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TESCO UPDATE: Former Jesters Squatted. Huge Turnout for Meeting on Monday. Stokes Croft Organises its own Consultation. Website Launched

February 11, 2010

The former Jesters Comedy Club at 142 Cheltenham Road, Stokes Croft, whose lease has been taken over by Tesco, has been squatted. It is believedthat the squatting action took place on Tuesday night. We have been informed that security personnel, presumably working on behalf of Tesco PLC, arrived sometime on Wednesday armed with sledgehammers, intent on regaining the property. The Police were called and they ordered the Security gang to desist from their intended action, thus heading off the possibility of needless violence. The squatters remain in situ.

Monday night’s meeting, hosted at Hamilton House, attracted over 200 local people. In view of the lack of Community Consultation, it was decided that the Community would organise their own.

In order to co-ordinate the Community’s response to Tesco’s proposed incursion into Stokes Croft, a dedicated website has been set up.

www.notescoinstokescroft.org.uk

Find out how you can join in. Posters for your window, or the window of your business,surveys and postcards to send to BCC  can be obtained from PRSC HQ betwween 11 and 6pm.

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2010 1:09 am

    Hi – thanks for great report and video of meeting. Here’s my report http://bit.ly/aVN8qn

    I liked your picture of the banner – good angle, better than mine (I am learning!).

    I joined the peaceful protestors in the squatted premises on Wednesday afternoon – they told me how the private security officers were threatening so they called the police who were kind and helpful.

    Hot (vegan) food and drinks and blankets would be much appreciated. Drop them round the old Jesters site or at PRSC.

  2. February 12, 2010 9:32 pm

    check out this website/blog on a similar campaign in Cambridge

    http://www.nomillroadtesco.org/

  3. ball dog permalink
    February 14, 2010 3:26 pm

    please could some one tell me if ppl are still in the place and if you need more ppl ? my mob no is 07519435189 ball dog hope to here from you soon

  4. Richard Craven permalink
    March 1, 2010 5:16 pm

    I find all of this deeply unedifying.

    Firstly, I have an opinion about The People’s Republic of Stoke’s Croft itself. The PRSC is an organization with a name suggesting that it is committed to principles of democracy. However, the reality is very different, in that the PRSC habitually engages in activity designed to frustrate the purposes of the local council which, unlike the PRSC, actually DOES have an electoral mandate. The PRSC has a charismatic leader, and its countercultural vibe attracts many followers, many of whom are no doubt both local and sincere in their support of the PRSC’s campaigns. But this does not mean that the PRSC is anything other than a lobby group. It does not have the mandate , which its name suggests, to speak on behalf of the inhabitants of Stokes Croft or Montpelier or etc.

    Secondly, I have an opinion about the anti-Tesco campaign. It is not at all obvious that the advent of Tesco’s would be bad for Stoke’s Croft. The competition would be likely to force other shops to improve quality and lower prices. Moreover, some of the arguments I have heard against Tesco’s are laughable. One person told me that Tesco’s should not be allowed, because they are ‘over-priced’. This is simply mad. As I pointed out at the time, if Tesco overprices their goods, they will fail and their rivals will succeed. There may be other and better arguments against Tesco, but I have yet to hear them. Indeed, I suspect that the anti-Tesco animus is driven, not by a sincere appraisal of the needs of Stokes Croft, but by a resentment of commercial success, and for that matter of anything which does not fit the PRSC’s narrow countercultural worldview.

    Lastly, if you’re going to go ahead with this campaign, do please spare a thought for the hard-pressed retailers of Ashley Down, who are forced to compete against that corporate behemoth the Organic Supermarket. If you are going to act against Tesco, by parity of reasoning you should also act against the Organic Supermarket.

    • March 2, 2010 1:05 am

      Hi Richard

      When supermarkets come to town, small shops close down.

      This view is not only counter-cultural.

      It is mainstream too.

      The Competition Commission has said it was “concerned with whether Tesco, or any other supermarket, can get into such a strong position, either nationally or locally, that no other retailer can compete effectively.”

      Local shopkeepers, customers and local residents are also concerned – as the thousands of signatures collected attest.

      Comparing supermarket-power to organics is ludicrous. Organic food and drink accounts for only 2% of the food market.

      The big four supermarkets meanwhile control three-quarters of our food.

      Elisabeth

  5. Richard Craven permalink
    March 2, 2010 1:34 am

    Hi Elizabeth

    ‘When supermarkets come to town, small shops close down.’

    I’m afraid to say I find this a little glib. There has, historically, been a serious problem with large hypermarkets on the edge of towns sucking the commercial life out of town centres. But that does not apply in this case, since Tesco are proposing a much smaller-scale development fairly close to the centre of town, indeed in an area which has for various reasons been somewhat starved of inward investment. Moreover, any shops which do close down as a result of Tesco moving into Stokes Croft will tend to be those which are, putting it bluntly, crap. And, like it or not, there are a few of those.

    ‘This view is not only counter-cultural. It is mainstream too. The Competition Commission has said it was “concerned with whether Tesco, or any other supermarket, can get into such a strong position, either nationally or locally, that no other retailer can compete effectively.”’

    Firstly, they only said they were ‘concerned’. Secondly, I suspect that they were referring, once again, to the large edge-of-town developments to which I alluded above. I very much doubt that a development of the size currently envisaged would have the capability of knocking out well-run independent food retailers.

    ‘Local shopkeepers, customers and local residents are also concerned – as the thousands of signatures collected attest.’

    Of course local shopkeepers are concerned. They’ve got an efficient new competitor, and will have to up their game. However, your remark that ‘local shopkeepers, customers and residents are concerned’ implies that this concern is unanimous. This is not true. Some, perhaps many, customers and local residents are concerned. But many others, less vocal perhaps, will probably welcome the advent of Tesco.

    ‘Comparing supermarket-power to organics is ludicrous. Organic food and drink accounts for only 2% of the food market. ‘

    Comparing supermarket power to the power of the organic industry nationally certainly would be ludicrous, and for the reasons you give. However, I did not do this. I merely pointed out that local retailers in Ashley Down, have much the same reasons for objecting to the presence of the organic supermarket, as traders have for objecting to Tesco in Stokes Croft. And I maintain that parity of reasoning makes it incumbent upon you to address their concerns. But of course you won’t, because the organics industry can do no wrong, can it.

    Richard

  6. March 2, 2010 1:48 am

    It is funny you call it organic ‘industry’ . Listen, organic may not be perfect but at least it tries – indeed has a legal framework – that insists farm animals follow their natural instinct and are not caged for the convenience of ‘industry’.

    The Competition Commission was not concerned solely with out-of-town supermarkets. I quoted from a 2007 inquiry – the third time in seven years that major supermarkets have been investigated by the Commission.

    You wrote: “And I maintain that parity of reasoning makes it incumbent upon you to address their concerns.”

    Sorry, I did not understand that bit.

  7. Richard Craven permalink
    March 2, 2010 12:16 pm

    “It is funny you call it organic ‘industry’ . Listen, organic may not be perfect but at least it tries – indeed has a legal framework – that insists farm animals follow their natural instinct and are not caged for the convenience of ‘industry’.”

    If you look up the word ‘industry’ in most dictionaries, you will see that it denotes business activity, and activity in general. It is a value-neutral word, usually lacking the smoke-stack connotations which I am supposing you associate with it. My usage of the word was certainly not intended to be pejorative. In fact, if anything, I am generally in favour of industry.

    That said, I don’t think that a cavil about the definition of a word ought to deflect from my original question. If Tesco ought to be excluded from Stokes Croft on the grounds that they compete with local business, why ought not the same pressures be brought to bear on the Organic Supermarket, given that they compete with local traders in Ashley and St Werberghs?

    “The Competition Commission was not concerned solely with out-of-town supermarkets. I quoted from a 2007 inquiry – the third time in seven years that major supermarkets have been investigated by the Commission.”

    Perhaps they were, perhaps not; I don’t know. However, to be investigated, even 3 times in 7 years as you report, is not the same as to be found guilty of anything, as you appear to imply. Indeed, to judge by your own words, the only outcome of these investigations has been the raising of a concern; somewhat short of a damning indictment of the supermarket industry.

    “You wrote: “And I maintain that parity of reasoning makes it incumbent upon you to address their concerns.” Sorry, I did not understand that bit.”

    Sorry. See my second paragraph in this comment. To rephrase: if you’re concerned about the livelihoods of traders in Stokes Croft, because you think they will be threatened by Tesco, then you ought to be equally – or at least comparably – concerned about the livelihoods of Ashley and St Werbergs traders, because of the threat posed by the Organic Supermarket.

    • March 2, 2010 2:19 pm

      Hi Richard

      Thanks for explaining. However, I am sorry. I just don’t see that the comparison between one local independent shop that is organic, and a transnational supermarket chain is valid. Can you explain in what ways you think they are comparable?

      Indeed the Competition Commission expressed concern. This is my point. Concern is not limited, as you hold, to countercultural organisations.

      The Women’s Institute in Bedminster was equally concerned with Tesco’s expansion in Ashton Gate.

      The Women’s Institute and the Competition Commission are hardly what I would call countercultural.

  8. Richard Craven permalink
    March 2, 2010 3:00 pm

    Hi Elizabeth

    “Thanks for explaining. However, I am sorry. I just don’t see that the comparison between one local independent shop that is organic, and a transnational supermarket chain is valid. Can you explain in what ways you think they are comparable?”

    Easy: you disapprove of supermarkets, because you think that they squeeze out local retailers. The Organic Supermarket is a supermarket. Therefore, you ought if you’re consistent to disapprove of the Organic Supermarket, because it threatens to squeeze out retailers in its locale, i.e. Ashley and St Werbergs.

    “Indeed the Competition Commission expressed concern. This is my point. Concern is not limited, as you hold, to countercultural organisations.”

    Unfortunately, in making your point you missed mine. An expression of concern is not a judgement. If the Commission had issued a judgement, based on solid research, that supermarkets inhibit competition, and if you and others in the anti-Tesco camp actually believed in competition and free enterprise, then perhaps you would have reason for wishing to exclude Tesco from Stokes Croft. But the Commission only expressed a concern. Moreover, I suspect – and please do correct me if I’m wrong – that most anti-Tesco people do not believe in competition and free enterprise. These are ideals traditionally associated with the political right, whereas it is probably fair to say that the anti-Tesco campaign is left-inspired.

    “Concern is not limited, as you hold, to countercultural organisations. The Women’s Institute in Bedminster was equally concerned with Tesco’s expansion in Ashton Gate. The Women’s Institute and the Competition Commission are hardly what I would call countercultural.

    I’m afraid you have misrepresented my views. Perhaps the fault is mine, in not making myself sufficiently clear.
    What I wrote was:- “I suspect that the anti-Tesco animus is driven, not by a sincere appraisal of the needs of Stokes Croft, but by a resentment of commercial success, and for that matter of anything which does not fit the PRSC’s narrow countercultural worldview.”
    Perhaps I should have written:- “I suspect that the animus against Tesco’s Stokes Croft proposals is driven, not by a sincere appraisal of the needs of Stokes Croft, but by a resentment of commercial success, and for that matter of anything which does not fit the PRSC’s narrow countercultural worldview.”
    I have nothing to say about the WI’s opposition to Tesco in Bedminster. Maybe they’re right, maybe not. Nor do I think that all supermarket developments ought to be allowed willy-nilly. I just happen to think that a Tesco in Stokes Croft might well be good for the area, and am suspicious of the motivations of many of its opponents.

  9. Bill Heaney permalink
    March 2, 2010 4:11 pm

    I think Elisabeth is making some very important points. We have to think about how our communities can evolve sustainably. We are exhausting the world’s resources at an alarming rate, and large-scale stores that encourage huge consumption – and huge waste – are a major part of the problem.

    Aside from the sustainability of trucking food from the far reaches of Europe to Bristol, there is the issue of the so-called “free” market, which suggests some kind of level playing field. The supermarkets have used unfair business practices to edge out small retailers. The point is that smaller retailers cannot compete fairly with these bloated giants. They use their size to bully others out of the market. Once the supermarkets have established themselves and seen off the smaller shops, they push their prices up. Just look at how shoppers were duped at Christmas:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/datablog/2010/feb/22/tesco-asda-price-cuts-rises-christmas-supermarket.

    Having one company responsible for such a huge slice of the food market is unhealthy for us all. There are enough supermarkets in Bristol already. I applaud the people of Stokes Croft for fighting to maintain the unique character of their community.

  10. Benet permalink
    March 2, 2010 6:04 pm

    Surely the reason that people oppose Tesco is because it is symbolic of a corporate approach to communities that pays lip service to any sense of responsibility to the community within which they are operating whilst getting on and making as much money as they can.

    Tesco is by no means alone in this, but as the largest retailer in the UK they are inevitably in the firing line of those who fundamentally object to this multinational big business approach that is imposed on communities rather than arising form them.

    Defending Tesco by citing the organic supermarket misses this point. The Organic Supermarket arises from the community that supports it . If it has any symbolism it is of a local approach, whilst good old Tesco is precisly the opposite, imposed, unwanted and symbolic of a multinational approach.

    In some ways ASDA as a subsiduary of Walmart, the worlds largest retailer, is more deserving of the reputation ‘enjoyed’ by Tesco but somehow Tesco through their misshandling of situations like this just keeps adding fuel to this fire.

  11. March 2, 2010 9:31 pm

    An interesting exchange of coherently expressed views, a bit of a ‘dialogue des sourdes’ (as they say not far from here). Richard, I admire you for espousing your views on the left-right politicisation of supermarket monopolies. Is it fair trade or free trade, we ‘re talking about here? Tesco is everywhere – it soaks up and extraordinary % of every household budget – it represents that most depressing by-product of entrepreneurism and unbridled market forces: namely, it expands and expands, eating up the opposition by UNfair business practice, holding suppliers to ransom with ever more impossible deadlines and specifications, dupes us with spurious offers – and systematically bankrupts local shop after local shop. It’s a bit of a throw-away to suggest that these losers are ‘crap’ anyway – ‘let ’em go to the wall’ etc (however, if that’s how you feel, then this ‘dialogue” is pointless).
    It has happened in just about every town and city in the UK.
    If it were just food, I could live with it (just about, but I do, wait for it, prefer organics …) – but it’s everything – clothes, cards, fish, stamps, electrical equipment, CD’s, insurance, petrol, even broadband, mobile phones, credit cards. An increasingly endless list.
    This does effect ordinary, well-run small local businesses.
    The juggernaut has to be stopped and trimmed back to a reasonable size or it will eat itself. Monopolies are bad for business, for choice, for consumers – this is an established fact; that’s why the Commission exists. Being against supermarkets does not have to equal per se being a bit of a leftie. It’s about choice, it’s about vibrant local communities and confident, profitable, fairly-supported localised, smaller businesses.

  12. March 2, 2010 10:37 pm

    Hi Richard. The issue of competition is interesting.

    I think competitiveness is a natural human feeling. Most left-leaning people I believe would agree.

    Competition can be good – it spurs people on.

    However unfair competition can be destructive.

    Therefore it is important to have limits – hence the Monopoly Commission.

    In my view, Tesco needs to be limited in the area – there is already a Tesco’s about eight minutes walk away.

    This campaign is not anti-commerce or competition – this is about giving local businesses a fair crack at the whip.

  13. Richard Craven permalink
    March 5, 2010 1:21 pm

    “I think Elisabeth is making some very important points. We have to think about how our communities can evolve sustainably. We are exhausting the world’s resources at an alarming rate, and large-scale stores that encourage huge consumption – and huge waste – are a major part of the problem.”

    I think she is too. But that doesn’t mean she is right about everything. We do indeed have to think about how to sustain human life. However, the blame for the pressure on the world’s resources cannot really be laid at the door of the supermarkets. It is the result mainly of increases in population. Supermarkets sell food to people, and broadly speaking their profits increase with the increase in population. Nevertheless, they are responding to population increase, not causing it.

    “Aside from the sustainability of trucking food from the far reaches of Europe to Bristol,”

    There are 60 million people in this country now. There is not enough cultivable land to feed us, even if we invest – as we should – in GM technology. Therefore it is inevitable that we will source our food from outside the UK. Again, this is not the fault of the supermarkets. It is the result of population increase.

    “there is the issue of the so-called “free” market, which suggests some kind of level playing field. The supermarkets have used unfair business practices to edge out small retailers. The point is that smaller retailers cannot compete fairly with these bloated giants. They use their size to bully others out of the market. Once the supermarkets have established themselves and seen off the smaller shops, they push their prices up. Just look at how shoppers were duped at Christmas:”

    Don’t worry, if you don’t like Tesco there’ll still be plenty of non-Tesco alternatives. You don’t have to buy into absolutely everything you read in ‘No Logo’.

    “Having one company responsible for such a huge slice of the food market is unhealthy for us all. There are enough supermarkets in Bristol already. I applaud the people of Stokes Croft for fighting to maintain the unique character of their community.”

    I keep saying this, but nobody seems to listen. THE PEOPLE OF STOKES CROFT ARE NOT FIGHTING AGAINST TESCO. 300 PEOPLE REJECT TESCO, BUT THEY CANNOT CLAIM TO REPRESENT THE COMMUNITY. WE HAVE ELECTORALLY MANDATED OFFICIALS AT BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL WHO DO REPRESENT THE COMMUNITY. THESE LATTER HAVE ACCEPTED TESCO’S STOKES CROFT APPLICATION. THAT’S DEMOCRACY. GET OVER IT.

    • March 5, 2010 3:04 pm

      Richard writes: “There is not enough cultivable land to feed us, even if we invest – as we should – in GM technology.”

      Richard, GM crops are not designed to increase crop yield. I am not sure why you see them as a saviour.

      The main ones grown commercially are designed to ‘resist’ the proprietory pesticide . In other words, spray a field with the correct pesticide and only the GM plant stays alive.

      Farmers have to buy BOTH the pesticide that goes with the GM seeds, and the GM seeds.

      The company that genetically modifies a seed can, by law, patent it. This gives the corporation intellectual property rights over the modified seeds and the right to charge an annual technology fee.

      As we have seen in North America, farmers are sued if an unlicensed GM seed is found on their land or in their farming equipment – even if the GM seed was wind or animal-borne.

      Do you really want to see UK farmers subjected to this kind of harassment?

      As for growing enough food in the UK to feed its population, one of the UK’s biggest problem is the price and availability of farmland. One solution may be to use non-farmland for cultivation and to reduce the price if being used to grow food for the local population.

  14. Richard Craven permalink
    March 5, 2010 1:45 pm

    “Surely the reason that people oppose Tesco is because it is symbolic of a corporate approach to communities that pays lip service to any sense of responsibility to the community within which they are operating whilst getting on and making as much money as they can.”

    If Tesco ought to be opposed, it is not because of anything to do with symbols, but because they cause harm. However, I happen to think that Tesco in Stokes Croft will, on balance, benefit the community. I’m quite sure you’re right that they will try to make a profit. But there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this.

    “Tesco is by no means alone in this, but as the largest retailer in the UK they are inevitably in the firing line of those who fundamentally object to this multinational big business approach that is imposed on communities rather than arising form them.”

    You mean that some people resent success? I agree.
    And what is the difference between fundamentally objecting and just objecting?
    And what is wrong with business operating across national borders? Are you suggesting that officials should intervene whenever I freely and privately contract business with someone in another country. Far from big business imposing its will on fragile communities, it strikes me that you resent not being able to impose your will on others. How sad.

    “Defending Tesco by citing the organic supermarket misses this point. The Organic Supermarket arises from the community that supports it . If it has any symbolism it is of a local approach, whilst good old Tesco is precisly the opposite, imposed, unwanted and symbolic of a multinational approach.”

    So it’s ok for the Organic Supermarket to put my local shop out of business, but not for Tesco to put shops in Stokes Croft out of business? I was only highlighting a double standard. Either both Tesco and the Organic Supermarket can carry on, or neither can. Come on! Be consistent!

    “In some ways ASDA as a subsiduary of Walmart, the worlds largest retailer, is more deserving of the reputation ‘enjoyed’ by Tesco but somehow Tesco through their misshandling of situations like this just keeps adding fuel to this fire.”

    So, after all the fuss, it’s not about genuine issues. It’s just about public relations.

    • March 5, 2010 3:32 pm

      Richard writes: “So it’s ok for the Organic Supermarket to put my local shop out of business, but not for Tesco to put shops in Stokes Croft out of business?”

      Richard, I am curious. Which local shop was put out of business by the Better Food company in St Werburgh’s?

      You also write: “I was only highlighting a double standard. Either both Tesco and the Organic Supermarket can carry on, or neither can. Come on! Be consistent!”

      As I said before and I say again: you cannot compare a giant multiple retailer such as Tesco’s with one individual shop such as the Better Food company.

      There is a huge difference in SCALE between the two.

      One is a multi-billion transnational operation – the other is a small independent shop.

  15. Richard Craven permalink
    March 5, 2010 2:31 pm

    “An interesting exchange of coherently expressed views, a bit of a ‘dialogue des sourdes’ (as they say not far from here).”

    As it happens, I recently returned from 3 months in Paris, and now speak decent French. This is not really a dialogue des sourdes. I respond to what my interlocutors say; and, with a few dishonourable exceptions, thety respond to my comments.

    “Richard, I admire you for espousing your views on the left-right politicisation of supermarket monopolies.”

    Thank you, but I’m not sure what you mean by this

    “Is it fair trade or free trade, we ‘re talking about here?”

    Free trade, I suspect. Fair trade is crap. Take a simplified model, with someone who’s got £100 t0 spend and 10 people hoping to be paid. Either you give them £10 each, or you go Fair Trade and give, say, two of them £50 each. These two get a good education, enough to eat etc. The remaining 8 starve. I simply don’t understand why that’s better.

    “Tesco is everywhere – it soaks up and extraordinary % of every household budget”

    Successful businesses expand. So what?

    “– it represents that most depressing by-product of entrepreneurism and unbridled market forces”

    You mean you don’t like it. We know this.

    “namely, it expands and expands, eating up the opposition by UNfair business practice, holding suppliers to ransom with ever more impossible deadlines and specifications, dupes us with spurious offers – and systematically bankrupts local shop after local shop.”

    Of course it expands. See above. Naturally, it tries to maximise its own profits by buying as cheaply as possible and selling as dearly as possible. If it goes too far in one direction, then its suppliers – the producers – will decide that it is no longer worth selling to Tesco. If it goes too far in the other direction, then its customers – us – will decide that it is no longer worth buying from Tesco. Tesco is every bit as much as anyone else at the mercy of market forces, and must operate efficiently or go to the wall.

    “It’s a bit of a throw-away to suggest that these losers are ‘crap’ anyway – ‘let ‘em go to the wall’ etc (however, if that’s how you feel, then this ‘dialogue” is pointless).”

    This comment of yours is itself a throw-away. What on earth do you mean by it? Several shops on Stokes Croft manifestly ARE crap. If you feel that this dialogue is pointless, don’t prolong it.

    “It has happened in just about every town and city in the UK.”

    Probably. But so what?

    If it were just food, I could live with it (just about, but I do, wait for it, prefer organics …)

    “Organics is just a pointless lifestyle choice. There are 6 billion people on this planet. We’re never going to be able to feed them all with organic food. GM technology will help, but is not the universal panacea.

    “– but it’s everything – clothes, cards, fish, stamps, electrical equipment, CD’s, insurance, petrol, even broadband, mobile phones, credit cards. An increasingly endless list.”

    So what? A business decides to sell things to its customers. Shock horror.

    “This does effect ordinary, well-run small local businesses.”

    It affects crap, badly-run businesses.

    “The juggernaut has to be stopped and trimmed back to a reasonable size or it will eat itself.”

    Other, less intellectually-endowed individuals may be persuaded by emotive language and rhetoric. I’m not. How do you propose to set about trimming the multinationals? Nationalisation, I suppose. That would certainly deter businesses from setting up operations in this country. The UK would then be starved of inward investment, the government would have to raise interest rates sky high in order to maintain the bond market, mass unemployment would ensue etc etc. Come on. Think things through for a change!

    “Monopolies are bad for business, for choice, for consumers – this is an established fact; that’s why the Commission exists.”

    True

    “Being against supermarkets does not have to equal per se being a bit of a leftie. It’s about choice, it’s about vibrant local communities and confident, profitable, fairly-supported localised, smaller businesses.”

    And about stopping anyone getting too big for their boots, it strikes me. Let’s face it, you just don’t like success.

  16. Richard Craven permalink
    March 5, 2010 3:35 pm

    Hi Elisabeth

    “Richard writes: “There is not enough cultivable land to feed us, even if we invest – as we should – in GM technology.” Richard, GM crops are not designed to increase crop yield. I am not sure why you see them as a saviour.”

    GM technology is developed for a range of purposes, as any university scientist will tell you. Frequently, increasing crop yield is amongst these purposes.

    “The main ones grown commercially are designed to ‘resist’ the proprietory pesticide . In other words, spray a field with the correct pesticide and only the GM plant stays alive.”

    This may or may not be true. I don’t know. But the historic uses and – let’s face it – abuses of GM technology should not blind us to their potential benefits.

    “Farmers have to buy BOTH the pesticide that goes with the GM seeds, and the GM seeds.”

    Or they can choose to buy neither, if it seems to them that they would be better off that way. What you allude to was notoriously the business model of Monsanto, and I dare say other GM companies. I don’t know whether this still goes on. You probably know better than I do. However, if it does, this in itself would constitute an excellent argument for governments to take over GM research, in order to cultivate strains resistant to extremes of heat and cold, thus enabling previously barren land to be brought into cultivation. It would be an enormous tragedy if we allowed the depredations of one company to blind us to the manifest benefits of GM technology.

    “The company that genetically modifies a seed can, by law, patent it. This gives the corporation intellectual property rights over the modified seeds and the right to charge an annual technology fee.”

    See above.

    “As we have seen in North America, farmers are sued if an unlicensed GM seed is found on their land or in their farming equipment – even if the GM seed was wind or animal-borne.”

    See above

    “Do you really want to see UK farmers subjected to this kind of harassment?”

    No. See above.

    “As for growing enough food in the UK to feed its population, one of the UK’s biggest problem is the price and availability of farmland. One solution may be to use non-farmland for cultivation and to reduce the price if being used to grow food for the local population.”

    Maybe. But GM should be part of the solution too.

  17. March 5, 2010 3:46 pm

    Richard writes: “So it’s ok for the Organic Supermarket to put my local shop out of business, but not for Tesco to put shops in Stokes Croft out of business?”

    Richard, I am curious. Which local shop was put out of business by the Better Food company in St Werburgh’s?

  18. Richard permalink
    March 7, 2010 9:49 pm

    There is something very fishy about the anti tesco mob and the way the soap dodgers have moved in, what are trying to protect? The local shops on this part of Cheltenham road and into the bear pit need a good shake up.

    If you take away the monoply and we hate tesco argument can someone please explain to me why this is such a bad thing and why it should not go ahead? But please when answering read the first bit of the question again.

    Look, i am not a great lover of vegan food, but i don’t come down to your shop and say this shouldn’t be here, do I?

    Bloody hippies

  19. Richard permalink
    March 7, 2010 9:51 pm

    When is someone going to start up a yes to tesco on Face book, I bet it would get more friends than the no to tesco.

    Lets call Simon Cowell…………..

  20. Richard Craven permalink
    March 8, 2010 4:14 pm

    Hi Richard

    I think you and I should make it clear that we are two different people, albeit largely in agreement!

    As a matter of fact, I don’t think a ‘yes to Tesco’ group would get more support than Tesco’s opponents. But this doesn’t mean that Tesco’s opponents win their argument, only that attitudes towards Tesco are by and large apathetic. Our elected representatives ought to be allowed to get on with their job of representing everyone. They should not be expected to accede to every whim of every pressure group, no matter how vocal and picturesque.

    In particular, the sooner the squatters are evicted, the better. Then Tesco can start contributing to local employment and taxes, and a small part of Stokes Croft will become less squalid.

    Hi Elisabeth
    I never said that the Organic Supermarket had succeeded in shutting down any local shops in competition with it. I merely pointed out that – being a supermarket – it must be exerting pressures on local shops similar to the pressures which, according to your claims, Tesco will exert on shops in Stokes Croft. If you don’t like supermarkets, on the grounds that they adversely affect the trade of local shops, then if you are being consistent you ought to object to the Organic Supermarket on similar grounds.

  21. Richard Craven permalink
    March 8, 2010 4:17 pm

    “The main [GM crops] grown commercially are designed to ‘resist’ the proprietory pesticide . In other words, spray a field with the correct pesticide and only the GM plant stays alive.”

    … but why is this a bad thing?

  22. Richard Craven permalink
    March 8, 2010 5:54 pm

    “As I said before and I say again: you cannot compare a giant multiple retailer such as Tesco’s with one individual shop such as the Better Food company.
    There is a huge difference in SCALE between the two.
    One is a multi-billion transnational operation – the other is a small independent shop.”

    This is analogous to saying that I cannot compare
    (i) the impact on a population in a confined area of a predator which is widespread elsewhere, with
    (ii) the impact on a similar population of a rare predator.
    But I CAN make such a comparison. This kind of comparison is ENTIRELY legitimate.

  23. Freedom of Speech permalink
    March 16, 2010 1:42 am

    Playing your music til the early morn
    When the sun is on its way
    Whilst we’re lying in our beds looking all forlorn
    How long you gonna stay?

    Please, squatters, please piss off back home
    I don’t like you anymore
    I can’t wait til the day when the baliffs come
    & Tescos build their store

    Wearing combat shorts and anarchist tats
    You look like a bunch of plonkers
    Camping out on the roof of a bunch of flats
    You must be raving bonkers

    Jeez, squatters, jeez just leave this spot
    Go do something constructive
    Coz the life that you lead inside your squat
    Is nothing but destructive

    The PRSC – what a load of old bull
    You’ve all got London accents
    Our community fucking hates you all
    Burn Burn inside of your tents!

    Even if you are from around these parts
    Who elected you our leaders?
    Clogging up the path with your household parts
    Ya fanny rot bottom feeders

    I supported you before when it all began
    But now I urge it all to stop
    It’s impossible to beat the Tesco man
    And who cares? It’s a fucking shop!

    Leave, squatters, leave please heed my song
    Give up this lame endeavour
    You belong on the doll with your homemade bong
    Stay away from us forever

  24. Jamie permalink
    March 16, 2010 7:48 pm

    I agree 100% with Richard…. both of them.
    Lets face it, Tesco is BETTER than the independant shops.. let’s just chill out and concerntrate on the worse things on Stokes Croft like the white-lightning drinkers and the dirty needles lying about…
    Why is everyone so persistant on keeping the area as trampy as it can be?
    I’m only 14 and I can see that this No Tesco argument is seriously flawed in many ways…. and by the way dont worry guys you can still buy lentils, muesli and tofu anywhere….

Trackbacks

  1. No Tesco in Stokes Croft « Real Food Lover
  2. Fay’s fish soup « Real Food Lover
  3. Demonstration Planned Against Tesco In Stokes Croft « Jess Avis
  4. Summary of Open Meeting – Fairfield resource centre Feb 10th
  5. Stokes Croft versus Tesco « Bristle's Blog from the BunKRS

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