There\’s a connection here Mr. Lean, there really is

One in every nine shops now stands empty, says the British Retail Consortium:…….Meanwhile, Britain has become Europe’s leading e-retail economy: though the internet accounts for only about a tenth of all sales,

Me, I think I\’d put \”because\” in place of that \”meanwhile\”.

But so great are the countervailing forces that only so much can be done to revive retail, and restoring vibrancy to the high street may mean going back to the future. Segregated shopping parades are relatively new, set – literally – in stone by the zoning policies of post-war planners. For most of human history, town centres have been far more eclectic – and exciting – places where people have lived, worked, sought information and entertainment, learnt skills, and exchanged experiences as well as shopped.

Yes, OK, Ms. Jacobs. Organic growth, not planning. Let people get on with it and towns and cities will indeed grow in their own way.

It will all take good planning,

Err, no. It means the opposite of whining little dipshits with clipboards telling everyone what to do. The absence of planning you friggin\’ moron.

14 thoughts on “There\’s a connection here Mr. Lean, there really is”

  1. “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” Ronald Reagan

  2. the property companies might have to drop rents and business rates might have to fall and councils might have to lower their parking charges before shoppers will return to the high streets…. Pigs will fly

  3. The universal business rate is the real killer. Give the business ratepayer a local vote commensurate with local people employed. You might see a change then how they award themselves their pensions and their severance pay

  4. Get rid of all councils –so rates/parking theft/planning permission are gone. Get rid of minimum wage laws and all national/EU crap that interferes with hiring/firing (there will be a few arsehole employers but the best defence against bad bosses is lots of other jobs).
    Get rid of VAT while we’re at it. And Income tax down to a max of 10p in the pound for starters–then we will see if it is the Internet that is doing in the high street.

  5. Bloke, may I offer a couple more, from British usage:

    “There ought to be a law.”

    “The Government should do something.”

  6. This is an excellent example of classic Leftie (and especially British) dysfunction.

    First, observe a business that’s doing OK (better if it’s big and/or doing really well), then take money from it (business taxes, business rates, surcharges and surtaxes etc.) to support whatever pet project is on your mind. (Roads, education, the feckin’ children, etc)

    Justify this appropriation using ‘fairness’, the ‘vulnerable’ and of course “Won’t someone please think of the feckin’ children?” (That last is a favourite). Point out that these ‘rich’ businesses use public services (roads, education, etc) and so claim that they need to pay more than every other individual. They are _businesses_ after all, and therefore any profit (gasp!) was clearly extorted from the people who freely bought their good and services.

    Turn on the inevitable results of these policies: megastores, traffic to same, tax ‘avoidance’ of same, unhealthiness of providing food people want to buy. Add in lamentations about people eating processed food instead of fresh bought from the friendly neighbourhood grocer and you’ve got enough Grauniad columns for several villas in Tuscany.

    Observe that all is not well in the local town. Appoint a commission to look into it. Over time, make this a permanent planning commission that has the happy effect of providing more jobs for like-minded bien pensants, and still more ‘concerned’ individuals to find businesses that are doing OK (best if it’s big and doing really well), then take money from it to support whatever pet project is on your mind. (Roads, education, the feckin’ children, etc).

    Arseholes. Don’t expect them to give up their sinecures. What would they _do_ for a living?

  7. Some successful shops trade on the internet as well. Whether they can compete with the likes of John Lewis, amazon, ebay or argos is a different matter…

  8. Martin Davies,

    I don’t follow. There are three entirely different things in your comment.
    1) Amazon – purely internet, relevant
    2) John Lewis, Argos – originally high street, have made successful forays into internet, examples therefore of how it can be done
    3) ebay – carboot sale online – does not really properly compete with either of the above. Ebay provides a market for transactions that simply would not ever have happened without it.

    Only Amazon has anything to answer for in terms of the effect on the high street and only then if you believe the article and that Amazon is a “bad thing”.

  9. The Pedant-General, ebay and amazon are both sites for companies to trade on. There is no difference overall between selling a buy it now item on ebay (as many companies do) and selling the same item on amazon. Plus own website of course.
    Some companies seem to just use own website. Fair enough.
    Others use own website plus third party ones, going where the footfall is.

    As you say, ebay provides a market for transactions that simply would not ever have happened without it. Which is why some companies use it in addition to their own site and shops (Argos and WH Smiths apparently have ebay shops).

    Amazon affecting the high street? Yes, in the same way that opening another shop selling similar items to what is already sold on the high street impacts on the high street.
    Was after a toner cartridge yesterday, high street doesn’t stock it, PC world have it for £59.99, amazon have it at £46. Which makes better sense to buy from? The non-stock holding high street that I’d have to change printers to buy cartridges from? PC world who last time had one toner left and charge full whack? Or an online retailer (could have used any of several undercutting PC world) who will provide it cheaper?

  10. Thing is, when people talk about a tenth of shopping being done online, they forget that 30 or 40 years ago a similar proportion were shopping via catalogues.

    Different products, maybe, but were the sentimentalists bemoaning the wickedness of Kays et al?

  11. Oddly, by the author’s usual standards (he’s normally babbling about ‘AGW’) this isn,t that bad, but then he points out, it needs planning – I’d say based on my visits to any high street the last thing it needs is more planning! MellorSJ (#8) has summed it up nicely – as long as the narrative being peddled by the likes of Murphy, Toynbee it all runs something like this:

    A:/ We need high levels of tax to pay for ‘World Class Public Services’

    B:/ Public expenditure is axiomatically a good thing and is all ‘investment’

    C:/ public Sector workers have no concept of self- interest and always operate in the wider interests of the community as a whole

    Then the necessary reduction in tax rates and bonfire of regulation isn’t ever likely to happen.

  12. Having been a public sector worker in several offices over a decade, they have lots of self interest.
    They are human.

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