An official European Union statement released today shows that, in Europe, Britain is no longer regarded as "a nation of shopkeepers", but is, instead, thought of more as "a nation of shoplifters".
The Shopkeeper description, coined by Hitler in the 1940s, has become redundant largely due to the fact that nobody keeps shops anymore. Shoplifting, however, is now Britain's biggest growth industry, leaving Unemployment a distant second.
Until the 1970s, says the Department for Trade & Industry (DTI), there were more than 15 million shopkeepers in Britain - 1 in 3 of the population - but with the movement toward superstructures, supermarkets and superstores since then, large corporate organisations have swallowed up the humble sole trader on the High Street, and left consumers with impersonal Tescos, Asdas, Sainsburys and Morrisons, and not a friendly butcher in sight with whom to 'chew the fat'.
Adam Smith of the DTI said:
"Britain is no longer a nation of shopkeepers. Local shops have disappeared. Now, hooded gangs of gun- and knife-toting kids roam the enormous spaces of shopping malls, swaggering, swearing, leering and stealing ice-creams from the mouths of babies, and, apparently, it's all quite legal."
Nick Swagg, head of PINCH, Britain's biggest shoplifting union, told TheSpoof.com:
"That's progress for you."