Tag Archives: agriculture

Brexit: Your Tory MPs have betrayed UK agriculture after promising not to

Chicken: if this one was of the US chlorine-washed variety, do you think Boris Johnson would be soiling his hands with it?

We knew that Tory promises were no good, didn’t we? So we did 14 million people vote for them last December?

I’ve never found an answer for that one.

The usual old chestnut that “the other side were worse” is plainly wrong. Labour’s offer – and leader – was a vast improvement on Johnson and his rabble, as anybody can see.

They can certainly see it now, anyway.

Today’s scandal is that Brexit will now cause a flood of cheap food imports into the UK that will destroy our farming industry and poison our people.

Tories: you voted for this. Brexiters: you voted for this. Indeed, many farmers voted for this.

Here’s what they promised:

But (as Si Anderson puts it in earthy terms above), yesterday evening’s (October 12) vote in Parliament ensures that the Tories will be able to compromise those protections, just to get a deal with the United States:

Farmers and food campaigners were defeated on Monday night in their attempts to enshrine high food safety and animal welfare practices in British law.

Several prominent backbench Tory MPs rebelled against the government to vote for amendments to the agriculture bill that would have given legal status to the standards, but the rebels were too few to overcome the government’s 80-seat majority and the key amendment fell by 332 votes to 279 after an often impassioned debate.

The government argued that giving current standards legal status was unnecessary as ministers had already committed to ensuring that UK food standards would be kept in any post-Brexit trade agreements.

However, critics fear that the lack of a legally binding commitment in the agriculture bill will allow future imports of sub-standard food that will undercut British produce and expose consumers to risk.

Be honest; given Johnson’s record of u-turning on his promises, this means chlorinated chicken for dinner. It will be cheap at the shop, but it will cost us our entire agriculture industry.

And that is what Boris Johnson intended from the start – before the 2016 referendum, even – it seems.

Here’s what we’ll be getting:

Boris Johnson and his cronies won’t be getting chlorine-washed chicken, of course – they’ll be able to afford the higher-quality meats. But you will be in danger.

Opponents of Brexit have taken the opportunity to remind us all of Boris Johnson’s words in 2016 – so we can remind him at the appropriate time…

… not that it will make a difference. He does what he likes. You voted for that, Tories. You voted for it, Brexiters.

Here’s how it’s panning out:

Just to rub salt into the wound, it seems support for remaining in the EU is rocketing, with 57 per cent of the nation now in favour of it.

What a shame. After three years of fighting over it (up to the election in 2019), that debate is over. The Brexiters got what they wanted and you have been shafted. Nobody currently in power will do anything to reverse the decision.

Still, there remain a few optimists who think there will be recourse to law if harm can be shown as a result of this decision:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tory ministers are above the law.

The police and CPS actively avoid investigating any allegations of crime or wrongdoing by our elected government.

And Dominic Cummings could go on a murder spree in Barnard Castle and he would still walk free at the end of it.

But you can bet that a lot more people will suffer because of last night’s decision by Parliament to poison our farming industry, and our people.

Source: MPs reject calls by campaigners to enshrine food safety in UK law | Politics | The Guardian

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Lords defeat Johnson over food standards because they don’t want chlorinated chicken

Chicken: if this one was of the US chlorine-washed variety, do you think Boris Johnson would be soiling his hands with it?

Boris Johnson’s hopes of a trade deal with the United States are looking increasingly like a house of straw… built on sand.

Already leading figures in Congress have said they will block a trade deal if Johnson pushes his Internal Markets Bill into UK law, as it would break international law and – particularly – threaten the peace in Northern Ireland.

(Did Johnson really dream up this Bill because his Russian donors demanded it?)

Now the House of Lords has amended his Agriculture Bill, so that food products imported under any future trade deals must meet or exceed current standards in the UK – to prevent farmers in this country from being undermined.

For the opposition, Lord Grantchester warned: “Low-quality food cannot be allowed to jeopardise rural communities by undercutting UK farmers with products using methods that would be illegal here.”

Consumers did not want chlorinated chicken or hormone-treated beef to be imported from the US, he said.

It was only by supporting the Labour-led move that peers could be sure the Government was “bound to its commitment not to import food of lower standards than our own domestic products”, Lord Krebs said.

Baroness Boycott, a crossbench peer, said chlorinated chicken was the “tip of the iceberg” of “bad food” which could come into the country.

The amendment is a rejection of the Tory government’s claims, as summarised by Baroness Noakes:

“The government’s policy is clear. They are committed to higher food and welfare standards.

“We do not need to write into law what the Government is committed to.”

Clearly the majority of the Lords disagree – and who can blame them?

The whole point of not writing such a commitment into legislation is to ensure that a government can U-turn on it, once it has been enacted, and we all know it. That’s why the amendment has been brought in.

Unfortunately, it is well within Boris Johnson’s power to throw out the Lords’ amendment, so that the eventual law will undermine UK farmers, and will allow diseased meat onto our plates.

It is possible that MPs will stop and think for a moment before blithely voting it away, though; debate in the House of Lords is of a higher standard than that in the Commons and their reasons for changing a Bill deserve careful consideration.

Many Tories represent rural constituencies full of farmers.

How will those people take it if one of the earliest actions of these MPs in the new Parliament is to stab their voters in the back?

Source: Government defeated in Lords over post-Brexit food standards | The Independent

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UK Treasury changes title to ‘Department of Clutching At Straws’

The economy is growing: The Coalition government will claim credit but there is no reason to believe it has anything to do with current government policy - quite the opposite, in fact.

The economy is growing: The Coalition government will claim credit but there is no reason to believe it has anything to do with current government policy – quite the opposite, in fact.

All right, the Treasury hasn’t really changed its name – but it might as well have, after the joy that greated this week’s meagre growth figures.

The Office for National Statistics is reporting growth in construction, manufacturing, services and agriculture in an estimate based on 44 per cent of actual data on economic activity during the second quarter of 2013 (April-June). That’s less than half of the evidence.

We live in times when the whole of the evidence means a great deal – for example, information on Q1 of 2012 that put growth at a standstill – neither up nor down – meant the UK did not enter a double-dip recession, even though the economy contracted in the periods immediately before and after. In real terms we were backtracking – but on paper, no.

Let’s remember, also, that the organisations that record our economic fortunes are liable to revise their predictions down as well as up – remember when the Office of Budget Irresponsibility changed its mind about the growth figures for 2012? It had predicted growth of 2.5 per cent for that year. In fact, once we iron out the ups and downs, the economy really only bumped along at a roughly steady state.

The International Monetary Fund had predicted a more conservative 1.6 per cent growth for 2012 – but in January of that year revised this down to 0.6 per cent. You get the picture.

The 0.6 per cent figure was in line with market expectations, though – and that is a good sign. But 0.6 per cent is a very fragile figure and the prospects for the rest of the year are “highly uncertain”, as market analyst Richard Driver said in the BBC News website’s report.

We all knew that the economy would start turning upwards again at some point. That it has taken five years to do so indicates the severity of the banker-induced crash – and also the lack of any investment in recovery.

In the past, the upturns arrived comparatively swiftly – but there had been a willingness on the part of both government and businesses to put money into it. The current government has been sucking money out of the economy in the pursuit of Gideon‘s nonsensical “expansionary fiscal contraction” and getting the deficit down – meaning that all the effort has been put into cutting spending and none into actually making a buck or two. Meanwhile, it has been estimated that businesses have been sitting on fortunes totalling six or seven per cent of GDP – around £775 billion, according to Michael Meacher.

In his blog, Mr Meacher said he expected the announcement to be “milked by Cameron-Osborne for all it’s worth” and he was not to be disappointed.

“These figures are better than forecast,” said Osborne in the BBC report – claiming credit for something that had nothing to do with him. “Britain is holding its nerve, we are sticking to our plan, and the British economy is on the mend – but there is still a long way to go.”

What will he say if a later revision knocks the figure down again?

Mr Meacher’s blog stated that the growth figures had been inflated “by being talked up by the finance sector”, and stimulated by Osborne’s Help to Buy scheme “which has ploughed taxpayers’ money into mortgages but without increasing the number of houses being built, which can only push up property prices… igniting yet another housing bubble which is the last thing the economy needs”.

He added that the real essentials of recovery are still missing – “an expansion of manufacturing and exports”.

We may have to wait for another government before that happens; the Coalition is too busy exploiting our current economic fragility as an excuse to sell off the family silver – those parts of the NHS it thinks nobody will notice, the Royal Mail, school playing fields, student loans…

I could mention ‘Starve the Beast’ again – but by now you should be on intimate terms with that expression.

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