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Does Tesco give a f**k?

Save the North Pole Pub - Bog off Tesco!

It would seem, that Tesco's have vandalized the North Pole Pub despite the fact that they have not yet received planning permission. A local pub with a long history is being eradicated from the community. A pub for God's sake? In an area where there's no other left...and we feel, that is simply not right.
This whole area of North Kensington is under siege by large powerful companies that seem hell bent on decimating everything held dear by the local community. They move into local areas and homogenize the landscape and disregard what local people want. These companies fight their own fights with their equally large competitors and their equally large purses and not with our consent as individuals and consumers but rather by the powerful influence they wield through the corridors of local government. They ignore the desires of communities who want to keep their own local pubs and shops and enforce their own will on local residents irrespective of their feelings and wishes.

Not long ago, a Sainsbury's opened on Ladbroke Grove. The property is owned by the Westway Development Trust - WDT (note the name as it used to be called Westway Trust). A couple of years ago, rumors abounded about this site that was previously run as a bar (Liquid Nation) was going to become a Tesco. The WDT dismissed the rumors and laughed them off. A year or so later, a Sainsbury's opened in its place. Now further west - the site where the North Pole Pub was - is to become a Tesco, despite all the objections, petitions, letters, demonstrations. Although planning permission has not yet been formally granted it seems the work is already under way. You and I know that the local authority would be down on any of us like a ton of bricks if we were to proceed on any kind of demolition or building work in our own properties without planning permission. Yet it seems, the rules that apply to the common folk, don't seem to apply to these large businesses that bulldoze their way throughout our streets with the tactical connivance of local politicians, who seem to turn a blind eye.
Recent Protest to save the North Pole Pub from Tesco
These smaller versions of the larger supermarkets call themselves ‘Local’ or ‘Express’ but this is nothing more then a thick layer of marketing lard. Jargon that tries to luster over the nuts and bolts of a gigantic machine designed to kick the smaller competitors out of business and eventually allowing them to charge more for all their produce. Without competitors, there is simply no competition and like a one horse race, only one winner. These companies became large in a capitalist system that prides itself on the fundamental idea of ‘choice’ and yet it is this very basic concept that they annihilate by virtue of becoming so big, overwhelming, greedy and arrogant.

The future looks bleak. Until now there was a pub but still surrounded by several convenience stores, a couple of restaurants and a few take-aways, but a small shopping community non-the-less, with choice and healthy competition. Now there's no pub and once the Tesco is opened the local stores face certain closure. Even the restaurants may not survive. And in its place, there'll be a barren street with yet another generic Tesco. And as usual, with no choice on offer and the hiked price that these smaller Tesco's (and Sainsbury's) practice, the locals will be forced to do their weekly shopping in this one store... How is that an improvement then?
 The same thing that is happening here in the leafy streets of a unique part of London, is happening across the country. The power and greed that has driven our societies into near financial meltdown are still the driving forces that allow this practice to go on in street near us. When will these corporate giants realise that there's no sustainable future and common goals in this pattern of behavior? This isn’t just another location on a balance sheet, this is a real community. By literally pissing all over the wishes of residents and by destroying communities, they are setting a pattern and if one day that financial pattern implodes (as has happened with many big corporate institutions) no one will care about their fate. People become disillusioned, disenfranchised, disgusted and angry if there's no partnership or dialogue with residents. If they offer no wider sense of common purpose, then what will there be left?

Local politicians claim that they can do nothing about it, as if real politicians could not derail this if they wanted to? Not long ago, in a barely regulated financial system, abuses were committed that brought a recession across Europe. Now it appears that after all, something can be done. In the case of banks they are attempting to set in place a robust regulatory framework. By the same token, surely something can be done to save communities from the greed of these huge companies that seem inveigle their way into local communities where they’re not wanted or needed. This was the case with the All Saints shop on Portobello Road, the Sainsbury's on Ladbroke Grove, and now this Tesco on North Pole Road.  

The destruction of the pub's interior, regardless of not yet receiving planning permission illustrates the scant disregards of rules and regulations by these corporate giants allowing them to effectively vandalize at will. This wanton destruction is designed to destroy any hope that the residents may have harbored in keeping the building as a pub. It is saying loud and clear; ‘we do what we want and don't give a f**k!’ That's the role model and signals these companies are sending out...but maybe one day, like many corporate Goliaths there will be a local David to bring them down to earth? 
 Stay tuned for more news. 

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