By Simon Woodhead
Avid readers may recall we warned about another of this industry’s dirty secrets in October 2022 – the “CPI+3.9%” wheez. We gave a more technical explanation a few days later and said we had written to the relevant DCMS Minister and asked her to consider repealing BT’s Crown Guarantee and using her power to force Ofcom to take account of her concerns in carrying out their duties. In December we had a reply which gave some hope, but of course March came and consumers saw massive price hikes. Fast-forward a year since the Minister’s reply and Ofcom has acted to ban mid-contract inflation-linked price rises.
This is a great result for consumers and we’re delighted to have played our part in making it happen. We’ll never be credited of course and have grown well used to “we disagree with Simwood” being an almost stock statement in consultations, before regulators proceed to have the very idea we proposed. Sometimes it takes a few years to get there but we do get there more often than not. It is a good job we’re not in it for vanity or recognition and it is nice to make a difference that is for the betterment of our industry, albeit it takes a frustrating time sometimes.
When it comes to my posts on this blog and our responses to the powers that be, for years weaker minds (as I see it) have told me I “can’t say” certain things, should be more bland or should “rein it in a bit”. I’m not beige, nor is this company, and I’ve fiercely resisted censorship because in my mind not saying something would be dishonest and not using our platform for good would be weak. But I know others have taken offence because we’ve had the solicitors’ letters – people really don’t like being exposed – and colleagues telling me how others are playing the victim because we’ve shone a light where they hoped nobody would. But we’ve also had the members of the public phoning up just to say “thank you” for calling out a particular pattern of behaviour having found our position, sometimes years later and little wins like this one.
I met with our fabulous graphic designer the other month for a bit of a refresh and we talked about Simwood’s place in the world, and how misunderstood I sometimes felt. Within 10 minutes of me talking, he wrote something down: “Be less shit”. I quizzed him on it because that certainly wasn’t the message – we’re not shit! He explained how obviously I cared greatly for end-users, the technology and making this industry better and said that really my message to peers and supply chain was “be less shit”. YES! Nic has worked with us a long long time and gets Simwood but I was almost emotional that he got me and what he said really resonated.
We’ll keep at it, because it matters and if we don’t, who will?