Thursday, September 25, 2014

Saving Tesco

There was a time, not too long ago, that Tesco was the epitome of high-street evil. It was the supermarket par excellence, the destroyer of all that is good and the target of campaigns of vilification from the middle-class commentariat. They hated Tesco for a variety of reasons - it was successful, it sold cheap food and other goods, it was ferociously competitive and so on. Of course the idea that the proles should have access to a wide range of cheap food was never going to go down well. Personally, I grew up on a south London council estate with only one small supermarket (it was called the Wavy Line if I remember correctly) to serve the entire estate. Like a lot of people we didn't have access to a car for a lot of the time, so our weekly shop was done there. Prices were high and choices limited. Once we got a car we did the decent thing and drove to a Tesco or Sainsbury's where the food was cheaper, fresher and we had a whole lot more choice. And I admit it, I think big supermarkets are miracles of logistical science and that they've been a huge factor in the improvement in peoples diets, they've helped broaden our palates in ways that were unimaginable in the 1970s.

But back to today. With Tesco ailing, profits falling and the company no longer as successful as it once was, I'm wondering how long it is before someone starts campaigning to save it. You see, here's the thing. While Tesco was successful it was the epitome of evil. Now that it's limping there will be those who decide that it's the job of the state to intervene. They'll discover the good things that Tesco does - jobs for local people, for example - and they'll say that it's the job of our tax money to save this wounded giant. Success is equivalent to evil in this mindset, failure is a mark of virtue and virtue must be preserved using our tax money.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Fake 'People's March'

As a former leftist I still like to look at what the comrades are up and what they have to say. Occasionally one is even surprised to find evidence of intelligent life in the stagnant pond. One port of call for me is the UK Indymedia site, still a good place to catch up with what activists are up to, particularly those not aligned to Respect or the SWP. Which is why it's interesting that there's nothing posted on the site about the People's March for Climate - you know the one, the one advertised on the tube and in a slick PR campaign of co-ordinated marches internationally.

Now the normal thing would be for demonstrations like this - which the anarchoids will see as reformist and led from above - would attract the attention of the more militant types. They will join the march so that they can leaflet and paper-sell in order to propagandise for more 'direct action' tactics. This happens on a range of issues - anti-war, anti-austerity, anti-fracking etc etc.

But in this case there's nothing. Not a sign of interest at all. Is this because the 'People's March' is so devoid of contact with activists that they've decided to ignore it completely? Or is a realisation that the whole anti-climate change tack is busted and of no value at all.

Like I said, I still look for signs of intelligent life in the pond, but these days it's hard to find any signs of life there at all...

Still, the BBC are covering this stroll by a tiny number of people. And the corporate organisers will be happy with that - as though a few lines on the BBC website is a good result for the hundreds of thousands they've spent putting this together.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

UK Politicians North of Hadrian's Wall

In a last bid attempt to get the Scots to vote yes, Alex Salmond has managed to persuade David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown to journey north of Hadrian's Wall. Hell, they even got Farage in a job lot. In a fantastic move for the Nationalists, the sight of the UK's 'leading' politicians has probably done more to convince people to dump Westminster than anything that the SNP could dream of. Not even the endorsement of the North Korean's could compare to Ed Miliband trying to convince a sceptical Scots public that he was a politician worth listening to.

If the vote turns out to be a No, then it will have more to do with fear of change than any love for our political classes. And let's not underestimate the effect that various business leaders have had here. The likes of Standard Life and RBS probably carry more weight than our small-minded politicians singing the praises for the Union.