In case it passed anyone by, Tesco withdrew its application to build a store on Hope Street, after a significant amount of protest emerged online, focussed around a Facebook group, which ended up with over 4,500 members.
In a rare triumph of people power, Tesco’s indicated that it was prepared to acknowledge the level of public feeling and look elsewhere for a new site.
I think it’s fair to say that few people expected the supermarket megalith to heed any complaints, but heed them it did.
Someone who must be scratching his head over all of this is LDP Business journo Tony McDonough who voiced his bemusement that anyone would want to oppose such a ‘successful company’ that has created ‘so many jobs’.
McDonough went on to say that, in his humble opinion, the new Tesco store on Hope Street would have ‘minimal’ impact on the aesthetics of the area – in direct contrast to the opinions of businesses and organisations actually situated on Hope Street.
He also suggested that the best way to oppose the new Tesco store was to wait until it opened, boycott the store and watch it wither and die.
Tony also claims that local retailers and traders have little to fear if a supermarket opens nearby, because people are ‘free to continue to buy their provisions from the local butcher and baker and therefore ensure their survival.’
Is he serious?
I’m puzzled as to how this sort of muddled ‘the market should decide’ dogma is still held in such reverence, especially given the prevailing economic conditions and the process that led us here.
Beyond ideological stances, it should be patently obvious that the number of protesters will be far outweighed by passing trade from students, tourists and other sorts who couldn’t give a fig about Hope Street either way.
Thankfully, Liverpool’s citizens did not see it that way, and intervened before Tesco took its plans any further. Score one for direct action.
Anyway, I’ll leave the last word to Tony, who clearly knows a thing or two about how these things work:
Real consumer power in a free market economy will beat Facebook petitions and posters in windows any day.