From yesterday’s Evening Post (Tuesday September 23):
So, the love affair with our new shopping centre Cabot Circus continues ahead of Wednesday and Thursday’s openings; no surprise there. And whilst ordinary Bristolians face rising food prices, pay cuts, huge fuel bills, house repossessions and job loses, the Post uses another front page to promote a shop for the rich. But don’t worry, the Post has managed to secure EXCLUSIVE “sneak preview” pictures. It really is “luxury for all” isn’t it?
Inside, amongst the four pages devoted to “Cabot Circus” reporter Niamh Byrne gives us a tour of Harvey Nicks which reads like a corporate press release.
Finally we are introduced to three happy Cabot Circus workers. First of all Andrew Jenkins a 22 year old graduate who is apparently happy to be flogging shirts in Top Man. Sheila Biddle who is impressed that the company she now works for sells “ethical furniture”. Well, I wonder how ethical they are when it comes to workers’ rights, trade union recognition and decent pay. Good luck, Sheila. Finally we meet Nicky Mcleod, a security guard. He tells the Post that he was made redundant by the CEED employment charity around the corner in St Pauls when their funding was cut. Obviously the Post misses the irony.
We are told that there are 4000 jobs being created by Cabot Circus and how this is bucking the national trend for job cuts. But we are not told how many jobs will be cut as trade is lost from other shopping districts. We are also not told how many of these new jobs are just being transferred from branches closing in other parts of the city.
And what kinds of jobs are these? Retail, catering, security, cleaning; some of the lowest paid, least secure jobs going. Minimum wage McJobs. Is this the best our kids, our graduates, our unemployed can expect? Don’t expect the Post to ask.
On page 9 of the same edition, the latest in the Post’s “The Big Squeeze” series of articles which could be entitled “Economic Crisis for Kidz”.
Reporter Niamh Byrne, having finished her guided tour of Harvey Nicks, has nipped over to St Pauls (a poor inner-city area on the edge of the Cabot Circus development) to produce a story headlined “Shops suffering as credit crunch bites”. Are they taking the piss?