This morning as I collected my milk, eggs and newspaper from our local village store, I stopped to survey the range of vehicles and other various modes of transport in the car park …
There was a farm telehandler, a huge agricultural tractor, an old fashioned long wheelbase Land Rover, a battered old pick-up truck, a couple of smaller family cars, a German and a Netherlands registered car and 2 small bikes.
Quite a collection at 8.40am and over the time I was in the shop, the variety changed to include 2 tradesmen’s vans and a shepherd’s pickup complete with sheepdogs.
So, what brought them all to Cawdor Village at 8.40 on a Thursday morning?
The answers I suppose are quite simple … a thirst for news in black and white print and the convenience of not having to travel 6 miles to Nairn to get a whole variety of shopping including pies and sandwiches for lunch, morning coffees and of course daily essentials such as the milk and eggs I was in for.
But then there was the chat of course … weather, local gossip and of course politics and Brexit. It doesn’t seem to matter which side of the fence you sit with your views on Brexit; everyone is agreed that it just needs settling. But then, there’s always a wise one in the crowd and today the comment was … Why do we need politicians when all they’ve done is argue for the past 3 years and the people out in the countryside have simply got on with things and looked after the business of farming and food production?
Of course, it isn’t quite that simple, but there has to be a lot of truth in the statement especially as the shelves in the store were full of food, with the pies, eggs, bread, milk and a lot of the other food all produced locally as well.
It’s probably a scene repeated all over the country every day and the fact that we do just get on with things in the countryside bears testament to the resilience of those who live and work here. We may be out of the “Westminster Bubble” where mud-slinging is now normal behavior, but that’s probably one of the reasons why so many people want to escape to the country.
The various vehicles in the car park reflect the diversity of people who either live here or visit our wee village and who are all vital to the local economy.
The tractor and tele-handler came both with experienced operators who were finishing up the last of the harvest and putting next seasons crops into the fields.
The elderly pick-up truck was driven by the man with the wise sayings and the Land Rover owned by a local farmer going about the day to day business of putting food on our plates and the smaller family cars driven by locals who work in the many small businesses in Nairnshire. Then, the visitors from abroad enjoying a bit of late season hospitality and no doubt off to visit the local castle and battlefield. Again, they are an essential part of the local economy bringing new money into the area and supporting hotels, B&B’s, restaurants and of course our local stores.
Then, there were the 2 small bikes … just locals off to the primary school you might say … Of course they were, but perhaps the most important customers on Thursday morning. Those youngsters were getting their own village store experience and with a bit of luck it’s a place they will want to come back to as they grow up.
If we are to keep the local economy alive, we will need their contribution in the future. When all the Brexit arguments are over, life will go on and my hope is that this village, like thousands of others will have a local economy which not only survives but thrives!
So, while the politicians 600 miles away can’t even agree whether parliament should be sitting or not, the economy in the countryside survives … However, unless we get a solution and quickly, it certainly won’t thrive and may need drastic resuscitation if this whole Brexit mess isn’t sorted.
Our future is more unclear than ever and if there’s one thing that kills business and economies, it’s a lack of certainty. When we have no certainty we can’t plan, and in business if you are not planning for the future, you stand still. As a result thousands of businesses both large and small are actually going backwards as I write this.
Compromise and a willingness to work together for the common good are what’s badly needed right now … So, come on politicians on all sides – please drop the bombastic attitudes and get down to business. Our businesses need solutions more than your trench-warfare tactics in Westminster!