Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Is there such a thing as bad publicity? - UPDATED AGAIN

The old saying has it that there is not, but I've never been convinced myself. Remember Gerald Ratner's infamous 'crap' speech? Good publicity or bad publicity? Well, if you think it was good publicity why don't you pop out and count the number of Ratners shops in your town. Go on, I'll wait... it's zero, isn't it? So if a stupid and carelessly considered remark can destroy a brand with several hundred stores, badly damage the share price, force the departure of the company's chairman and namesake, and bring about a major rebranding to remove all traces of the name that caused it all, what might comparing soldiers to paedophiles do to a company of just 16 people? In the words of The Filthy Engineer:
When you get crap like this it makes your blood boil.

Karl Winn of Taunton, 60, is the boss of a net design company named Webeurope and he employs 16 people. He was contacted by Forces Recruitment Services who asked if he would consider taking on ex-soldiers. His response was:
Personally, I'd rather recruit ex-drug dealers, convicts and even child molesters rather than consider anybody who has been in the pay of the British Government.'

'Anybody who has been in the pay of such a military force, and by their silence and complicity has condoned such illegal and immoral actions while accepting a monthly bloodstained pay-packet , certainly won't be considered for employment by us.'
As a libertarian I believe passionately that an employer can hire or not hire whoever the fuck s/he wants to without having to justify the decision or to it declared illegal and reversed by a court. If he doesn't want to employ ex-soldiers that's his look out. And if he wants to compare them to kiddy fiddlers - and this is a group of people that he dislikes because he seems to think they all (a) kill people and (b) are at least relatively cool with it - that's his look out too. Personally I think he's a complete cunt and if he's still breathing and able to stand this time next week I'd say he's also wrong about the over whelming majority of serving and former forces personnel, since his continued ability to eat solid food would be very strong evidence that they've all resisted the temptation to beat him to death with his own feet. But if I were you Karl I'd worry far less about the possibility of payback from angry squaddies than from the British public. Anti-war doesn't mean anti-military, and while many (I suspect most) were against one or both of the Iraq/Afghan wars that the grinning mutation committed British troops to that doesn't mean that the troops themselves are disliked. Don't be surprised if you receive a little extra mail in the coming weeks or if one or two clients would rather not have 'Designed by Webeurope' anywhere on their website, though seeing the various claims of carbon neutrality, anti-Israeli, dolphin hugging, aid giving righteousness would have put me off anyway - if I'd wanted a website designed I wouldn't be attracted to a company whose own website looks like a student's bedroom door (minus the legalise pot sticker, which might have been some common ground). As for SEO every bugger seems to be doing it these days and sticking your size nine's in your mouth when you're in what looks to me like a very competitive field doesn't seem like good sense. I'd hope everyone at Webeurope is as committed to these various causes as their boss or has kept their CV up to date.

These thoughts may have occurred to Karl Winn himself because apparently he initially denied saying it at all.
Despite initially blaming a disgruntled ex-worker who he claimed had hacked into his emails, Mr Winn later admitted to The Sun that he had written them - and stood by his comments.
The standard politicians' excuse of 'oh, oh, oh someone who's got it in for me hacked my email/blog/Twitter account'. Yeah, Karl, that makes you look so much better. Wanker.

I can't be arsed to publish Webeurope's and Karl Winn's contact details so that anyone who wants to can attack their site, spam them or send them hate mail or black faxes. I don't condone that sort of thing but if it appeals to you then you can go looking for the details yourself - it's not difficult if I can do it. I won't personally do more than express my contempt for the man but if I hear he ends up bankrupt I won't shed a tear. And come ANZAC day in a little over a month I'll drop an extra two dollars in a collection tin on your behalf, Karl, you fuckknuckles. I won't say you can't or shouldn't say what you said, but these guys and people like them died so that you could say it.

Menin Gate at Midnight by Will Longstaff - go see the original at the War Memorial if you're ever in Canberra

UPDATE - after leaving a comment on this over at The Filthy Engineer's it's occurred to me that rather than sending him abuse (and I meant what I said about that - not my thing at all) mailing poppies to Karl Winn Faill might be better. And since I've said I'll put $2 in for Karl, big hearted bastard that I am, I'll take a poppy pin or something for him and put it in the post. The timing of ANZAC day makes this easier for me but if you can lay your hands on a poppy, even a left over one from last November, I recommend you do the same.

I also forgot to mention that if he'd said Indians or Eastern Europeans instead of ex-forces he'd have the full weight of politically correct law coming down on him. Discriminating against a whole group on the basis of their professions is okay though.

UPDATED AGAIN - Webeurope is apparently now, courtesy of a commenter at The Filthy Engineer's. I imagine it'll still be the same address for any poppies I send.
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