It’s just the other side of the weekend away. FairTrade Fortnight starts on Monday and so does our online festival of flash fiction.
A Fair Cop
Okay, my hands are up. You’ve caught me. It’s a fair cop, guv. I admit it. I’ve been a Fairtrade shunner.
You see, up until now I’ve been under the impression that Fairtrade was one of those mantras intoned by the green-wellyboot-wearing, Barbour-jacket-sporting, African-trinket-shopping brigade. You know the brigade I mean: the comfortable, well-fed, middle-class pseudo-hippy types who invented PC. I actually thought Fairtrade was PC. And I don’t do PC.
Then I read this little collection of short stories, and I’m now an avid supporter of Fairtrade. I learned more from the stories than I would ever have from any amount of haughty pronouncements by the aforementioned brigade. I learned about the modern-day exploitation of poor workers across the globe; not just the nature of the exploitation, but the sheer scale of it and its impact on so many aspects of my life – the tea and coffee I drink, the fruit I eat, the sugar and chocolate I (shouldn’t) ingest, even the clothes I wear. I learned about the concept of Fairtrade and how it can operate to combat that exploitation. And I learned how to look for the Fairtrade label. I learned all of that – and I became a Fairtrade convert into the bargain – in a very short space of time.
There’s a big lesson here for the PC crowd. Instead of preaching, do what the author Cally Phillips has accomplished so successfully with this collection. Write your message into short stories. Populate your stories with everyday, believable characters. Add a large dollop of humour and a sprinkling of make-believe. And I guarantee you’ll have people converting to your message faster than your green wellyboots can carry you!
Reviewed by Brendan Gisby. (also known as Mr McStoryteller.) If you’re looking for great short stories of a Scottish flavour McStorytellers is the place to go. One of Cally’s FairTrade Fictions will feature on Monday!