Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let them eat cake

Our local town is pretty small, about 1500 people including those of us who live scattered in the surrounding fields. So it is slightly remarkable that in the town we have:
  • three estate agents
  • at least three beauticians and between four and six hairdressers
  • two supermarkets and two diy stores
  • three bakers and two wine shops
  • three bars and at least five restaurants
  • an awesome cake shop
The explanation is perhaps simple. Children growing up in a rural community tend to have a slightly less broad view of the world than city folk, and often tend to do the trades that their parents do or that they see every day.
It wouldn’t occur to many around here to start a website design business or local specialist holiday rentals business, for example (although both could potentially do OK) simply because they aren’t familiar with the possibilities.
So a lot of children learn a well established trade – cookery, hairdressing, beautician, baker etc and sooner or later they like to start their own business, often in the same community or a similar one nearby – they like it here, why go somewhere else? Pretty much every member of the community then uses these local businesses, knows the owners, and chats with people passing in the street.
As a result, I honestly believe there is not the slightest chance of young people getting together to start looting and rioting in the town. It would be their own businesses and those of their friends and family that they would be attacking. Even seeing someone drunk enough to raise their voice is a pretty rare thing, and I don’t remember ever seeing graffiti anywhere.
But just in case, I do have a ‘Plan B’. I’m pretty sure the answer lies in cakes, such as the one from Blanchards in Villereal, makers of very delicious cakes (as shown in the picture). If the riot police simply set up tables to give out free slices of these cakes to the looting youth I’m pretty sure the rioting would come to an immediate halt.
But I can’t claim credit for the idea of course. It was a rather famous Austrian expat in France called Marie-Antoinette who first said ‘let them eat cake’  as a way of preventing popular unrest…although with limited success if I remember correctly…

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