We’re all in this together

The recession makes us think differently. Tesco announces it’s going to create 20,000 new jobs, and we all say, ‘Oh, what a lovely company!’ Yet not so long ago the residents of Fitton were clamouring to sign a petition against a vast new Tesco near the bypass, and everyone you met was muttering about big conglomerates ruining the face of the British high street.

Then there’s a new airport opening in Southend which will put 20,000 people directly under a flight path. No one’s shouting, ‘Stop Airport Expansion!’ They’re just excited about Stacey Solomon opening the terminal and 500 new jobs.

The recession is also making us behave differently. There was a time when people in Fitton boasted about kitchen extensions or holidays to Malaga, or even highlights from Hair. Now there’s a steady but ostentatious stream going in and out of the charity shops.

If you live in a small community, you have to preserve the impression that we’re all in this together. Fitton’s one Porsche owner seems to be driving at considerable speed these days. I always wonder, as he shoots past in a blur of silver, whether he’d rather we didn’t remember quite how wealthy he is.

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