Dullsville wins again, Pt. II
Sigh. We’ve only been chronicling Dullsville for a short 3 months here at The Dullsvillain, and in that time we’ve seen a thick, gray coat of paint applied to the two cornerstones of Perth dullness: daylight saving and, now, extended shopping hours.
The extended shopping hours “debate” is in one way closely analogous to the stateside argument about public health care. In America, there’s a fierce debate about whether the government should provide basic health care to its citizens. In Perth, there’s a fierce debate about whether shops should be allowed to open past 5pm. In the rest of the civilised world, they’re laughing at both of us.
There’s a few prominent villains who’ve emerged from this debacle. First and foremost, of course, the spineless WA Labor party, who went to the last election touting extended shopping hours. No more. Nuts to all of the people who voted for them on that basis, they’ve conducted straw polls at supermarkets and discovered that there’s a real groundswell of self-interested, reactionary fucks in the Perth suburbs (per Eric Ripper):
We went out there, we spoke to people and we found small businesses almost universally opposed to it (extended trading hours), and we found only lukewarm support, at best 50 per cent among customers.
Of course, if they’d turned up to a few offices or factories, the results might have been different. But I don’t want to say too much about public support or opposition for the concept. As much as Labor and the interest groups are pushing the 2005 referendum defeat as a good basis for their opposition, anyone who knows anything about referendums knows they’re worth shit. The Federal government has held 44 referendums and 36 have ended in “No” votes. That’s because people vote no – people who don’t give a shit, people who don’t trust politicians, undecided people, people pissed off they’ve been forced to vote, old people. Naysayers.
John Howard knew instinctively that referendums are a highly effective way to kill progress, and happily watched the chances for an Australian Republic burn.
The other big villain is Independent Grocers Association president John Cummings:
I don’t think Coles, Woolworths or the Chamber of Commerce and Industry will ever pack up and go home and interestingly with all of the surveys that they have done that supposedly shows that people want change, it’s strange that they’ve never actually called for a referendum.
The reason they’ve never called for another referendum is because they know it would be lost.
Yes, because the game is rigged, and you know it, Cummings. Worse:
It’s good that a party has gone out and found out what its constituents wants…
The change to 9pm was a proposal the consumers didn’t need and that retailers didn’t want.
The consumers don’t need it and the retailers don’t want it, right? On that logic, why does the government even bother to regulate and police shopping hours? If we deregulate we’ll save precious taxpayer dollars and, on Cummings’ logic, the shops still won’t open. Everyone wins.
Especially Cummings, who owns three IGAs. That’s right. The same bloke who is having public conniptions about the possibility of extended shopping hours and Coles and Woolworths’ duopoly status earns a mint by exploiting one of the best monopolist scams in WA by opening his IGAs into the night, long after his competitors are forced to close. Credibility FAIL. But really, he’s the perfect public face of the doggedly self-interested Independent Grocers Association, who actually profit from the pain of consumers. Say what you will about Monarchists, but at least they don’t have a profit motive behind their backward ideology.
John Cummings, you, sir, are a DullsVillain: