Oddbins embrace "gingers", Germans and bankers.


Oddbins have decided to be kind to a number of groups in the upcoming weeks, among them "gingers", mothers, bankers, journalists and Germans, and offer them various discounts.

It's a nice thought, but why these people in particular? Oddbins explains:

Germans: "Why is everyone so mean to them? Studiously keeping their flat-pack-homed, forest-clad, industrious country immaculately clean, with their finances neatly in order".

Bankers: "A “banker” is an individual who is engaged in the business of banking. Last year the word has become a derogatory term used to refer to only a select group of rogue investment bankers. However, every time we chastise “bankers” for the financial crisis, how must this make tellers, analysts, loan officers et al feel?"

Journalists: "Why do we care what Sienna Miller and Hugh Grant are up to? And do we really want our politicians to control the only people who are able to hold them to account?"

Making a stand for equality, "Gingers": "Gender. Race. Religion. Sexuality. Weight. OK, we’re not perfect in this county when it comes to persecution, but things are improving slowly. All except the final taboo: ginger hair."

And mothers, because:"Here at Oddbins, we would like to stand up for mums across this great nation and give something back. We’d like to say thank you, mums: without you none of us would be here." Never was a truer word spoken.

Ginger hair: the final taboo? Photograph: Getty Images
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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.