Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Polly Toynbee joins protesters inside the Conduit Street branch of Starbucks (Image courtesy of The Observer)

We've already got it. we just need to use it properly

WITH the World Cup due to start in Brazil shortly, it's very appropriate that coffee has been in the news recently.

Firstly we had the news that Cafe Nero had been following the long practiced tradition of multi-national coffee chains and had been avoiding tax. Next up we had Starbucks - the company that led the way in tax dodging - announcing that it was moving its European headquarters to the UK. They cheerfully added that this would mean they would be paying more tax.

Well, that's jolly good of them. See, in the past they've not been able to see the benefits of coughing up tax. Oddly enough they've been unable to see that things like hospitals and schools and other nice stuff is paid for from tax receipts. So, it's nice that they've at last seen the error of their ways and will now be tipping vast sums of money into treasury coffers.

So why the change in attitude from Starbucks? Have they suddenly developed a guilt complex or taken on a new philanthropic approach? Have they hell. Since the outcry a couple of years ago over their tax avoidance, they've been losing customers. This is nothing other than soft soap PR. Rest assured they'll still be doing their utmost to deprive the Treasury of as much as they can.

Walk down any High Street and you'll still see idiots paying through the nose for Starbucks coffee despite all the publicity and boycotts in 2012. Quite frankly I despair. Our town centres are awash with coffee shops - both multiples and independents - so why the hell would anyone choose to give Starbucks their hard earned cash? In fact why would anyone choose to NOT use an independent?

UK Uncut posters on the side of
Starbucks branch.
The issue engages me all the time and I can see massive opportunities to develop people power if only we could get these sheep to think. When the original Starbucks boycotts happened, it had a massive effect on the company but it didn't go far enough. Just think how quickly Starbucks executives would be offering up back tax if NOBODY AT ALL used their coffee shops for just a week. They'd be begging George Osborne to take money off them.

The enlightened among us must lead by example and get people to realise how much power they have. By simply getting people to act as one we can achieve ANYTHING.

The recent Syrian folly by the government is a perfect example. The Government were more than happy to join with the USA in an invasion of Syria until People Power took hold. Letters and emails to MPs did the trick and the government was forced to back down. Think about it. If we can prevent a war then how difficult can it be closing down a chain of coffee shops that thinks it's clever to avoid tax?

Imagine if the great British public decided that supermarkets should start paying the living wage to all of their staff. It could be achieved very easily. If every man, woman and child in the UK refused to shop at Tesco for a week it would have instant results. Not only would Tesco have a rethink but you can bet your bottom dollar that Asda, Morrisons and the others would be concerned the same thing would happen to them.

And don't be fooled by the bullshit the supermarkets would spout about not being able to afford to pay decent wages.  Tesco made £3.3 billion profit last year. They can EASILY afford it. We wouldn't even have to listen to threats of raising prices. They're in competition. Any nonsense with rising prices and we can again pick them off one by one.

The same could be done with petrol. Nobody uses Shell garages for a week until they drop prices. See how quick they react.

The sooner the people get the message out there that WE are in charge, the sooner we can make inroads into the inequalities, unfairness and greed that are the hallmarks of a corrupt capitalist system that is out of control.

People power. It's the future.


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1 comment:

  1. I worry that - dare I say it? - the British mentality is what stops more people doing this very thing. You know I'm a believer in people power, but so many times it's easy for people to agree/like/share via SM, but when push comes to getting off their backsides and actually making the change they struggle.
    That's not to say we should give up, but it needs to be about getting independents and individuals to engage and work together to compete with the marketing budgets of the big hitters to make people forget how bad they are and enjoy an offer. PS - F or marketing budget; read brain-washing campaign.