No, no, no – not that Market, not the Stock Market, they’ve given up all hope of controlling that market.
They have turned their attention to one of the oldest examples of man taking personal responsibility for himself and with minimal red tape, earning the crust to support his family.
I speak of course, of the age old tradition of taking the four turnips you have grown to a street market and exchanging them for cash, shekels, a bag of flour, whatever seemed most appropriate to you. Markets have existed ever since mankind has farmed the land. The roots of farming began almost 10,000 years ago in areas of Turkey and the present day Middle East. Initially people would farm the land simply to provide food for themselves and their families but eventually the invention of coins as markers of value enabled people to sell their surplus and store up value to exchange in times of food shortages.
October 5th saw the annual harvest festival celebration of the Costermongers. The Costers were apple sellers in the London markets, the distinctive pearly costumes relate to their habit of identifying themselves by sewing pearly buttons down the side of their trousers. They were, in effect, an early trade union.
Young Henry Croft left his orphanage at 13, and blessed by being born in 1862, and thus social workers not having been invented, he made himself useful catching rats in the market and sweeping the streets when the costermongers had left for the day in order to support himself. Something of an eccentric, young Henry was fascinated by the buttons on the coster’s trousers and collected enough buttons to entirely cover his own clothes. He became a tourist attraction in his ‘pearly costume’. He had the wit to collect pennies and half pennies from these tourists, and he donated that money to those less ‘ fortunate’ than himself in his orphanage. (I did tell you that this was before social workers were invented, didn’t I?)
Henry was the first of the ‘charity fund raisers’ and it became a ful time occupation. Fellow costermongers stepped in to help his burgeoning empire, and elected a hereditary ‘Pearly King’ to carry on his work in each borough.
Today, the humourless Rosie Winterton is taking the first steps towards regulating this den of entrepreneurial iniquity; street markets are to have a government forum, where ’stakeholders’ can discuss how to promote transgender issues, the institutional racism inherent in part time employment opportunities and disabled access to the non existent street toilets – in short, the full panoply of humourless elf n’ safety, anti-discrimination, governmental interference, and their determination to make everyone reliant on social services.
I wish them luck in their first tri-annual meeting between the cockney market traders and ’senior officials from ‘CLG, BIS, DH, The Food Standards Agency, Defra, DWP and DCMS, the Local Government Association, and representatives from the retail markets industry, to say nothing of Rosie Winterton in her roles as Minister for Local Government at CLG and Minister for Regional Economic Policy and Co-ordination at BIS, and to Jim Fitzpatrick, the Minister for Food at Defra.’
Opportunities exist for a suitable ‘plain anglo-saxon’/’governmental double-speak’ interpreter. Enhanced rates apply since this is a high risk role.