Saturday, 26 July 2008

The Politics Thing

People don’t vote. People don’t bother to turn up for meetings. People turn to the sports page first. The tabloids print biased headlines and very little else of substance.

On the subject of political matters, we are, as a race, pretty ignorant. How many people do you know who can name the Minister for the Environment for instance? And yet our environment is the biggest single issue people are talking about these days.

BUT if something goes wrong these same people complain like mad. They are very specific in their complaints too. Whose fault is it? Gordon’s of course!

Now, I don’t hold any strong feelings about Gordon Brown or anyone else in Westminster – how could I? I’ve never met them. But I hope that I can take a balanced view.

Can the PM do anything about world oil prices? No.
Can he do anything about the rising price of food or fuel? No. (It all goes back to the price of oil – and if he were to substantially cut the duty on fuel he would have to find the money from somewhere else, by raising a tax or two – and listen for the protests then!)

And would things have been any better if Mr Teflon Blair was still at No.10? Of course not. But he was smooth enough to get out of town. Am I wrong to suspect that he saw all this coming and that’s why he decided to go?

Would things be any better if David Cameron was in charge? Hardly! It wouldn’t change anything.

To misquote a certain US President – It’s the environment, stupid!

We have to be helped, by our politicians, to get used to higher fuel and food prices, because over time it can only get worse. Whoever is in charge is going to have to acknowledge that very drastic action is needed to cope with the triple-whammy of Peak-Oil, Climate Change and Credit Crunch.

My question is, which of our leaders, prospective or otherwise, is going to be prepared to make himself very unpopular by facing up to these challenges firmly and soon?

Whichever leader takes that option will have my vote!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

What about some Green Agriculture?

I am not sure who is losing touch with reality – is it me or is it them?

I read today that Defra is concentrating too much on the environment and not enough on agriculture!

That’s according to the National Farmers Union. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach when I read that. In our present dire straits, how can we possibly think of agriculture and the environment as being separate – in conflict? If ever there was a time when we needed to start being in tune with our environment rather than destroying it in the name of higher productivity, this is it. Surely the NFU of all organisations should see that if we want to stand a chance of surviving the double whammy of Climate Change and Peak Oil, then they have to start working with nature rather than against it?

Our agriculture is totally dependent on the oil industry for its diesel and for its fertiliser. What will they do when they can’t afford either? Just say ‘OK we go out of business’?

If Defra spend money on supporting agriculture in its present form, then all they are doing is hastening the demise of the one industry which, if it adapts to the changing world, could be our salvation.

Already, an increasing number of families are finding ways to produce their own food, whether on allotments, in their gardens or on their window sills. Many people avoid buying ‘organic’ food because the premium is too high. This is the writing that is on the wall.

Our farmers need to move away from mass production and supermarkets, and think small and local. That way they may still have customers in ten years time. If they continue to look for the big industrial markets, then they will be left with egg on their faces – and it won’t be free range!