Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nothing on the horse meat scandal?

Attentive readers would have noticed that I have not posted anything on the all-engrossing horse-meat scandal. The reason is very clear: the Boss on EU Referendum has been covering the subject in great detail and there is absolutely nothing I can add to it. As a friend who lives and works in America said on another thread: EUReferendum is the go-to site for anyone who wants to understand what is going on.

However, I should like to call attention to one important posting, entitled, slightly misleadingly EU politics: the silence of the media. The media, on the Boss's own showing has not been silent exactly, more completely and utterly wrong.

Astonishingly enough, this posting shows that at least one journalist, Charles Moore, seems to have woken up to the importance of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, one I recall well from my days of working as the Director of the Honest Food campaign in the Countryside Alliance. (Alas, the campaign no longer exists.)

However, I do want to pick up another point in the posting. The Boss, rightly, considers that all other arguments about the FSA and politicians but, I think, does not pay enough attention to the big issue of a large proportion of the British public's insistence on cheap food.

I am not sure I can understand this obsession entirely, since it does not come from poverty of which there is very little in this country. Rather, there is a widespread feeling, which has existed for a couple of centuries as one realizes reading cookery books of the period, that food should take up a very small proportion of one's income.

Admittedly, a society in which a very large proportion of people's income goes on basic food is a poor society; but many rich societies spend relatively more on food than, by and large, do the British and even so there is a desire for yet cheaper food, presumably because a bigger proportion should be left on drink, holidays and computer games.

This obsession affects eurosceptic attitudes. The Boss fires off a few more rockets towards UKIP whose appearance in the horse meat scandal has been non-existent, despite the obvious EU connection. Instead, they and other eurosceptics concentrate on the one link between food production and the EU they can grasp, the CAP, and the argument (when it does not concentrate on rich farmers, especially the Prince of Wales, getting subsidies) remains monotonously the same: we must get out of the CAP in order to pay less for our food. As a matter of fact, we pay less than most countries, as a proportion of our income. How much less do these people want to pay and what kind of food do they think they will have?

Oh, and should they not have a look at Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 instead of bleating about cheap food?


  1. Indeed 'the Boss' is the authority on this and I have lost count of the number of times I have past on the links to others who have sounded off in typical bizarre and unmeasured manner (ie most politicians and journalists, never mind friends and family). I agree above all that this really has been a missed trick for UKIP - yes it is complex and yes it involves trying to master a maze of concepts and it would be unfair to criticise UKIP for not being the first to grasp this issue fully. But it demonstrates in so many ways how badly we are governed (and explanations of the issue expose this baldly), and it is important not to let the EU off the hook, which is the danger with the current approach of much of the press. For the purposes of a political party, you cannot beat sound research on an issue like this, allied to the ability to pare that down to words which can get the facts across clearly even in a short interview.

  2. ...and have lost count of the number of times I have "passed" on the links as well..."I could punish myself" as Charles Haughtrey said (Carry on Cabbie I think)

  3. ...and on another aside (sorry) the word I had to type after that last posting (to "prove you are not a robot") was very close to Gannex...and it is 50 years almost to the day that Harold Wilson became leader of the Labour Party...

  4. From my perspective the issue about cheap food is if it can be produced that cheaply, and safely, and people wish to eat it why shouldn't they? Anything else is just pure food snobbery. If you wish to pay toffs a premium to grow food inefficiently then buy organic food. If you want something in between go to Waitrose.

    The truth is that all food is broken down by the body into it's constituent parts, and it's very difficult for the average person to eat a diet deficient in some required substance. So there is virtually no difference in health outcomes between eating a Raymond Blanc meal, and a McDonalds. I'm not trying to say no-one should eat a Raymond Blanc meal, so I don't see why so many people are so keen to deny people a McDonalds.

    But make no mistake food is going to get more expensive, just look at the clamour to put extra tax on so called junk food. It is an equal mix of deep scientific ignorance, and good old fashioned statism, where the poor must be protected from themselves.

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