« Hague responds to Petraeus report | Main | The unions give the Labour Party money and the Labour Government gives the unions money and the unions give the Labour Party... »


Traditional high streets are being destroyed by a pincer movement of anti-car local authority leftists (of all parties) who prey on shoppers and huge supermarket chains that use their financial muscle to build vast warehouses with free parking on greefield sites.

The Quality of Life report is an attempt to even up the odds. The long-term solution is to make it easier to park in city centres but forcing supermarkets and their users to pay for the externalities (road building and maintenance, longer journeys, pollution, concreting over of precious land, etc) rather than pass them on to the taxpayer and the environment would be a good start.

Why o why did he get a millionaire to help chair this report.

He(Goldsmith)has no idea what it is like for ordainary people. Voters will think this is the Etonian mafia out to get us.(and it won't matter if the went to Eton or not).

Why should smaller old-style shops be 'protected'? This is last-millennium thinking - such places are going out of business because they don't address customer need.
When a town-centre shop is open at 11PM I might get round to visiting it. Same goes for the much-bewailed rural post-offices.

Shops and town-centres have no God-given right to be in business. We must avoid at all costs any risk of getting drawn into micromanaging businesses - for if we do all that will happen is it'll mean another expensive layer of local government bureaucrats soaking up business-rates and council-tax.

I'm amazed by all of this, I use supermarkets, why? 'cos I like 'em. Small shops don't care about 'em, farmers been living off the taxpayer for years. It's getting to be like the, 'Cain Mutiny' has anyone noticed the captains gorn' mad, whose going to seize the bridge before its too late?

Er - why not fortify the planning system or enforce competition laws more fiercely rather than pick the pockets of ordinary people? Again.

These are matters that should be decided by local councils. The only national policy change required is to ensure that the power to set local policy is placed in the hands of local councils.

Built To Last states "Political
power should always be exercised as close to
people and communities as possible."

Gummer's statements are therefore superfluous. It is not for him to say what councils will do with supermarkets.

It is a local issue for local people to decide.

As I read it, the policy to charge for parking at supermarkets gives this power to local councils.

If a local council wish to use this lever, they can. If they don't, they won't. If it is unpopular, then cllrs can be kicked out at election time.

Editor, you should stress the localism of this, rather than the link to national taxation.

Strikes me this is all about empowering local communities?

In acual fact all that will happen is that supermarkets will refund parking charges if customers spend over £5 - like they do round here. Waste of time and generally unenforced.

Sorry - but how does this save the planet, and what right does government have to impose taxes to park on land it doesn't own?

The 'let them eat cake' mentality of Cameron and his elite cabal proves how green they all are.Streetwise they ain't!

It is not all doom and gloom. In my area, two local grocery and alchol shops are thriving because their prices are competitive (even with the big supermarkets) and they offer Polish food and lager. The owners and staff are far more friendly than supermarket staff.

Zac Goldsmith has been campaigning against a small Sainsbury store. It is not a huge superstore but will be much cheaper than the expensive Waitrose in Sheen. If the local stores in Barnes were as well run as mine, they would survive easily. Goldsmith is a typical example of a a paternalist snob who wants to force the "proles" to pay more.

I would be surprised if Lady Annabel Goldsmith shops locally in Ham. She may choose the large Sainsbury superstore in North Kingston. However, she probably get deliveries from Waitrose, Harrods, or Fortnum & Mason. And I bet that she does not drive a Toyota Prius. We should be told.

People drive to supermarkets for convenience and costs. They will not carry lots of bags on trains and buses. Supermarket parking charges will be eagerly used by greedy councils to spend on pet projects. Central government simply cannot dictate how money is spent.

Goldsmith and Gummer are simply out of touch with local people. They appear to have little understanding how local markets work. There is nothing worse than rich and hypocritical politicians using new laws and taxes to run people's lives.

As with yesterday's example in the context of pollution, this comes across as another sin tax rather than a discouragement tax. The plain fact is that people like supermarket and out of town shopping for choice and convenience and are not going to let themselves be forced back to the city centre and the corner shop by political disapproval - but they will resent any such levy imposed by central government rather than by the retailer.

Just another silly idea that is going to add to the cementing of DC and his "crew" as completely mad and unelectable. So far it sounds like that if you vote for Cameron he's going to ban you from buying luxury electronics, make it too expensive for you to go on holiday, ban naughty video games, tell everyone they have to be "socially responsible" in tackling crime, whatever that means, and so on.
I was rooting for Cameron to begin with, but he just doesn't "feel" right now, its re branding gone wrong. The DC team feel like that friend who's well to do, wants to help the little people and the environment, but has no credibility in what they say. They've said so many stupid things over the time you've known them that you just grin and smile when they come out with their next fanciful idea. And you know that in a fight they'd hand over their wallet and try to be best friends with the thug.

This is kamikaze politics.

The US is in potentially its biggest bind since the great depression, we have multiple wars on the go and an out of control public sector and especially pension provision.

This country really needs a Conservative government to sort these things out. These measures will help ensure that isn't the case.

I despair. Here we have a Conservative Party, hoping to win the next election, suggesting that we are charged for car parking at out of town venues. Well that will attract voters by the thousands.

If the High Street needs to be assisted (and in many cases it does) then surely the provision of adequate parking facilities by the Council would help enormously.

However, damage has already been done.
The fact that this proposal has seen the light of day and even though it will, in all probability, be rejected, has indicated to the public just how some Conservatives are thinking and their thoughts are not attractive.

Conservativehome now seems likely to descend into a very public and ungainly gnashing of teeth on the subject of "why we lost the general election".....and why on earth we ever fell for Dave.

I really do despair.

Not with Major Montgomery watching we wont!

There can be no doubt that the supermarket cartels have torn the heart of of many communities. I live in a small village and thirty years ago the village had all manner of shops, butchers, grocers, hardware, toy shop, etc, now it has a paper shop dominated by two mini supermarkets. The thriving community that once was is dead. Mornings used to see the village full of people on foot doing their shopping at the various shops. Now every morning the village is like a ghost town as people visit the supermarket by car. Since the small shops were squeezed out by the supermarkets the upkeep of the village has fallen away and the place now looks abandoned, and indeed it is. If we are to revive communities we need to revive community life which revolves around something as basic as shopping. The one-stop shopping culture of supermarkets is soul-sapping, no-one chats in the supermarket, they just get their provisions and get out back into their car and back to home again. It is a shopping experience done in not so splendid isolation.

I suppose that if you have Harrods as your corner shop, the realities of having to shop in an ordinary Midlands town such as Kettering will inevitably escape you.

The nearest independent grocer closed a few months ago. There is a butcher in the centre, but his prices are significantly higher than the supermarkets.

Why should those who are trying to make ends meet on incomes hard hit by mortgage rises now be forced to pay through the nose to park at the cheapest shops or simply pay through the nose by shopping at town centre shops?

A far better idea would be to make effective use of competition laws and if they are not effective enough, beef them up and bring the supermarkets to heel that way.

These ideas being floated are simply simple vote losers and should be binned at once.

The supermarkets pay local Business tax (including space taken for parking) which they pass on to me in the price I pay for goods they see. To charge me again for the parking is madness!!!!!

I rather think a better way of helping small shops might be to raise VAT thresholds, and abolish duties on tobacco, alcohol and petrol and make up the money by having a higher VAT rate for such items which of course would fall more heavily on small shops.

Raising Income Tax thresholds, abolishing the Minimum Wage, abolishing Working Time Regulations and abolishing Employee NI Contributions and a variety of employment regulations would also help such small shops.

Scrapping Inheritance Tax would help as well because it would make it easier for many family shops to be retained where otherwise they might be sold to pay off tax.

These proposals will remain proposals so I should n't worry too much guys. We've got too pretend we're green before dropping the proposals and reverting to the status quo.

A conservative government should be concerned with breaking up the oligopolistic power of the supermarkets - so we can have a free market in food. We wont though because as the supermarkets screw their suppliers price wise it helps keep inflation down and party donations up. Trebles all round.

Is there a party out their that really supports British agriculture?

Nothing like skewing the playing field.
If you make supermarkets charge for parking, (and that posits an enforcement of legislation as supermarket carparks are private property - or has that been conveniently forgotten), they will absorb the cost to present a caring, sharing front to customers spending significant sums of money, whilst the high street reatilers without that caring, sharing, local council will be disadvantaged.
Why on earth have we lumbered ourself with the poor little rich boy who wants to play politics with his fathers ill-gotten monies. As for Barnes, there are many who want the Sainsburys and have nothing but contempt for Zac, his wealthy attitudes, attempt to pay the local squirarchy and establish a rotten borough.


Today's Mail leader:


The Mail strongly favours sensible measures to cut pollution. But we have a friendly warning for David Cameron.

It's all very well for Zac Goldsmith, the millionaire eco-warrior who chairs the Tory leader's Quality of Life policy group, to recommend swingeing new green taxes and charges on everything from air travel to using the supermarket car park. He can well afford them.

But there are millions who work long hours for modest wages to bring up their families. They will not take kindly to having their plasma TVs banned, their holidays surcharged and parking fees added to the cost of their weekly shop.

Unless Mr Cameron offers them substantial tax cuts elsewhere to sugar the pill, they will show their displeasure at the ballot box."

How dare this toff tell us how to run our lives.


Man who has never worked says 'protect' small shops. Out of interest, if those small shops are 'protected', will that mean a cap on them ever getting bigger? After all, it would be the logical outcome of such protection (prevention being better than cure etc etc). Indeed, if only we could move away from dynamic capitalism and over to a much more managed, nay, 'protected' economic system, think how much better off we'd all be. Even those of us who are silly enough not to be multi-millionaires. Oh yeah, and taxes on big tellies - brilliant!


Why not just abolish the comments sections altogether rather than selectively editing the torrent of nonsense they are filled with every day? They detract enormously from this site.

Tony Makara:There can be no doubt that the supermarket cartels have torn the heart of of many communities.

Reminds me of an old Peter Cook sketch about Elizabeth Taylor not being responsible for her drinking as it was caused by her glands. So, these evil cartels - where do they get all that money then?

My dad is a self-employed working class Thatcherite- 'true blue man and boy' as he always says. If I tell him he'll have to pay to do the weekly shop at Morrisons I might just turn him. ;)

He lives in Burton (key swing marginal) too.......

So, these evil cartels - where do they get all that money then?

By screwing their suppliers and distorting the market in their favour ?

The supermarket car parking tax proposal is the thin end of a very large wedge. Think of all the other "out of town" car parks that could be taxed for similar reasons.

- Shopping centres like Bluewater, Lakeside, Meadowhall.
- DIY superstores like B&Q and Homebase
- Multiplex cinemas
- Sports stadia
- Concert and exhibition venues like NEC in Birmingham
- Airports

So why are Goldsmith and Gummer picking on supermarkets? Quite simply, because they are using them as a test. Get the first through and the rest will follow. This eco-fascism must be fought tooth and nail.

This is yet another stupid idea which shows how completely out of touch the Tories are.

Don't forget by the way it was the Tories who helped the massive expansion of out off town shopping centres in the 90s. Instead of seeking to impose a tax on the supermarkets' use of their private property, perhaps councils should emulate the private sector and provide free parking in municipal car parks. Where I live the local council has steadily changed free parking car parks for metered ones despite opposition from residents and traders. The result has been empty car parks and reduced trade.

The Tories should restrict their activities to ensuring there is a level playing field in the retail chain and sector. Suermarkets are not perfect but they are popular. I can remember the days before supermarkets were ubiquitous and I would not like to go back to them.

Comstock, go to your local hospital and you have to pay to use the car park. Most people who drive into a town centre to shop usually pay to park in a multi storey car park.
I cannot believe that we have a thread about paying to use a super market car park, that and the fact that the usual suspects in the media will be bashing the policies coming out of this Quality of Life policy review on the weakest argument.

The negative vibes on ConHom about this report before it was even published means that it won't get a fair hearing. Some of these proposals are going to be very unpopular, but we have got to start changing our habits now! We are too dependent on fossil fuels and we can't get rid of the level of rubbish we are generating just now.

We will not change those habits, or really start thinking out of the box on our whole transport system without a debate and the acceptance that we will have to swallow some pretty rough tasting medicine. I really don't care if the right idea's come from someone with a privileged background or not, if they come up with the right idea's!

William Norton, I'm not saying there isn't a place for supermarkets, its just that we have to be watchful that supermarkets don't destroy small traders and community life. So much of community is interwoven with the local business community. It is very sad that concepts like the family butcher and the family grocer seem to be gone.

"This eco-fascism must be fought tooth and nail."

As opposed to getting involved further and further in the mess in the middle East, or putting up with strong arm tactics being employed by Putin because these countries are rich in oil and gas???

Allowing local councils to force supermarkets to impose parking charges sets a whole new precedent in state interference in private ownership. Unlike street parking supermarkets are private owners so why should it be the business of the state to tell them what to charge for particular services. Am I to be told what to charge for entry into Highclere Castle or for parking at events?

There will be no green benefit from this idea but considerable downside in inconvenience and aggravation. Small shops are best protected by allowing parking at a reasonable distance nearby and controlling the size of business rates.
Surely there are much more sensible green ideas around saving energy in the home and encouraging cycling and car sharing than imposition of parking charges at supermarkets. So called taxes raised to fund public transport are rarely used for this purpose which in any case can only be relevant to very specific and carefully thought out schemes.

To win an election you don't talk about increasing taxes and forcing people to pay more, let alone to shop for food.

Gummer and Goldsmith appear to be liabilities. Nor do they understand market forces, as others here have already commented.

Saying we will raise green taxes but lower other taxes won't hack it either. All the voter hears is 'taxes up'. (And that's without considering whether a green tax makes any sense).

We should be talking about lowering taxes and cutting out layers of money-eating quangos. Less money for the government and more for those who earn it. It's not rocket science.

People use supermarkets because they are convenient. They take their cars, fill them up with enough groceries for a week and drive home. Anyone who seriously believes that charging for supermarket car parks will make busy people rush back to town centres, where they need to carry their shopping between shops, to and from bus stops or back to their cars, and where they have to shop more frequently, needs their head examining. Also, many town centres (as some in this party will be suprised to learn) do not look like Kensington: they are diabolical places. Along with taxes which will stop the poorest from travelling by stopping cheap flights and driving by taxes on cars, this should give us a really popular manifesto. Who says the Tories don't understand real life? Sometimes this party seems bent on electoral suicide - a lemming would be a better emblem than an oak tree.

Tony Makara + Ceidwadwyr: I think the reason why the family butcher and the family grocer seem to be gone is that the family don't shop there anymore. The only reason Tesco or whoever have got any leverage over their suppliers is because a large number of people choose to shop with them. We are all guilty!

At the end of the day you're really running a British Leyland Defence argument. Does any one really - really - doubt that the consumer (or, if you prefer, "society") is better served in terms of choice and quality than, say, 20 yrs ago?

Rather than trying to cobble the supermarkets a more interesting question is whether we could do anything to stop cobbling the smaller shops. Business rates exemptions?

Re the good old pre-supermarket days of local traders, I remember the local grocer telling my mother that if she wanted tomatoes she could not pick and choose but must take some bruised and damaged ones. Thank God those days are gone.

The reason i shop at my LOCAL supermarket is because it has a much better range and choice,i always try to buy produce sourced from the uk and when i can i got to the local market garden for friut and veg, i really don't like this kind of thinking that mr cameron is coming up with,its one thing to cut carbon emmissions but to keep attacking the lowly taxpayer with more charges is just a barmy idea,surely goldsmith and gummer should be asking big business to cut there emmissions first then he could ASK us to pay but this seems to be putting the cart before the horse and will lose more votes at the next election.

Willian Norton, I feel you overlook the importance that the local business community has played in making a community cohesive. Supermarkets have produced 'Shopping without soul' of course I agree that supermarkets have knocked out the small trader through sheer business acumen. However once supermarkets can enjoy absolute domination they won't need to undercut anymore and will dictate pricing. As a Conservative you must realise that more competition means a better deal for the consumer. Supermarket domination will lead to higher prices in the long run and the sound the death knoll for the social side of community life.

The best ways to help small local shops would be to make them easier to use. First, make parking easier. Make more car parking spaces wherever it's possible, let people park for a short stay on the single yellow lines, and stop using parking fines as a way to raise money because it leads to an excess of parking restrictions that serve no purpose other than money grabbing. Also let people buy parking tickets by text, as in Westminster, so you don't need to rush back to the meter or hassle with change, tickets on windows etc. Friendlier and lenient traffic wardens would be nice too.

Cutting tax for small businesses is also vital. Perhaps the green aviation tax could fund a cut in the lower rate for corporation tax (the lower rate Brown abolished and DC failed to notice during the budget debate), or a higher threshold for business rates thereby exempting small shops.

Deregulation and less bureacracy is also vital, running a shop is just too much unneccessary hard work. This is vital as is improving the high street's environment - better pavements, less signs and clutter everywhere (do we really need so much), nicer shop fronts, nicer street furniture (benches and bins etc), more town gardens, hanging baskets etc - making it somewhere nice to go. Getting rid of gangs, people riding bikes on pavements and all the litter would be nice as well.

Tony Makara

At least supermarkets are cohesive in the sense that they appear to predominantly recruit and provide jobs for local people which not all other local businesses do.


Bill, I agree that local recruitment is a good idea. I don't want to come across as being anti-supermarkets, its just that I'm concerned that supermarkets are too big for small community areas and will inevitable gobble up all the trade and decimate local family traders. If supermakets were encouraged to develop in urban areas only it would be a great boon to the small trader, who has long been the backbone of our nation.

Given the recent Conservative focus on social breakdown, public health, localism and the environment, it seems logical enough to cast the spotlight on the pernicious influence of supermarkets.

Notwithstanding the somewhat dubious assertions about 'job creation' (often these jobs are short-term, low-skilled and low-paid) and 'consumer value' (supermarkets distorting the market by bullying suppliers into preferential rates and often acting as price-fixing cartels, undercutting local businesses until they are forced out of business then raising prices etc...), it is far from clear that supermarkets are a positive force within British society.

People may argue that the notion of 'a nation of shopkeepers' is rather quaint and outdated, but then others would say the same about 'family values' and 'nuclear deterrence' and I noticed little objection from this quarter when the Conservatives have suggested committing significant amounts of taxpayers' money on both these things.

It defies credibility to bleat on and on about social justice and decry the role of broken families in social breakdown, then ignore the role of supermarkets in destroying community cohesion.

Similarly, it makes little sense to (rightly) highlight concerns about public health in Britain one minute, but turn a blind eye to the role of supermarkets in undermining healthy lifestyles by building on school playing fields, promoting the use of the car and encouraging practices which limit diversity in fresh produce.

With regards localism, the influence that supermarkets wield over local authorities - particularly in comparison to community associations and other local groups - should not be overlooked.

Finally, supermarkets wreak untold direct and indirect damage upon the environment in the way they implement their production, construction, supply and retail processes. (I would go into further detail but I think I've rambled on long enough already without needing to go into specifics on this point...)

In sum, casting the spotlight on supermarkets is perfectly consistent with other policy positions that have been adopted by the Conservatives (and supported by this site) in recent months.

Having told the wider tory party to junk its suposedly "nasty" and unpopular beliefs in the pursuit of power, the modernisers burden it with policies almost calculated to alienate the vote. Plasma tellies and cheap flights are the defining desires of the aspiring classes - together, if we are to believe a recent poll - with selective education.

The hoity-toity milksops who lead today's opposition are clearly without any kind of compass. Some have called them cynics. Would that they were. No self-respecting cynic would entangle himself in the futile agenda of the greens. With either China, India, the States or the sun responsible for global warming, this campaign to penalise the conveniences of Britain's beleaguered lower middle class is crazy. The ordinary joes are not so blinkered that they cannot draw these conclusions for themselves.

It amazes me that the "modernisers", whilst telling us that the old tory England which once supplied conservative support is no more, go on to behave like some gaggle of self-righteous squireens demanding "sacrifices" and "discipline" from the less well off.

Did they learn nothing from the summer? Hoodies, glaciers, biking to work whilst followed by your Roller - that brought the party down to some 33% in the polls. Shift the focus to the real concerns of the electorate - crime, porous borders, the tax burden and - a miracle! - the support shifts back up again.

It may be true that the tories will never more take the north - after the mishandling of the last mining redundancies by Major and Hesletine, who can be surprised? Is this an excuse to alienate the faithful for the sake of a few Eliasch-like fair-weather friends? This is the hysteria which has prompted the "modernising" movement. In place of the death of the tory party, they have only ever offered its suicide.

Tony Makara: no, I'm not overlooking the role local businesses play in making a cohesive community; you're ignoring the fact that uncohesive communities aren't supporting their own local businesses. Perhaps you're confusing causes and effects and mixing your reactions to different causes?

(1) People have been bewailing the decay of good old-fashioned communities since at least Thomas More's Utopia and perhaps Virgil's Georgics. Good old-fashioned communities always decay. It's a great tradition and one of the few social constants - like the fact that the middle classes are always Rising.

(2) We can all regret the passing of a certain way of life with its quaint practices (maypoles, morris dancing, ricketts, TB, in-breeding - or if you prefer, singing round the pub piano, street parties, slum housing, outside toilets and cholera) but it doesn't get us very far. And there's not a fat lot we can do about it. Current drivers of change, in no particular order, are marriage breakdown, greater geographic mobility of people and services, longer working hours, increased regulatory compliance costs etc etc. Charging people to park at a supermarket will reverse precisely none of them. Supermarkets are responsible for precisely none of them - but they are probably a response to some of them.

(3) Of course, when a serious attempt to revive local business in certain decaying communities is undertaken, it is called development in a green belt, and is banned.

(4) I don't buy the evil-supermarkets-plotting-to-ramp-up-prices-next-week theory. It simply won't work. Not so long ago Sainsburys and Marks & Spencer were considered unchallengeable market leaders. Both lost their grip: Tesco took over the supermarket field, and M&S needed 10 painful yrs to get back in shape.

(5) Being honest, if these warm-hearted communities really want to help their local businesses they might, er, try spending some of their money in them? Capitalism does have unpleasant aspects (e.g. vulgar supermarkets) but it is rather good at locating unfulfilled desires and fulfilling them. Shops follow customers (unless the planners stop them).

(6) So even if the super-duper cartel do have this evil plot, wouldn't a more sensible approach be to make it easier to run a 'local' business (whatever that is) than make it harder to run a 'big' business?

Hug a Hoodie. Terry's chocolate oranges. Family cars. Supermarkets. You Tories are suicidally insane. Is there any voter in the UK you are trying NOT to alienate?????

Do all those who high-mindedly object to supermarkets refuse to shop in them? I somehow doubt it. I bet they visit them more often than I do but then we order our stuff over the net and have it delivered to our door which I guess is greener than going oneself.

I welcome the report and unlike the Editors, I think it is crucial to our GE chances. You can't call for "authenticity" and qualify that with "where I agree with you". Cameron promises green measures to offset wealth creating tax cuts. It's a great thing.

This particular recommendation I personally don't agree with, but most of the report is excellent and got good press coverage in the Sundays.

Good on Cameron for sticking to his green guns and not being distracted by noises from the right - OR the left.

A huge issue with the supermarkets is its move into none food goods.

When most of them opened out of town the supermarkets essentially sold food. Once they were there they were allowed to put mezzanine floors in, and moved into everything from retails CDs to clothing and cars.

By the time they did this, planning guidance essentially precluded other retailers moving out of town - giving the supermarkets localised monopolies.

Now this is something I would like to have to have seen more on.

Supermarkets thrive because they are convenient and people can pretty much get everything they want from a one stop shop. Why not introduce some real competition to make the retail market both out of town, edge of town and high street competitive, and level what is sometimes and un-even playing field.

Details such as car-parking must not detract from a sensible appraisal of the overall situation. If we are to encourage prosperity in a free market economy, I believe we must interfere as little as possible with natural growth, but if the remit is to focus on ensuring a justifiable preservation of balance in society, then the solution should be in developing legislation and setting up guidance systems that encourage the smaller enterprises to thrive.

Having witnessed the disempowerment of the health consumer and the simultaneous dismantling of the finest elements of the NHS through poor political management, consideration should be given to assist small businesses through such means as preferential loans, cooperatives and the application of the Grameen principles.

Great in theory. In practice this is going to be as effective as Canute commanding the waves to recede.

My wife and I agree 100% that local shops are a good idea. The trouble is that - like most other well-meaning people - we actually buy 90% of our food at Tesco.

''Good on Cameron for sticking to his green guns and not being distracted by noises from the right - OR the left'' - activist.

Nope, got it wrong.

Jonathan Sheppard, Excellent point. The strategy is clearly designed to knock-out small traders and force the local population into one-stop-shopping. Electrical stores are fast becoming a thing of the past. When a supermarket moves into a small town or village it eventually destroys the local business trader.

William Norton, I think it is sad that you mock the concept of community. You clearly see commuity as being a product of a bygone age. I take the opposite view. I believe community is something that binds us, it gives us identity and roots. There is no place like home. If there are no communities there is no society andwe all become alienated. I maintain that supermarkets destroy local business traders in small townsand villages.

Alienating the Sun and the Mail on the verge of an election hardly seems like the clause 4 moment sought for so long by our hero.

Is there no one in control of the policy groups. The constant leaking has an even worse impact than the proposals themselves.

This is going to end in another lightbulb headline from the Sun, although in this case it will be vote Labour to keep the lights on. Calamity Cam! Can it get any worse?

Much easier way of dealing with this. Alter the planning gain laws so that very substantial sums of money are required to be put into town centres if a supermarket is built.

Tim do you support censorship like the Communists do, because thats exactly what you're doing on this forum. Isn't it time consuming and costly as well for you to read every posting, and edit where appropriate. Its a shame.

Separation of food production, distribution and the supermarket itself might help improve access to cheap products for smaller shops. The way things are going most of the country might be just left with Tesco and Sainsbury, or even one of the two, and left with a choice of regulation, nationalisation or a private monopoly.

It would appear from another thread elsewhere that DC has knocked this charging for supermarket and out of town parking proposal on the head. Thank goodness as we have a battle ahead of us to convince the electorate that we are serious about wanting to form the next government. We don't need daft headlines from the BBC on issues like this.

"Separation of food production, distribution and the supermarket itself might help improve access to cheap products for smaller shops."

Ah, the legal requirement to have wholesalers, i.e. raise costs and prices. More interventionist rubbish!

Small shops can join forces to benefit from bulk purchasing and "vertical integration". Spar is a typical example.

I really wonder if any of the Cameroons have real commercial experience. Cameron, Goldsmith and Osborne certainly do not. A lot of this green nonsense is economically illiterate and would shame an undergraduate.

If this Goldsmith chap is alowed any more Media space I might just have to leave the country.I am of the same age as Mr Goldsmith and a lifelong conservative voter, unlike Mr Goldsmith I employ a hardworking bunch of 250 Sun and Mirror reading individuals (the emphasis on individuals) I suggest he pay a visit to our canteen.

The population of Britain is like a pyramid. If we can't appeal to the middle and lower sections, we might as well pack up. And that's the trouble with politicians with insular and privileged backgrounds, and those who have done nothing else in their lives except politics.

Tony Makara (sorry for the delay, just catching up): I'm sorry if you think I'm mocking 'community' - I was trying to make the point that what constitutes a community has undeniably changed over time (for good reasons or bad). For example, is ConservativeHome a community?

(If so - the only shop the CH community possesses is a rather ineffectual attempt at selling mugs. Can't help thinking Tesco would have handled the distribution a bit better.)

We can regret the passing of certain ways of life (and probably wouldn't be Tories if we didn't) but I don't see the point in trying to preserve a rose-tinted view of what a particular community has been. Governments should mitigate the worst aspects of change but for some forms of change I doubt very much whether they can actually stop them.

Tony: all I'm saying is that you're shooting the wrong bullets at the wrong target.

One must really despair. My party now appears to have one single dominating policy which is to tax everything possible under the heading of Saving The Environment. Meanwhile the party of free trade wants to interfere with progress and market forces, to attempt new forms of social engineering!

Most real Conservatives believe that our current policies are incoherent and wavering, that our priorities are wrong.

Voters want security for themselves, their families, their possessions. They want decent schooling, good health care and personal freedoms. The ability to be reasonably mobile at an affordable cost is also of importance. Satisfy those fundamental needs and you have an election won. Every policy should be framed with due regard to its impact on those issues. Each time Cameron manages to ring one of those bells the newspapers ring with praise.

Problems of poverty in Africa, the activities of supermarkets, how schools are classified and such matters are only of consuming interest to the privileged rich and bored.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker