The world’s poshest boycott campaign

Boycotting Italian luxury fashion label Dolce & Gabbana is not the hardest campaign to support.


Apparently Elton John regularly watches a biopic about himself called Tantrums & Tiaras, made by his partner, David Furnish, in 1997. Its "gruesome footage", says William Langley in The Sunday Telegraph, includes a scene of him playing tennis at the Hotel du Cap near Antibes on the Riviera.

A passing fan recognises him and calls out "Yoo hoo". So what, you might say, but the singer has a "massive meltdown", storms into the hotel and demands to be flown home immediately in a private jet, while screaming: "I'm never coming back to the south of France."

Elton John says he found the film helpful, crediting it with showing him what "a nightmare lunatic" he used to be. "For me it was like having a mirror held up, and watching how not to be. I genuinely don't think I have tantrums any more. I've become a much more calm and collected individual."

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This is not a view likely to be shared by the Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana (D&G). In The Hobbit, Tolkien writes of a rage "which passes description the sort of rage that only happens when rich folk who have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something".

And when Elton blew his top at D&G last week, says Langley, he lost, among other things, his sense of proportion.The eruption was caused by some remarks made in an interview by the firm's senior partner, Domenico Dolce,a tailor's son from a Sicilian village.

Dolce said he didn't agree with gay adoption,adding that the "only real family is the traditional one" hardly controversial sentiments in Italy, where gay adoption remains illegal. He then turned his attention to IVF. "You are born to a mother and father, at least that is how it should be. I call children of chemistry synthetic children."

Elton, whose two children with Furnish were born through IVF to a Californian surrogate, was furious. "I shall never wear Dolce & Gabbana again," he fumed, calling for a boycott of the firm.

When Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle went to the fashion house's store in Old Bond Street, he found the "Boycott D&G campaign" well under way. The "intellectual colossus that is Victoria Beckham" had weighed in on Elton's side, as had "that increasingly tiresome and gobby old crone, Madonna".

Several thousand people had signed a petition in support of the boycott and, "as I browsed through the racks of extraordinarily gay clothes, the ceaseless campaigner Peter Tatchell was marshalling his demonstrators in howling D&G shame on you'".

One might think this was a typical example of "fascistic liberal absolutism at its worst", says Liddle. On the other hand, this was not a difficult boycott to support, given that few people would want to wear any of these clothes and not many can afford them.

"I didn't buy a suit they were £2,000. Hell, has there ever been an easier boycott to take part in? Next week, ever the radical, I'll be boycotting Rolls-Royce until the owners state publicly that they believe in exactly what I believe in."

Tabloid money: Osborne's £250,000 attack on seagulls

In any case, admirable as her advice may be, he doesn't think he'll be following it. "I could always take the CO [his wife] out for a romantic dinner and, sniffing the aroma of the calvados, with an appreciative proboscis, push the bill in her direction". But I'm "not quite certain how long the marriage would last".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon looks after "just 5.3 million Scots", says Carole Malone in the Daily Mirror. Yet a recent "pay rise" offer would take "her salary to £144,687" "more than the PM, who's responsible for 64.3 million". This doesn't stop her from "banging on about... how Scotland is England's poor relation".

Yet "imagine the noise she'd be making if Cameron was Britain's highest-paid politician and getting that amount of money for so few responsibilities". After all, "she has nothing to do with defence or foreign affairs, and has limited say on tax and benefits". While she's decided against the full rise, even her revised salary of £135,605 is "still more than George Osborne" gets. The SNP are "entitled to pay Sturgeon what they want", but they don't "pick up most of her tab it's taxpayers here" who do.

"What with all that tax and savings stuff in the Budget, you probably didn't notice this little gem," writes Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun. "The government is to spend a quarter of a million pounds of our money on an urban seagull' research fund". Yes, they may be messy, but being pecked by a gull is "not like being attacked by a bear or a crocodile". He does have a solution: "many small boys have air rifles and would love to be given something to shoot at".