Woke vs GB News – what it tells us about politics and markets

GB News’ crushing of Militant Wokery has made the many companies threatening to boycott the new channel look very stupid. The woke agenda was basically “be nice”, but has been hi-jacked by militant cadres, becoming “be nice or else, and we define what is nice.” It’s a form of politics that can and will move markets.

Blain’s Morning Porridge 18th June 2021: Woke vs GB News – what it tells us about politics and markets

“Life..? don’t talk to me about life….”

This morning: GB News’ crushing of Militant Wokery has made the many companies threatening to boycott the new channel look very stupid. The woke agenda was basically “be nice”, but has been hi-jacked by militant cadres, becoming “be nice or else, and we define what is nice.” It’s a form of politics that can and will move markets.

I was going to write about how markets are favouring fundamental tech stocks. I was going to present some thoughts on how this market lacks momentum and risks moving into a repeat of the dot.com crisis – inspired by two Wall Street Journal Stories: Telsa and Other Bubble Stocks Have Deflated Just Like 2000 for the macro picture, and the micro picture of a a new grocery delivery deal that’s just been SPACed looks a nonsense: Grocery Delivery Idea Looks Far From Fresh.

But…. it’s all a bit too depressing this morning.

It’s been raining since lunchtime yesterday – and not just rain, but proper rain from a particularly moist rain forest chilled with Siberian ice crystals. Everything is sodden.

Which isn’t helping the completion of our home renovation – mud is being tramped through our almost finished tribute to Scandinavian Minimalism. And since we had to move back in before the builders have finished because there are no summer rentals available down here, and the removals company had no surplus storage capacity, we are living cramped between unpacked boxes and unassembled furniture. We won’t have a kitchen till next weekend – and takeaway living is doing nothing for my waistline.

The only happy member of the family is DeeJay… our puppy. He has a brilliant outlook on everything: What does it taste of and how chewable is it? As I write this morning he’s munching on a pig’s ear beneath my desk and is in puppy heaven. DeeJay cares not a jot for the collapse of Chinese hog market, although if he took one moment to peruse that thot, he’d realise this is great news for the future availability  of ears and the other pieces of vitamin pig we don’t eat.

Moving home is very stressful. As a result, I have added a new firm to my hate list. Predictably, since its house related, its Ikea.

Now I know what you are thinking…. Why would one be shopping at Ikea..? Well… you’d be mad not to. When you need a decent looking cabinet to hide all the internetty-connectivey stuff in, or four new bog-brushes and toilet bins, or some cheap and cheerful (and very comfortable) rocking chairs for the top floor… Ikea is your first stop..

I am not even going to complain about the ridiculous layout of their stores, or the cornucopia of horrors that is the “marketplace”. I accept the sheer banality of their “pick-it-up-in-the-warehouse” collect system – having been blithely instructed by She-Who-is-Mrs-Blain the wardrobe for daughter’s occasional bedroom (which might or might not get used if she drops in from London). I’d managed to find 7 different packages of bits in 3 different isles before discovering there were no drawer fronts in stock!

Nope, my first problem with Ikea is the Billy bookcase system. I think I should sue them for using my name, but yesterday the damn things attacked me.

After an evening spent re-assembling them for my home office, and then patiently stacking the shelves with my collections of Napoleonic and Scottish history, 2001 comics, everything ever written about Sailing, Battleships and RAF aircraft, photo collections of steam trains, lists of Scottish Mountains, and telescope manuals…. my library suffered a catastrophic cascading failure as one shelf slipped its pegs, tumbled downwards, triggering multiple failures and then collapse of the unit, causing the others around it to come down in sympathy. I was hit on the head by a particularly weighty tome on the Campaigns of the Peninsular War.

My second problem is the hypocrisy of Ikea refusing to advertise with the new UK GB News … because… well the new channel might not be left-wing. This is same Ikea founded in far off times by a chap with a very right-wing perspective, and the same firm that was recently caught spying on its staff in France…

Ikea was just one of many firms that jumped into the “Stop Funding Hate” campaign of Militant Wokery calling on firms to de-platform GB News by pulling their advertising. They perceived the new channel as not earnestly woke enough – which broadly seems to mean disagreeing with them, whoever “them” are.

The whole campaign has been arranged with extreme care and concern for the provision of LBGT pronouns, but little else in the way of common sense. It’s proved a dream for the new channel. Andrew Neil, the chairman and Anchor of GB News robustly attacked the firms that boycotted his channel, and told some of them they may not be the kind of firms GB News wishes to advertise. Touche!

If any publicity is good publicity, then GB News is an absolute screaming buy! Despite 197os production values, the channel is already thrashing the received wokery of the BBC and ITN in terms of view numbers. It’s found massive appeal with the silent majority of folk who are “fed up” with the modern puritans of woke. They are particularly fed-up with the BBC.

Its interesting to consider the way modern news works and how it is consumed. People no longer read or view News as a matter of factual record. They consume the new from the channels and sources that are most aligned with their own beliefs and values. This has been the core crisis of fake-news: one person’s truth is another’s lie. There is no real difference between Trumpism and Wokery. Supporters of each both believe in their unique truths, which fall into different places on the reality spectrum.

I feel particularly sorry for the BBC. It is a great institution of state – but has become overly sensitive to the woke agenda, perhaps even captured by it. As a consequence it is losing its relevance to the non-woke majority of licence payers. Let me give a hats-off specially to Laura Doomsburg – who was just doing her job, and did it rather well… it just it wasn’t what we wanted to be hearing.

Now.. you might be wondering what a rant about GB News, what Truth now means, and the high tide of Wokery actually means for markets – as this is notionally a markets blog.

It’s important because News/Propaganda is a key function of politics. Movements like Woke have economic consequences.

The current lashback on wokery changes the political outlook. Woke is just another form of politics – rather than elected members, its strength is akin to fashion, garnering credibility from the number of likes, supporters, followers, etc it attracts, which then gives it the legitimacy (in the eyes of supporters) to criticise and drive agendas – whatever they are.

There is really no difference between Wokery, Trumpism, or The Daily Torygraph…

What is important is the support we’re seeing for GB News in the UK is part of a growing rejection of woke, and perhaps the establishment of a new dominant theme, which may claim to be representative of the many, but with an agenda set by the will of the few. Woke might have had its moment.. but could what replaces it be worse? Regular readers will know I tend to be a wee bit left of centre and read the Torygraph to know what the enemy is thinking….

Five Things To Read This Morning

WSJ – Green SPACs Struggle After Years of Success

FT – Bond spreads collapse as investors rush into corporate debt

FT – Convertible debt sold by high-flying US Groups falls back to Earth

BBerg – The Best Way to Judge Any Green Energy Policy

Torygraph – Vaccine boost means economy will grow twice as fast as Eurozone, says CBI

Out of time, back to the day job, and have a great weekend..

Bill Blain

Shard Capital

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