Canute and the High Street

Hardly a week goes by without some report or newspaper article bemoaning the loss of traditional high street shopping. Everyone has an opinion on how to save the high street, from Mary Portas's ill-fated appointment as 'high street tsar' to the little-loved Mike Ashley's dire suggestion that the answer to the problem is to levy a 20% tax on online sales - which would simply  make the consumer pay more but is unlikely to change shopping habits. I think it's time we took a lesson from King Canute.
For those not familiar with the legend of this tenth century king of Denmark, England and Norway more properly named Cnut, he is said to have tried to order the tide to stay off the beach. The tale tends to be presented these days with Cnut as fall guy, idiotically over-valuing his own ability, though it originally involved Cnut using his attempt as a demonstration to his courtiers that even a king is limited in his power compared with God's forces of nature.
I believe…

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