Multi-millionaire virtue-signallers Ben and Jerry are at it again. Once again the ice-cream capitalists are doing their woke schtick in the hope that even more of the right-on middle-classes will buy their expensive tubs of cream and sugar. This time they’re taking aim at Priti Patel, lecturing her on Twitter about immigration. Thanks, but no thanks — we don’t want vast corporations butting into our democratic politics.
Ben & Jerry’s UK gave Patel a haughty ticking-off in a Twitter thread published yesterday. In response to Patel’s promise to reduce the number of migrant boats crossing the English Channel, B&J said the ‘real crisis’ is ‘our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture’. They went on to remind Patel that, according to the 1951 Refugee Convention, the fact that someone crosses a border illegally should not impact on their right to claim asylum. Anyway, who needs borders? ‘'Stronger' borders are not the answer’, they informed the Home Secretary of the elected government of the United Kingdom.
There are so many questions about an ice-cream company meddling in Britain’s immigration debate. Why are the Vermont-based makers of sugary fare like Caramel Chew Chew and Chubby Hubby talking about boats in the English Channel? As far as I know, Priti Patel has never written to Ben & Jerry’s to suggest improvements to their recipes, so it would be nice if they could do her the courtesy of assuming she also knows how to do her job.
Also, where’s the woke outrage about a big business bearing the names of two white dudes telling a politician of Asian heritage how to do her job? Isn’t this ‘mansplaining’ or something? Or at least corporate overreach? Imagine the fury if the Christian-owned fast-food chain Chick-fil-A did a thread telling off British politicians for legalising gay marriage. There’d be fury for days. ‘Get these homophobic capitalists off Twitter!’, the outrage machine would cry. But Ben & Jerry’s telling Britain how to police its borders is apparently fine.
It’s more than fine — it’s great. The woke set lapped up B&J’s broadside against Priti. They couldn’t get enough of it. They are no doubt in supermarkets right now buying tubs of Half-Baked as a monetary thank-you to the rich men who told off the evil Home Secretary. At least we now have an answer to the question ‘How desperate has the British left become?’ They’ve become so desperate that they will line up with a big business against politicians democratically elected by their own fellow citizens. So progressive! Capitalists sticking it to democracy!
My guess is that many Brits will be chuckling at, and even cheering, the Home Office’s brilliant slapback against Ben & Jerry’s. A source said: ‘Priti is working day and night to bring an end to these small boat crossings, which are facilitated by international criminal gangs and are rightly of serious concern to the British people. If that means upsetting the social-media team for a brand of overpriced junk food, then so be it.’ Brilliant. Priti 1, Ice-Cream Hippies 0.
It strikes me that the likes of Ben and Jerry’s — and the PC legions who cheer them on — don’t understand how irritated most people are by woke capitalism. We’ve had enough of big businesses using their adverts and their social media and their products to tell us how to be better people. Whether it’s Gillette telling off men for being sexist rotters or Apple, Nike and pretty much every corporation in the West putting out self-satisfied statements in support of Black Lives Matter, this looks to a lot of us like big businesses trying to deflect attention from their own corporate bad habits by grabbing on to whatever woke bandwagon is speeding through town.
And there’s the hypocrisy. There’s always the hypocrisy. Ben & Jerry’s is owned by the massive conglomerate Unilever. As the Guardian reported a couple of years ago, migrant-justice activists have protested at Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont, speaking out against working conditions in Ben & Jerry’s supply chain. For people like this to lecture others about migrant rights has got to be a joke, right?