A highlight from Thursday 15 April
American businesses adding their voices to a divisive political issue. A changing of the god is underway across several of the. Us's major television news. Networks as cbs news becomes the latest broadcaster to search for new president and with fewer than one hundred days to go until the olympic games in tokyo will rifle through some of the official team wardrobes after the latest team. Uniforms were unveiled yesterday. Monaco's editors take on those subjects today here on the late edition on monocle. Twenty four hallo than very warm. Welcome teach the late edition here on monocle twenty four. It is thursday the fifteenth of april. And i'm tomas lewis here in toronto and with us today are regular thursday monocle twenty four collateral below his london forests and monaco's henry sheridan in new york city. Henry collartoo great to have you both with us on a thursday once again here on the late edition how you both doing your respective corners of the world. Kalani start with you tom. Finally this week we have started here in the uk to have a bit at a tiny bit of life back. Legis say on. Monday pubs restaurants cafes with outdoor space for allowed to reopen as well as a lot of the shops that had been closed until now only essential shops were open sadat's was basically just pharmacies and supermarkets. So you know anything from bookshelves to record stores. Anything was all was back so it has been just so nice to see a bit of life back in london Even though now it is a bit of a nightmare to try to table anywhere if you want to go and see a friends but it's good to have that problem. I am not complaining. But i kind of forgot you know what i kind of forgot just that you know. The pavements are not that wide all the time and we had one year where there was no nothing was open and you know all the tables and chairs were inside these businesses that were sadly shot and suddenly you know from sunday to monday morning and monday morning walking around mar lebron coming into the office. Just like wow. We usually did not have all this space. And it's just so nice quite a bit nostalgic seeing you know all the tables being dusted off being put outside what people eager to sit in them and catch up with france. Seeing the tables dusted off on the sidewalks bit of a distant dream here in toronto given the with still under stay at home order because just to quickly put you on the spot of we come to henry. Have you made your first post lockdown non-essential purchase you talked about the bookshops in the record stores there have you have you indulged since the restrictions were. He's done monday. Well yes and no. I did go to daunt books here in marlow bone right around the corner from our office and i guess i was just so overwhelmed with having the choice and being able to browse. That ended up leaving empty-handed So i guess. No i have not made my non essential purchase yet but it was just really nice to you know lose track of time inside a bookshop a The next thing. I'm really looking forward to to be able to go to a gallery but it depends where you sit on this debate. I find it essential. Some people might say not bought going out for a drink with some france. I mean that's pretty essential and that was really nice. When you raise a glass to both henry an icon and henry house new york city treating this week. This week is being has been quite good. I'm not sure if i discussed my aborted attempt to get vaccinated last week by did actually manage to do it to get the first shot anyway. This week i went to citi. Field in queens. Which is the home of the mets baseball team and The first show of the fires of axiom. So i'm feeling optimistic. And biologically resilient to glad to hear it. Henry henry shirts an anti collateral rubella gray tabby both of us on the program today where we begin in the united states who had the battle to reform voting in several republican led states in the aftermath of the twenty. Twenty presidential election has raised a growing sense of alarm. Among many democrats and voting rights activists that traditionally underrepresented voter groups in. Us elections are about to find it harder to cost that ballots will increasingly major businesses in. The us are adding their voices to the debate around the controversial reforms. And on today's edition of the globalist. Lewis lukens a former us diplomats and now a senior advisor signal global consultancy in the uk. Explain why republican governors governors and legislatures in forty. Three of our fifty states are trying to pass laws to make it essentially to make it more difficult to vote. They would frame it a little bit differently and say that they're trying to make the upcoming elections more secure and saw built on the this sort of fantasy that that the election was stolen from donald trump that the republican party has bought into so they're trying to make it harder to vote in many states around the country. And you know. Democrats obviously are pushing back on that as many citizens and now these big corporations have gotten involved the business community is not completely aligned on this. But what i think. They're reacting to their their consumers. The people who buy their products and who put money in their pockets they want greater access for voting and social media has enabled these campaigns where people can very quickly target a company. And say you need to boycott this event or you need to do this. And the companies have to be reactive to what their consumers are demanding. Lewis lukens speaking to us on the globalist and literally today henry. Why in your mind too. Many of these big companies these large private entities in many cases in the. Us now feel that they have to to add their voices to this debate. I think the kind of more of a zoomed out perspective. I think over the last decade or so there's been a really significant increase in a the extent to which consumers are able to hold large corporations accountable. And that's basically through social media has been commensurate with the growth of social media. And i think that that explains why a general culture has developed of corporations feeling that they need to make the right noises on any given issue to avoid a very public backlash by ordinary internet users. An activists against them i think a real watershed moment for this was the black lives matter protests last year. Where you saw to my mind anyway. Kind of unprecedented reaction on the part of large corporations to that event became essentially required as a as pr. Move to release some kind of statement in favor or supporting the movement. I think that's fair to say. On the part of most companies now on this issue in particular the issue of the restrictive voting laws that republicans are looking to introduce in states across the country. When you put it like that it sounds like it could be a relatively dry technical issue. That doesn't grasp the public's imagination but what's been made very clear by activists is that the measures republicans are seeking to introduce target democratic jurisdictions which disproportionately black in the tino and so the opponents of this law have made it very clear have been successful at making it. Clear that it's in fact social justice issue and that really does put the spotlight on it so this is a cynical explanation of rather an explanation of what the cynical motives of these corporations might be. I have no doubt the active people within these companies earnestly oppose these measures for reasons of conscience. But it's also true that the optics very important and There has developed in recent years almost a requirement for for companies to respond. We'll take a public stance on issues. Particularly those that touch upon social justice and kaleta as henry mentioned there the optics on either side of this debate. I guess can be a pretty precarious game for a big business.