As the government steams full ahead to achieve the trade situation it wants there seem to have been daily headlines saying one thing and another- often conflicting and yet perhaps all part of a “great game” to distract protesting activists away from profound issues, allowing them to feel satisfied with peripheral items, sacrificed for the greater gain.
One distraction may be the squabble over “Chlorinated chicken”- the washing of slaughtered poultry in weak solutions of the chemical used widely in swimming pools. (Peracitic acid is also being used as an antimicrobial wash.)
Daily it seems there are clear and indignant protestations from members of the government that there will be no weakening of food and animal welfare standards and certainly no chlorine washed chicken; yet, as if in a ping-pong game, senior figures in the US continue to insist on its acceptance, not only in the UK, but across Europe.
Although there are perhaps more far-reaching and reliable issues we can challenge, food is an emotive issue and for many people the implications for animal welfare are also extremely important. This should make them sit up and pay attention to messages about things they are not usually interested in. So it makes sense to still exploit silly images of chicken suits, placards and props.
However we should also make sure we explain that the issue is far wider by pointing to other consumer issues that people may relate to more such as cosmetics, petro-chemical uses, mining degradation of the environment, air and water standards.
And let’s not forget issues such as Genetically Modified / Engineered foods (and keep an eye and ear open for related euphemisms such as “Synthetic Biology”, used on Radio 4 on the 8th Feb) and the wholesale harvesting and export of data – both metadata on our internet use when we click on a “Yes” at a new website, and also the confidential medical data the NHS holds on us and our families. This, it is reported, is exported to the US where it can be sold to commercial interests in Big Pharma to develop treatments that will be sold back to the NHS in a developing era/market of bespoke designer medicines and interventions. (Of course this focus will also take efforts away from developing responses to then needs of the poor.)
But in the meantime, we have been using the “Trump Selection” materials to draw attention to the #TrumpinYourTrolley website and action card. In recent weeks boxes (containing the card) have been left in trolleys outside supermarkets.
Wishing to spread Tesco’s corporate cheer a few boxes were donated to a car-park tree where they could attract the attention of admirers.
Occasionally boxes have been left on the shelf where there is a space amongst similar lines (boxed/ bubble wrapped Chicken portions and packets of easy-cook rice or vegetables for children). These have been photographed and shared through twitter, trying to point out the incongruity of the spoof line with what is currently on offer- the target isn’t the supermarkets.
Last week we went out again, this time moving up-market to Morrisons in Chorlton. This had virtually no staff restocking shelves (in contrast to some high turnover/ low volume convenience stores it the city centre) and we experienced no challenges from security staff as we transferred boxes from a carrier to basket and thence to shelves and chiller cabinet. One only needs a couple of boxes, and as elsewhere the shelf-labels provided proved unusable with the fittings in the shop
Examples used and tweeted include the Gandhi statue and graffiti- people can be drawn to these by use of hash-tags, but of course they don’t have the immediate tie in of a card to send with its explanation.
If you fancy doing your own bit of campaigning in your local area and supermarkets, contact email@example.com and they will send what you need or contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll come to do it with you. As the weather improves why not join together for a market stall promoting the new line to the public- perhaps at Levy Market? Why not find a supermarket trolley, get a Trump Mask, red tie and blue suit and stage a photo with him in the trolley dispensing “goodies”?