I’m still missing a laptop, so this is being written on my Blackberry, a far from ideal medium when you consider the spectacular inarticulate nature of my thumbs.
I probably- thankfully-don’t need to give you much introduction on what I’m up to right now: the Wilkos debacle has seemingly interested you more than anything I’ve blogged about that’s not an election.
So, the facts. I first must stress I am campaigning on this issue for reasons that are free of vested interests. I have never worked for Wilkos, am not pursuing some hidden political agenda, or doing this for any other reasons than this: Beeston is taking some huge hits on the High Street right now: to see a shop that is popular, successful and an employer of many closing due to some base incompetence is a travesty that has to be addressed.
Who is to blame, indeed who can resolve the issue is not the key thing right now. I only got confirmation of the closure on friday, and while there is no doubt an analysis to be carried out how the situation came to be, the first thing to do is ensure the bells are peeled, by ensuring Beestonians express their shock and disappointment by petitioning.
Hence two days of campaigning, stymied by other obligations that have led me to only be able to collect signatures for a few hours today. No matter. The response has been incredible, queues forming as I tried to efficiently get their autographs down in time. I spent today chatting to some truly wonderful people, who had either came down after hearing of the imminent closure, or galvanized into an autograph a moment after I’d expained the situation.
If I’d underestimated the situation, the more experienced pros in local media saw it’s potential. Hence a piece in tomorrow’s Nottingham Post, and a live interview on BBC Radio Nottingham’s Breakfast Show at the ungodly hour of 7.30am tomorrow. Tune in.
Why am I trying to save a chain-store? Surely as a fan of independents, I should shrug it off? If you’d stood with me this afternoon, you’d have been amazed at the strength of feeling expressed by those who love the store; for its convenience, it’s value, its staff. I agree whole-heartedly with the former, but the latter really gets me fired up: they are people who deserve better, people who came out on their lunch hour to get themselves on the petition. Beestonians who know that, as many a signaturee made clear to me today ‘ Beeston without Wilkos is not Beeston’.
If you’d like to get involved, we really would appreciate your help for whatever time you could spare wielding a clipboard. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply find us tomorrow to muck in.
And no, despite many queries directed at me, I’m not getting a life-long 20% off Marigolds for doing this. I’m doing this to ensure Beeston doesn’t come a little bit crapper. You should feel that too. I’ll see you later.