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Columnists

Banging on about buying

Sarah Dean

Things I am currently boycotting: Amazon; Nestle; produce grown in Israel; The Archers. Reasons why I am boycotting the above: tax dodging; killing babies; farms on illegal settlements; and because I am really annoyed that so many of the characters have undergone complete personality changes, and that the writers are intent on making plots revolve around people having affairs instead of arable farming. Action taken to ensure boycotts are noticed by offending parties: During the Sunday omnibus of The Archers I have been proactive in posting angry tweets at Radio 4: #thisallstartedwhenyoukilledNigel I'll be honest, it all gets a bit patchy with the other campaigns. I am excellent at abstinence, good at not buying the wrong things and the like, but I am also good at not writing letters to notify capitalist pigs that I can take their swill no longer. I have sent some of those instant campaign emails - the ones where you don't do anything except put your email and name in and click send. Do companies and governments really notice those I wonder? And I have signed an epetition or two, wondering the same. In the case of Amazon I've just stopped using them, diverting my unhealthy, overdraft- inducing habit of impulse buying books to the wonderful hive.co.uk, who not only pay tax (like businesses are supposed to, guys!) but also support local bookshops - ethical doublewhammy! I would like to think my withdrawal of funds has been noticed by Amazon though... 'An Amazon spokesman explained that the downturn in their 2014 profits seemed to be directly linked to a significant decrease in sales of obscure Japanese craft books and Christian self help in the South East region...' I first got involved in the Nestle boycott when I was a precocious 12-year-old. I wrote several heartfelt letters to Nestle and they sent the same letter back each time, a photocopy of an official statement about how they were in line with the necessary advertising regulations, etc. I also staged some awareness raising actions such as bursting into tears and calling my Dad a traitor when I found his secret stash of Dairy Crunch. Over a quarter of a century later, depressingly the Nestle boycott is still as relevant and needed as when I first signed up. Nestle remains as sneaky, defiant and shameless as ever. Frustratingly history tells us that boycotts are a long haul and a slow burn. The consumer boycott of South African goods (as part of the anti-apartheid movement) began in 1960, and ended 34 years later in 1994 when Nelson Mandela became president. The history books record that the economic trade isolation of apartheid-era South Africa was key to this change. My Mum, thousands of miles away in Sainburys, Southend, refusing to buy Cape apples, and millions like her contributed to that change. Can't argue with that. So vive the revolution comrades! Bravo the boycott. Let's all keep on not doing stuff until the day we can all crunch a guilt free Kitkat that doesn't kill babies, while listening to a plausible and sensible everyday story of country folk who bang on about silage rather than trying to bang each other.