If you’ve ever wondered about the awesome power of the media, then the recent Horizon furore should help demonstrate the difference the media can make to real lives.
Since 1999, 736 sub-postmasters and mistresses have been banging their heads against a brick wall trying to secure some sort of closure on the biggest scandal that ever beset our industry. More than 700 branch managers were given criminal convictions – and all because of some faulty IT.
And all these years later, the wheels of justice were still grinding away at a glacial pace, until… a TV drama on the Horizon scandal succeeded in galvanising the powers that be into giving the urgent attention it deserved. And it happened pretty much overnight.
It’s not often that I find myself agreeing with Rishi Sunak, but he was bang on the money when he called the Horizon scandal “one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in our nation’s history”.
In a sense, it’s deplorable that it took a TV drama to trigger action that should have happened decades ago – but the fact that we finally might see justice prevail is clearly welcome. All the compensation in the world, however, won’t make up for what has been lost by those affected by Horizon.
So, from the ridiculous to the sublime: the shortlist for our inaugural Above & Beyond Awards. Sublime is the word for the truly astonishing efforts and achievements by every single person on that shortlist. Taking part in the judging was an emotional process. There were tears shed by more than one judge and the judging process was one of the most memorable and uplifting experiences of my 25 or so years in local retailing.
These awards are special because they recognise and reward the special people that make this industry so special. No other sector compares. Local retailing is at the very heart of Scottish life and it’s all down to people who see going above and beyond as ‘just part of the job’.
Antony Begley, Publishing Director, SLR