Well well, what a long time since my last Blog! , i've been festerin away in my little hole and now I have popped out to get some sun and put pen to paper. Our local chamber of trade and commerce is trying to get a "farmers market" running in Budleigh, just to take some trade away from the hard working local shops that sell the same produce as the market would. Being all in favour of "fair and equal trade" this sucks, so, pen being mightier than sword I decided twas time to draw quills and enter the fray once more. lets see if it gets published in the local paper. (Exmouth Journal)
It was with interest, that I read the article “Rumpus over farmers market” in this weeks Journal and felt minded to comment. It seems that the furore over the proposed market is entering the realms of some power struggle akin more to the Roman Empire than to a sleepy east Devon town! Local butcher Chris Coles; Ceaser like, seems to be the target of the sharpened daggers of the conspirators, aka the market steering committee, who seem intent on not “losing face” by trying every trick in the book to push through the market. It would appear that “people have been lobbied” and “plans railroaded” by those miscreants who dare to oppose the will of “The committee”. I beg to ask, why should people not be lobbied? Or counter opinion allowed to flourish? Do we not live in a democracy? Those keen to push for the market with their claims that it will “bring trade to the town”, say they “are not prepared to let others influence against it” and they are “pursuing two unnamed alternative sites”, my word the conspiracy thickens! oh for open and free thinking local politics. Statistics are yet again quoted. 95 traders were sent a questionnaire, 77 responded, 18 perhaps were asleep, closed for the winter, or couldn't be bothered with joining the revolt! Then of the valiant 77, we are told, “more than 80% were in favour”. I ask, “why, more than”, were the committee unable to report the true percentage? Or does it sound better to say “more than 80%” rather than, say, “81%”? Let us assume that 81% support the market and that would equate to 61.6 traders out of 77. Then, ask ourselves how many of them would be in direct competition with the farmers market? On the basis that the market would sell meat, game, perhaps fish, vegetables, cheeses, breads and speciality “designer foods”, I would say that perhaps 8 or 9 town traders would face direct and unfair competition, from “non rate paying outsiders”. This only goes to show that the other traders, who support the market, seem quite happy to betray their fellows for the “sake of an extra shilling!” I was always under the impression that the chamber of trade, were there to promote all that is good about Budleigh and the services that it offers, not to push for unfair competition against its own members. They would better serve them, by promoting what we have in the town and its variety and quality of service, rather than allowing others to have a slice of a “rapidly diminishing pie” Perhaps, they should look at some of the empty shops in the town and try to see those filled with quality, self sustaining business’s, with a far greater priority than pushing for a farmers market.