The investigation into the anti-Tesco campaign and the alleged misuse of names in the protest lobbying are very serious.
Firstly, there seems to have been a deliberate attempt by persons unknown as yet to influence the decision-making process, with people’s names being added without their knowledge. Secondly, there is a new and dangerous form of protest. This is based on a persistent minority of people whose noise is disproportionate to their credibility or substance. To a large extent, it is minorities who initiate change and that has been the case throughout history – but based on argument, fact and winning the debate. What we have now is different; we have website commentators and social media obsessives who can shout and multiply their influence over and above others; they can lobby with ease, and create a false frenzy by just logging on to a computer or clicking away throughout the day on their mobile phones.
There is no stopping it because that is now the way of the world. But we all need to be aware of it, and retain a sense of perspective that just because a protest makes a lot of noise, it does not necessarily make the cause right, just or represent the silent, busy majority.
> Ed Asquith > Editor