I’m backing Britain??

220px-Backing_Britain_BadgeAlmost as soon as we started our project to live on only British goods and services we were inundated by people suggesting that what we were starting was something similar to the ‘ I’m Backing Britain’ campaign of the late 1960’s. The more people that have continued to say this to us the more we felt that it was possible. Indeed it would seem the timing is right; we are in economic dire straits as a country, people are genuinely concerned by the decline of our manufacturing heritage and we are, as a country, motivated by a re-energised sense of Britishness following the Olympics and Royal Jubilee last year.

However, we have recently hit a rather substantial bump in our efforts to get the country celebrating the things we are still able to produce.

We are sorry if the next bit is rather cryptic but we hope that you understand why. We recently wrote a letter to a very high profile minister tasked with helping to get British business back on track. This letter was delivered directly into his hands by a reliable intermediary. The feedback we were given was that an EU directive forces the UK government to not support one EU counties produce over another. This same directive forces retailers away from overly favouring one EU country over another in point of sale advertising or promotions. Basically, he was not willing to help us!

This means that such a celebratory campaign as some people remember from the swinging 60’s would be difficult, if not impossible to do again.

However, this will not stop us trying. If there is one trait that the British have in spades it is our ability to face adversity against the odds.

Is there anyone within our fantastic followers with an expert legal background that would be willing to advise us (Pro-Bono I am afraid) on the background of this situation and how we may overcome such adversity?

I must add an important caveat to this post; we are not politicians and do not want to take any particular stance on the UK’s involvement with Europe or other political matters. We will not be drawn into comment on our own beliefs in this regard, as we feel that it detracts from the intended celebratory and inclusive nature of what we are trying to achieve.

Comments

  1. One of many reasons to quit the EU.

    I’ll be voting UKIP!

    Read more…
    http://chiptheduck.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/does-anyone-support-the-european-union/

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  2. Outrageous!
    Many years ago I said to my colleagues that the problem with this country is that we don’t produce anything, the only thing we apper to offer is a service industry which is increasingly being contracted out to other countries who can offer service cheaper than here.
    Your list of UK manufactured and owned cars speaks volumes!
    One big issue is that, as you are discovering, it is actually quite difficult to support UK business as it is only too easy to buy cheaper foreign alternatives.
    We, as a family, do our best but not to the extent that you do. It is very disappointing that those in power, who should be doing all they can to support our economy, don’t make the affort.
    We, as a family, fully support you and are being stronly influenced by you in our buying behaviour. I ask that everybody following you and this site and your twitters etc. etc. really buy in to this concept in order that we can make a difference.
    Buy British! Be proud!

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  3. If we buy British, the manufacturers sales increase and subsequenty they can afford to reduce their margins and ultimately their prices become more competitive.
    Simples!

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  4. I am not part of this project, just an enthusiastic follower.
    Could everybody that follows this project (perhaps) add the URL for this site to their email signature?

    Big things start small!

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  5. It seems clear that whatever we signed to as part of the EU aimed, not only to dissolve borders and promote trade (which is not a bad thing), but also reduce any sense of national identity. The word national(ist) has a negative connotation. I know you don’t want to enter into a political argument but the policies of this and previous governments have relied on a blossoming ‘financial services’ industry – as if that produces anything. Compare ourselves to Germany where they still believe in making products. Is it any surprise that they are doing better economically. Well done on your blog. You are doing something significant.

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  6. Christopher says:

    Why do we need the government to tell us to buy British? Why are we all not asking the questions and choosing to only buy British??

    I appreciate now (from following the blog) that it is difficult, but if we are patriotic then difficulty is only a poor excuse.

    Vote UKIP, that is the easy option and won’t actually make the availability of British goods any better.

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  7. mmmm….as they keep telling us – “the consumer is king” (or queen) – so we just need to change consumer preferences – easy!! Just like we have to do on local food, and a host of other things.Keep up the great work……Enjoy your Raspberry-Pi – designed and now (finally) “Assembled-in-UK” after much wrangling – but almost entirely from foreign components – ‘cos we just don’t make them here.

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  8. To give an example of how soft we really are over European rules, we ablige but other countries dont, German police forces use German produced cars, German army German produced lorries, same as the French, the Italians and so on, so how is this not favouring ones national product. Man trucks buys minnow British ERF, wins 5000 lorry order for the military on the understanding that production carried out by ERF . Factory shut loss of manufacturing and supply industry jobs how is this a good deal for Britain and to make matters worse at the cost to US the tax payer. This is just one example of how the Government is destroying our own manufacturing base for the sake of what Europe dictates. This does not happen in Germany, France or Italy there would be outrage!! BUY BRITISH it means substained employment for us and our future generations.

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    • That has nothing to do with the EU, and your comment is unfair for that reason. German government programmes buy German, and French government programmes buy French, etc, because their ministers want to support domestic industry. It has nothing to do with following or disregarding EU rules (which apply to the EU market, not how you as a government spend your own money). The British government buys internationally because it’s seeking the lowest bidder, not necessarily the best bidder for the country. Case in point is the West Coast rail saga. That is a political decision made by our ministers, and has nothing to do with EU regulation. It is driven by money, not regulation. Countries like Germany and France have the foresight to see that their country’s overall health depends on domestic industry. Something Britain still fails to grasp.

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      • Good try but it ignores reality.
        EU regulations require all government contracts over (approximately) £100,000 to be published in OJEU (The Official Journal of the European Union) so that businesses in all member countries can tender.
        The governments have to select best value, not necessarily the cheapest, which is extremely subjective. The EU can call governments to account if they feel that they haven’t selected a supplier fairly, but they don’t of course.
        So the British government, in true stiff upper lip style, play by the rules. Other governments just select their own suppliers.

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        • Peter says:

          I’m thinking that the other Governments have the right idea.
          Don’t they say that charity begins at home?

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  9. Where theres a will theres a way as the saying goes.
    If the government or the EU want to do something a way will always be found, no matter what the obstacle.
    An example.
    The pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent, once the envy of the world and an industry I have worked in for close on 45 years has been decimated by outsourcing, employing around 7000 people now compared to 60000 (thats right) 60000 some 20 years ago.
    The far east has been ‘dumping’ low cost ceramics here for at least 20 years but at last our government and the EU has decided to do something about it.
    An import levy, call it tax if you want, has been imposed only 4-5 weeks ago.
    Alreadythe local manufacturers who stayed loyal to the area are feeling the effects with hugely increased order books as wholesalers, distributors and retailers relearn the benefits of buying british once again.
    The import levy is initially in place for 6 months to be reviewed and hopefully extended or even made permanent.
    It does illustrate the fact that, given a level playing field our manufacturers can compete, and if our politicians, whether they be from Westminster or Brussels really have a will to help, they can.
    BUT. WHAT REALLY WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE IS IF THE BUYING PUBLIC INSIST ON IT BRITISH MANUFACTURING WILL SURVIVE AND PROSPER.

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    • Good news, but whilst the government can impose import tariffs on China it can’t do the same to other EU countries as EU law prohibits it. I’ve no problem with that provided the other EU countries allow free access to our goods, which they do. I wholly support a “Common Market” and voted for it years back.

      What I object to is that we can’t promote British over French, German etc in our own country.

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  10. Oh dear! I’m afraid I don’t seem to comply with regulations, I promote British products over others in my retail business, for example; all the knives are made in Sheffield. I hope you succeed in your efforts, I will stand for British manufacture even if our leaders wont.

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  11. Amanda Glasper says:

    I think what you guys are doing is great! – watching our local high street become full of large chains and then watch them this year all fold makes me even more aware that we should promote british business.
    “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

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  12. makeitbritish says:

    Be wary of any comparisons to the Buy British campaign of the ’60’s – the whole thing was a complete fiasco because promotional T-shirts that were printed up for the campaign, declaring ‘I’m Backing Britain’ were discovered to have been made made in Portugal!! It made a complete mockery of the whole thing.
    More transparency about supply chains and where a product is made is what the government need to be working on. Even if retailers aren’t allowed to actively promote a product as being British-made, a standardised labeling system needs to be put in place that shows where a product is made in order that the consumer is able to make informed decisions.

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  13. Never ever ask any Government to get involved in a project like yours, there are more of us than them to promote and buy all that is British and give a boost to British products…….we still have (just about) the freedom to chose and buy what we like but the EU machine is too important for any Government to be seen backing anything that promotes Britain above any other country ……….let them watch from the outside and see your project and following grow and with it the success of British business’s.
    If the Government think they can get any political gain from your project then they will contact you…….but be wary.

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  14. Sadly this attitude from government has been going on for years. The British ship building industry for example, once consolidated was actually the most modern and efficient in Europe, but a dirty deal with the EC sacrificed our ship yards in exchange for a flimsy guarantee for the city, and we all know how that turned out! But as people here are saying it is within our own power to change. About 18 months ago a Cambridge University Study concluded that if we imported 10% less and exported 10% more the defecit would be wiped out and unemployment would return to normal levels, and in the longterm our economy would be far more balanced and sustainable. As you are proving with a little effort this is more than possible for us all to acheive. ‘For we are many and they are few!’

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  15. An interesting observation I have is that I have been buying British to the best of my ability all my life. For many years people people found this at best amusing with quite a bit of ribbing, in extreme cases I was actually ridiculed for it. Fortunately I have very thick skin when it comes to this as I have always ‘believed’ shall we say. I have now seen quite a dramatic change. I can sit in a room full of people now (did it this weekend) and there is a general concensus that buying British can only be a good thing. Keep up the great work, together we will get there.

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  16. Is it worth starting an ePetition (http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/)? If enough people sign up, the matter has to be debated in the Commons, afaik. Just a thought.

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    • admin says:

      We have thought about that. Please watch this space.

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    • Peter says:

      If I may say; The Bradshaw’s have enough on their plate including the inability to source British manufactured batteries! If you feel strongly why not start a petition instead of suggesting one?
      As it happens; I have just visited the site you recommend and added my signature to a few similar petitions.

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  17. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? As British pork producers we have been hitting these ‘frustrating’ barriers for years. Educating the consumer so they themselves can make a uniformed choice is paramount. It is exactly things like this that encouraged me (the farmer’s wife) to set up my business selling ‘only’ British made blankets. Keep up the good work.

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    • Peter says:

      Have admin add you to their British suppliers list or at least post your URL ~ I’m sure a littl homegrown self-promotion would be considered highly appropriate here?!?!

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  18. Lizzy says:

    I’ve just signed this e-petiton http://bit.ly/YwopsZ Thank you to whoever set it up. There’s a twitter & Facebook button on the petition, so you can share it and spread the word.

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  19. Susan Skinner says:

    “I am backing Britain” is a personal expression which I hope I am free to say without ending up in court! If we buy our own goods, more money goes to the tax man to run the country and the business leaders of the companies who pay more tax, will also be paying into the exchequer.Take for example “Green and Black’s ” chocolate, they were started and owned by British food enthusiasts, then bought by Cadbury’s which were then bought by Kraft foods in the US. The highest paid people who gain from the is business are now in the US where their tax is paid. Think on’t!

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