Food and trade

On Wednesday I had booked  slots to speak on the Amendments to the Agriculture Bill about trade, and on Third Reading where I wished to discuss how we promote more home grown and home reared food. I joined the debate remotely and listened to  it, only to discover they had booked more slots than available spaces. I was not called on the Amendments, and the 3rd Reading debate lasted for 3 minutes, front benches only.  So let me tell you some of what I wanted to say. My views are being sent to ministers as well.

I want us to have more free trade agreements and high standards of food production. I see no need to accept food from countries with unacceptable animal welfare practices,  nor to lower our standards in order to secure a Free Trade deal. More importantly, the government has promised it will not dilute our current standards. Free Trade Agreements with other countries will need Parliamentary approval and will be properly reported and debated in the House. It is common in Free Trade Agreements to respect each other’s regulatory systems through the doctrine of equivalence, where there is possible. Where it is not then the trade continues under WTO rules.

The government has decided to keep certain EU permitted practises for the time being, though one of the wins from leaving the EU is we can impose our own higher standards where we wish. We will, for example, continue with rules which allow chlorine wash of salads and vegetables. The EU disagreement over chlorine washed chicken is not with the  chlorine washes which they accept. Do those who object strongly to US chicken wish to see us ban chlorine washes for other items?

The government is pledged to maintaining levels of financial support to farmers that they were receiving under the EU policy, but to spend the money differently. The Bill grants powers to allow the government to support investment in better food production and requires the government to consider and report on food self sufficiency levels. I want the government to have ambitious plans to promote much bigger output of fruit, vegetables and flowers here at home by providing financial and regulatory support for more greenhouses and more mechanised market gardening. We also need to recruit more local labour to help with this important industry.

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  1. ed2
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    We need more options than the supermarkets, I personally will never shop in a supermarket again after this. More farm food shops, small grocers, small business not big business.

    • Adam
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink


      A claim of ‘never’ needs daily maintenance, for ever.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink


    • Hope
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      I buy British food wherever possible and I have written to the supermarket I use to buy more British food, not Irish after Varadkar hostility towards UK, from British farmers. Happily they wrote back stating they do and are increasing it.

      We read New Zealand deputy minister saying China pressured his country not to criticise China etc. US Congress siding with Australia now China has started to economically bully by not buying barley and beef from it to bylly Australia into silence. Will UK stand with our allies against China?

      JR, has China pressured UK Govt. to keep quiet? The world should unite against this vile regime, even Chris Patten, wrong on everything and dumped by UK electorate, used strong language against China!

      • Hope
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Do not give an inch on U.K. Fishing waters after the disasterous EU CFP. Let Macron shout and stamp his feet, but remain resolute, smile and Fck him.

        What is happening to check those from channel tunnel trains?

        Tory manifesto commitment towards curtailing unions needs to now bite especially TFL and teaching. Driverless tube trains ASAP. Far too expensive towards jobs and economy. Under Khan more strikes than anyone else. This costs U.K. Business a fortune we can longer afford.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps we can resume trading with the old Commonwealth which we abruptly dumped for EU’s ‘Johnny Foreigner’.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

          Fred H

          So you believe that after 50 years of being dumped by us they should now do the same to their new trading partners because we have changed our minds?

          And might do again if something even more juicy comes along in the future?

          A tad arrogant?

          • NickC
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

            Margaret H, Personally, I don’t believe the Commonwealth will say no to selling us a bit more of their stuff. It’s all to their advantage. But maybe you’re right, and they’ll cut off their noses to spite their faces like the EU.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

            They seem keen to have fresh trading ties with us.

    • Peter
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      All this extra food production while it is laudable will come at a significant cost. Britain has been a net food importer for a very long time. The question is how far from self sufficiency do you wish to stray?

      Foreigners have helped with harvests for a very long time, before Eastern Europeans it was hard working farmers sons from the West of Ireland. If you wish to reduce payments for foreign labour then farmers need to increase pay rates and have access restricted to a cheap overseas workforce.

      It will not just be food that costs more. Countries are now realising just how great a strategic threat China is. In former times there would have been a war to resolve the issue but that is not realistic in a nuclear age. Governments will need to pay less attention to globalist capitalists and more to the interests of the nation state.

    • John Bradley
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      As are land is every decreasing and are demands are increasing there is an urgent need for investment in automation on farms, and a great deal of research and development in tiered factory production of food, this latter point ensuring quality, utilisation of land and a safer environment

  2. ed2
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    We also need to recruit more local labour to help with this important industry.

    Get the school children picking fruit one day a week, on a rota. It will do them good and they will enjoy it. Adults will not.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed jobs for children are a very good idea, they learn a lot from them. Red tape has almost killed this dead. I had loads of jobs as a child in hotel kitchens and porter, bakeries, paper deliveries, fixing cars and bikes and working in shops. My sisters also worked in cafes and restaurants. It was very useful experience – banish this red tape.

      I remember you had to work about a day just to afford an LP and about 14 days for my JVC “Gettoblaster” cassette/radio or a second hand bike. Now kids can get a £50 phone or tablet and get everything else (music, books, movies, videos, tv, games, video messaging …..) for nothing and yet they still they complain!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      Great idea..but if adults were able to top up their benefits or part time job easily by working a few days or whatever ….of course they would do it.
      ( The local strawberry farm….had to shut because having gone over from pickers to “pick your own”the behaviour of the public and increasing health and safety forced them to shut completely).
      Easily is the key though. Red tape as ever gets in the way.
      Which of course politicians know and delight in.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Why am I being accused of duplicate comments?
      A way of keeping down number of comments?

    • Pairwent
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Have you ever taken children picking strawberries? Not many seem to get picked and put in the basket and all round their mouths are kind of reddy.

  3. everyone knows
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Everywhere I look I see big business in bed with the government or vice versa. Look what your MPs have done to Google, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook. there are countless doctors, yes doctors and professors whose beliefs (are not the same as politicians), mainly the liberal elite, now BANNED, yes banned on all alternative media platforms. I had my third Youtube account closed down because the Youtube CEO promised to delete all videos that didn’t agree with the WHO narrative. This is tyranny John.

  4. everyone knows
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Everywhere I look I see big business in bed with the government or vice versa. Look what your MPs have done to Google, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook. there are countless doctors, yes doctors and professors whose beliefs (are not the same as politicians), mainly the liberal elite, now BANNED, yes banned on all alternative media platforms.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      It’s called “Corporatism’. The corporates fund the politicians when the people refuse to and the politicians enact legislation to enrich the Corporations. Cosy!

      • zorro
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        There is another ‘ism’ that sits nicely with corporatism….


  5. Lifelogic
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Indeed but I would reduce and abolish subsidies. Subsidies can only come from taxing others this makes other more sensible (and more profitable industries for the UK) less able to compete in the world. Cross subsidies like this just destroys net jobs overall by making the UK less competitive on average. Thus giving fewer jobs and rather lower paid jobs.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Surely Government subsidies are from government funds and no one else pays … 😉

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      …and abolish food taxes …e.g Soft drink industry levy

    • cynic
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      LL Re: subsidies. Absolutely right!
      I hope this is not the sort of government action Sir John is advocating. Government interference in markets is good for politicians but bad for the economy.

    • acorn
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      LL, just dropped in to say you must be extremely pleased to see your US style “Easy Hire and Fire” employment law demand for the UK, turning out so well in Trumpland, (he who is idolised on this site), the very home of neoliberal austerity easy hire and fire. 36 million filing for unemployment benefits; 23% of the US workforce, in just six weeks! Not including the millions of undocumenteds that can’t file for unemployment benefits. Equivalent to circa 8 million unemployed in the UK.

      If any of you want me to explain how our new Chancellor is currently bashing the “magic money tree”; spending large well before he pretends to “borrow” and tax to fill the budget deficit coffers, just let me know.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        Enjoying your gloat acorn?

        What would you do if you were in charge of a nation’s finances during these unprecedented times?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Easy hire and fire is the way to go, better for all in the end!

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        I think our handout Chancellor will find he’s ‘Shaking the Tree’ (Peter Gabriel) and very soon it will be empty.

      • NickC
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, It is unlikely that any Leave voter “idolises” Trump. Or any other politician. It’s not in character. In general we’re not swayed by the emotionalism of Remains and the left, who always seem to need a “hero” to fixate upon.

  6. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Creating Dutch horticulture in England. Not a bad idea. Many conditions are similar.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

      Indeed but cheap reliable energy is needed for this.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        Boris and his government still alas seem to be locked into the net zero carbon, renewable subsidies, expensive unreliable energy and HS2. Can someone sensible like Lord Lilley explain scientific and economic reality to them?

    • jerry
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      @PvL; Until the EEC/EU killed off much of the Uk’s horticulture industry we had an industry that rivalled that of the Dutch, same happened with our Market Gardens…

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        @jerry: That would suggest that you can have it again after you will have become “free”.

        • NickC
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          PvL, It’ll help when we put tariffs on the bland Dutch produce.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Yes, we could call it something like “taking back control”, in this case of our food production. It might catch on.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      We are working on it. For instance, partly in use already and the remainder under construction in Suffolk (and I believe another one in Kent) is one of the largest greenhouses for producing tomatoes in the EU. Hopefully more will follow.

    • Original Chris
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      You reveal your age and lack of knowledge with this comment, PvL. Prior to joining the EU, The Fens area in eastern England was one of the key prime horticulture areas of the UK, and it was prosperous. It is now a much poorer area, with much land going to waste and being swallowed up by housing. There are only remnants of its former agricultural wealth visible. It has all but been destroyed by the EU policies, which have promoted other member states as the principal fruit/veg/flower production sources for the EU – as they viewed the EU as a single country food production was mainly concentrated where the climate was most favourable The UK instead was to be developed as an area of leisure and recreation – forest parks, wetlands, national parks, theme parks and so on.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        @Original Chris:
        “You reveal your age and lack of knowledge with this comment”
        So please tell me what age you think I have 🙂

        I find it amusing that you seem to think that the EU promoted countries like “Holland” (such a small country!) as a principal fruit/veg/flower production source. Don’t you realise that these were all national Dutch policies??? You make it seem as though Britain didn’t have any national policies, but was just a submissive recipient of “EU policies”.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

          All the EU members were EXPECTED to be Submissive.
          Are you telling us that countries ignored the ‘EU Policies’?

          Well what a surprise.

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

            @Fred H: Actually, we MADE the EU policies, together with other members. That’s how the system works.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

            Not really.
            That is not how the system works.
            Treaties are signed.
            The Commission then proposes various rules, regulations, directives and laws based on those treaty obligations.
            These are sent to individual member nations to be implemented.

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2: You obviously have an oversymplified view of how the EC, EP, Councils of ministers (Council of the EU), the European Council, and the various member states interact and operate.
            As you’re leaving anyway, I rest my case. Enjoy your third country status!

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      PvL, I see you’re wheeled out again when the negotiations are stalling. But we note that your odious EU empire has launched a legal action against the UK for alleged “failure to comply” with EU freedom of movement rules. Perhaps the regular EU dupes and propagandists who claim Brexit has already happened will now apologise? But I won’t hold my breath.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        @NickC: The empire was British. The EU is a voluntary club.
        As you’re still in transition the EU freedom of movement rules still apply.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          Empire is just a name for a country ruling others.
          The French did it, the Spanish did it, the Portuguese did it, the Dutch did it.

          • glen cullen
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            china are doing it, russia are doing it and a few in the middle east that would like to do it

        • NickC
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          PvL, You’re half a century out of date – the British Empire is long gone, like the Dutch empire, but the EU empire is here and now.

          And how is your cosy “voluntary” empire doing on open borders, covid cooperation, and coronabonds?? Apart from it being the sort of “voluntary” where – if you don’t “volunteer” – you get fined.

          • bill brown
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            so much nonsense on such little space

      • bill brown
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 2:34 am | Permalink


        You talk about propaganda and empire and then you use fake news to make your point, very interesting way of arguing. WELL DONE

        • NickC
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Bill B, What, you think the EU launching legal action against the UK for alleged “failure to comply” with EU freedom of movement rules, is fake news?? Perhaps you need to get out more.

          • bill brown
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            I live in Asia so I see more than you do already

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          So are you saying it’s “fake news” that the EU launched a legal action against the UK for alleged “failure to comply” with EU freedom of movement?

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

            @czerwonadupa: The UK has already fallen ino line. Sensible. Although I would hope for no quarantine requirements soon, in order to make family visits.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

            Is that a yes ir a no?

          • a-tracy
            Posted May 18, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Peter, in what way has the UK “fallen into line?” what have the UK agreed to do that we weren’t doing?

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Peter VAN LEEWEN

      It was Dutch drainage engineers who made the fens in my part of East Anglia fit for agriculture in the 17th century despite some fierce opposition from the locals who made a living out of fishing and wild fowling.

      Many of them settled in the region and you see their influence in the many Dutch gabled houses remaining in our towns.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        @margaret howard:
        I’ve often had the chance to admire East Anglia in the early seventies, as we used to take the Norfolk Line from Scheveningen to Great Yarmouth to visit my parents-in-law in East Runton (near Cromer). It must be a compliment that “Original Chris” seems to think I’m still young. At heart? 🙂
        Scheveningen now has a “Norfolk area”.
        I’m sure there will be cooperation in future between coastal areas as there was in the past, and it could well be in the field of horticulture.

        • NickC
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          PvL, Cooperation possible in the past and the future *without the EU*!!! Heresy!

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

            @NickC: regional cooperation is happening all the time, and the EU is not the enemy.

    • steve
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink


      “Creating Dutch horticulture in England. Not a bad idea.”

      Why would we want to do that?

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        to avoid importing?

        • Peter van LEEUWEN
          Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          @Fred H: Yes that cold be a motivation. Self sufficiency is what I read in today’s subject.

          • Fred H
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            Get used to the idea. The Brits will turn their back on as much as possible from EU.
            Its not about the people, its the politics.
            You let Germany/France decide everything – you appoint an awkward barsteward to ‘negotiate’ and we watch knowing you have in it for us.
            Time will tell.

          • NickC
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            PvL, Cold? Freudian slip? You appear not to have noticed that the British Isles are north of Holland. And large parts are elevated land of hills and mountains unsuitable for “Dutch”\sarc horticulture.

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

            @Fred H: You have a wrong idea about the EU, and how it functions. Considering your tabloid media I can hardly blame you.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

            How many newspapers in the UK are pro leave?
            Most the media is pro remain.

  7. everyone knows
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Doctors, including NHS doctors cannot even make youtube videos saying they believe this entire Covid 19 thing is a hoax, because as soon as they do Youtube delete them. I have had 4 doctors videos deleted before they finally terminated my channel for having the temerity to give them a platform. Who is even going to know this if I do not tell them? There is a video I had (not removed) of an American doctor doing a speech to the crowd saying he represents “thousands” of doctors who cannot get their voice heard on the MSM.

    • Original Chris
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      You are lucky to get your comment posted on this site. Youtube is not the only site censoring the breakthroughs in treatment with regard to COVID-19, nor its removal on 19 March from the High Consequence Infections Disease category BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT, on account of its “relatively low death rate”.

      • ed2
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        You are lucky to get your comment posted on this site

        John is a Christian, the truth matters to Christians.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        I think Sir John struggles with his loyalty and prefers to hold back or stop comments that tell the painful truth.
        Credit to his party loyalty, but the electorate will remember the elephants we see in the rooms.

        Reply Don’t lie. I post all too many of yours as you deluge this site. I hold back long ones and ones with external links and references that need checking.

  8. ed2
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    We need to punish supermarkets and support small businesses, get as much as possible out of the hands of govt. The empty shelves were all part of the psyop to terrify us. Their creepy Covid public service announcements are like something out of a 1982 dystopian nightmare.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Why on earth would we want to ‘punish’ Supermarkets.!

      As far as I know, the Supermarkets have been working their socks off, to try and keep up with the demand, and keep us all fed. I know that some people have fallen through the net, as regards online deliveries, but on the whole, they have done a good job.

      Please lets keep a sense of proportion, and stop making silly statements.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Well not “punish” perhaps but a level playing field and an end to the war on motorists that mugs them at every turn and deters them from using the smaller shops and markets.

      Teach kids and people how to buy food and how to cook too – so many life off dire, unhealthy, over refined, fattening and over expensive ready meals.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      The empty shelves were largely due to newspaper scaremongering in my view. This should be addressed in the public inquiry which is coming.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        how many years will we wait?

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Your second sentence is nonsensical. I have nothing but praise for the efforts made by my local supermarket – particularly the staff, who stayed on the firing-step. As for the panic-buyers …

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      ‘Like!’ more are…

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink


    • Original Chris
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I think you are right, ed2. The changes I have made to shopping habits have made me realise the huge value of local shops and farm shops. They have been so incredibly helpful, plus their produce tastes so much better than the supermarket version. I feel that so many of the supermarkets have treated us with disdain, and a letter of mine to the CEO of Tesco only merited an acknowledgement, and there was never a reply, nor help with a very real problem. What arrogance and disgusting customer service.

    • Harald Haadere
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Don’t listen to them then!

    • steve
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink


      “We need to punish supermarkets”

      Indeed Sir.

      I have a blacklist of retailers whom I shall not be giving any custom, ever again under any circumstances.

      So far I have avoided their stupid queues and have managed to survive quite well by taking my money to the many Polish shops we have in the Hull area. No queues, treated with respect, and good value wholesome food.

      Certain big supermarkets can go to hell in a hand cart as far as I’m concerned, I expect to be politely asked for my cooperation as to where to stand and walk etc, and I expect to be addressed as ‘Sir’. I hope they go bust and we can get the smaller businesses back again.

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink


        “I expect to be politely asked for my cooperation as to where to stand and walk etc, and I expect to be addressed as ‘Sir’.”

        Such a pompous posting. I go to the supermarket to get my supplies as quickly as possible. I don’t expect anybody to hover near me or kowtow like some Victorian Dickens character.

        Lucky those who can afford to go to the farm shops etc which seem a bit of a rip off to me (where do they get their oranges and bananas from for instance?)

        I remember shopping before supermarkets when the local village shop often sold inferior produce at high prices and where you couldn’t pick you own fruit and veg and could only shop between 9 and 5 and often closed at lunchtime.

        Supermarkets on the whole do a wonderful job, open when you need them and have improved the nation’s health by offering such a variety of foods and ingredients.

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Ed2, If only the NHS had been as efficient and resilient as the supermarkets!

  9. ed2
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    I want the government to have ambitious plans to promote much bigger output of fruit, vegetables and flowers

    At any time the globalist fanatics who run the world could turn on us if we do not obey their diktats, so we need to be self-sufficient in everything.

    • Andy
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      The need tens of thousands of people to pick this year’s crop. You volunteering?

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        you join in and we might.

      • NickC
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Are you?

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


      “the globalist fanatics who run the world could turn on us if we do not obey their diktats…”

      Do you think they might start pelting us with rotten tomatoes?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      If you want to quote someone if you write

      before the text you want to quote and

      after it – it will appear as a quote. But, without the spaces I put in deliberately otherwise it would look like

      I want the government to have ambitious plans to promote much bigger output of fruit, vegetables and flowers

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Okay, that didn’t work.

        You need to write before and after – without the ‘z’s.

  10. oldtimer
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    The sooner Parliament is operating normally the better. The present arrangements leave too much scope for ministers to avoid the reactions and accountability of a full and noisy chamber. Instead it sounds more like the daily briefings and (non) answers to questions that follow.

    Do you have a view on food dumping from abroad?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Chlorine reacts differently with meat proteins from the way that it does with vegetable matter, producing harmful substances and taints.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Better stop swimming then!

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        we didn’t plan on eating the chicken raw. And the salad gets washed – I hope.

      • NickC
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Washing fruit and vegetables in chlorinated water also produces harmful chlorinated by-products that can taint both taste and colour.

        Freshly slaughtered chicken carcases must be quickly cooled to prevent the development and spread of pathogens. Anywhere, USA, or EU. So the main purpose of the “chlorine wash” is not to wash, it’s to cool the chicken carcass.

        In the EU cooling is achieved by cold air blast. The USA cools using either air blast or cold water. The chlorinated water process is perfectly acceptable scientifically. It is accepted by the EU.

        The problems comes with the fact that chlorinated water washing can cover up poor animal husbandry and slaughter faults. That’s why the EU bans USA chicken, not because the chlorinated water process is bad in itself.

    • MH
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      I understand that the new antibody test is now available and has 100% accuracy. First in line to receive it should be all MPs. All those who have developed antibodies can then return to the commons immediately without the need for any social distancing. This will provide an excellent example for the rest of the country. Those who have not yet developed antibodies can choose whether to go and develop them naturally, or stay hidden away.

    • jerry
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      @oldtimer; I have to agree about those (supposedly CV19 pandemic) daily briefings, yesterday’s was dire, not only did the Minster make it sound more like a PPB, he obsessed about a technoligy that is years away from being widely deployed -if ever.

      Mr Shapps, at the moment the country does do not need extra EV charging points, even less so at motorway service, we and the economy need extra (and free) parking for our ‘gas guzzlers’, at least until public transport can run at 100% capacity, doing so safely.

      Walking nor cycling are a real answer, nor is either CV19 safe, both need to be kept to a minimum in the urban street environment, not encouraged by this still far to eco-agenda driven govt.

    • Old person
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      The daily briefings and (non) answers are to be expected. This is the norm.

      But, a failure to report vital statistics is an affront to everyone’s intelligence.

      Why is the number of active cases now not being reported on the Worldometer web site (see yesterdays data). All other countries in the world are reporting the active cases (apart now also from the Netherlands).

      It was obvious that the numbers did not tally, and the number of total recovered was never accurate.

      Some people are quite capable of doing the mathematics and statistical analysis, so why deny them the data.

      FYI. For the week 18, ending 10th May, there were 3,405 deaths and 32,584 new active cases.
      The percentage deaths to new active cases was 10.46%.
      Active cases to death can take over 12.5days. so for the week 16, ending 26th April, there were 32,773 new active cases.

      Of course, the results from the 50,000 tests sent to the States have yet to come back, which may give clue as to why the active cases are no longer reported. It clearly does not fit in with the slight easing of lock down message.

      BE ALERT! Yes, we are.

  11. Gordon
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Do give us an example of a Free Trade Agreement in which the parties agree to respect each others’ regulatory systems. In truth there are none. As usual when you talk about international trade you expose your ignorance

  12. Mark B
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    It is such a shame that this new, ‘eParliament’ does not seem to be working as well but, I am sure the less noise and fewer interruptions are a compensatory.

    I see no need to accept food from countries with unacceptable animal welfare practices . . .

    And neither do we. So can we then demand the end to live exports ? Can we also demand that, the EU and its farmers submit themselves to UK inspections to obtain suitable confirmation that their practices are in line with UK legislation which, no doubt, will be much higher.

    . . . though one of the wins from leaving the EU is we can impose our own higher standards where we wish.

    This neatly follows on from above. Yes, we need to maintain higher standards and, when we cannot guarantee where this we should be able to prevent the import of such goods. No more silly CE Marks.

    Finally. We need to have a proper debate on religiously slaughtered food and whether or not this is acceptable and compatible with the way animals are dealt with ?

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    The Telegraph front page today shows the huge decline of new infections in London. It is surely time for sensible opening up and getting back to work.

    Luke Johnson on Question Time made the sensible point about how they nearly always have about 4:1 working for the state sector. Indeed it is far worse than this – the people they do occasionally have on from the private sector or CBI are usually from large businesses and are virtually “PC politicians” too. Plus they have the usually endless lefty academics, trade unionists, ex BBC people, religious figures, lefty historians (save Starkey who is now rarely on) and economists too invariably all lefty. They have about the same ratio with Remain to Leave, left wing to (middle and right wing), climate alarmists to climate realists and art graduates to scientists. A massive under representation of the private sector workers, small business people, scientists, climate realists, EU leavers and sensible economists and engineers.

    Fiona Bruce defended this absurd bias on the basis that “it is a political program” so it has to be like this does it then?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      “Political” to Bruce (and indeed the BBC) seems to mean that it has to be left wing, climate alarmist, state sector centric, mainly art graduates, pro EU, climate alarmist and anti the private sector, small business and any solid science, economics and engineering.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Plus of course QT and Any Questions have all the lefties (from charities & pressure groups) lefty celebrities, pop musicians (Billy Bragg types), actors (Billy Brand types), unfunny comedians (Jo Brand types) @ ex BBC presenters (Paul Mason types) and who almost all have these “BBC think” wrong headed left wing views.

      To Fiona Bruce it seems a “political” programme (by its very nature) has to largely ignore the 80%+ who work in the private sector.

      To have a good chance of being on QT is seems you have to be pro EU, climate alarmist, pro EU, left wing, PC and understand very little about economics, business, taxation or science.

    • zorro
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      It was excellent listening to Luke Johnson, you could see Fiona Bruce looking very uncomfortable as she looked towards the producer. You could see the hostility on her face even though she tried to mask it.


  14. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Sir john, is your experience in this debate normal? Are MPs excluded when they are in attendance due to time constraints or is this entirely down to remote working?

    If this is a change to practices then it would be appropriate for Hansard to record the thoughts of those who missed out. It would also be a good idea for their to be an open Parliamentary board where MPs can log in and make their points and rebut others’.

    This will keep dialogue and debate open and in the public domain.

    Of course, if exclusion from the debates is usual practice then the above ned not apply.

    What this little incident that we are experiencing has shown is that we need to be able to supply more of our own food and should just be importing what we are unable to grow ourselves due to climate.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      Sir John (apologies)

  15. bill brown
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Of course we have to make some of the changes you have recommended as we leave the Eu , also in terms of more domestic fruit and vegetable production. however,, we also as you have proposed need to get out of this slow get back to work, if tis does not happen the worst Treasure scenario talks about GDP debt level of 150%, which would be higher than Italy.
    (which everybody here calls a basket case)

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Bill B, More nonsense from you lack of facts evidence where is it you use fake news to make your point, very interesting way of arguing.

      See how easy it is, Bill?

      Actually 150% GDP debt is very bad for both Italy and the UK. Especially as MMT is an illusion based on China injecting massive deflation into the global economy, counter-acting our money printing. That gives a temporary benign outcome by chance only.

      But the reason it’s worse for Italy is that the we control our own currency, Italy doesn’t.

      • bill brown
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink


        You have totally missed the point again, this is a factual Treasury potential outcome

        The Chinese effect might no longer apply , as long as the ECB buys the bonds it makes no difference on the currency, but I would not make you understand the difference. It is probably asking too much fo you

  16. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    So there will be customs checks on the Irish or sea border.
    The first of no doubt many capitulation.
    We need to cut food imports substantially the same as we need to manufacture more goods.
    This man made crisis has shown one thing, the private sector stepped up and adapted whilst the public sector have been a shambles.
    There needs to be root and branch reform of the bloated public sector.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink


      I agree. But let’s face it mate, they have been in power for 10 years and, all they have done is to out Labour, Labour. Reform of the public sector is not on the agenda.

  17. Javelin
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I would argue that virtue signalling has slowly taken over from greed as the cause of major economic black swan events.

    1989 – Stock market – big bang, private ownership is always beneficial.

    2000 – Dotcom – internet, globalism and outsourcing would only be wonderful.

    2007 – Handing out US mortgages like candy to african Americans then underpricing their mortgage risk.

    2020 – Lockdown, every life matters, save the NHS, don’t fat shame, diabetic BAME health and avoid mentioning 70% male deaths.

    Current politicians and celebs squirm and feel too awkward to even question their destructive zeitgiest.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      Interesting, you’re suggesting that virtue signalling is the cause and not just a symptom of this cruel and dirty world…..for that to be true that would mean that our MPs and our very system of government is corrupt against the common people of Britain

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      If you take away our clapping for the NHS on Thursday evening we’d be left with only pointing fingers at politicians

      • a-tracy
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        There’s plenty of questioning of the NHS Management that is going on. Such as why when patient numbers have dropped so low, A&E admissions are only 1/3 what they usually are, there have been 1000’s of volunteers to the service, why do we have a front line nurse crying about people lying on the grass 2m away from others (probably because they live in a high rise flat) because someone is forcing her to work a 13 yes thirteen hour shift with no break at all even for food, she was feeling faint, shaking and crying – how is this a proper service to the patient/customer why is no-one demanding to know how this is safe, these shifts are too long, drivers aren’t allowed to work more than 11 hours in total with other work because it’s considered unsafe. There is something very wrong and when staff feel their only recourse is to go crying to the media there is rotten management at the top and her boss needs a meeting with the Health Minister.

      • NickC
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Thank God I’ve never “clapped” for the NHS, even though one of my children is a doctor, and an in-law is a ward pharmacist, both on the front line.

  18. jerry
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should have a referendum on this issues, ask the people if they want high standards food with a cheaper or just the high prices we currently pay for green and animal welfare policies -which other than some few very limited exceptions- is a mask for protectionism and a guaranteed income to the farmer. Any subsidies paid to farmers should be to grow food, not sit on fallow fields out of their usual management cycle.

    “The EU disagreement over chlorine washed chicken is not with the chlorine washes which they accept.”

    Except until it was pointed out that the EU require fruit and veg to be chlorine washed both the EU and UK govts objections were to do with US chickens being chlorine washed, the line was quickly changed – in fact it was so quick here in the UK I seem to recall it happened between an opening front speech and the closing front bench speech of the same Brexit debate! I see no reason to ban chlorine washes, fruit, veg or chickens, thus I see no reason to ban US chicken (nor so called US “hormone beef” for that matter)!

    • jerry
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      “We also need to recruit more local labour to help with this important industry.”

      Indeed …

      Please may I repeat something I said, in relation to CV19, a few days ago as it is perhaps even more relevant here.

      … with migrant labour either stuck in their own country or scared off by silly rhetoric, [and with] perhaps unreliable perishable deliveries from abroad, there is going to be plenty of work, both permanent and seasonal, available for our youth and young adults, growing and then bringing in the harvests, some will no doubt find an unexpected high-tech career either directly on the farm or in the many support industries!

  19. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Once the Covid hysteria has passed, I expect the countryside will revert to its primary industry – tourism, with all the rural housing bought up as 2nd homes and holiday lets.
    Best of luck trying to find a place to stay for all those farm workers, who will be priced out of the market.
    I worked out the arable land in the UK can support a population of 16m (a good target?), so it will fall short of feeding us all. Perhaps it’s best for the farmers to just concentrate on making the place look pretty, it will pay better than cheap food.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Necessity is the mother of invention. Dyson started farming one can only hope forward thinking, futurist, engineers and planners like him are actually seriously looking at new food production methods envisioned but not acted on years ago. Hydroponics, hydroculture, aquaponics. The government have been allocating millions to this £20m last year- how much has the U.K. invested in this in the past ten years and where is the information of the results of this investment that has no doubt gone to favoured universities are we making ground and breaking ground. The government is spending our taxes to do it yet we just talk endlessly about how we can’t do things in the U.K. we need these young students and their lecturers to get on with it.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      not another dodgy calculation?
      Basis for findings welcome…..

    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    I heard the vegetables last night. I’m saying vegetables, more canine. Pavlov would be applauding the subtle triggering using bells and calls to prayer. The British political class are learning new techniques in social control since CV-19 was delivered to them like a gift from god. Oh, how they cannot believe their good fortune. A crisis to reassert total control over action, thought, deed and emotion

    The politician as a farmer, the electorate as vegetable being harvested once a week

    As an aside. I see TFL is asking for an extra £3bn of extra funding now that Khan-RMT has exploited this event to create a crisis to justify this demand (ransom) from the taxpayer which may explain why the RMT was on the rancid QT last night that’s now been turned into a propaganda platform for the left

    We’re being played like puppets. The taxpayer is being ABUSED by dependents and the private sector is now subservient to a London-centric technocratic-political class determined to assert control over all aspects of our lives

    It won’t end well

    • zorro
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      We need to bring in a 5-minute clap, perhaps daily, for our Dear Leader Kim Jong Al and his dreaded, Health Commissar, Mat Hang Kok, to show our appreciation for their superlative leadership!


  21. Everhopeful
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    This is all making me feel quite ill.
    I can only imagine what it must be like for those who live alone.
    What a loathsome and vile trick to play.

  22. Everhopeful
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Customs always destroyed smuggled food including “bush meat”which was brought into the country in suitcases!
    Bats, monkeys, rats and the like = “bush meat” so I wonder how the depleted customs ( does it still exist) are managing with that one? Do they stand on the beach at Hastings?
    Chlorinated bat maybe? worries we are only locked down with a supposed bug that came from bats!
    And I am sure that A.I. will cope with overflowing bags of dubious imports.

    P.S. Last night when the bang, clattering disgrace was taking place I thought…WHAT on Earth do we have to thank the NHS for? Where are the cures, the care, the availability, the kindness, the fear-free treatment?? I’ve never noticed ANY! Good grief they can’t even cope with the threat of an onslaught. They didn’t win the bl**dy war….it never happened!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Oh sorry…(clap, clap).

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        I almost forgot to clap myself thursday evening, please forgive me….please don’t report me to the clapping police

        And now Hancock says he will reward their efforts when the crisis is over……reward them for doing what…making a funny video clips etc

  23. Mr Ian Kaye
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I agree with a comment above that subsidies for farming should be gradually removed has has as happened successfully in New Zealand worth are apparently no farmers or at least very few you want to go back to a subsidy arrangement. Presumably there is a balance between the extra value added from growing tomatoes for example instead of wheat and and the the lower cost of imported wheat from Canada for example as opposed to the possible hire cost of domestically grown wheat.

  24. Kevin
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    “one of the wins from leaving the EU”

    A reminder:
    231 days remain until the Conservatives’ gift to the EU of legislative power over the UK expires (Arts. 126 and 127 of the Withdrawal Agreement); or,
    961 days if Mr. Johnson offers it the three-year, “premium vassalage”, upgrade (Art. 132).

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      We still haven’t left and I fear with this government we will never leave

  25. BeebTax
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    “unacceptable animal welfare standards”

    That means different things to different people. Some people support sow crates in pig production (because fewer piglets are squashed by their mother), yet others are opposed (because the sow’s ability to move is heavily constrained). Similarly in poultry production there are different views on the degree of liberty and crowding that is “acceptable”. And on animal transport, and slaughter (religious knife, electrocution, etc). And on and on…

    You’ll never get a consensus. Open up the market, label clearly, and let the consumer (and retailer) decide.

  26. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    If the government is satisfied about food standards in the Country with which it agrees trade, and as long as food is correctly labelled, in clear print, which shows Country of origin, any added treatments or ingredients, I do not see a problem.

    Surely it is down to the purchaser to make a choice.

    The additional back up here on compliance surely is outlet itself, and trading standards enforcement I would suggest.

  27. Irene
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    “Do those who object strongly to US chicken wish to see us ban chlorine washes for other items?” you ask. It’s about the production process and animal welfare. Treat your chickens well, and you don’t need the chlorine. Maintain high standards of animal welfare, you won’t need chlorine. We don’t wash our chickens. We don’t need to. There’s a difference between pathogen reduction and a quick dunk.

  28. oldwulf
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    “…they had booked more slots than available spaces”

    Clearly, arithmetic is not a strong point of Parliament.

    The children are not the only ones who need to return to school.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Personally I am more worried about standards for people than animals, so I would reject imports from countries using child labour, or not using the correct safety kit.

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill

      A year or so ago it was reported that a well known company used child labour. It was said that the wages the children received was just enough to buy 2 pints of milk. So the company was shamed into closing its factory there.

      Now the children don’t have a job and no money to buy any milk at all.

      • NickC
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Margaret H, For once a sensible comment from you. A relative worked in India for a couple of years. It was expected that she hire local servants at local rates. She wasn’t used to this, and felt she was exploiting the locals. But the local couple regarded such a job as a golden opportunity and sent their son to private school for two years on the proceeds.

  30. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    The chlorinated chicken debate did confuse me slightly because we accepted chlorine washed salads etc. We also chlorinated our drinking water so for clarity, what is the problem with the chicken?

    I too would like to see more home grown food produced and consumed in this country. I feel we need to highlight the concept of seasonal food again.
    Just why anyone would want to eat asparagus from Peru is beyond me just to cite one example.

    Wokingham has a great market fruit and veg stall and I would rather line his pocket rather than those of the supermarkets.

    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    RMT and Khan working together to deliberately cause delay in London to extract more funding and concessions from the British taxpayer by holding to ransom a PM that’s already become a total pushover for the left.

    The left and their client state can smell blood and they’ll absolutely exploit this unprincipled and spineless PM for all its worth

    Why oh why can’t the Tories elect a leader that will confront the left and their poison

    Vegetables? There’s a Cabinet full of ’em

    ‘And what about the vegetables’?

    Thatcher : ‘Oh, they’ll have same as me’

  32. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    “I see no need to accept food from countries with unacceptable animal welfare practices”

    That is hopelessly unrealistic. For example the EU allows live animal exports which is widely regarded in the UK as being unacceptable – so much so that we are going to stop it. Does that mean we won’t accept any food from the EU ?

  33. Iain Moore
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    “more mechanised market gardening”

    Agreed, a cost of importing cheap labour has been the lack of investment in mechanisation and robotics in market gardening, damaging our productivity and future.

    The great plague which cut the available labour forced changes in agriculture and the introduction of mechanisation that went hand in hand with the industrial revolution. The importation of cheap labour now has negated the need to progress and develop, which has cost us dear in productivity.

    Rolls Royce is talking about laying off 8,000 staff, some will be engineers, as such it would be a disaster to lose these highly qualified engineers to the economy. The need, all be it wrong, to think we needed ventilators , saw a impressive response from manufacturers . So here was a need, that the Government made into a national cause, which generated an inventive response . Can’t we do the same elsewhere, in this case turbocharging the introduction of mechanisation/robotics in market gardening? We may have a lot of highly qualified people losing their jobs, so a pool of skilled labour to tap into. We will need to redirect sections of the economy, like those servicing air travel. We are supposed to be very good at AI. So can’t the Government create a national cause here? Who knows what the spin offs would be?

  34. Adam
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Each of our citizens and our own Govt can set and maintain their own high standards. What others choose to do, buy or sell is a matter for them. We decide for ourselves. Supporting our own farmers for home production increases self-reliance and efficiency.

    Needs bend iron, and exert more power than lower prices can attract with poor standards. Commerce will thrive wherever demand exists, yet today’s needs & sources of supply are being shaken through infected sieves of shortage.

    World attraction to our products and services will be determined by our quality performance. The EU outlook is bleak. Its dynamics are prone to shift, causing more nations each protecting their own interests with freer choice to do so and to trade with us independently.

  35. Newmania
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    So you want to make us buy British food we have bought before had it not been more expensive that the EU sourced food that has been so helpful over the last few years .
    This would have the additional effect of reintroducing the Supermarket / rip /off oligopoly that was loved . Happy days for some
    You wish us to accept US standards , no problem with that myself …but you also wish to have high priced food so the farmers can keep their Range Rovers and Private Schools .
    I don`t actually detect any joined up thinking at all here ?

    I do detect the sharp hot stink of terror ans you realise that next year on top of everything else , you are going to be responsible for food prices going up sharply My advice to you .. run and hide , run and hide ….

  36. Jeff12
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I think governments around the world have done a huge amount to promote home grown food. They’ve shut down farmers, food processors and supply lines at every opportunity. If imminent starvation doesn’t encourage growing food locally what will?

  37. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    We shouldn’t lose sight that on joining the EU we had to ‘lower’ our standards. So as to permit trade with the lowest common denominator.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Yep! Needs to be reversed ASAP.

  38. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    This is an important subject. Food from field to fork in the UK.

  39. M Hopkins
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Follow Soil Association guidelines

    • BeebTax
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      And thereby make food unaffordable for the masses.

  40. Caterpillar
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    1. Very happy to import USA (Aus or NZ) food whether chicken, beef or GM crops. Labelling origin, process (e.g. chlorine) and possibly conditions (e.g. freerange, barn density, cage size; only grass fed, months in feedlot); basically label whatever info consumers want. Also label beef with USA grade system (prime, choice, select etc.)
    2. I am concerned that in some parts of the country councils are rapidly railing/coning off the last of the on-street parking to supposedly allow more socially distanced pedestrian space. This seems like the more effort to destroy the small retailers on these roads – on th one hand Shapps tells us not to use public transport on the other councils are reducing car not increasing car access (I think this is wronf and I’m not really a pro car person).
    3. MPs should be in the HoC debating properly. Lord Blunket argued that teachers will have to take somenrisk to normalise as education is so important, others such as supermarket workers have throughout, it is time MPs did as well.

  41. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we need to stop building housing estates on our farm-land.

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      Less than 10% of our land is built on. Some estimates put it as low as 3%.

      Flying over the country will show you endless green fields and woodland with the occasional village or small town to break up the monotony.

      • graham1946
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        How much is useful? It’s why we do sheep in places like Wales and uplands. We keep building on prime agricultural land for profit, that’s all. ‘Endless green’ from a plane is no indication that the land is any good or that anyone would choose to live there.

    • BeebTax
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Valid point. Time to allow building on garden land and easier changes of use on existing buildings instead.

  42. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    The EU requirement for not permitting chlorinated washed chicken is based on the accepted poor standards in some mainland EU abattoirs. If they were permitted to decontaminate chicken they wouldn’t bother with clean working

    It is also a red herring with regards the US as for the most part they have moved on.

    Yet as you say Sir John ‘we allow chlorine wash of salads and vegetables’ and here in Wokingham the Water Co’s overload our drinking water so much with chlorine just turning on the taps you are hit with the chlorine fumes. That’s before considering we get to shower our whole bodies and brush our teeth with the stuff each day. There it is a no choice situation. So killing salmonella is a greater risk than having to endure the daily coating inside and out of our own bodies?

  43. ed2
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I joined the debate remotely and listened to it, only to discover they had booked more slots than available spaces.

    That doesn’t sound right. If it happens again, let us know.

  44. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Is the phrase ‘Free Trade’ miss used?

    There is friction free trade, were the standards in one market have equivalence to others. Standards to often or not get used to restrict and inhibit and offer the consumer nothing in return. The ISO body should be the only standard required when it comes to trade

    Trading between markets using subsidies in one market to undermine another, is if you look at it sensibly an act of aggression.

    Trading with other domains without contributing to that society on the same basis as the home grown enterprises is also a form of aggression. Someone has to pay for infrastructure, schooling and the health and wealth of that society. So freeloading on the back of another’s enterprise and creation, could be seen as theft.

    Friction Free trade should be the desire – that is something different.

  45. ChrisS
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    What you have posted today is very sensible. In particular, you have exposed the hypocrisy in the EU’s position on Chlorine washing. This can be nothing more than a blatantly protectionist measure to keep chicken from the USA out of the EU.

    On other measures, we do not need to drop our standards but US beef is perfectly safe to eat and excellent value for money. A T Bone steak is one of the first meals I look for as soon as I land there.

    I am getting increasingly fed up with hearing reports of the so-called negotiations being conducted by Barnier. The latest obstruction is the EU’s insistence that they cannot accept British organisations and labs certifying that UK goods meet EU standards to enable them to be imported into the Europe. Other trade deals they have signed allow local certification but like so many other areas of the negotiations, they want to treat us differently.
    Right back to the result of the referendum, I’ve always thought that the EU is such a supremely arrogant organisation that we were never going to get any kind of acceptable deal. They are still determined to trap us within the orbit of Brussels and we were wasting our time trying for a deal. Remainers have cost us at least £40bn in extra budget contributions yet an exit on WTO terms is still looking to be the most likely outcome.

    Those in Brussels, Paris and Berlin seem sure that we will capitulate but they have failed to learn from history that the British character is far more steadfast than their own. At least, as in 1939, we now have a Prime Minister, government and people who are confident and tough enough to go it alone.

    • Andy
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Neville Chamberlain was prime minister throughout all of 1939. Not the analogy you were intending but one which is perfectly apt nonetheless.

      The EU actually has very little local certification allowed in its trade deals. There is a bit in places – mostly in areas which benefit the EU. And only with countries which the EU can trust. So there is absolutely no reason why the EU should allow British companies to certify standards here. You wanted out of EU standards – and the consequence is extra bureaucracy for British companies which export to the single market. These are mostly bigger companies and they will mostly require their smaller suppliers to adhere to EU standards too.

      The entire delay to Brexit has been caused by Brexiteers. You have been running the country since 2016. It has been funny to watch. As your project has repeatedly crashed into the rocks of reality you have started lashing out and balm of everybody else. And yet all of it is down to you.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        Standards of product certification are international.
        Yet again you show your complete lack if knowledge about trading.
        Look up what ISO means.

        Your last paragraph is ridiculous.
        Having spent years trying to frustrate and stop us leaving, by every means possible, at least you remain fans might just admit it.

  46. Andy
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    The Brexiteers have made numerous mistakes in this process – but trade has been their biggest failing.

    They have set their supporters up to believe that Britain will be better off by leaving the biggest trade group in the world and erecting trade barriers with its biggest market. It won’t.

    The Brexiteers have convinced their supporters that ‘WTO’ is a win. Actually it is a humiliating defeat.

    Without debate they have convinced their supporters that a US trade deal – which we know will not receive proper Parliamentary scrutiny – will come with no downsides.

    Failing to manage expectations will turn out to be a huge mistake. Like when you see a glossy holiday brochure with a pretty hotel and a gorgeous beach – but they fail to mention the sewage plant next door.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      WTO is a win. That’s how the whole world trades. Why give the EU advantages over our own Dominions? I wonder whether Germany will want a ‘free trade agreement’ with ten EU when it leaves? We will know soon enough.

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson

        DOMINIONS? Where are those? When Scotland and Ireland vote to go their own way we shall have just a rump England left with as much influence on the world stage as Liechtenstein.

        Thank you brexiteers. You have undone what it took generations to create with much blood, sweat and tears.

        It’s called a “pyrrhic victory”

        • Edward2
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          Your rump England stupid comment yet again Margaret
          Some rump.
          85% of the population
          85% of the wealth
          85% of the tax revenues
          Even wealthier not having to send many billions to them every year.
          And still polls show no majority for independence.

          • bill brown
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 3:37 am | Permalink

            Edward 2

            Yes, constable

          • Edward2
            Posted May 17, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

            Still trolling I see bill.
            You are just making yourself look very foolish.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      You are correct we didn’t manage expectations of being in the EU.
      People were allowed to think we would be treated fairly, friends across the water would balance contributions in vs trade out. That our vote would be of interest. That Germany and France would be but 2 votes of 28. That Germany would not be able to run everything and Frau Merkel would not have her way we us ( sounds disgusting). That the CAP would balance production and France would not do what they liked.

      So yes we didn’t manage expectations -we are leaving the fantasy club.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      WTO rules works OK for over 140 nations not in the EU.
      WTO rules accounts for over 90% of the way world trade happens.

  47. Turboterrier
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    No mention of the thousands of acres being taken up by crops destained for Bio-Mass boilers and Bio -Digesters? All heavily subsidised and instrumental in driving up livestock feed prices. Is this parliament ever going to wake up and smell the coffee?

  48. John Partington
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The answer is to gear up our agriculture industry to grow crops/vegetables in all weather conditions instead of relying on imports from the EU. The investment needed is minuscule compared with the big money our government is throwing away on other non productive projects.

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      My experience living in the agricultural area of East Anglia has been that our farmers only grow what brings in the biggest profit with the least possible effort. Vast acres of corn, potatoes, cauliflowers, feed for Arab horses, peas for Bird’s Eye etc but little in the way of interesting varieties of vegetables we imported from the continent.

      They are too much trouble to grow and harvest.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        we don’t have to eat the ‘interesting varieties’.
        Simple quality veg is good enough – we’ll have time to select trade deals with others.

      • graham1946
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Possibly something to do with the climate. What is interesting in the shops? I grow my own varieties that I like, I even get lemons for my G&T. Prairie farming of East Anglia is not suitable for niche items, mostly produced in warmer climes on relatively small areas. It’s why the EU have the C.A.P. to cope with peasant farming. It’s why the UK has developed the way it has because of subsidies and imports.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink


          “Prairie farming of East Anglia is not suitable for niche items, mostly produced in warmer climes on relatively small areas”

          The climate in East Anglia is ideal as it has the longest driest ripening period in the country with the highest summer temperatures.

          The region was turned into a prairie after the war when thousands of miles of hedgerows were ripped out to accommodate the huge farm machinery that replaced the heavy horse. Nothing to do with the EU who have in fact given millions in grants to restore some of the abused land.

          As far as ‘peasant farming’ is concerned it has enabled EU members like France to become the world’s most successful agricultural exporters with the highest reputation of its produce.

  49. Bob
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Britain needs to rebuild it’s domestic production capacity and slim down it’s tax sapping public sector. Many of the hugely costly quangos are there purely to provide lucrative sinecures for politicians and their cronies.

    We need a proper conservative govt.

    • Bob
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I see that Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust is advertising for a “sustainability manager” at £45,000 p.a.

      • Bob
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Capt. Tom Moore will be so pleased to know that the NHS are not wasting the money he raised for them.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        someone who knows how to wash scrubs and gloves?

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Its being reported by order order that the main job role is in fact as climate chamge manage……just what the NHS needs

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          Yes I’m close by and am thinking of applying – I can change the climate for the NHS in short order!

        • Fred H
          Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

          Why would an NHS trust in the NE get involved in Climate Change Management? Worried about that cold wind along the Tyne?

      • Iain Moore
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        I think they were also advertising for an Arts Director, presumably to improve the choreography of their Tik Tok videos.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          just how many views of the Tyne landscape do we need?

  50. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    The bull about chlorine washed chicken is nothing more than media hype and anti Trump rubbish. How many of these people have visited the states and not given a thought to what they are eating as they trudge around Disney Land? Or swim in chlorinated swimming pools? None. I would rather eat chicken from America than anything in the UK killed using the Halal method of death. I would hate the think a decent trade deal with America will be defined by chicken.

    Our farming land is being used too much for bio digester and for bio fuels. The fields around us having crops which are going to be taken to the bio digester locally. The farmer gets more money for this than for growing crops to eat. Also fields full of rape seed. Quite a few farmers are also growing trees to ‘save the planet’ while at the same time installing solar panels and wind turbines. I don’t suppose the money could be behind it all? Local farmers then find themselves paying over the odds for animal feed which in turn puts up the prices in the shops. We not only pay more for our food but more for our energy because its all subsidised and we pay for it through our bills.

    Off topic. I have just had to put up my payment for electricity by £10 a month even though my energy usage has come down slightly. My council tax has gone up by over £10 a month and my water rates by £7. My pension has gone up by £4.50. You do the math. I can’t wait for the extra tax to be taken by the treasury to pay for this Covid pandemic. God only knows how people are going to manage.

  51. John E
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I read the Americans told us to choose them or the Chinese.
    They’re not going to compromise any more than they have to. You mistake the weak position we have put ourselves in. We are going naked into the negotiations.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Stars in our eyes – red or blue?

  52. Chris Mitchell
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Still with the WTO dogma? The USA are pulling out of the WTO, they’ve blocked new appointments to the adjudication panel, and the director-general is quitting a year early. There will be no enforcement of WTO ‘rules’, international trade will be a free-for-all, and minnows like the UK (or England as we will be at this rate) will simply be ignored. Not a good thing to look forward to on 1st January 2021.

  53. rick hamilton
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I wish those who are hysterical about the supposed dangers of chlorine washed chicken would face reality. If you don’t like an American product then —- do not buy it ! As for these chickens flooding across the border into Ireland, if it’s illegal to sell them in the EU why would anybody import them?

  54. Mark
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Can we please stop encouraging the production and import of biofuels? They are not green as the film Planet of the Humans makes clear. Attenborough should be blaming loss of orange utan habitat to palm oil production used in biodiesel too.

  55. glen cullen
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    When in opposition lacklustre
    When in coalition lacklustre
    When in government lacklustre

    The majority of the voting people and conversation members wanted to leave the EU, a reduced migration, reduced foreign aid and a vision and direction that puts Britain first

    Now with HS2, 5g and covid-19 I despair

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      The European Court of Justice (ECJ) yesterday (14th May 2020) found against the UK government, in a case brought against it by the European Commission for failing to impose VAT on transactions in the City’s multi-trillion-dollar derivatives markets

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        found against – – shock horror – who’d have thought it?

        • glen cullen
          Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, rules are rules, I wonder what our govt will do ?

        • Andy
          Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          It’s actually quite unusual. We don’t often lose cases in the ECJ. It’s only happened a few dozen times. The issue we lose over most often is environmental protection. Particularly our failure to adhere to rules on the treatment of waste water. Yes, literally sewage.

          • Fred H
            Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

            ‘ We don’t often lose cases in the ECJ. ‘

            Re-phrase that?
            We normally win the cases in the ECJ.
            Really? – pull the other.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

            Because generally the UK follows the rules the EU imposes.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

            Yes, Ed.

            When WE were in the European Union, WE followed the rules that WE devised, all of US did, generally.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

            Rules made by the unelected Commission.
            Directives and regulations imposed by treaty obligations.
            We had very little involvement.
            The EU machine just rolled on regardless.

  56. Mark
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Since I know it generated a lot of interest before, I have produced a new map of infections of virus in the last 7 days, this time covering England, Scotland and Wales. Areas with no cases are in green. By request, I have shaded the map by density of cases per million local population. Hovering over individual areas shows the actual number of cases as well.

    Germany has a lockdown standard at 50 cases per 100,000 population in a week, or 500 per million. Against that standard, only Denbighshire fails across the whole GB.

    • Mark
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink
    • Mark
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      A simplified look at R as well:

      • Iain Moore
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Yet they claim the SW of England has an R number of 0.76 who have little or no infection , against Lonon of o.40 . It doesn’t make much sense.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Could you apply for the Graphing job to Ministers, please?
      A breath of fresh air.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant! Readers of this blog definitely now know more than the poor Cabinet. Maybe we can unilaterally form the ‘people’s assembly’ and make the decision required re unlocking?

  57. Elli Ron
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The EU seems to want to play hard ball with the FTA negotiations, we need to be firm with them and a FTA with the USA, Australia, NZ, Canada and Japan will help.
    I lived in the USA for many years and their chickens are fine, so we must stop following the EU’s anti-competition rules, accept that GM foods are not problematic and sign a FTA beneficial for both sides.
    We need to treat farmers and food production as a strategic industry, they need to become more competitive, but we all need them to prosper.
    The covid-19 pandemic has been a frightening lesson regarding self-sufficiency in PPE and other aspects, we must have the basic indigenous ability for strategic goods even at some cost to the economy.

  58. James Bertram
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The issue with US chicken is not chlorine – we have chlorine in our tap water ans swimming pools – it is that the poor birds are kept in such appalling conditions that they are riddled with disease and unfit for human consumption until the carcasses are disinfected. It is an animal welfare issue, and we should never import such cruel product to the UK. Too, we should not undermine our own farmers’ high animal welfare standards by bring in such inferior low-cost cruel product. The US (and EU) have large organic (thus usually high animal-welfare) and low-input farming sectors which we should support by trade (though such quality product tends to remain for home consumption – grow local, sell/eat local). In reality, if they are to meet our welfare standards, unless they can provide unavailable product or differentiate their product, or unless heavily subsidised, there is little US animal-product that could not be produced more cheaply in the UK (as less transportation).

  59. rose
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Quite right.

    Now fish.

    • rose
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Is there a way government can promote the selling of local produce in supermarkets? Waitrose makes an effort here but more could be done now that so many little shops have been driven under.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        driven under? -our little local newsagent/grocer does it all. Signs up and on floor, contactless only, pretty well stocked and as always grateful for custom – -and we are grateful they stayed open when supermarkets were a horror story! Local people seem to be buying more and adding a bottle (the wine choice has trebled) to help their turnover.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          My tenants in the same sector have experienced exactly the same uptick and attitude from customers. In my water I think the new ‘world’ will not be what the politicians think it will be, I think we are going back to living in our own communities, trading with our names on the line and unilaterally recovering the British way of life. Women have loved being at home with their children! We MUST enable those who want to bring up their own children to do so. These modern housewives will support their communities and enjoy themselves, life needs to be fun again. It has not been for 50 years!

          • rose
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            Quite right on the matriarchy – we must bring it back. It worked, for everyone.

            The shops I was referring to are the ones which were driven under by the supermarkets before the curfew.

            It will be easier for small shops to come back if the housewife comes back.

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink


            “These modern housewives will support their communities and enjoy themselves, life needs to be fun again. It has not been for 50 years!”

            I can hear my aunts, mother and all female relatives laughing from their graves. How they envied me for being born post war and enjoying all the opportunities denied their previous generations.

            Today’s woman can be anything she wants to be or is capable of being including the number of children she wants or can afford. No other generation has ever had that choice before.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 16, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            Yet you dont seem very happy with all your modern choices and freedoms.

  60. MY Land!
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    A neighbour has an allotment. She told me the waiting list is not so long. It’s hard work. In the past I’ve shirked extra work for little real gain except somewhere to go.
    Now I wish one. Why? I do not like queuing when I have good money in my pocket. A security guard’s eyes piercing my back of neck and other shop assistants with an eye on me . I shall have not want of a simple egg again rationed expensively to me by the government and un-elected supermarket well-feathered and fed chiefs.My supermarket potatoes, when available, expensive now, too small, even big ones sprouting from age. They go in every space in my garden just in a simple hole three inches deep diameter four inches breaking up and ‘digging’ my clay soil without payment but many times paid back later chip by chip.
    When this virus war is over, it may be uneconomical growing such things myself. I do not care really for the money. Food is Freedom. I will know it is touched by my hand,peeled by my hand, cooked by my hand alone. No queue. I shall have a few hens too and maybe ducks for I like the sound of them though their eggs are “Excellent for Yorkshire puddings, richer” I hear. Rabbits too. Though maybe for pets for I could not kill them . They shall cut my allotment lawn for free, fenced in larger pens and moved around. A small hut to mess about in, to potter, to read a book in peace, sit out on a deck chair, look out on my own domain! A King! With vegetables to swap with other king and queensdoms. FREEDOM from this government
    Most would say my food still would not been touched by human hand. Intelligence and goodliness like mine breeds resentment and hatred in lesser folks. Envy!

  61. Julian Scott-Foxwell
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Quite agree that we need our farmers to provide as much as possible in green grocery. Perhaps too, given their climate, we can encourage our friends in the Channel Islands to go back into tomato production for our market as they did pre EU!

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink


      Nothing to do with the EU. Channel Island tomato production ceased because of the 1973 oil crisis which made heating their green houses too expensive.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Are you sure Margaret?
        Channel Islands were undercut by larger and cheaper EU growers.
        Lot of articles on the web about it.
        The one from the BBC said some of Channel Island tomatos were grown outdoors.
        The mild winters and warm summers were ideal for unheated greenhouses and poly tunnels.

  62. James Bertram
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I agree about more home-grown and more home-reared food; and high animal welfare practices, and high standards of food production, in the UK.

    Also, for some time, farmers will need strong financial support – though such subsidy should be phased out over the long term.

    And yes, we should grow more of our fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers – however, in this we should discourage more chemical use (which kills our countryside, and damages human health) and discourage mechanisation (which creates unemployment, and destroys rural communities).

    Too, we need to discourage large land ownership (high cost of entry ruins opportunities for self-employment; small farms are more agile to respond to markets; and large farms usually result in monocultures and an industrial/financier approach to farming that has been responsible for the vast destruction of our wildlife and countryside over the last 80 years), and high land prices (by ending speculative tax investment into land).

    We need much cheaper land prices,; many more small farms and enterprises, owner-run (not tenant, contract-run); more farm/food/cooking/diet education in schools; many more people working on the land (as this strengthens rural communities and economies, perhaps government could provide some wage-subsidy for a while? Universal Basic Income might be a way to do this.); tackling the supermarket monopolies over pricing, supply and quality; educating the consumer to pay a fair price for a high welfare and high quality product (no more ‘cheap food’ policy); and not undercutting all these benefits and good work through cheap (and often heavily subsidised) low-quality, poor animal-welfare, food imports.

    A lot of improvements needed and a different approach (working with Nature, not trying to bend it to our will) now that we are rid of the wretched Common Agricultural Policy – though, admittedly, we have been well on the way to the destruction of our countryside and good farming practice since the 1940s.

  63. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    John, could you possibly clarify something as the media gives mixed messages. The quarantining for those from France and Ireland – is that
    1)- for citizens of France or Ireland only ?- or

    2)- – anyone from anywhere – arriving into the UK through France or Ireland?

    If the second one then Priti has stopped the illegal immigration at a stroke – by just making it legal.

    • zorro
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      LOL… Dream on


  64. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I see the Mayor of London is being his usual helpful self this morning.

    Reports announce that the London congestion charge and the Air Quality Charge are going to be re-introduced in London as from Monday next week, also reported that the Congestion Charge will be going up to £15.00 at the end of June. NHS Workers exempt but no-one else.

    Wonderful clear sky thinking, when people have been told they must not use public transport but their cars if they want to keep safe.

    About as helpful as the local recycling centers new advance booking system, that said no slots available, less than 2 minutes after opening.

    Are people with some power and positions of influence deliberately trying to sabotage every positive thought and action, in order to cause chaos JR, because that is how it seems.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Its about time we abolish all mayors and align councils to deliver against a set framework fully funded by central government

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      Indeed better off on 80% with non of these commuting charges than 100% with them (they are not even tax deductible for commuting).

  65. Rhoddas
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    David Frost had just reported progress in FTA talks on LBC news:

    “Both sides have tabled full legal texts, there are plenty of precedents, and there is clearly a good understanding between negotiators.

    “The major obstacle to this is the EU’s insistence on including a set of novel and unbalanced proposals on the so-called “level playing field” which would bind this country to EU law or standards, or determine our domestic legal regimes, in a way that is unprecedented in Free Trade Agreements and not envisaged in the Political Declaration.

    “As soon as the EU recognises that we will not conclude an agreement on that basis, we will be able to make progress.”

    My take is that the EU won’t back down until 11th hour and cost everyone alot of wasted money preparing for a no-deal, which we should in fact deduct/reclaim the UK wasted effort part. EU are running down the clock, not us!

    Meantime Sadiq Khan’t should be suspending the congestion charge and opening up FREE car parking and get London open for business SAFELY. If he Khan’t run Transport for London properly, then put someone in who can, who’s not a left wing Remoaner!! No British common sense there, just a nasty pernicious left wing & Remain agenda.

    • Andy
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      The EU won’t back down. They are not the weaker party here.

      450m people v 65m

      27 countries v 1 country

      Decades of experience of tough trade talks v No experience

      The EU are savvy. They will give Johnson something that he can sell as a win. He’s a good salesman after all. He literally gave the EU Northern Ireland and told everybody he’d won.

      So they’ll give him something – probably to do fish. And he’ll sign it and will tell you to cheer, which you duly will. And then we’ll see the details and it’ll be a stinker.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 4:26 am | Permalink

      Khan is hopeless and deluded on almost every topic. He will however win again, so totally hopeless and unknown are all the other candidates.

      Back in March Khan was telling everyone that there is ‘no risk’ of catching coronavirus on the London Underground and it was being cleaned with hospital grade cleaners!
      Clearly the man is a daft as a brush. He can hardly string a full coherent sentence together.

  66. Lifelogic
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    The most absurd discussion about BAME people being more likely to catch and die from CV19 on World at One just not. The virus does discriminate very clearly against Men, Older people, diabetics, overweight people, blood group A ………

    I suspect after adjusting for jobs, where people live, existing medical conditions and similar there is little BAME discrimination in reality. Anyway hat sorts of BAME people (it cannot be all of the variety can it)? And even if there is some genetic or other component that makes some BAME more at risk what are they BBC suggesting should be done anyway? Some Magic perhaps?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      This followed by more of the BBC’s endless attacks on Trump. I am no great fan of Trump but he is sound on energy and climate (unlike Boris) which is vital.

      I suspect he will still win, he is certainly a far better choice than Biden.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      BAME people are short of Vitamin D because their skin keeps it out. Thus their immune systems are compromised. They are therefore susceptible to illness but only in Europe. In Africa that have proven hugely resilient to CV19. My white family under the burning African sun, however, tend to fall victim to skin cancer.

      • zorro
        Posted May 16, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        This is what the casualty rate in Sweden is bearing out with an unusually high number of Africans suffering…


    • ed2
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      The virus does discriminate very clearly against Men, Older people, diabetics, overweight people, blood group A ………

      You have just described natural morbidity

  67. Freeborn John
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    The U.K. should be insisting on the text in its negotiations with the EU that
    – the EU recognises the Elgin Marbles are the legal property of the British Museum
    – the EU recognises the self-determination of the people of Gibraltar to determine their form of government

    The U.K. should also be insisting that EU data regulation including GDPR does not apply to the U.K. we do not want EU security services having access to the private data of British firms and citizens.

    The U.K. is also deeply mistaken it reports are true we want shared security databases with the EU. Why would we want the EU to access to data on British citizens that are not shared with any other country in the world.

    There is a danger that the above gets lost in negotiations when politicians and press are focussed on trade. Unless the British negotiators insist on the above prior experience suggests the EU side will propose text that becomes adopted which is deeply hostile to our interests.

  68. NickC
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I do not accept that free trade agreements (or RTAs in WTO speak) are a universal good. Evidence suggests their benefits are low and their costs high. The EU, seen as a trade deal, is a good example of such poor value. RTAs with other countries may well be better value without the EU’s vindictiveness, but I would still doubt their benefits.

    But their are also hidden costs – bureaucrats get too much power by being instrumental in forming the deals, and industries have to fund lobbyists to bend the ear of the bureaucrats so as not to lose out. All this is sclerotic and corporatist, suiting the trans-national mega-corps not smaller national businesses. This changes the nature of our society as well as costing money.

    An RTA with the EU comes with excessive political baggage as well. The EU is trying to impose political control over the UK in exchange for trade. It is a mere subterfuge. If the UK walked away from a general trade deal, that problem would go away. We can achieve nearly the same affect as RTAs by judicious application of tariffs, at far lower costs, and with more control.

  69. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Gradually it seems to be seeping through – the idea that global trade is not the panacea it is made out to be. In fact it is quite the contrary. The very least this green and pleasant land needs to be is self sufficient in food – with enough to export to allow us to import bananas, oranges etc. without incurring a trade deficit.

    Mr. Redwood, why does your government have an obsession with increasing the population by 300,000 every year? What is the reason?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      They presumed the growing working population would be paying in more taxation. What has actually happened is more people = lower wages – to the point where minimum wage contributes less taxation than the worker uses in benefits/ facilities.
      Economic novices.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        A vision or maybe a doctrine of Blair, maintained under Brown, Cameron, May and even Johnson. The concept being that while we are all at university contemplating greater things, cheaper foreign labour would do all the work

  70. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Are you being sidelined due to too much influence? we need gardeners and gardening products to be invented to suit home grown vegetables and new growers . In many places allotments are increasing but still we need to concentrate on more self management.

    These days I cannot cope with the killing of animals to eat , but can take chicken or fish . Many others feel similarly so we need to expand on vegetarian products and ways of using agriculture more satisfactorily .

  71. David Brown
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR, I totally support your comments and from a farming back ground, now in Horticulture I feel we need to encourage more home grown produce so we become more self sufficient. One of many lessons from Corona is our vulnerability being reliant on food imports.
    Home grown produce both Agriculture and Horticulture is essential. I also feel we need to actively encourage young people to study both Agric and Hort subjects and discourage some of the more abstract subjects – we all know what these are. Lets get back to basics with Land Based Education in Universities and Colleges and make this a priority.
    I feel part of our problem is that we have allowed a wide and often unnecessary range of subjects to be available and not focused effort on getting more students into Land Based Agric and Hort education. I hope readers generally agree with this.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Spot on.

  72. Steve Hayes
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    This digital parliament is nothing more than a pretence. The coronavirus is either being used as an excuse to deprive us of our rights and liberties or the elite have gone collectively mad. The response to the virus, judged on the criterion of saving lives, does not make sense. The response is bound to cause more harm than the virus, and this was entirely predictable. Yet, not only did the government fail to predict it, the government made no attempt to assess how many people would die as a result of the “lockdown” measures, as Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, admitted on 10 April 2020 at the Coronavirus Daily Update. This admission revealed that the government’s approach to policy-making on this issue is irrational, irresponsible and incompetent, if its purpose is the save lives.

  73. Anonymous
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Rear and grow our own food ? What ? Nationalised ? Because how do we know we’re going to be able to afford home produced food if there are richer countries better able to afford it ? Who will tell our farmers not to sell abroad ?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      There are no richer countries. Funny thing – British people are poor and think the country is too. We will pay the right price, we don’t want ‘mates rates’ from our farmers, we want them earning a good living and prospering.

  74. James
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Getting the farmers and labourers back into the fields to engage with real hard agricultural type work is easier said than done- to change habits built up over decades and in some cases lifetimes will require a huge national effort, also we should be aware change like this cannot be achieved over a season, or two oŕ three. Here we are talking about a real shift in the way we do things- as a society we are not ready yet- people generally have become too soft- also farmers are going to be looking for their fat cheques like they were used to getting from the EU I don’t think it’s going to i say easier said than done

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      We have machines now. Even to pick sparrowgrass. If there is a need for a new machine, we have the most inventive engineers on earth. They will develop what we need.

    • gregory martin
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Its not because they are farmers that they receive BPS payment(the Subsidy), its paid to occupiers of land. Such as RSPB, National Trust, local authorities, and if they own land, farmers. It does not relate to farming output. However, it is costed back by supermarket buyers when they decide how much farmers receive for their produce.
      A typical contract from a supermarket requires that the crop producer places within the supermarkets stores a quantity of ,say,lettuce. The supermarket decides how many lettuce were sold and passes the payment for those eventually to the grower. Because there are only a few supermarket chains, it leaves a grower with little influence upon the price received.
      He has only the option, once his contract quantity is fulfilled, to send surplus to the wholesale markets, such as Covent Garden ,which supply the smaller outlets such as greengrocers and market stalls. Prices here follow the seasonal variation in supply volume.

  75. steve
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink


    You write on the basis that Brexit will go ahead, and that the french – led EU will play fair.

    We read from various sources, excluding the biased BBC, that Macron has been making threats to our country.

    What has been done about these threats ?…..nothing.

    Sorry, but I don’t see any favourable trade agreements. More likely a whole bunch of concessions in France’s favour dressed up as some kind of fantastic deal.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Well it will soon be June and Time to say ‘We’re ringing the bell ‘ ‘– put up a deal or we shut the door.

      Bye EU.

    • bluedog
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      But don’t you see, if the French state asks for and gets special favours, it points to its disillusionment with the EU. At some point even the French elites will notice that they are undermining their own pet project. But will they reach the obvious conclusion?

  76. Irene
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink


  77. Fred H
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I put this in the wrong entry…. read and see why I’m not myself.

    we watched a webcam funeral from London today. Pitiful sight. Nine chairs spaced out – for 4 daughters /one Son. No cuddles, no hugs, no songs, a bleak lonely chapel.
    Even outside (the entrance gates) the grandchildren (and 4 great-grandchilden) had to wait for the mourners. Tearful shared goodbyes and off to separate homes. What an appalling way to close a chapter on a lovely warm kind lady with a loving largish family. Tell me that is the right way to do it? Would have been 200 normally – and a boisterous loving send off in a boozer.

    • ed2
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Fred, the worlds gone mad, the MSM needs be disbanded.

    • Original Chris
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      I think this quote just about sums it up, Fred H:

      “‘Quarantine’ is when you restrict the movement of sick people.
      ‘Tyranny’ is when you restrict the movement of healthy people.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Only a suggestion, Fred, but what might be done is: Keep and store all the names and contact details of the 200 friends and family members, collect and archive all the memorial speeches now, while her memory is still fresh, and once the pandemic is over, schedule a memorial service + booze up.

      Even if that’s two/three years hence, people will probably be quite grateful to have the chance they missed to join in commemoration/celebration of her life.

      Funerals are not without their own R-factor risk even in normal times. Many an autumn/winter/early spring funeral triggers several more deaths, as the elderly mourners catch a fatal chill while following the coffin, or while the priest is reading the burial service.

    • Abendrot
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Fred. I experienced much the same last week when viewing the funeral of a friend. As you say, it’s an absolutely dreadful way of saying goodbye and not fitting in any respect. There will be a price to pay in regret and mental anguish from this.

  78. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m not wasting my time any more.

  79. Passingby
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    It really shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that the Barnier camp is preparing for a no deal scenario- but question is how prepared are we? I would love to know the Governments strategy in all of this assuming they have a strategy? Just exactly what is going to happen following the transitional period on 31st December? with 70 million people to feed and the EU JIT out the window- jeez

    • everyone knows
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      It really shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that the Barnier camp is preparing for a no deal scenario- but question is how prepared are we?

      It should be clear to all now by now that the govt are prepared to sink us for whatever globalist political project they have been ordered to follow.

    • ed2
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      but question is how prepared are we? I would love to know the Governments strategy in all of this assuming they have a strategy?

      I watched Raab the other day and came to the conclusion he does not do independent thought or reason, he was saying the most ludicrous untruths, yet seemingly convinced of them? All political parties must go to save this nation. Something has gone wrong.

  80. stupidstuff
    Posted May 16, 2020 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    John you asked for comments but all I can say is looking at things now and considering the effects of the joint Covid and Brexit on the economy, and then without Europe, I’d say we are screwed- an island population 65M so dependent on imports? beggars belief that we should still be playing pussy four corners with them

  81. ed2
    Posted May 16, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The globalist elite are now talking about “pandemic 2” so with a bit of luck they will climb down from this and we will have a little time to utterly debunk it as sheer hysterical lunacy?

    Millions of Americans will refuse mandatary vaccinations, politicians just need to accept people have their own independent views on such things.

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 16, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink


      “Millions of Americans will refuse mandatary vaccinations”

      My aunt refused to let her baby daughter be vaccinated against diptheria many years ago. She died aged 18 months. My aunt never forgave herself or got over it.

  82. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 17, 2020 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Regarding jobs in agriculture, we should utilise children over 14 to work in the fields. It will do them no harm and will help the Government to fulfil its immigration pledge.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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