A John Harris fail

A huge screed talking about how appalling it is that the local producers might have their grip on the throats of the locals reduced by competition.

And one in which we have the usual Guardian approach to statistics.

One pound in every seven spent in Britain goes to Tesco alone

Entirely, horrendously, bollocks.

He links to, as his source, this piece.

Tesco is expected to confirm this week that one pound in every seven that is spent in British shops goes through its tills, when the retailer unveils record profits of £2.5 billion.

Point one is that it\’s from 2007. Seriously, 4 year old stats.

Point 2 is that there\’s rather a difference between \”one in seven of all pounds spent in Britan\” and \”one in seven of all pounds spent in British shops\”.

You know, sorta the difference between the entire economy and retail sales perhaps?

Retail sales we can look up here and at £32 billion a month ish, £380 billion a year ish, which in an economy of £1,400 billion ish is 27% of the economy, one seventh of that, Tesco is taking around 4% of all pounds spent in the economy.

As opposed to the government which is taking what, 45% of all pounds spent in the economy?

All right, we can argue that this is trivial: but I\’d argue that it isn\’t at all. It\’s an example of the horrendous way in which political debate is undertaken in this country. We\’ve got a pop music writer writing essays on matters economic for one of the national newspapers. One who is sufficiently ignorant of matters economic that he seriously doesn\’t know the difference between spending (you know, rent, taxes, \’leccie bills, everything) and retail spending.

And it\’s on these sorts of information sources that people make up their minds about these matters economic. You know, drivel from people who live in Frome of all God Forsaken places to move to. Given the glories of God\’s Own County of Somerset why Frome for fucks sake?


11 thoughts on “A John Harris fail”

  1. There’s also a huge difference between 1 in 7 pounds going to Tesco and 1 in 7 pounds going through Tesco.

  2. I’ve lived in both Shepton Mallet and Frome at one point or another, and they’re definitely not all bad 🙂

  3. Not a problem, surely. If the locals hate the supermarkets as much as the article claims, they won’t shop there, Tesco will close and local shops will re-expand. If they are happy with the supermarkets then Tesco will stay. Either way, the locals get what they want. Aren’t free markets great.

  4. Not forgetting the somewhat misleading statement that this loot will “go to Tesco” as if it will end up in Mr Tesco’s bank account, presumably used to fund the construction of his HQ in the base of a dormant volcano.

    The original story makes it clear that the money goes through Tesco tills. Most rational people would deduce that the money goes through Tesco tills as it makes it way to the producers.

  5. Be ye a Zummerzet lad, Tim? I think I’ve read you slagging off Taunton in these ‘ere pages as well.

    But anyway, John Harris: what a knob-end.

  6. Until 1964 Britain had a system of Resale Price Maintenance whereby manufacturers made shops sell their goods at the same price :this discouraged predatory discounting. and preserved small shopsThe US Supreme Court has recently re-legalised RPM after some years in abeyance.(Also until 1963 Britain had an efficient tax ,Schedule A ,on house prices)
    Both were abolished by the Tories when the adults gave way to silly children.And just look at the results!

  7. Yes, I’ve lived through an RPM regime, and a less efficient way to run a country is hard to imagine. I was involved with helping to set the appropriate price levels for a company, and when I protested at the utter fabrications going into keeping the price as high as possible, I was informed that they weren’t “fabrications”, but simply “creative accounting”, and anyway, the government happily accepted the results so what was the problem. And the entrenched (and very inefficient) company happily made excellent profits.

  8. DBC Reed: are you seriously arguing in favour of price control by government edict (or via an effective cartelisation through inter-company price-fixing?) If so, you exceed your normal level of idiocy. And what the fuck is ‘predatory discounting’? Is it ‘selling something foe less than the guy next door’? And if small shops can’t compete with the big shops then fuck them; they should go bust. I bet you were in favour of the Net Books Agreement (which was just a publishers’ ramp.) Socialists of every stripe have he colossal vanity to think that they know the value of everything, and therefore should be able to dictate its price.

  9. David G.
    This is not my normal level of idiocy:it is a highly specific form i.e. related to RPM which you cannot be arsed to research since you think it amounts to “inter-company price fixing” which is the complete opposite of what it is and that it is enforced by Government edict. Really not worth bothering with this. Just embarrassing.
    Ed Snack seems to know something about it but why he thinks a company fixing its own prices too high (and nobody else’s) is not wide open to undercutting,especially by imports, is beyond me.All these arguments were rehearsed by the Univ of Chicago team in the Leegin Creative Leather case that went in front of the US Supreme Court- and won.
    Absolutely nobody on the Liberalising right clocked this case: they were no doubt too busy totally fucking up the efficient post-war capitalism they inherited .
    PS Ed Snack cannot possibly be that old:he would have to be 91. OR Well done old timer!

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