Sustainability?!?

Food is the most important component to human life, other than oxygen and water, yet for more than eighty years, Britain has been unable to satisfy her subjects’ appetite. Instead imported food makes up much of the large deficit, and other than under rationing, this arrangement has been adequate if not desirable. However under the direction of the Labour Government, this deficit has reached a record level. The food trade gap has now reached a crippling £15.2 billion. As the Telegraph reports; “Labour has spent more than a decade undermining farming, creating a culture that seemed to regard farmers as intruders in a landscape that should be reserved for birds and tubercular badgers.”

They have attacked those who live in the countryside as ‘Toffs’ and ‘leachers’ and in a failed attempt to prove their anti- affluent credentials, Labour even went so far as to make illegal an industry that many in the country relied on; fox-hunting. Now finally, Defra (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have decided to get worried. They are suddenly cautioning the nation that the food situation is a recipe for disaster. They are warning that fuel shortages, international disputes, terrorism and foreign price hikes could all have a devastating impact on Britain’s ability to feed herself! We need to be worried.

But even this ‘wake-up call’ has not convinced the “Government of the People” to help the 3.6 million workers who are employed in the agri-food sector: Defra still advises the public against ‘unsustainable’ local produce and has fought against making honest labelling of food compulsory. It even lobbied against such a step during recent EU negotiations against the wishes of many in the farming industry. Since 2002, some 7,300 dairy farmers have gone out of business and since Labour came to power in 1997, cultivated land has contracted alarmingly. The Labour government have done little to hide the contempt which they feel towards the rural community. They have characterised them as elitist, bloodthirsty and lazy but they forget that it is those who live and work in Britain’s countryside who secure many of our greatest British values. It is they who support our wildlife and it is they who provide us with the food with which we survive.

Under a Conservative government, all would be defended not just those employed by Labour’s bureaucratic superstate; the chocking red-tape would be slashed and if the nation in 2010 elects the Tories to power, maybe they can reverse the devastating, Labour-led decline to our farming industry.

Daniel Cole

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7 thoughts on “Sustainability?!?

  1. Interesting article, you’ve not mentioned much on what exactly the Conservative Party would specifically do in relation to the expansion or safeguarding of farming in the UK.

    Also could you source the information on defra? I seriously doubt they opposed local produce and the EU negociations because “they hate farmers” – what seems to be a simplistic argument indeed. There should have been some advantage, usless they’re utterly suicidal, at least in their opinion, to the UK, as well as what you percieve to be disadvantages.

    Issues such as these generally seem to be a balance of interests and it’s generally a good thing to acknowledge the other side of the argument, even if only to dismiss it because you don’t agree. If you don’t I fear it is possible you may end up ranting. I’m reasonably sure you know all this already, despite evidence that may be interpreted differently.

    In any case, what you say is still interesting, a point on which I shall elaborate when/if I have sufficent time.

    And apologies for my pompous, possibly convoluted, style I spend rather too long working on history essays and their ilk.

  2. A good point well made. You are right to challenge sources and call for a rounded debate.

    Concerning the food labelling debate I look to the Sunday Telegraph:

    “The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal that five months ago Government negotiators opposed mandatory labelling in talks held with European Union member states.
    Leaked papers from the European Council reveal how 11 countries, including France and Italy, called for mandatory origin labels on all non-processed food. The amendment, put at a meeting on July 31, was defeated by the UK and nine other countries.”

    To be fair, I do not yet know why the government opposed such a motion, though I am sure there is a reason.

    David Jones, the MP for Clwyd West stated that:

    “Consumers and farmers are losing out because the current food labelling regulations permit meat produced abroad to be labelled as British. It is therefore shocking to hear that, in the European Council working committee on foodstuffs held on 31 July, the British representatives opposed mandatory country of origin labelling, when France, Italy and nine other member states supported it.
    “The Government pay lip service to honesty in food labelling, but in reality appear to be impeding it.
    “In the meantime, British consumers are denied proper information and British farmers are suffering from unfair competition.
    “It is high time the Government made proper efforts to introduce honesty in food labelling.”

  3. Quite right Dan, the abuse that the rural community has had to put up with from this Labour government over the past 12 years has been disgusting.

    Dig for victory!

  4. The fox-hunting ban at a parliamentary level was a blatant example of class-based legislation. It was based on a misunderstanding and naivety about the rural community and the values and traditions that go hand-in-hand with this particular way of life. More worryingly perhaps, it was one in which a delusional depiction of rural England as consisting of a ‘Lord of the Manor’ and a few repressed villagers prevailed amongst the majority of narrow-minded Labour MPs.

  5. Is there a blog on the internet where Conservatives aren’t getting grumpy about the fox hunting ban?

    On the subject of the farming industry i refer you to a specch by Tony Benn in 1992 on pit closures

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