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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Local shops for local people

John Kirriemuir in Berneray has an excellent analysis of the difficulties of shopping in these islands, and trying to balance the desire to spend your money in the community in which you live against the constraints of supply.

We all try to buy locally, but some products are not always available, and other times the choice just isn't what you want. I get a lot of my wine direct from Italy at £3.33 a bottle, and it is excellent quality, direct from the wineyard. I've never used the omnipresent Tesco for deliveries to the islands, and I'm vaguely depressed to see they deliver here.

The serious message is that if we get faster and more frequent ferries then the opportunity for what economists call "leakage" will occur. In the wonderful, big, bad world of the very near future, why go to the Stornoway from Ness, when Tesco will deliver to your door? I look forward to part 2 of John's cathartic self-expose, but worry that Ardmaree Stores may blackball him.

The above photo was taken at M&S, Taransay.


Anonymous said...

Part 2 is up and linked to part 1.

Globalisation is here. The Outer Hebrides doesn't exist within a seperate bubble (although some think it does, and others would like it too).

I'm not an arch-capitalist, but it seems sensible to (a) recognise the globalisation fact and (b) use it to local advantage.

Anonymous said...

Will expand on previous comment, as two people didn't "get it". If we do get faster and better ferry links - or better, a tunnel :-) then this could also work in favour of local businesses that take the best opportunities.

Faster links means being able to get Outer Hebrides stuff to market quicker, especially perishables. It also means a quicker turn-around time for work that can't be sent digitally that's being done by a resident.

Rather than focus on gloomy possible but unproven negatives, some consideration of possible advantages to the local socio-economic infrastructure would be useful. (Anyway, isn't that your ethos with the windfarm stuff? :-) )

Anonymous said...

we have deffinately found a new source of wind...:-)

brahanseer said...

One of the problems with the Western Isles is that even its local newspaper doesn't encourage local voices, never mind local purchases.

Look at the Gazette website. How many local Cds does it advertise on its website? How many local books? Instead of encouraging local people by giving their work space and coverage, it gives room to the same sort of material people can discover for themselves in the national media.

MInd you, given the track record of most of the Gazette staff and management, they've probably fallen out with most of the locals anyway! And it's much more fun to serve your own prickly little personal agenda than serve the community you're part of!