Feeling fairly powerless about the whole Burma thing. Of course, anyone that studied at Exeter at the same time I did is already aware of the issues, I've long been of the opinion that if the point of Iraq was to do good and acheive 'regime change' then a much better target would've been the evil bastards in self-styled Myanmar. But the only effective thing we can really do is show solidarity and apply pressure on those companies that invest and/or exploit the Burmese people. Especially alleged forced labour using Total Elf Fina (what the Exeter problems were centralled around). Fortunately, the Burma Campaign has a dirty list, which while a little heavy on the rhetoric is fairly exhaustive. Included in this list:
Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is an Australian multinational publishing company specialising in travel guides. Lonely Planet publishes a guide to Burma which encourages tourists to visit the country. Lonely Planet also vigorously defends tourism to Burma, attempting to undermine calls by Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s democracy movement for tourists to stay away.
Fair enough, avoid buying their products, across the board, and tell them what you think. Hmm, problem. BBC Worldwide buys Lonely Planet. Boycott the BBC? Um...

I guess an email to be sent after I finish work won't be too bad, possibly copy in Feedback--they could easily change their policies in light of current events, especially if the above quoted is Suu Kyi's stated position. Ah, the travails of ethical consumerism, there never is an easy answer.
Hmm, good news for a change, Masterfoods no longer evil:
Mars said it became "very clear, very quickly" that it had made a mistake.
Merely very very stupid. Was going to post about the sheer idiocy when [livejournal.com profile] mooism first posted on the 8th (note, that was 6 days before the BBC caught up), but things got lost in the shuffle. They were using the excuse that "only strict vegetarians" would be affected, and in a way, they'd be right. When I eat out, I don't tend to worry whether the cheese is made using rennet, I'm not that strict. But if a company does something blitheringly stupid, and says that it shouldn't bother me at all?

Worse, for them, it would've meant that many of my non-vegetarian friends and family would have stopped buying their products; why buy Masterfoods when Cadbury do something just as good? Stupid stupid company decision. Still, while I'll try to stick to Green and Blacks when I can afford it, and Cadbury when I can't, I can still buy Masterfoods now, they're idiots, but they're not
evil like Nestlé. Ah, informed consumers making choices within an active market, and forcing companies to change. You can see why so many capitalists are anti-market at heart, right?

The only problem of course is that some of the statistics used to claim how many vegetarians there are in the country are likely very very wrong. Why? Because even smart people are stupid:
Twenty years after the IQ tests were carried out in 1970, 366 of the participants said they were vegetarian - although more than 100 reported eating either fish or chicken.
Guys? Vegetarians don't eat fish, let alone chicken. So as virtually every survey of the nature relies on self reporting, and approx 1/3rd of self-described vegetarians are pescetarians at best, the market impact might be smaller than it should be. People assuming I can eat fish despite being vegetarian is probably one of my biggest pet-hates, and it isn't helped by the ignorance of some who self-describe wrongly. It's a bit like self-described Christians who don't go to church; they may quack like a duck, but they sure as hell don't walk like a duck.

Oh, it's National Vegetarian Week as of tomorrow, so expect dodgy media coverage, false assumptions and some of my more idiotic ethical eaters to be a bit too assertive in various places, sorry about that.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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