Latest news about ethical consumerism


Why I'm Boycotting the Brexit Backers

Oct 21

Written by:
21/10/2016 08:57  RssIcon

Still mad about Brexit? Then boycott the companies who backed the leave campaign, says Simon Birch. 

Don’t tell me to calm down. And whatever you do, please do not say that I should move on.

It’s now three months since the wretched and wickedly divisive referendum, but like thousands of others I’m still seething with raw anger about the way in which the Brexit campaigners conned the country into voting to leave the EU with their bigotry, lies and Little Englander rhetoric. 

Where’s our £350 million a week for the NHS now Boris, eh?

Sure, I’m well aware that the EU is far from perfect thank you very much. 

For the past 20 odd years I’ve been reporting on the ways in which the EU has been cosying up with some of the planet’s biggest and most profit-hungry multinationals to threaten the rights of both its citizens and the environment.

But the EU that I was campaigning for on the streets of Manchester in the weeks prior to the referendum was the institution that puts the ideals of collaboration and co-operation centre stage. 

So as we drift inexorably towards the EU’s exit door with a future free market nightmare now widely expected, where does this leave remainers like me?

In a word: powerless, that’s where we are.

Consequently, I’m now nabbing a line from the Brexit camp and you know what? I’m going to take back control by boycotting the companies that backed Brexit.


Image: JD wetherspoons

Photo credit: Ewan Munro

Why am I doing this? 

Quite simply I don’t want to give one penny to the companies that backed Brexit, something that I fundamentally disagree with.

Here then are the companies whose bosses publicly backed Brexit and the ones that I’m going to give the cold shoulder:


  • Dyson cleaners & dryers
  • JCB (if ever I need a bulldozer)
  • JD Wetherspoon
  • John Mills Ltd, TV shopping & consumer products company
  • Patisserie Valerie
  • Rocco Forte Hotels
  • Tate & Lyle sugar
  • Timpson shoe repairers & key cutters


Admittedly it’s not a big list is it?

Whilst the remain camp attracted the support of a big chunk of UK plcs, including many high street names such as Lush and M&S; for all their talk and in-your-face advertising campaigns, the Brexiteers didn’t actually get the same level of support from British businesses.

I’m under no illusion that my boycott will have a financial impact on these companies. Neither Sir James Dyson nor JD Wetherspoon’s chairman Tim Martin will be the slightest bit concerned that I won’t be buying a Dyson cleaner or nipping into Wetherspoons for a pint in the future.

But that’s not the point. 

As Ethical Consumer says on its website, ‘we view boycotts as a vitally important extension of our formal democracy’. 

Given that my vote to remain in the EU, along with those millions of others, counted for nothing, I’m now exercising my rights as a consumer.

Yes, virtually all of the 60 or so consumer boycotts that are currently listed on the Ethical Consumer website have clear targets, whether it be calling for Nestlé to end its dodgy marketing of baby milk, or Amazon to start paying its fair share of tax.

But not all boycotts have to have clearly defined aims and goals. In its purest form boycotts are the ultimate form of protest that consumers have. And in the absence of any other alternative it’s the one option that I’m going to grab.

Oh, and whilst Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes may give Maggie Smith’s character in Downton the best lines, his line of supporting Brexit means that I for one won’t be watching the planned Downton Abbey movie.

So if you feel similarly enraged about the Big Brexit Con, why not join my boycott? Futile it may be, but what other options have we got?  


Are you boycotting any Brexit backing companies? 


See our comprehensive list of progressive consumer boycotts 








Full News Archive


Ethical news archive going back to July 2009.

Read More