Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Shopping the Supermarkets

I accidentally left my PC TV link on this am, and so when I came to the office I managed to watch this programme: Shopping the Supermarkets

I'm glad I did. What a damning indictment of the system that exists and, indeed, is permitted.

Here's the blurb:

Milking the Suppliers?

We all love supermarkets, but who pays the price for the cheap food we buy? We meet three characters who can tell us first hand. Nigel has been growing lettuces for supermarkets for 27 years but has just been dropped by a supermarket because he can't compete on price; Victoria thinks she makes the best range of pestos in Britain and has one chance to pitch them to Sainsburys; and Somerset dairy farmer Chris is reluctantly selling his cows because he can't make a living from milk.

Having worked most of my life in the ad game, I am well used to the irrational whims that accompany single folk in positions of power within a marketing organisation. This laid bare the consequences.

It also showed up the hoops that decent folk are put though by committees of middle managers, with matrices and other Brent-speek holding sway over loyalty, relationships and logic.

Sickening. It explains, if not excuses, the problems we are having getting these guys to even talk to us. And we are trying to make them money!

My only slight reservation about the programme was who was featured and who not. Sainsbury cooperated and treated their subject ( a woman so destitute she was down to her last new Range Rover) to an order. Somerfield did not and came off badly, though it seemed deservedly so.

Thoroughly Modern Milli

This man is pretty much central to the government side of what I'm trying to do. I have been in the process of writing to him for a few eeks, but every time I get ready to lick the stamp, the situation changes again. A week is a long time in writing to a politician:

Miliband loses Teflon touch

'Don't ask properly. Don't tell and it will blow over.'

My problem is that I don't have a clue what's going on any more, thanks to a media so obsessed with a one-day turnaround (and prepared to selectively quote, if necessary out of context, to maximise readership ratings) that in-depth journalism goes out of the window in favour of a quick 'hit',

And they are so addicted to these 'hits' they will drop one for the next in the blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, politicians (or indeed anyone who are stuck in front of the camera, microphone or steno pad) have realised this, and have opted for deny, deny, deny, or better yet saying nothing until it blows over.

Hence there may be those who have performed well and those who did not. The latter will certainly not be held accountable, and to succeed these days you merely need to be adept at not getting pinned down to anything.

In this regard Mr. Milliband is almost refreshing in some 'off-message' (ie: can be pounced on to stir the media pot) pronouncements, but on balance over the last few weeks (climate, turkeys, etc), I can think of nothing I have read, heard or seen beyond 'It's difficult', 'will be looked at', 'is only as good as what I'm told...' that actually meant anything tangible.

I am so looking for a leader from any party who has the courage and charisma to pick a direction, stick to it and let me know what it is in terms I can grasp well enough to follow in support.

I am writing to him about one of his quangos going from not supporting my Junkk.com free-to-public reuse efforts to what seems like outright competition, funded by private sponsorship. So thank you alisdair campbell for some very useful info to add to the case I'm putting forward for government to help social entrepreneurs as effectively as the claims that have been made of such initiatives lately.

Let the spins begin!

Battle of the rhubarb

'Why are they destroying our 100-year-old allotments to make way for the 'Green Olympics'?'

Hype. Spin. Ambition. Greed. Targets. Cowardice. Obfuscation. Lack of oversight. No accountability. Media with eyes only on tomorrow's headline (All for the competition to the point it's won, then all down on it once the consequences they should have reported upon sink in... or make new stories)... er, etc

And sod all to do with the environment.

A billion £ con, and so far how many posts?

Maybe we're wrong, then.

BBC - London Olympics could cost £9bn
Telegraph - 'Brown to blame for 2012 Olympics costs'
Telegraph - The real cost of the Olympics

And who, if ever, will get called to account in tangible terms if this is, as seems likely, borne out?

Where there is no accountability there is no responsibility.

And where there is no responsibility there is no reason to serve any measure but self-interest.

Telegraph - Olympics budget set at £5bn in bid to end row - Nice to see it has been 'set' .. at last
Guardian - The show must go on
Telegraph - Olympic budget trebles to £9.3bn - look back two lines. And how many days?
Indy - Jowell: cost of Olympics has tripled to £9bn - not just the right wing stirring, then
Indy - The cost of victory
Indy - Tessa's going for the gold in Olympic chicanery
Newsnight - Thursday, 15 March, 2007

Worth a try... again

Over the weekend I was watching BBC News 24, and something struck me, and was minded to write in:


'With the IPCC report just a week old (and warranting about a day's in most major media) it seems a pity the most clicked on issue is just the inconvenience and/or fun of the extreme weather, though possibly nothing directly to do with global warming.

Maybe people are just so over-awed, or just plain bored by the way it is all being treated?

I think individuals need to be inspired by more down to earth, meaningful ways to do their bit, and enjoy doing it, rather than grand claims by scientists, arguments by activists, short-term headlines by the media and celebrity band-wagon jumping.

It needs to be made practical, fun and rewarding for normal people in the street and home.

Something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA0onyAQRvo'