Lockdown Landgrab

As businesses begin to crash, as I think they will do in a couple of weeks time, we will see the High Street almost empty of anything characteristic of the towns they are found in.

Here in Presteigne, a little border town between England and Wales – population under 5000 at a guess – the several coffee shops and tea houses have had to close, the secondhand shops also are not functioning. We had news two weeks or more ago that the Fish and Chip shop would be closed until further notice. This is a shame as he makes excellent and generous fish and chips. My concern is that the town council will also want their rates paid and so whether the man is working or not that annual figure remains in place. Since this was not a voluntary decision on his part I cannot help but feel it is not his place to pay the debt, but that is not my concern.

My concern is that if he has to close – and be declared bankrupt, for example – we will be left without a fish and chip shop. My mum liked fish and chips once a week and it was a highlight for her of my sister’s visits as she would always stop in town before coming on here to give mum her little treat.

Does this not represent a huge opportunity for the multicorps to step in and buy up choice sites to purvey their trade? But I don’t want a burger bar instead of my local chippie. I want quality service from a man I can relate to and not some spotty youth in a baseball cap and brilliant orange tunic or whatever.

I cannot help but see the lockdown as yet another landgrab. In the history of humanity a nation’s wealth has always been increased by grabbing land, usually the neighbours until the maritime colonisation from Europe took on nations far away from the homeland. It is a practice still in play today among some nations. How many houses were repossessed in 2008 as people defaulted on their mortgages? And how many more can we expect today? Farms will disappear to become tenant holdings to the mega-industrial supermarket ‘own brand’ farms.

Help protect your local community by supporting them where you can. We need a just and strong economy and it is not one based on international banks gambling on the stock market and single currencies.

Author: Keith Armstrong

Dance teacher, writer, film-maker, educationalist, enthusiast.