Greens launch war against the machines

Sarah: How are you supposed to know? Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you're so creative. You don't know what it's like to really create something; to create a life; to feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death... 
John: Mom. 
Sarah: ...and destruction... 
John: Mom! We need to be a little more constructive here, okay?
- Terminator 2

With the Council elections less than two months away, the Greens have chosen to draw first blood by launching a campaign against self-service checkouts.

They were angry about ATMs, bitter about barcodes and sour about sushi conveyor belts. But by god, the Lewisham Green Party won't stand for self-service checkouts in supermarkets. A line has been drawn. The fightback begins here and Brockley's prospective councillor is leading the charge. The News Shopper reports:

The Lewisham Green Party is calling on Sainsbury's customers to contact [Sainsbury's] and request an end to their push for more people to use self-service machines.

It comes after they spotted a sign at the Lewisham branch showing a target for 59 per cent of customers to use the self-service tills.

The Greens' Brockley election candidate Violeta Vadja said: "The savings from replacing staff with self-service tills aren't being passed on to customers and clearly aren't being passed on to staff.

Given that supermarkets are currently engaged in a cut-throat battle against the growing threat of deep-discounting stores, which is forecast to contribute to falling inflation, this is an airy reading of the economics but never mind - Ladywell's Green candidate, Andrea Carey-Fuller was happy to kick the rhetoric it up a notch, likening the infernal contraptions to the Spinning Jenny, saying: "We are returning to the days of the industrial revolution where mechanisation increased profits at the expense of jobs and wages [sic]."

Lest you think this was just a journalist latching on to trivial quotes to fill a page on a slow day, they actually organised a protest about this issue in Lewisham Shopping Centre at the weekend.

Brockley Central bows to no blog in its dislike of self-service checkouts, but with Council budgets being squeezed to an unprecedented degree, a housing situation approaching crisis and even (whisper it) environmental issues like air pollution to deal with, you might hope that they had something better to worry about than which type of aisle supermarket customers are being encouraged to use. If they want to worry about the rise of the machines, they'd be better off contemplating the likely impact of pattern recognition software or what happens when you put a taser on a drone.

The Green Party was once a credible force in Lewisham politics, with a practical, sensible team in Sue Luxton and Dean Walton and a political heavyweight in Darren Johnson. This stuff is hopeless. Once were eco-warriors.

Full disclosure: The particular checkouts in question are at Sainsbury's, which is a client of my employer. But the checkouts might have been anywhere since every supermarket and many other types of shop are using them. This protest is embarrassing, whichever way you look at it.