Matt Woodruff says he stands by anti-Tory views on his shop’s blackboard in Lewes, East Sussex, despite some criticism from customers.
The owner of a small garden centre in East Sussex whose anti-Tory blackboard went viral on social media says he has no regrets, despite admitting it could put him out of business.
Matt Woodruff, the owner of Woodruff's Yard in Lewes, said he was moved to vent his political views on his shop’s blackboard after the Conservatives took the local seat that had been occupied by the Lib Dem former Home Office minister Norman Baker.
The sign proposes a “Tory tax” of 10% on any customer who voted Conservative as one of the “‘tough’ decisions I need to make to ‘balance the books’ under your preferred government”.
The sign also says Ukip voters should “shop elsewhere”.
Pictures of the sign have been retweeted hundreds of times and posted from a number of different accounts on Twitter.
So far, no one has paid his “Tory tax”, Woodruff said. “Only one woman has told me she voted Tory – and that was after she paid so I couldn’t add on the tax,” he said. “Obviously that’s a joke anyway, and she was very friendly about it.
“The only bad reaction I’ve had were one Tory couple and a couple of people from Ukip,” he added. “I don’t really care about the repercussions. I don’t earn a fortune and this might be the death of my business but so be it. Sometimes you have to just stand up and say what you believe in.”
The sign has transformed his small plant store into a hub of political conversation, Woodruff said, with many visiting his shop to talk about the new direction of the left.
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