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UK self-sufficiency and localisation of food supply chains from British Farms should now be the Government priority. Not vanity-led trade deals that undermine them

Globalisation as we knew it before the age of Lockdowns is over. We may not feel it, understand it or in most cases even see it. But the World has been changed by the chain reaction that was set in motion by the COVID Pandemic.

Daylight is now beginning to shine upon all the hidden, self-serving and myopic powers that influence our way of life. They are coming together in a concert of chaos with COVID conducting the orchestra – right at the fore.

It may sound dramatic. But the subjectivity and focus we have on everything beyond our own lives and the bubbles we unwittingly live in make it easy for us to ignore how things really are at the objective level. We are and have been living through significant National and World events that have consequences neither we, but even more importantly our politicians, can or now will avoid.

Loss of the realism that a genuine overview provides leaves us out of touch with the reality of what is happening. We take for granted that daily life will always go on as it has and that everything continues in the same way.

Yet the assumption that an encyclopaedic range of foods and products will always meet us when we walk through the supermarket doors or click online is a storybook waiting for a bad ending. And that ending is now almost certain to emerge.

Whilst the Government, media and the establishment they serve tell us that everything will return to the pre-COVID ‘normal’, concocted narratives cannot change nor head off the impact and consequences of the decisions they made, the money they created then spent, and the stories they have told to control people during a pandemic.  

The change is already underway. We can already see it in the questions over home working and many revaluating where they wish to live. Change will touch everything, and this will include even the most basic parts of life, including the clothes we wear and the food that we eat.

We simply don’t need all the things that we buy, eat or drink, and many of us already know and understand this. Whilst it may sound moralistic to say so, it is certainly no coincidence that as a population we are becoming so unhealthy when we are happy sleepwalking through life in the way that we do.

The good, wholesome, locally and ethically produced foods that we genuinely need to live and feed ourselves would not be expensive if we prioritised production using the most localised supply chains possible. It could mean the ingredients of the meals we eat have not travelled outside of our own County boundaries or been carried much further on their journey from farm to fork.

Some may snort at the mere suggestion of returning to a world where butchers, bakers and every kind of traditional village shop or business sell you the produce and goods that have come to them for preparation from local farms and producers.

But this is the way that the world we know will go if it is again to begin making any kind of sense, and we do not need the Government or ambitious Ministers attempting to open up trade flow to Countries that will undercut our own farmers and producers. Indeed, the Countries that Trade Ministers are now talking to should be actively and demonstratively encouraged to develop their own enhanced forms of productivity as we all work towards the level of national and localised self-sufficiency that the post-COVID World and the collapse of global Supply chains will soon demand.

In the simplest terms, the rise and threat of what has been called the ‘Indian variant’ of COVID demonstrates some of the starkest lessons of how this virus works. The ZERO COVID solution that this Government has tied itself to will at some point have to be flipped to become one that we learn to live with it and treat it the same as we do the Flu.

Whether we continue going forward under the premise that COVID control is the only priority or change and accept that there are other ways to live, we can no longer allow or encourage the mass movement of people or encourage unnecessary international supply chains just for the sake of making profit in any way.

Borders will literally have to become borders once again. No matter how much we might we deserve that foreign holiday, we are no longer living in a world where there will continue to be one rule for ‘wealthy’ countries and another for all those that the ignorant and greedy thumb their noses at and call poor.

Viruses and the impacts of ill-considered human behaviour do not recognise boundaries. They have consequences for us all.

For better or worse, COVID is a virus that is here to stay. Global eradication is not possible with the political mindset that the world currently has, and we will soon have no option but to learn and act upon the realities that the spread of a respiratory disease through an interconnected version of the World presents.

Meanwhile, the decision making and behaviours of politicians, banks ad big business as they have struggled to maintain control during the Covid Pandemic has led them to supercharge the growth of the many problems that greed and profiteering have created.

Going local, real localism and putting our communities at the forefront of everything we build our lives around will now become key to addressing the change that events will create and to become happy and content in ways that we have culturally long since forgot.

Farmers, producers and those who run and maintain very local services and cottage industry businesses are going to be key. Allowing any foreign country to undercut local production of any kind – no matter our historic ties – will quickly become one of the greatest acts of economic self-harm in the post-COVID world.

This is not about having a downer on Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA or any Country with which we might have once found it desirable to extend trade with. All Countries across the World are going to have to face up to the realities of the step away from globalisation to closed borders and what this really means for prioritising local production too.

Self-sufficiency for food and essential goods must become both a National and Government priority for the UK. Within this, we must look to promote and encourage everyone to shop and focus what they do and the lives they live locally in pretty much the complete opposite way that globalisation and the greed that underpins it has done.

Government must guide and support the development of truly local cooperatives. Legislators must embrace and utilise the freedom we have following our unshackling from the EU to legislate in ways that mean it is both practical and cost effective for every service that businesses require to produce and manufacture locally will not only exist but will thrive in such ways that lead to local products and services being made available to everyone at prices even the poorest in society can afford.

Local Enterprise Partnerships or alternative bodies like them should be used to join up the dots and encourage this growth locally.

Instead of encouraging agriculture and food production to become ever more focused on ‘cost effective’ production that means they increasingly only become viable with the economies of scale and size, our legislators must look at regulating and restricting all of the malign influences that take money out of the supply chain, thereby increasing end-user cost. They are currently adding no value, as part of an equation that increasingly leaves heathy food being a luxury that only the financially wealthy can afford.

Farm shops, farmers markets and the systems of local production that can and must feed into them must be the direction of travel. We must reject the reliance upon retail giants and a system where shareholders and financial speculators make ridiculous sums of money after the companies they ‘own’ can appear to move goods around the planet more cheaply than our own producers can make them. The practice where supermarket buyers crush any farmers ability to both supply them and remain profitable must come to its end.

British Farmers are some of the most innovative and entrepreneurial members of society that we have. There is little doubt that if we both embrace and support the role that they can and will willingly then take within a new and diversified platform for UK food growing and production, the true value to us all of the wider rural and agricultural sector and the community that underpins it will come into its own and be good for us all.

Support local shops, farmers and suppliers today so they are there for you when other options no longer exist

If things about this new life we are living make you feel uneasy, you have good reason to be concerned.

Beneath the veneer of slogans, the false security given by social distancing and the Government’s big cash handout given with a manufactured smile that is meant to tell us it’ll all be alright, trouble is brewing on an unprecedented scale not just across the UK, but the whole World throughout.

Policies like the Job Retention Scheme are creating a false perception of the condition the UK’s economy and businesses are in.

There is a genuine belief that things will just go back to how they were up until the 23rd of March, as if the Prime Minister has a great big UK On/Off switch.

Regrettably, this picture has been echoed by political ineptitude across the World and if tackling the Coronavirus Pandemic the way they have chosen to really was the war that politicians like Boris would like it pictured to be, in hindsight, the Lockdown and all the Social Distancing measures will become known as the phoney bit.

What is only clear to very few today, is there has been no comparable event in history that gives anyone an idea of how any of this can now actually work and anything remain the same.

The Lockdown has set off a chain reaction that will not only break the back of many small businesses and destroy the jobs that they provide, it is also setting off asymmetrical reactions and consequences in supply chains and big businesses not only in the UK but right across the World.

Because we have for so long taken for granted that we can drive to Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Morrisons and that our milk, eggs and sausages will have simply materialised on the shelves along with petrol at the garage to fill our cars, we have forgotten to look into the processes that get them there and just how complicated the supply chains are that make it look and feel like only simplicity is involved.

Greed on an unimaginable scale has meant big is best and global is even better. We don’t question the fragility of a system that had already become so dangerously convoluted before the crisis, simply because everything in these shops appears to be so cheap.

In the coming weeks and months, the appearance of everything going on as normal is going to crash spectacularly to the floor. The real damage that the Lockdown has created is likely to mean that the experience we had with there being no toilet rolls on the shelves at the end of March will expand to include many other ‘essential items’. Yet this time the shortage will be very real because the manufacturers and suppliers that the Supermarkets buy from can’t get the things they need for production, or they themselves will no longer exist.

Nothing is too big to fail, as many of the big companies whose only focus has been on profit are about to find out.

So if you want to be sure that you can put food on the table and get access to supplies and services that you genuinely need when things begin to get really hard as they soon will, buy whatever you need from your local shops, farms and suppliers of every kind today so that they are there and able to serve you with the goods and services you need at a price you can still afford when you have neither the option nor the choice.

Our Politicians sold out our Farming and Fishing Communities to appease other EU Members when we joined. It would be as contradictory as it would be treacherous for them to do so again when the British People Voted to Leave

December 1, 2018 Leave a comment

 

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I’m proud to be British. To be part of the whole Community which populates the whole of this, our UK. To know that by striving to put what is in our best interests first, will allow us to contribute bigger, better and more considerate things to the World all around.

Yet I know that as businesses and as individuals we all have our part to play. That we are as a Nation, the sum of all our different parts. That if we purposefully neglect any type of business, industry, individual or group of people, we will disadvantage ourselves not in part or as a fraction, but collectively, together and in sum total as a whole.

It is shameful that our Politicians have reached a place where they do not see any need to do the same, and that they put self-interest before that of the people who directly elected them.

They have outsourced the responsibility with which they have been entrusted, instead looking upon their position of influence as something for their own use which they effectively own.

Two of the Communities that have rightly expected to have a different experience as a positive consequence of Brexit are those in and around Farming and Fishing.

Because British Agriculture and Fishing and the control of both our related resources and their markets were so prized by the Europeans – and particularly the French who as now were one of the most influential and key beneficiaries of the European Project – they were both key targets for industrial subjugation by the Michel Barniers and Guy Verhofstadts of the day.

As with Theresa May today, her predecessors of the time were so hell-bent upon winning what they perceived as being a beneficial relationship with the EU, that they were not only prepared to, but actively sold out and compromised these two World renowned and identifiably British Industries purely for what they wrongly told us would be an overall gain.

Joining the Common Market and becoming enslaved by the evolution and thereafter legitimised assimilation of everything which was once under our own control, through undemocratic rule making, implementation and administrative control creep of the European Project has left both UK Agriculture and UK Fishing as mere shadows of what they would otherwise now have been.

There was no gain for Farming and Fishing.

UK Farming and Fishing have only experienced a net loss.

Subsidies have removed competitiveness from smaller scale specialist farming and created a dependent culture through the industry whilst making it near impossible to build a genuinely profitable business either without the scales of economy or without diversifying businesses into a range of areas which either have to be uniquely niche or have the ability to buck the online retail trends.

The travesty we have witnessed where fields stand idle because it is more cost effective for farmers to do nothing with them, and huge swaths of land have become more useful to owners for leisure rather than production has hurt our farmers, but the Country too. And it is clearly no accident that as a result of the requirements of EU Membership, we could not be further away from self-sufficiently as a Nation, if national emergency were to require that of the UK too.

Our Fishing rights were always prized by all the European Countries who have their own Fleets too and the EU must have thought all of it’s Christmases had arrived all at once, the day that an out of touch politician ceded those Rights and with them access to all of our Fishing, leaving greed on the part of Foreign Powers to lead to overfishing and abuse of our Fishing Stocks, without us having any ability to influence or bring a halt to this very unwelcome tide.

Many of our trawlers were simply scrapped to adhere to the EU’s implementation of quotas, where the idea of balance between 28 nations is to share out access to resources and markets. We are one, they are twenty seven. When we have great things which we give away to be shared, the point of balance move not towards the one and to a point which is not difficult to picture. Is this fair? You decide.

Within both industries and despite the buy-offs from The EU, which have ironically only ever been our own money, repackaged and sold as a form of benevolence which would otherwise be denied, Farming and Fishing communities up and down the United Kingdom votes Leave and instructed Politicuans to bring back their futures, like all of ours, to the determination of our own democratically elected politicians. They rejected The EU, it’s autocracy and inherent self-interest and said we have a much better future ahead.

Yet as Remsiners have taken ever step possible and used every opportunity possible to overturn the democratic will of the people and that which our farming and fishing communities displayed, they have continued to overlook and ignore the realities of the power and potential benefits that all of our businesses, industries, people and communities hold.

These lacklustre politicians want to sell us out yet again, completely oblivious to the many great worlds we have throughout the UK, dismissing the validity of anything they do not understand and attempting to create an even closer union with the EU whilst telling us they are delivering the will of the people with the assumption that what they say will be taken as being the truth, whilst the truth itself can from the safety of London always be cleverly denied.

Feeding the UK is a vital part of our future. We must prioritise UK Agriculture and Fishing once again and dismiss these destructive EU systems which have never benefitted any of us in the UK in any meaningful way. We know they aren’t good for us because we’ve had decades of them being tried.

Image thanks to the times.co.uk

Effect-focussed Government has failed us all. Can we really move forward with a plan of something better for all if we never address the causes of our problems?

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Leaps in utility prices touch just about everyone’s lives either directly or indirectly. No less so because of the growing paradox which appears to be a guaranteed bottom line for shareholders, whilst customers continually carry the can for everything that any non-essential business would have no option but to absorb within what are today’s unalterable margins.

Public services such as Trains run under much the same guise, and the question really should be asked if the time has come when any provider of a key or essential service should remain able to have a free reign over charges and their levels of profit when the end user simply has no choice but to buy?

Similarly, margins drawn from the production and retail of essential basic items such as milk, bread, meats and vegetables must surely now be protected from City speculation and the stranglehold of the big retailers who are together endangering various food producing industries in what is little more than an obligation to sustain and build upon profits, laid down by the purely financial motives of their masters.

So what exactly is stopping the long needed change in direction which would embrace a true form of moral or rather responsible capitalism, which in its boldest form would serve to protect a basic and affordable living for all, whilst delivering an arguably much reduced cost for Government?

One of the key failings of many of today’s politicians is a fundamental lack of understanding, will and fortitude to deal with the deep rooted causes of the problems that we as a nation face; instead choosing to do little more than dalliance in dealing with the effects of bad or flawed decisions, then going on to repeat the very same mistakes when that latest remedy itself begins to demonstrate its flaws.

Be under no illusion, this process is not unique to any political genre or ideology. It is a deep seated and inherently progressive condition, made all the worse by a political party system which now serves only to propagate itself and those within it who effectively function to do the very same, placing electability before delivery.

Successive Governments, whether they have been Conservative, Labour or even Coalitions have done the very same things, albeit with a different wrapper. But with little more than a ‘fire and forget’ mentality, the consequences are plain to see and there for us all to share and experience in our everyday lives.

The commonalities within privatisation, right-to-buy, the evolution of the free market and even political parties themselves are that they were arguably all political creations with a great and beneficial purpose in mind for those who were the driving forces behind them.

However, like most great ideas in Government that come to be manifest, they have progressively moved beyond their point of balance or what some might choose to call good, and have gone in another direction entirely. One which has benefited the unscrupulous and cost those of us dearly who have the right to expect the protection of our everyday interests by those who we put in place to take that responsibility on our behalf to do so.

Acceptance that the evolution of policies can and will continue beyond their point of good is no enviable task. This is particularly so when many organisations, NGO’s and even Government Departments have been created simply to deliver upon questionable policies and their lucrative spin-offs. In many cases they arguably continue to exist for the sole purpose of existing.

Trades Unions, Health & Safety Legislation and European red-tape are all examples of well-intentioned principles which have gone way beyond their point of good. Even UK Taxation and Benefits no longer represent the equitable and fair approach that we should all be able to reasonably expect from a 21st Century Western Government and the implementation of truly fair systems such as Flat Tax are long since overdue.

Fear of driving the watershed of change needed in an age where we have laws for the sake of having laws; where blame is a national industry and where everyday people feel that Government of all levels has no understanding of the lives that they lead, is no longer excuse enough in itself to avoid it.

Painful as it will be, somebody will soon have to be big enough to take on big business, the City and the insidious money men who are continuously elevating the breadline, all in the name of profit.

Selfless politicians must set about the change of policy after policy which may well serve their political masters today, but remain lifetimes away from serving those for whose benefit they were apparently intended.

Effect-focussed Government has failed us all and not least the most vulnerable in society and shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted does little to help after the event.

Can we really move forward with a plan of something better for all if we never address the causes of our problems?

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