OK, this is a 'thinking out loud' post.
Tesco - the retail leviathan now claiming an astonishing percentage of British trade - has apparently purchased the coffee shop site on Barfield Road in Mersea, in order to build a new supermarket there. Is this a good thing? I cannot make up my mind.
Certainly, it will mean that those without access to cars are likely to get access to cheaper food. Chances are it will stock more organic veg than the co-op, which will make our home happier (although we've discovered the farm shop in Abberton which we like - great pistachio ice cream :o). It is also likely to drive some of the local shops to the wall, which, wearing my 'community' hat I worry about. But does that matter? Perhaps the local shops will just compete back on customer service. And what about the question of fair trade products? I preached a sermon a little while back advocating boycotting Tesco products, because they weren't as pro-fair trade as the co-op, and then my wife took me shopping at the main Tesco's, and I saw that I had been quite misled. There are lots of fair trade products at Tesco. And I'm comfortable with the idea of 'trade not aid' (which is why Live 8 is about justice not charity). So.... a good thing? A bad thing? I haven't got a clue.
Fortunately, as one of my favourite theologians (Hauerwas) puts it, the church isn't here to run the country, and make all the decisions. The church is here to help shape people with good characters, who then go and make the decisions themselves.
So I'll stick to the question of character. Probably of more use in the long run anyway.