Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Power of Boycotts

People sometimes doubt the power of boycotts. They look at international conglomerates with multi-billion pound turnovers and wonder what possible difference their spending power can make.

This week we've seen the Power of Boycotts. News of the World, the biggest selling purveyor of tittle-tattle, sexual gossip, pro-Tory propaganda has been closed down as a result of a short lived but hard hitting boycott.

The News of World boycott differed from most commercial boycotts in that instead of targeting consumers it asked the News of the World's advertisers, its main source of income, to remove their ads from the paper.

Pressure to comply with the boycott was organised through Twitter and FaceBook and before any knew it advertisers were receiving thousands of message from customers saying were going to take their custom elsewhere if their ads remained in the paper. The advertisers soon realised that the News of the World had become a toxic brand and there was a virtual mob with virtual torches and pitchforks out for its blood.

The revelations that people at News International had been hacking into the phones of the families of murder victims and the families of dead soldiers was enough to turn the British public, who had tolerated the intrusion of the privacy of publicity seeking celebs and hypocritical politicians, against those responsible. The public roared, the advertisers listened and the paper was shut down by its ruthless owner, sacking the staff but keeping on board the person in charge at the time most of the offending events had taken place.

It was a partial victory for common decency but now people have tasted victory and the smell of blood is in their nostrils, they are not going to let things go.

It is suspected that News International will launch a new Sunday paper making this exercise more of a re-brand than a closure. The boycott campaign against the rest of News International has already begun with demands for a full and independent investigation of those responsible.

The links between News International and the Metropolitan Police make an investigation into these matters by the Met a potential whitewash. The investigation should be conducted by a senior appropriately skilled person or team with no connection to previous events from another force or even from Interpol should that be necessary and the cost of the investigation should be paid by News International.

We can make a difference; we know that now, so let's go after the ProCuts 35 with renewed vigour.


  1. Hi there

    came accross your blog through a link on the Guardian

    - compliments on your spade work

  2. Sir Digby,

    Thanks very much.