Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of pub chain Wetherspoons who is campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union ahead of this month's referendum, has placed beer mats in his pubs urging customers to vote Leave.
Unlike other businesses which are campaigning for Britain to stop in the EU, Wetherspoons doesn't trade with continental Europe and is less reliant on migrant labour than those in agriculture and construction. His opposition to the EU is probably based, at least in part, on the rights it gives his workers to reasonable working hours, breaks, holidays and maternity leave which the right wing of the Tory party want to rip up, one of the main reasons why I'll be voting Remain on 23 June.
Having said that, I'm not going to boycott Wetherspoons as some have said they will, for a number of reasons.
1. They sell cheap food and cask beer which is generally well-kept. In a town you don't know, and at airports and railway stations, they can be a reliable fallback. Although many are large and impersonal, having been converted from former banks, shops, cinemas or snooker halls, some are neither, including the one I go to most often in South Manchester which was built as a pub in the 1930's and still feels like one.
2. I don't expect the owners of the businesses I frequent to share my politics. Tim Martin is somewhat unusual in speaking publicly about his, and there are no doubt many others who share his views without saying so. If we boycott all the businesses whose owners' politics we disagree with, we might find ourselves with a very short list of shopping and entertainment options. I also think the call for a boycott smacks of intolerance of others' opinions.
3. For a boycott to be effective, it would have to be on a very large scale. I don't think many of Wetherspoons customers are that bothered about it to make a real difference, and quite a few will agree with Martin. Equally, I doubt the beer mats will sway anyone who is still undecided.