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Everything posted by Malachy

  1. I would argue with your analysis, but it's hard to be very concrete without figures to work with. I think the difference within the local economy would be considerably greater than you're suggesting, but this difference will be most obvious if people start going out of business, as seems rather inevitable.
  2. A local shopkeeper will be spending much of their profits locally - buying food here, buying a house here, going to the pub, eating in restaurants, paying their council tax, etc etc etc. This money will circulate within the local economy, maintaining jobs and services as it goes. Tesco's profits on the other hand, will be gone from Shetland forever. It's pretty simple really.
  3. Not quite sure if you're being ironic here. This would be a very interesting and significant thing to know. What hasn't been discussed enough here is the detrimental effect that Tesco will have on the wider local economy. Imagine the supermarket as a giant pipe, down which many Shetlanders will be throwing an increasingly large proportion of their wages. Shopping in local shops, on the other hand, allows more money to circulate within the islands (ie the profits remain here, they don't go to the Cayman Islands or to faceless shareholders elsewhere). So, unless my understanding of economics is wrong, the stronger Tesco's hold on the local retail sector, the poorer the local economy will be. Less money sloshing about in Shetland could well mean, ultimately, job losses in sectors entirely unrelated to groceries and shops. These are very real considerations, but unfortunately the majority of posters here seem unable to see beyond the bright lights and special offers. Tesco's profits in Shetland is money that could, theoretically, be remaining in Shetland.
  4. Ah this old chestnut again. Check your semantics old boy. A majority were opposed to the windfarm. Not an absolute majority, but a majority, as in the largest overall group.
  5. Remember that, as someone pointed out somewhere here, Amazon and Play will be shipping from the Channel Islands, so won't pay any VAT. If my maths is accurate that means that Clive's is actually selling the game for exactly the same price as Amazon, except he has to pay VAT. So it's pretty unfair to suggest he's too expensive just because he has to play by the rules.
  6. It's been there at least since Saturday morning, so I imagine it would be starting to smell pretty soon.
  7. You seem to be repeatedly ignoring ISOT's claim that kettles are on sale for £10 in a local electrical shop. I'm confused.
  8. This debate gets a bit tiresome when people simply choose to ignore the answers, then repeat the questions. As someone has only just written, up there a bit ^^^, George Robertson sells kettles for £9.99. On the whole small shops are not choosing not to compete, they simply can't compete with Tesco. If Tesco buys, say, half a million kettles for their UK stores, and a local shop buys ten of the same, clearly Tesco will be able to buy them much cheaper, and sell them much cheaper too. But I hardly think £9.99 for a kettle is asking too much. Or even £15.
  9. I'm not sure I would equate 'the rat race' with 'a good life'. And as for people looking down on you, I hardly think so. It's about personal choice. I have a low income, I don't own a TV, or an iPlayer, iPhone, or other 'tech savvy gear' (aside from a computer, which I need for work). Nor can I afford to buy new clothes very often. But I don't imagine many people look down on me (for that reason anyway). And if they do then I don't think their opinion is worth very much. Usually people associate the good life with escaping the rat race and avoiding getting trapped by the endless consumerist wheel. It's certainly cheaper living that way. I refuse to accept that £5 kettles are necessary for happiness.
  10. The planning rules are there to stop companies from doing whatever they want. Convenience-wise, Tesco could simply bulldoze the Street and build a huge store there, offering everything we might ever need. But a lot of people would prefer if they didn't. See, this is the funny thing. Never before in history has something like a kettle cost as little (in comparison to wages) as £5. In the past, people would have expected to pay much more for useful things. But now, we expect our wages to go up and prices to go down, every year. Then we can continue to buy lots and lots of things that we don't need, and to still complain about high prices. I think we need a bit of a reality check here. Our human rights are not being infringed if kettles cost more than two pints of beer. Someone always pays the cost for low prices. Unless I'm much mistaken, its Tesco that is being accused of twisting the rules here, for their own benefit. Yes, the Town Centre Association is protecting its members, but those members employ far more people locally than Tesco, and therefore contribute far more to the local economy. Indeed, Tesco does not contribute to the local economy at all. The benefit of the jobs it is providing is far outweighed by the amount of money it takes out of Shetland (it would be interesting to do the maths on that one). So, from the perspective of a local council, keen to protect the local economy, it is hardly a surprise Tesco would not be welcomed unquestioningly.
  11. Well it is about time that local and national planning policy was changed!. Surely any policy about shops ought to be in the interest of shoppers. And in any case I think the Lerwick town centre is going to stay alive (except on wet Wednesdays) unless the banks and chemists decide to move. I fail to see why Shetland is so fundamentally different from the rest of the UK. Travel around this country and it is depressing how many dead communities there are, with high streets full of boarded windows. There will always be a huge Tesco on the edge of town though (often with a chemists inside too). Now that may be your idea of shoppers' interest but it's not mine. If it comes to a choice between cheaper baked beans and a healthy community I'm afraid I'm willing to pay a bit more for my dinner. The Street already has a number of empty premises I belive, and other building that have been on sale for quite some time. That is not a good sign. I think planning policy should be led by people who care about the place where they live, not by zombie consumers who only care about saving five pence on a can of coke.
  12. Planning conditions are not meant to be about fairness to shoppers, they're about adhering to local and national planning policy, which prioritises keeping town centres alive. Tesco has sucked the life out of towns elsewhere, and massively reduced consumer choice in many places, which is why planners need to be vigilant about tricks like this, which Tesco has been accused of pulling elsewhere too. (I'm not necessarily saying they're guilty in this instance, just that they are being accused of doing it.) Small businesses would never be able to get around planning rules in this way, but if the council does kick up a fuss they will likely find the biggest and best lawyers standing in their way. Big business doesn't like the democratic process. Edit: It is not up to Tesco to decide what is fair for shoppers anyway. I imagine they would be rather biased in that regard, don't you?
  13. I'm not aware of the co-op selling white goods or clothes.
  14. Well, they only have a right to do it if it's what they applied for under their extension conditions. And I believe the complaint in this instance is that Tesco have been less than honest in their application, presumably because they knew permission wouldn't be granted for what they wanted to do. If that's the case then hopefully the planning board will be brave enough to stand up to them, but I suspect that won't happen. Tesco usually gets what it wants. As has been said here, Tesco is cheaper not because local shops are ripping people off, but because of economies of scale. They can buy hundreds of thousands of electrical items and spread them around their stores, so they will be cheaper than a local shop can ever manage. So people will buy their hoover, washing machine, etc, from Tesco instead of a local eletrical shop. But the problem with that logic is that when you want something a bit more complicated, or you want a part, or you want someone who can tell you what you need when you have a problem with your appliance, there won't be anyone. The local shop will have closed down because they weren't making money any more. So you'll have to buy a new hoover, washing machine etc, and you'll have to buy it from Tesco because there won't be any choice. And then you'll be back on Shetlink moaning about how there's no choice and how the horrible electrical shop owners closed down just to spite you. And the clothes shop owners. And all the other shops on the street. And why won't the council do something about the Street? It looks horrible with all those boards up on the windows. Tesco is a monopoly in waiting.
  15. Out today! Please do have a look at the website: http://www.fairislebook.co.uk
  16. I love how the page describes him as a 'world leading climate change expert' when he has no scientific training or experience whatsoever. I'm not really sure how claiming that global warming is a communist conspiracy makes you an expert. Or whether publishing books on sudoku gives you much insight into the climate.
  17. Thanks breeksy, and I forgot to say - all proceeds from the book will be split between Fair Isle Bird Observatory and the Fair Isle Community Association.
  18. There's a new book about Fair Isle out tomorrow. It's a general introduction to the landscape, culture, history and wildlife of the island, told mostly through photographs. Images come from Dave Wheeler, David Gifford, Deryk Shaw and others, and it was written and edited by me and Roger Riddington, editor of British Birds magazine and former warden of Fair Isle Bird Observatory. The book will hopefully appeal to those interested both in the community and in the ornithology of Fair Isle. You can see sample pages and pictures and find out more about the book at http://www.fairislebook.co.uk It will be in the Shetland Times bookshop and elsewhere tomorrow, and you can also order it online. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yxJiYkrYL._SS500_.jpg
  19. Well it might be a valid point if it weren't for the fact that the event described is totally unrepresentative of what is actually going on in schools, where dialect is being actively used more and more, and where increasing amounts of dialect teaching resources are being produced and distributed. The event that Kavi described isn't really defensible, but equally it doesn't sound entirely plausible either. I feel rather unconvinced that the story he's told is 'the whole story'. It fits rather too well into this idea of Shetlanders oppressed by ignorant incomers that Kavi continually espouses, and it certainly doesn't tally with what I know of people working in Shetland schools today. Edit: For instance, the implication of Kavi's post is that the child is being stopped from speaking dialect, which would be completely inappropriate; but if, on the other hand, a particular child is showing an unwillingness or inability to ever write in English, that would potentially be a problem. Partly because their exams would be marked by people who wouldn't understand, and partly just because the ability to write in standard English is a pretty vital skill, wherever you live in Britain.
  20. People are free to try and reinvent the language if they like, as some are obviously trying to do ('revive' is a misleading word, since there is no complete language available to revive. The job involves lots of assumptions and guesses.) To try and force this reinvented language on Shetlanders today is a rather peculiar and slightly sinister idea.
  21. Interesting to note that, while a Christian would be described as having a 'disability', a Muslim is called 'hook handed'. Also worth remembering that millions of Christians have been living in the Middle East for many years, without the authorities feeling the need to start supressing their religious identities. (Though there has been an increase in persecution of Middle Eastern Christians since we went over and start dropping bombs on people willy-nilly in the last ten years.) In Iran, Christians have rights to freedom of religious expression guaranteed by the constitution. They also have seats allocated within the parliament. Same in Syria. In Lebanon, the president is always a Christian according to the constitution. Why is it we have such difficulty being tolerant?
  22. Just to be pedantic in return, this is really only true if you're just referring to carbon emissions. In terms of pollution, habitat destruction and species loss, the damage is being done by virtually every human culture across the globe. In fact, in the West, we are much better able to limit and control pollution than poorer nations, and their environments (and health) suffer greatly as a result. But they go on doing it.
  23. Very well puts - sums up the strong anthropic principle vs weak anthropic principle arguments. That's essentially the point that Richard Dawkins attacked Gaia theory on - that it appears to suggest purpose, where none can exist. But that was the point of Lovelock's Daisyworld model, which convincingly demonstrated that purpose isn't required for Gaia.
  24. There is a distinct difference between imagining nature as 'Mother Earth' and building a scientific theory based on observations of complex natural systems. Yes, I agree the Gaia theory seems to fit with ancient ways of looking at the Earth, but it's not exactly the same thing.
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