Manchester G.O.D

Growing Old Disgracefully


Hunger Me aged 12 all the way to PhD at best Agricultural College in world at the time. Realised that overproduction the problem .Ag scientists say ‘spend time not producing’, FAO contradiction between producers to produce more

Priest said ‘when I give food I am a saint yet when I ask why they need food, I am called a communist. It is now clearer to see..people go to Food Banks, not because there is a shortage of food, but because they cant afford it. Similarly people who go hungry because they cannot afford to buy the food, many of them help produce.

Overproduction increased ever since..look at EU – by 1970s obvious but attempts to cut got nowhere leading to butter mountains and wine lakes – oiling up behind ‘Live Aid’ shipping to Ethiopia..EEC still believed in food markets but inc realised don’t work but wont admit £50b subsidies.

US similar amount in subsidies & dominate in getting rid of overproduction..Earl Butz US Agric under Nixon ‘Food is a weapon’ ‘Plant row to row’ p led to Russia deal, cereal killers, animal intensification and HFCS.

Markets Means food markets always a challenge looking to make money with ‘BAD’ harvest..Madness of markets – ever since Shakespeare in Macbeth when farmer committed suicide ‘on th’expectation of plenty’

Yet we are in thrall to markets, and this has got worse since 1980s, when a certain Mrs T said ‘leave it to the markets’. That and being in EEC did away with Guaranteed prices. Instead farmers at behest of markets, and as these have got globalised – esp in 1990s have become more at risk.

In those 20-30 years, have run down our own ability to produce food, as we have left it to others to produce our food – now import ½ cf ¼ 25 years ago. Half of that food we import comes from the EU. In that time virtually shut down our agri science base – ¾ of all research stations gone, and many HE institutions inc mine.

Environment The environmental impact of this is disproportionate..2/3 of the GHGs we produce in f&f chain (accounting for about 20-25% of all British GHGs now occur abroad. And Twice as much land is used abroad as we use here to produce our food.

All of this is of great import re Brexit . 40% of all our laws to be transferred are in f,f and envir DEFRA down to 1000, doubled and have just stolen 400 form Env Agency. Yet little debate – although Gove made good effort. Not in mainstream, yet consequences greater than the Corn Laws..

And then comes Brexit

Group each with question to get their teeth into..

1. Do we want ‘cheaper’ food?

Coming out of the Customs Union means we can do FTAs with other countries – like NZ, Argentina, USA. All would be about selling our financial services and white goods without taxes. In return each of these would want to sell their food into UK without present taxes.

2. What should we do with EU CAP subsidies?

At present the £3+ Billion all goes to landowners. Gove doing good job of trying to turn this into ‘Green Brexit’ where a lot of these would of ‘public money should go to ‘public goods’ – particularly nice looking countryside. Is this the best use of that money?

3. Should we grow a lot more of our own food – and if so – how?

Early 80s we produced ¾ of food we ate. Now it is only ½ (by value) That inc 10 m more people, showing tehj burden being put on other nations to grow our food. This has happened 80s when a certain Milk Snatcher said ‘Leave it to the (super) markets.

4. Will Brexit make us fatter?

We are already fattest country in EU, we eat more ultra-processed food, and spend less (cf wages) than any EU Country. Coming away from a Mediterranean diet to consume more diet coke – is that likely to happen?