from Alan Toft, chairman, My Shop Is Your Shop Campaign

Sir; Keith Wilson’s letter (Readers’ letters, The Grocer, November 19, p32) put Sainsbury’s case for the power of the giant multiples.
If the Office of Fair Trading agrees with his argument that the weakest should go to the wall, the market will be astonished. His reasoning recalls the infamous maxim, “there is no such thing as society”.
Those of us involved in the Federation of Wholesale Distributors’ My Shop Is Your Shop (MSYS) campaign know we are winning the PR argument because we believe there is such as thing as society. Well-documented research and media exposure of the threat to society posed by high street cloning is on our side.
MSYS is not an anti-Tesco protest movement. It focuses 100% solely on the unique value of the independent retailer in the community. It has the backing of people who believe that small, independently-owned shops have a place in the community. They believe that an honest balance has to be struck between huge faceless corporations and local owner-managed stores.
Wilson does not mention the word diversity. MSYS employs this word quite a lot because we believe that a world without it is not one in which most people want to live.
MSYS needs the consistent support of wholesalers, suppliers and retailers to maintain diversity by focusing consumer attention simply on local community values.
We believe our lobby is in tune with folk who prefer to see some shops run by people who live over them. People whose values are not dictated by a distant head office but are the same as the neighbourhood they serve.