Monday, February 16, 2009

British Food For British Politicians

Foodies and farmers are having a field day with politicians falling over themselves to get a slice of the bacon and bang the drum for Britain. 

But how much is this a pathetic attempt to jump on the Jamie bandwagon and how much a realistic attempt to finally do something about bad food Britain and the ravaged farming industry?

Not one to miss a trick, environment secretary, Hilary Benn told the National Farmers' Union in Birmingham: "I'm very proud of what British farming does for our country. Farmers do so much for the environment out of love of the land."

What utter patronising nonesense. Farmers are trying to make a living just like everyone else. 

They're bogged down by Brussels red tape, a supermarket stranglehold  on prices, a government which doesn't give a fig about the industry and competition from imported crap food dressed up and processed by slave labour in the food processing camps. Then forced down the nation's throats to make them fat. 

That has been the problem every since Joanna Blythmam first launched her gastronomic polemic and showed how a nation had ruined its appetite in Bad Food Britain. Benn may be trying to hang out his environmental credentials but it is those issues which need to be addressed. 

Latching onto the current craze, whipped up by Jamie Oliver's Buy British and Save our Bacon is an admirable cause and one to be encouraged. But how does that square with a government obsessed by protectionism and the justified fear of a rising spectre of economic nationalism? 

Not questions asked in France, Italy or in any other EU country. Both France and Italy lead the pack, fighting the corner for the consumer and their farming industry, with food an essential part of the terroir

But in both those countries the farming industry and the consumer are powerful voices which politicians ignore at their peril, unlike an industry and public here, who have been brow-beaten into submission. 

Words and platitudes are not the answer. To their credit, the Tories have been quick to spot this gap in the market with a spot of realism outflanking a wishy washy government response.

It's a simple mater of labelling. How can you trust something that's got a Union Flag plastered on it when the tiny print tells you it is only produced and packed in Britain, not British born and bred. 

People have a right to know where their food comes from. The Conservatives are promoting a refreshing and what seems to be a totally honest campaign called 'Honest Food'. Whatever your politics, the video released to coincide with the campaign is a little gem.


Anonymous said...

The Govt are already in discussions with EU couterparts over more honest labelling around breeding, growing, processing etc of foods - the only thing the Tories have done today is suggest that something that is already being done (and they know it is) should be done - ask them how and when they are introducing their bill. Its just an opportunistic gimmick ...... again!!!! (although the video is quite good :-)

the orange party said...

Anonymous - you smell like a troll but as you say the video is quite good.
On the labelling issue it may indeed be a Tory gimmick but it captures a public mood, something sadly lacking with the current government.