In Revolution, Russell Brand talks of Greys, a run down town in Essex, boarded-up shops, betting shops, charity shops, junk food outlets, pound shops. It could be any run down town. It could be Aldershot.
When the pound shop is closing down, you know things are bad.
Workers used to have money jangling in their pockets, money to spend. Now they are in precarious work, part-time, temporary, zero-hours McShit jobs. If they have money, it is from the pay day lender at extortionate interest rate.
When a government imposes a Bedroom Tax on the poor, it is not only the individual households that are hit, it is money drained out of the local economy.
Aldershot today was dead. It was never busy, but not as bad as today.
Speaking to a few local businesses, they agreed. it was dead, but added, it had been like this every day since the beginning of the year.
End of last year, M&S pulled out, they saw no future in the town. Neither does anyone else.
There are three pound shops in the town. There is not the demand to support three pound shops.
99p Stores is closing, but in a few weeks, following renovation, it will re-open as Poundland.
It would have closed, a new landlord wanted to jack up the rent. Poundland have dictated the rent. Either we pay what is realistic for this dead town, or we pull out, take it or leave it.
Many of the market stalls have pulled out. One of the market stalls has relocated to the grotty shopping centre for three days a week, for the rent they were paying the local council for one day in the street.
What has destroyed Aldershot is decades of bad planning, lack of understanding of what constitutes good town centre planning, and lack of understanding of how local economies function.