R.I.P. British High Streets

February 20th, 2013 - Chris Marshall
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I am sure you have all seen the recent news stories relating to the ongoing demise of the British High Street, as major brand after major brand are forced to close their doors. Perhaps your initial thought was similar to mine: that it was a shame. Well let me tell you that after traipsing round a couple of these so called High Streets on a recent trip back to the UK the sooner they do the decent thing and put them out of their misery the better. If they were a pet you would have no hesitation. much loved, never to be forgotten, but when your time is up it is up and better to go out with dignity and the minimum of pain. The High Streets have been a great servant to the Great British Public, have served a great purpose but now they are dying a slow, painful and undignified death.

I have a fondness for the High Street: early ventures into Hull with my parents as a young child were adventures and full of promise. Everything seemed so big, busy, bustling and brash. In later years nights out with ‘the boys’ in Newcastle under Lyme were similarly adventurous and full of promise, albeit of a different type.

I visited both of these High Streets recently and was left with an overriding sense of sadness at what they had become. If you don’t want an overpriced coffee, junk food or something from a market stall there is very little on offer. Without exception every shop that I went it didn’t stock the item was after: all suggested that I could buy it from their online site and have it delivered either home (useful) or to the store (why would I do that). When even the shops are ordering from their own online stores you know there time is up.

Of course it is easy to blame the growth in online shopping as the reason behind the decline of the High Street, and it has certainly contributed. So to though have the Gastro Pubs all over the country which mean you don’t need to venture into town for a meal, the huge retail parks that dominate and make it so much easier to park and get all your shopping in one place, tighter drink drive laws (no bad thing) which make using your local more attractive than finding a designated driver (or paying excessive Taxi fares as I found out recently in Coventry – where I spent 4 years at college and got to know very well), out of town cinemas …… I could go on.

Simply put there is just no need for the High Street in today’s society, but that doesn’t need they couldn’t be put to good use. Close down all the shops and use the space for accommodation. Focus on the needy and those that can’t travel, and then provide the necessary shops to service these new communities.

The High Street is dead, long live the High Street!
Back here in Spain I was really sorry to see that Spain’s MP’s have voted to consider giving bullfighting special cultural status – a move that could overturn regional bans on the age-old tradition. In a 180-40 vote, the parliament backed a petition signed by 590,000 people. If the idea becomes law, it may roll back the ban in Spain’s regions of Catalonia and the Canary Islands. It may also provide tax breaks for promoters of bullfighting (corrida).

Bullfighting is just so unnecessary in today’s world and I am sure the MP’s would be better focusing on other issues such as the fact that Spanish housing prices fall again in the fourth quarter. The average price per square metre of housing in Spain fell to 1,531.20€ in the last three months of 2012, a drop of 2.2 percent from the previous quarter and of 9.8 percent from the same year-ago period which means that prices have dropped by 27.1 percent since their peak in the first quarter of 2008.

Or how about the report that Spain’s economy shrank at the fastest pace in more than three years in the final quarter of 2012, putting a further 6 million jobs at risk. Total economic output slumped 0.7 percent from the previous quarter — the steepest decline since the re-birth of Spanish democracy after death of General Francisco Franco in 1975 — after a 0.3-percent dip the previous quarter. A separate report showed Spain’s unemployment rate shot to 26.02 percent in the fourth quarter — the highest in the Spanish democratic era — as 5.97 million people sought in vain for work.

Or the 5 day strike by Iberia staff over plans for the airline to reduce the workforce by 4.000.

Or the thousands that demonstrated recently pushing for a new law to end a wave of evictions of homeowners ruined by the economic crisis.

Or how about the issue of bin dipping and putting out rubbish at the wrong time. I kid you not. Locally we have had 26 instances here in Almerimar where people have been fined. Now I am y be wrong but my guess is that bin dipping isn’t a pastime of choice and those that do won’t have the money to pay a fine, so what is the point?

Surely these are far more important issues to debate and resolve that keeping a barbaric, inhuman and totally outdated ‘sport’ alive!
As for ALStrays another busy month, although unfortunately not always for the right reasons. We have spent a lot of time trying to get DEFRA to confirm exactly what would be required to transport the 25 rescue dogs from Bosnia that we are trying to help but they really don’t seem to know. Contradictory advice from one department from another, but that is the same to be honest with the issue of transporting more than 5 animals per person around the EU. It is allowed, it is possible, but getting them to confirm exactly which form and what license you need is somewhat frustrating.

As to be honest is the increased level of bitchiness and back stabbing that is going on within Animal Rescue at the moment. Considering that everyone is meant to be involved for the good of the poor abused and neglected animals there are lot of egos and personal agenda’s that get in the way. These needs to stop because some really good people are saying they are going to stop being involved and it is always wrong when the morons win!

Chris runs ALStrays Transport (www.alstrays.com) along with his wife Sandra, transporting re-homed cats and dogs twice a month between Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and the UK and are the transport service recommended by the Round Town News.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 11:35 am and is filed under Views From A Balcony. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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