militant Tendency left-wingers; why shouldn’t Ed Miliband similarly divest himself of the right-wing fifth-columnist parasites who have held Labour back for his entire term as leader (including, of course, his idiot advisors)?

The Conservative Party’s idea of helping business has failed completely. It could never have done otherwise; starving the economy of money during a downturn makes it next-to-impossible for any but the largest firms to turn a profit.

Labour must present a vibrant alternative.

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The Telegraph must stand firm against Downing Street bullies

Self-satisfied: Downing street communications chief Craig Oliver. But does he have any reason to look so pleased with himself?

Self-satisfied: Downing street communications chief Craig Oliver. But does he have any reason to look so pleased with himself?

Is Downing Street director of communications Craig Oliver a liar, or incompetent? Or is he an incompetent liar?

These are the questions we should ask after he denied threatening the Daily Telegraph with tougher press regulation if it published details of its investigation into Maria Miller’s expenses.

The Telegraph reported that Miller’s parents were living in her taxpayer-funded south London second home, implying that she had fraudulently claimed expenses for it, in December 2012 – and immediately followed its report with another, alleging that government advisers tried to bully the paper out of running the story.

The Telegraph claimed that Miller’s special advisor, Joanna Hindley, told a reporter that the Editor of the Telegraph was involved in meetings with the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary over implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson, and that the reporter should discuss the issue with “people a little higher up your organisation”.

The report continued: “Miss Hindley immediately contacted the Telegraph’s head of public affairs to raise concerns about the story. The news group decided to delay publication in order to ensure the facts were correct.

“Having carried out further checks, the newspaper concluded that the story was accurate and decided to publish the article at the first opportunity, meaning it appeared on the day same-sex marriage was debated in the Commons.” The government then suggested that the Telegraph was using the story to “overshadow” the announcement.

“Miss Hindley also accused the Telegraph of harassing Mrs Miller’s father, John Lewis,” the story continued

“In fact, reporters had a brief conversation with Mr Lewis in order to establish how long he had lived with Mrs Miller. Over the course of the conversation, Mr Lewis said he enjoyed reading the Telegraph.”

These claims are clearly damaging to Miss Hindley’s reputation as she is shown to be threatening, on Miller’s behalf, to use government powers to clamp down on reports in the Telegraph, which would be an abuse of the system.

Today’s report on the BBC News website has former Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher claiming that Mr Oliver contacted him to “lean” on the newspaper and “prevent it going about its legitimate business”.

He said: “She has done the free press a great favour,” he said.

“Maria Miller provides a cast-iron example of why politicians should have no power over the press.”

Mr Oliver denied the claim that the Telegraph was threatened. But the question remains: If this is true, why did he not take appropriate action sooner?

If he is right in his claim, then the government could have sued the Telegraph for libelling not only Miss Hindley, but also Mr Oliver andMiller herself. Why didn’t he?

The Telegraph provided its own version of events immediately after they took place, but Mr Oliver has waited 16 months to offer us his side of the story. It’s too late now.

We can only conclude that he is either lying about what happened, incompetent in not having taken the appropriate action at the appropriate time, or an incompetent liar because – given then evidence available to us – it was those acting for the government who misbehaved.

And the bullying, possibly blackmailing fraudster is still in her job. Why?

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Profiteering energy firms would be stupid to believe they can hold Labour to ransom

Miliband's cost-of-living crusade starts here. [Picture: Metro - from an article in August headlined 'Energy company profits rise 74 per cent in 48 months']

Miliband’s cost-of-living crusade starts here. [Picture: Metro – from an article in August headlined ‘Energy company profits rise 74 per cent in 48 months’]

The UK’s private energy companies will be playing a very dangerous game if they think they can call Ed Miliband’s bluff on price-freezing.

According to The Guardian, Mr Miliband’s announcement that energy prices will be frozen for 20 months under a Labour government has sparked a chorus of protest from the affected firms.

In the first skirmish in the new political battle over the cost of living in the UK, Mr Miliband wants to “reset” what he sees as a “failing” energy market in which customers had paid £3.9 billion more than necessary since 2010. The measure would save families an average of £120 and businesses £1,800.

Energy firms say it would lead to blackouts similar to those seen in California. They say it will stall investment in new power stations.

Energy UK, which represents the largely foreign-owned energy firms, said: “It will… freeze the money to build new power stations, freeze the jobs of 600,000 people dependent on energy industry and [make] the prospect of energy shortages a reality.”

Here’s Centrica: “If prices were to be controlled against a backdrop of rising costs, it would simply not be economically viable for Centrica or indeed any other energy supplier to continue to operate and far less to meet their sizeable investment challenges the industry is facing.”

And Ian Peters, head of residential energy at British Gas, said: “If we have no ability to control what what we do in retail prices and wholesale prices suddenly go up within a single year that will threaten energy security.”

Labour has said the claims were “patently absurd” and “nonsense” put about by the large energy companies.

Mr Miliband said: “There’s a crisis of confidence in the system. It’s time we fixed it and they can either choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. I hope they choose to be part of the solution.”

Suppliers say prices have gone up to cover their rising environmental and social obligations and in response to commodity price rises – sums paid on wholesale markets. So let’s examine the profits made by the “big six” – British Gas, EDF, E.On, npower, Scottish Power and SSE – over the last few years (figures courtesy of the BBC): In 2009, £2.15 billion. In 2010, £2.22 billion. 2011 – £3.87 billion (a massive hike of £1,870,000,000 in a single year). And in 2012 – £3.74 billion. That’s £11.98 billion in profits over four years – a huge and unwarranted amount in these times of supposed austerity.

And let’s not forget – this is pure profit. None of that money will have been reinvested into the companies. It goes to the shareholders.

It is while sitting on such huge amounts that these companies are trying to tell us they won’t be able to afford theinvestments to which they have signed up; that they won’t be able to increase employee pay. And it is while sitting on this massive pile of cash that they are threatening us with blackouts if they aren’t allowed to continue demanding huge price rises.

Well, it won’t wash.

Doesn’t it seem more likely that, faced with threatened blackouts, Mr Miliband will choose to re-nationalise the energy firms, rather than back down?

After all, they would be reneging on their contract to provide energy to the United Kingdom. This could be just what Mr Miliband needs to bring them back under State control, where energy generation and distribution belongs. And it would show he is serious about having the strength to “stand up to powerful vested interests”.

Naysayers may point out that this would only put him back in a position of being at the unions’ mercy, instead of under the thumb of big business, but this isn’t true either – the Tories restricted the unions’ power massively back in the 1980s.

Besides, new structures have come into being since then. What if the energy companies were re-constituted as Nationalised Workers’ Co-operatives? This would entail every employee receiving a percentage of any profits – possibly along the lines of the successful John Lewis model – with the remainder ploughed back into the Treasury to reduce income tax bills.

Such an arrangement should silence any dissent among workers as they would receive two slices of the pie – a profit-driven bonus and a tax cut – while everyone else has lower energy bills, together with the tax cut.

If it were proven to be successful, then employees of the other privatised utilities could soon be queueing up to have their companies re-nationalised as well.

A ray of light in these dark times as employee-owned firm announces huge staff bonus

john-lewis
As Britain continues to endure the Cameron-Clegg-Coalition nightmare, it seems moments of joy are few and far between. That is why we must make the most of every one that comes along.

Today we had a cracker – on the day that David Cameron announced the continuation of his repressive anti-growth policies, no less.

The John Lewis Partnership, which includes the Waitrose group of supermarkets, has announced a 17 per cent bonus for every single member of staff, after reporting a rise in profits.

That is equivalent to nine weeks’ extra salary, and is an increase from the 14 per cent paid out last year.

The firm is one of the few in the UK that is actually owned by its employees. The success proves something that this blog’s author has been saying for many years – that the best possibly business model is on in which everybody working at a firm is a shareholder in it. If everybody has a stake, everybody takes some of the profit.

No less than 84,700 people will receive this bonus. They will take that money and spend it in their local communities, on things that they need. That money will then go on to keep other businesses alive, and it is to be hoped that the fiscal multiplier process means it could create more wealth, helping the UK economy.

That is worth much, much more than the empty words David Cameron was throwing out during his speech earlier today – a speech on which this blog has already poured its disdain.

And let’s bear in mind that the amount these partners are getting is a much more honest figure than the bankers’ bonuses, for which Mr Cameron and his part-time Chancellor, Mr 0sborne, have been fighting so vigorously. The John Lewis staff actually deserve the money they are getting because it is based on the profits they have generated. The bankers’ bonus is based on nothing more than what they want.

If the UK is going to climb out of the current depression, it needs a few more companies like John Lewis – and a lot fewer politicians like David Cameron.