Tesco come, Tesco go, John Harris whinges either way. Here he was writing in the Guardian in August 2011:
In Britain a new Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s or Asda opens every other day. But across the country people are battling the relentless march of the ‘Big Four’. John Harris, who has taken up the fight himself, reports
And here is John Harris writing in the Guardian in February 2015:
‘We feel betrayed': the towns abandoned by Tesco
Tesco’s profits crisis means that plans for 49 shiny new stores have been ditched. Where does that leave places such as Kirkby, Bridgwater and Wolverhampton, where regeneration schemes linked to the supermarket chain now lie in ruins?
There is a fair point to be made relating to the bad effects on a town of endless shilly-shallying about whether a supermarket will be built, but John Harris isn’t making it. One of the commenters, DrRic55, is:
Seems this is less about Tesco, and more a grubby and poor quality class of local politicians.
I know from my old line of work how eyes light up at the mention of Section 106 agreements, and all manor of pet projects appear to be funded – sometimes assisting and enabling the development, sometimes nothing to do with it.
If we didn’t have such ridiculous planning laws the private sector would get on and build where there was demand. Instead we have a system not far off bribery of the local bureaucrats, and endless consultations that drag on forever. If you want to see another effect, look at the state of housebuilding in the UK.
Tesco has obviously failed in some pretty big ways, but I can’t help but see the dead hand of local government all over these disasters.
A hotel has a policy of charging guests an extra £100 if they leave a bad review of the hotel on any website. Should the state permit individuals to enter into such a contract?
When a couple was so charged, they went and talked to the press. “What happened to freedom of speech?”, they asked.
John Greenbank, north trading standards area manager, said it was a “novel” way to prevent bad reviews.
He said: “I have worked for trading standards for many years and have never seen anything like this. The hotel management clearly thinks they have come up with a novel way to prevent bad reviews, however we believe this could be deemed an unfair trading practice.”
The beautiful thing is that the state turns out to be completely redundant in this case. Things did not work out so well for the hotel, and it now serves as a terrible warning for anyone else with similar ideas. Now its reputation is trashed on Trip Advisor because of freedom of speech. And because The Internet. Though I do wonder about libel…
Talk about ingenuity! That thing does not looks very RPG-resistant, so it very wisely has a top mounted camera so it can fire from behind cover!
But guys, it is an improvised armoured ambulance, not a ‘tank’.
The words “climate change” have taken on occult significance.
Chant “the science is settled, the science is settled, the science is settled” over and over again, whilst arranging an arcane pattern on the ground with a ritually blessed hockey stick inscribed with the words “Gaia” and “Al Gore”, and if you do that on a solstice, the spirit of Karl Marx will appear!
There is no other explanation for some of the gonzo articles that get written.
Bono is annoying. This was supposed to be a post in which I gloated about how, if I had an iPhone, I would be making use of the U2 removal tool, too, the story being that Apple gave away the latest U2 album for free and enough people complained that they had to offer a way to remove it.
And I would support my argument with stupid Bono quotes. But it turns out he is harder to pin down than that.
If globalisation means a better life for more people, we’re all in favour of it. If it means a better life for less people, we’re all against it.
Non-commital but hard to disagree with. And then there is this analysis:
While Bono has become synonymous with campaigns such as Drop the Debt that fit his right-on rock star image, he also has a well-developed sense of how capitalism works. U2 has acquired a business empire with an estimated worth of nearly (EU)700m. Much of that is due to their artistic talent, but a substantial portion has come from careful management of business opportunities.
Bono’s idea for helping the Third World involves the destruction of trade barriers and protectionism, and investment in the development of self-sustaining businesses. His economic instincts are pro-globalisation, but in a perfectly sensible business way. One of his big ideas to help the Third World, the launch of the ethical brand Product Red, with partners such as Motorola, Gap and Giorgio Armani, is based firmly on capitalist principles.
That is from an article criticising him for tax avoidance, of all things.
I am almost starting to like him. It is very annoying. Still, I do sympathise with @twitflup via The Daily Poke:
Just woken up to find U2 downstairs watching TV and eating my biscuits. Will their presumptions that I want them in my life ever end?
Progressive Venezuela has rediscovered the benefits of Emperor worship:
“Venezuelan Socialists rewrite Lord’s Prayer: ‘Our Chavez, who art in heaven'”
No doubt, like Claudius, the Divine Hugo will be worshipped by the more gullible among the British tribesmen. As Seneca wrote in the Apocolocyntosis,
Is it not enough that he has a temple in Britain, that savages worship him and pray to him as a god, so that they may find a fool to have mercy upon them?”
This is certain to cause much mirth:
The U.S. military has always been the one place in government with a plan, forever in preparation mode and ready to yank a blueprint off the shelf for almost any contingency. Need a response for a Russian nuclear missile launch? Check. Have to rescue a U.S. ambassador kidnapped by drug lords? Yup, check, got that covered. How about a detailed strategy for surviving a zombie apocalypse? As it turns out, check.
Minsk, Belarus. May 2014
Ah yes. Marc O’Polo, the great Irish explorer who travelled to and returned from the O’Rient.
Years after the collapse of the USSR, Cuba remains a bastion of communism, central planning… and shortages of basic goods.
I am not surprised that there are empty shelves in Cuba. I am surprised to be reading such things on the BBC.
despite Cuba’s proximity to the US, Washington’s 50-year-old trade embargo – which was designed to squeeze this island’s communist government from power – means there’s no American investment here. There’s no Starbucks, no Coca-Cola plant.
Some might see that as a good thing. But they might not find shopping for essentials quite so quaint. I once approached my big local supermarket full of optimism. I now know I’m likely to find a mixture of half-bare shelves and ones stacked with a single product: cheap ketchup, say, or adult incontinence pads.
Basic items disappear whenever Cuba struggles to meet its import bills. For weeks there was no toilet paper or cartons of milk. Now even the delicious local coffee is “lost,” as Cubans say – “esta perdido”.
Mind you there’s plenty of “partridge in brine,” should anyone fancy that. I’ve seen the same pile of cans on display for more than two years at $25 apiece. Perhaps a central planner ticked the wrong order box.
The story is even promoted from other stories under the banner “in today’s magazine”.
My reaction upon reading this story was “wow, this would make a hell of a movie!”
When Mohammed Abu Ali went to bed on August 8, he was living in Makhmour, a Kurdish-populated town near the border of Iraqi Kurdistan. When he woke up the next day, he was in Makhmour, an abandoned town under the control of the Islamic State
Time to stay calm and think very carefully before saying anything!
The real conspiracy is hiding the fact that the US government has had FTL and time travel technology since the 1950s. The first sightings were USAF space-time machines being tested on backwards jaunts of about 5 to 10 years. Navigation was a problem in the early days.
Why keep it a secret? Would you want the Soviets to get that technology or face average Americans rushing off into the void to claim their own planets? Real smooth way to crash the economy and get a bunch of people lost in space and time.
But now that NASA has gone public with their starship program and the astronomers have started naming ‘earth like’ extrasolar planets it’s only a matter of time before they announce a FTL breakthrough. How do I know all this? I pulled it out of my ass and why would my ass lie to me?
– Commenter “AlfredHerring”, trumping this Guardian article claiming that the real UFO conspiracy consisted of the US government faking their existence.