7 June 2011

Enemy of the blog #1

Stephen Robertson - Director General, British Retail Consortium.

I woke up this morning to this Penfold-from-Dangermouse lookalike on BBC Breakfast offering his imbecilic opinions on why retail sales are down in the UK and what must be done to change the economic conditions.

Anyone with any sense will tell you that most people who haven't already lost their job are terrified they are going to. Couple this with food and fuel prices rocketing and another 20% hike in the gas bill, it's not really rocket science why punters aren't queueing round the block overnight to buy this seasons new range of sofas.

So what is his solution, this leviathan of retail thinking, this leader of shopkeepers?

It is, predictably, to "slash legislation, starting with employment rights".

Of course. What better way to make people feel confident enough to go and splash out on that new sofa or that huge new Plasma 3D telly than by making it even easier to sack them from their jobs than it already is?

What better way to entice new mums and dads to indulge in some retail therapy in Mothercare than by removing parental leave entitlements and force them to use up what remains of their incomes on childcare?

As for giving people a bit of extra money to spend on those new consumer durables - Robertson is clear he wants no more increases on the paltry minimum wage.

What Robertson and his ilk always fail to recognise is that their own staff are also consumers. I remember this well from my days working in shops - the customer is always right unless, of course, the customer also happens to work there too.

Retail bosses collectively seem to believe their workers exist in an alternate universe from the people who come through the front doors to spend in their shops.

Quite where the "consumers" work to acquire their disposable income in Robertson's world is not clear. But it is obvious the people who are supposed to be splashing out on brand new Ipads and designer handbags are not the same people they have working in their shops on paltry wages and with little job security as things stand now, let alone if the laws are weakened.

Robertson is by no means one of the real brains behind the unjustified assault on workers rights. He's just a useful idiot - a cheerleader. He clearly doesn't have the intelligence to realise that he is arguing for the very people he wants spending in his shops to have less money and less job security and thus less impetus to buy anything above what they absolutely need.

Hardly surprising though. He was, after all, one of the masterminds behind Woolworths absurd "Wooly and Worth" marketing campaign that came not very long before the entire chain collapsed leaving thousands of loyal staff out of work.

I wrote to the BRC earlier today demanding to know what statistical evidence Robertson has for proclaiming that "slashing" employment law would lead to economic recovery.

They haven't replied yet.

For all those reasons, Robertson is the first enemy of the blog. Congratulations.


Anonymous said...

This man has absolutely zero appreciation of both the macro and micro economic forces acting on the Thatcher enfeebled industrial base that still hangs on by a thread. I expect he is also for bankers bonuses! Hopefully his nutty outburst will seal his fate!
Dave of Eltham

Phil said...

I am surprised it wasn't Richard Branson c/o Virgin Trains!