More home grown and reared food please

Yesterday in the Commons I raised again the issue of more home grown produce. The fresh food in supermarkets packaged with the UK flag is popular and usually of excellent quality. Many of us want to keep the food miles down, keep the standards up, and support UK agriculture.

I saw a film recently which said that tomatoes grown in modern greenhouses in carefully controlled environments can yield up to forty times the weight of product that a typical outdoors plant can achieve. It can also be much easier to pick. Modern methods of growing strawberries under polythene or glass can prolong the UK growing season, produce great fruit and simplify picking.

The same film reminded viewer of the how many orchards had to be grubbed up in the 1970s as a tidal wave of tariff free continental imports came into our market and offered cheaper product than the domestic fruit. Under the Common Agricultural Policy and the tariff free EU food regime we have seen a decline of around one fifth in domestically produced temperate food, whilst we have had at the same time to protect the EU growers from cheaper competition from outside the EU with tariffs against the most efficient world producers.

If the EU persists in denying the UK a Free Trade Agreement with no tariffs by insisting on there being a high price for such an obvious thing to grant, then there will be tariffs against EU food imports. We will presumably choose to lower our food tariffs compared to the high EU ones. As these tariffs come to apply to the EU it will give our own farmers a huge incentive to increase their capacity to supply us with much more home grown food, and to cut the food miles as they do so. It would be good to get back to the market share we had in 1970, and to think about restoring those orchards that were ripped out.

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223 Comments

  1. Mick
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    During the last world war people were encouraged to have a allotment if they didn’t have a big garden and grow your own, if we were able to survive then on what we grew in our climate I’m sure we will survive again without counting on special selective fruit and vegetables from Europe

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Oh, so there are no sunlit uplands and unicorns any more, the best that you brexiters are now expecting is some form of bare “survival”.

      Thanks.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        😂😂 ‘home grown’ means British grown, not a tomato plant on your balcony! You Remainers have such small minds, you don’t think of The UK as Home; you think of nr 12 Rubbish Road …

      • Edward2
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        That isn’t what Mick said or implied.

        Another ridiculous comment from you Martin.

      • NickC
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Martin, How well we do once we’re independent of the EU is up to us – by definition. Of course, if it were up to you, we’d do badly. But fortunately you’re in a minority.

    • Peter
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      ‘Yesterday in the Commons I raised again the issue of more home grown produce. ‘

      Our host was also noticeable on TV while Mr.Gove was giving his excellent response to the question from Mrs. May. It is just a shame that there were so few other MPs present.

      It was good to see Mr. Gove knock back further time-wasting proposals from Barnier. I would be a lot happier if he said the time is up and we are definitely leaving on ‘Australia terms’ though.

      • Simeon
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I wonder why he hasn’t said that time is up? Perhaps a clever ruse to stick it to the EU? And I wonder why, given we are now “definitely” leaving without a deal that SMEs aren’t being given guidance and support by the government, but just being left to spin in the wind? I wonder if the higher-ups at the MNCs have had a nod and a wink from government to reasssure them that, actually, the government’s startegy is working perfectly and a wonderful deal with the EU is guaranteed, is in fact ‘done’? I wonder…

        • 'None of the above'.
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

          Planet Earth to Simeon? Come in, please!

    • Sharon
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Mick

      Have you seen the size of the garden in a modern home?

      The gardens are hardly bigger than a patio.

      • Sharon
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        And also, there seems to be a desire to house people in flats, and these seem to be increasing in height!

        • anon
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

          Yes and who benefits from that and who suffers the costs? Probably anonymous, well to the public anyway.

    • David L
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I fear that for many people this would be a non-starter. Many urban dwellers have little easy access to land for cropping. Sadly much of the populace would have no idea how to exist without convenience food and take-aways, and even here in idyllic Wokingham there are those who help themselves from other’s allotments, as I have personally experienced!

    • Hope
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      JR, read Adrian Hill Con Woman. He is spot on as always. WA must be revoked by December. Merkel’s negotiating team were always hiding behind the French front man. All of them.

      • davies
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        I thought Clause 38 was put there specifically to prevent them doing anything later on

  2. Mark B
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The EU cannot offer the UK a tariff free deal, one only gets that by being a member, and we voted to Leave.

    Iceland has a successful strawberry industry. So I see no reason why the UK cannot grow more of its own food if needed.

    But there is another area we have not covered, and that is importing food from other non-EU countries. Here is can be cheaper. The propaganda against American produce is, I suspect, from those who know that competition from America and others will drive down prices.

    The UK has had a very bad deal from the EU for reasons I gave earlier. Time that changed.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Canada?

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      You are correct, there is a festering anti US bias in some quarters. I get to spend a bit of time there work wise and can assure waverers the MsM hype about food standards is unfounded. Do it wrong, cause a problem in the US and you face litigation that will put you out of business.

      Also forgotten is the UK had to lower its food standards on joining the EU to ensure this strange so-called level playing field, even then the EU doesn’t quite get to where we were

      • Old Salt
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        Ian @ B
        Is that why and how we had the horse meat scandal?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Iceland has virtually unlimited, near-free, geothermal energy.

      One fact at a time, perhaps.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Some of us can cope with more than 1 at a time. try that for a fact to consider.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        So cheap energy is both useful and productive.
        We have at least some positive movement from you Martin.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      I remember when English apple growers were being subsidised by the CAP to grub up their orchards while at the same time Greek apple growers were being subsidised by the same CAP to plant new orchards.

    • Northern Monkey
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      You may well be correct about the EU’s unwillingness to grant the UK tariff -free access to the single market, even though such a deal would be massively in their own interest due to their €100M trade surplus with the UK.

      Since the EU is unwilling to grant the UK an agreement which suits them, we can be quite certain that they will not grant us one that suits us, which would include services. In the absence of such a deal, which is the reason we agreed to the Withdrawal Agreement, it would appear that it is time for the government to repeal the Withdrawal Agreement Act and let the EU know that we are resiling from that treaty.

      • NickC
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Northern, Yes, indeed, scrap the odious May WA.

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      It’s worth examining the impact of Russia’s countersanctions against the west(mostly against the EU) in the wake of Crimea -food imports 2013-2018 fell from $43.3bn to $29.8bn,food exports rose from $16.8bn to $25.8bn.I haven’t got the 2019 figures to hand but the momentum is continuing.

      [allegation about an individual left out ed)Huge numbers of dairy heifers have been imported to establish new operations and stock breeding programmes launched.Danone had to import a large herd and establish a local farm in order to keep it’s yoghurt plant going!

      • Mitchel
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Of course Russia has Mr Putin whose reputation has always been one of “getting things done” and we,unfortunately, have Wurzel Gummidge.

    • Hope
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      There is no deal never was. It was pointed out by key figures years ago. To do so would encourage others to leave. It was always a subordination agreement or drag out as long as possible to prevent others doing so.

      It does not take four years to reach this point! Article 50 does not mandate a WA or PD as a prerequisite for trade deal! Bad faith when threats are issues, hence why the Internal Market bill was instigated. It is Not required, it was clear bad faith not negotiation was taking place. Therefore no deal, no WA or PD. Just walk away on WTO terms. Traitors in govt, parliament and civil servants are all part of the EUs team!

    • NickC
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, According to all the Remains, here and elsewhere, there is (supposedly) a huge range of “benefits” of being a sub-state of the EU empire. What they are, they never say – perhaps it’s being ruled by the Delphic unelected von der Leyen? So it should be(!!) possible to for each side to have tariff free access to the other’s market, without jeopardising those myriad other “benefits”.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    I am a great fan on english apples not so much of greenhouse tomatoes which always seem rather tasteless to me. The extra weight is I suspect nearly all water rather than tomato.
    Cheap reliable energy will be required for UK agriculture and the government is pushing expensive and unreliable energy as a policy.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

      Boris was right before he took on his new deluded greenish girlfriend.
      With her degree in Art History and Theatre Studies (Warwick) she is perhaps not the best person to be influencing/driving the UK’s energy and climate policy in this back seat driver way.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        …and there lies the problem…the United Kingdom political bubble is managed by degrees that are no better than amateur hobby subjects in the real world.

        No wonder the Government is incompetant/deficient in so many important areas? Their current solution…using vested interested quangos for advice, which is merely storing up disasters for the future!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      Tomatoes (out of season) are perhaps best bought as passata or better still use the many vegetables that are in season or store well celeriac, parsnips, potatoes, garlic spears, cabbage, beetroot, chard, endives, sprouts, broccoli, carrots, swede, pulses and the likes. All rather inexpensive and much underrated in the UK I find.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      @LL that would help, stop punishing the UK with over priced energy.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    PM (radio 4 get) more & more absurd by the day. This week they are going on with their mad climate alarmist propaganda. This led by the BBC’s Energy and Environment Analyst (a pleasant but deluded on this topic Catz English Graduate) and two other women described as collectively as three “experts”.

    Just some of the very basic errors they made:-

    Harrabin – Sensible climate realists have not “derided” the use of solar and wind just pointed out that they are not really competitive, they need subsidy and are intermittent and unreliable (so the electricity they produce is of far less value). When they can compete in economic and reliability terms (without market rigging) fine.

    The problem of using batteries for aircraft is not that they are “not powerful enough” it is that they are very heavy, have a lower energy “capacity” and very expensive and often burst into flames too. Nothing to do with power (does this woman even know what power and powerful actually means)?

    They said Hydrogen (a very inefficient and wasteful way of storing energy) might have a place in for example the steel industry.

    This by making it even more uncompetitive in the UK and exporting all those few remaining jobs I assume!

    Where do they get these fake experts from?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      This item sandwiched between a rather silly discussion on why so many teachers are now female (clue to BBC dopes it fits in well with some women’s work life balance and childcare – so more women sensible choose to become teachers). Then a woman complaining at have to live at home (rent free) because she seemed to want to be a perpetual student in some subject (unspecified). She seemed to think other taxpayers should pay even more tax so she could have a nice flat while she did this. No challenge from the BBC on the logic of this of course.

      • Al
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic, you have also not mentioned the recent paranoia about men being around children discouraging men from entering related professions. When we live in a world where a man going to the park with his daughters without their mother can have people pointing fingers, there is an additional risk to men working with children.

        This is a great shame as one of the best primary school teachers I had was an ex-military police officer who took no guff from anyone, and who I still remember these many years later.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          Indeed just an accustion can kill a career. The best teacher at my primary school some fifty years back was the only male one. He was the one who prepared everone for the 11+.

      • Peter
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        Five posts in a row.

        You are setting new records.

        Plus, in a development from your PPE degree obsession, you have now branched out to include politicians’ spouses degrees,

        • NickC
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          Peter, At least Lifelogic has put forward some valid points for consideration. Whereas you have just made a personal attack.

    • Nigel
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I just read a report about Tesla’s financial results. Apparently they made $100m loss from making cars, but made $400m profit from selling carbon offsets (mostly to other motor manufacturers) and other subsidies.
      Does anyone keep account of the true cost of all this?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Plus (I very strongly suspect) their cars do not really save any carbon in reality after manufacturing carbon is considered and after manufacturing the electricity to charge them.

      • NickC
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Nigel, Tesla cars are just a fad. Nobody with more sense than money wants one =- they are over expensive and environmentally toxic.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:26 am | Permalink

          +1

    • Stred
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      They advertise for applicants in the Guardian because it has a lot of arty innumerate readers.

  5. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    All the lovely traditional strawberry and apple varieties such as Royal Sovereign and Cox’s Orange Pippin have been sacrificed because they don’t crop heavily enough….. whoever was responsible for the Golden Delicious…… the plastic tray that strawberries now come in probably has more flavour than the contents

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      The main reason is that the British shopper is typically completely ignorant of the varieties and means of production of the foods that they eat, and so did not and do not know for what to ask.

      This is a consequence of the Class System here, where being a butcher, baker, greengrocer, or chef are trades, and not professions, as they are in many parts of the Continent.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        What a snobby comment from you Martin.
        Illustrative of how the left actually hate the working class

        • bill brown
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          Edward2

          Not knowing the difference between a communist or not least a socialist and how it is defined and then subsequently saying the left hates the working class. Just makes your comment look that much more hollow

          • Edward2
            Posted October 22, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            Do you think so bill?
            They are very similar.
            You start on the road to socialism and travel to the horrors of communism.
            The left do hate the working classes.
            They killed a hundred million of them in the twentieth century.
            Go away and do some research.

      • NickC
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Martin, How do you know that “the British shopper is typically completely ignorant of the varieties and means of production of the foods that they eat”? It sounds like you’ve just made it up.

        • Fred H
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

          no change there then!

        • bill brown
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          NickC

          SO this is really much then like reading your personal contributions,

          • Edward2
            Posted October 22, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

            Very poor bill.
            How about actually responding to the points being made.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      I remember proper strawberries (where the hull remained on the plant when picked if ripe) warmed from the sun and eaten directly. Often now they are more similar to cucumber.

    • Excalibur
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Indeed. I remember well the delicious Blenheims we used to eat at Christmas. Wrapped in newspaper and stored in the attic in the Autumn, they really were a treat.

  6. DOM
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Will this progressive Marxist PM revoke the Withdrawal Agreement or are we headed for an act of criminal deceit in which he spends most of his time desperately trying to create the idea that we have exited the EU when in fact we haven’t?

    Most British people don’t really understand the issue here which of course assists this PM and other party leaders in their quest to create deliberate confusion on this and many other issues

    Johnson voted for the WA. If he doesn’t act to revoke it then it’s no exit and a continuation of the enslavement we have experienced since we joined

    Today, the enemy is in No.10, in our living room, on our doorstep, in Parliament and on our borders. We are surrounded where ever we look

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      And the produce Sir John wrote about?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        I don’t feel that given our present somewhat constrained circumstances that we should trust the govt. on anything…including a continuing food supply!
        They will have built on every single blade of grass before they even think about orchards! And then it will be too late.

        Big Brexit Blunder. A new three word mantra.

        • Everhopeful
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Lockdown Loses Lives!

          • glen cullen
            Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            +1

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Jack Falstaff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Yes.
      Even so, we should just be grateful that Mr Johnson’s credentials as a double agent more closely match those of Baldric than Garbo.

  7. Newmania
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    If we fall back on WTO rules we will have ( for example ) a 46 % tariff on mozzarella, 40 % on beef, 21 % on tomatoes and 15.5 % on apples. 40% of lamb exported from Wales, 90% is sold to Europe after Brexit, but that they will face a 46% import tariff.
    Under the WTO rules, the has to offer the same tariff to every member around the world unless it has agreed a trade deal with them. So will will not be free to do just what suits us.
    Spanish tomatoes are grown under endless seas of polythene, their scale is a global wonder.
    The idea this can be replicated in the UK is pure fantasy.
    At least we will bot have to import nuts , we have plenty of them

    • Newmania
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      Excuse me that was a bit wild :
      If we fall back on WTO rules we will have ( for example ) a 46 % tariff on mozzarella, 40 % on beef, 21 % on tomatoes and 15.5 % on apples. 40% of lamb is exported from Wales and 90% is sold to Europe .After Brexit it will be subject to a 46% import tariff.
      Under the WTO rules, the has to offer the same tariff to every member unless it has agreed a trade deal with them. So we will not be free to do what suits us.

      Spanish tomatoes are grown under endless seas of polythene, their scale is a global wonder.
      The idea this can be replicated in the UK is pure fantasy.
      At least we will not have to import nuts , we have plenty of them

      • graham1946
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Lots of Spanish tomatoes are gown under shanty town polythene sheet which is simply discarded in the environment when the sun has done its thing. It is an environmental disaster and the workers are very poorly treated, even being modern slaves. Strawberry farms are similar. A year or two ago they were showing on tv due to lack of water, some sewage water was being used. We certainly should not try to emulate this. It is all available to see on the internet if you dare to look at the seedy side of your beloved EU.
        The new high rise glass houses in the UK produce much more per plant, are sustainable, do not require enormous heat and the picking is easy so no army of foreign pickers required.

        • Newmania
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

          ..that is because they do not produce many tomatoes .

          • graham1946
            Posted October 21, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

            Is that all you’ve got having raised the environment and the wonders of polythene greenhouses and my raising of slave labour? Desperate indeed. Why don’t you trouble to learn some facts rather than a cut and paste from the internet – it might make your contribution a bit more credible.

      • NickC
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Newmania, Fortress EU, eh? The WTO does not set tariffs, the individual countries (or blocs) do. Under WTO rules we can set our own tariffs to suit ourselves – we do not have to set the same tariffs as the EU.

        • Newmania
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 5:47 am | Permalink

          Yes but we cannot set different tarrifs for different WTO members , so if we drop tarrifs for one we have to do so for all

          • Edward2
            Posted October 21, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            Another remainer myth.

            Differentiation is allowed.
            And individual trade agreements are allowed too.

          • NickC
            Posted October 21, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Yes but we can set our tariffs to suit us not the EU. And our own tariffs will help block imports from the EU. Moreover we can get trade deals similar to the ones the EU has – but without having to submit to EU rule.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      At present there are no tariffs collected on Tomatoes or Beef etc, even from outside the EU as those taxes are ceded to the EU. Therefore any tariff raised is an increase in tax so we can set tariffs for all countries at a much lower rate than those published by you above.

      However 40% tariff on beef might make our home grown varieties more competitive as would 40% on lamb so we can eat what we produce here.

      It might cost more but we will eat better and with a nose to tail attitude the cheaper cuts and offal can feed the poorer well and tastily.

      • Newmania
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Let them eat Pedigree chum eh.

        Not sure that will go down well

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          Neck of lamb, breast of lamb, pork belly, sweet breads, liver and onions, trotters, curries on the bone made with chicken legs, pork ribs, soups made from bones.

          No chum in sight but very tasty foods that just need a little effort and love.

          The poor should be the best cooks a country has, my grandmother certainly was.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            Home made burgers with 80/20 mince – meatloaf, meatballs, cannelloni, lasagne, chilli.

            I could go on

      • Everhopeful
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Trouble is ( maybe because of the purposeful closing down of trad butchers) all those “ cheap” cuts have become a bit trendy. Oxtail, scrag end, breast of lamb etc are all fairly expensive now. Also cheaper cuts take more cooking time and fuel in GretaGeenland will be a scarce commodity.
        We are well and truly screwed.
        No wonder they want us to eat insects. Choccy coated cricket anyone?

        • Everhopeful
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          Oh..if you can even find the nose to tail bits!

  8. agricola
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    I would like us the UK to emphasise quality in the food we produce apart from stretching the growing season, heavier cropping, and ease of mechanical harvesting. In terms of the growing seaon, climate change does us many favours apart from producing our own wine. Heavy cropping and mechanical harvesting respond to the mass market but with some crops they leave quality behind. It seems to work with strawberries, but for the past two years tomatoes from a grow bag on the patio far outstrip shop bought ones in flavour. A tip from living in Spain. Quality is enhanced and mileage reduced by buying seaonally. We could gain in the UK by dropping our demand for everything all year round. Asparagus is a classic. Enjoy the May June season and forego asparagus in December from thousands of miles away.

    For the EU to play politics over an FTA is a most stupid act. The first thing the UK buyers will do is find alternative and cheaper sources. Customers lost are the hardest to regain. The EU are shooting their own producers in the foot.

    For those who might mourn the loss of Brie I would suggest trying Waterloo and many of the high quality UK alternatives. The UK cheese industry has a magical counter.

    When we do import, use it to promote trade rather than aid. Our Commonwealth is the grearest potential free trade area in the World, develope it.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Brie is only a protected brand while we are aligned to the EU. The world outside the EU produces sometimes equivalent but generally better quality for most EU protected varieties. The EU is first and foremost a trade protected zone.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        +1 but it would not protect ‘cheddar’.

        • hefner
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          Eh no, Lynn. West Country Farmhouse Cheddar has received a EU Protected Designation of Origin, and the Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar got a EU Protected Geographical Indication.

          That’s what happens when one writes too quickly only relying on their biased view of the world.
          It would have two minutes to check …

          • NickC
            Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            So “Cheddar” is not a protected designation then, is it?

          • hefner
            Posted October 22, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            No, NickC, not as such, simply because since the mid-19th c, more cheddar is being produced in Canada and the USA than in the UK. Only the ‘artisan’ cheddar was deemed worth being protected when the EEC must have looked at it in the 80s, and not the industrially-produced ‘cheddar’.
            So in a way, Lynn’s comment was right but for what is to me very wrong reasons … as so often … the lady shoots faster than her shadow and most of the time misses the target. But if that satisfies you, who am I to prevent you from blissfully taking everything she says. .

  9. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    David Attenborough’s new film (a life on our planet) contains a short scene, now available on youtube as well: Dutch greenhouse farmers, pressed for space, managed to raise their yield 10x in 2 generations, using less water, fewer pesticides, less fertilizer and emitting less CO2.

    Being a competitive country, we always felt the EU as a useful tool instead of some hostile foreign power, which helped to make us now the world second largest exporter of food.
    I’m sure that Britain, outside, could grow much more of its own food. Its climate conditions are not all that different.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      They enrich the air in the greenhouse with extra C02 often to about 3 times the 400 parts per million normal atmospheric level and this works very well. Inside and indeed it works outside greenhouses too. CO2 is greening the plannet nicely.

      Co2 needs a far better PR company – is it essentially harmless plant/tree/seaweed food that is greening the planet nicely, increasing bio diversity and crop/food yields. It is doing far more good than harm. It is not the devil gas “pollution” the BBC, Boris, Carrie and government would have you believe so they can tax you even more on it.

      Not only that but the alarmist “solutions” wind, solar, bikes, walking, public transport, hydrogen, electric cars, smart meters etc. do not really work – not even in oure CO2 terms really. This when looked at in the round rationally considering the manufacture, energy storage and maintenance.

    • IanT
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Yes Peter – people and markets will adjust to the new realities – both EU and Covid related. It just takes a little time.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Down near Margate there is an enormous tomato growing greenhouse. It’s known as Planet Thanet and is owned by a dutchman.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Another asylum seeker!

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Peter van LEEUWEN

      As an aspiring junior manager going through the rigors of my new profession, and as part of my training (MBA programme), a Dutch author was recommended to read. His book “Global International Business” was an exposé of his personal international business experience, local customs knowledge, inter-country management and the intricacies of successful business negotiation in Asia during the 60s and 70s. The book was inspirational and I have never forgotten its practical contents.

      When I eventually achieved my first multi-billion enterprise BOD appointment, I was often drawn back to this book and all the commonsense derived from it. Dutch business entrepreneurship and management acumen is in-deed highly regarded, hence why they sit on so many international Corporate BODs. Incidentally, one of my most successful international VPs, over the past 10 years, is Dutch!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Probably not true.
      All made up like permaculture.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Necessity is the mother of invention.

  10. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    The trouble with the sort of intensive production described is that the food is tasteless and you have no idea how many times the food has been sprayed with chemicals. That said, if the government insists on mass immigration and an ever increasing population, we have to accept cheap, tasteless and possibly dangerous food.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Perhaps best if we eat more seasonally and do not demand tomatoes, raspberries and stawberries all year. Lots of other equally and even more tasty alternatives all year. Or by preserving, processing or freezing produce.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        Most berries, black/red currents, blackberries, raspberries, logan/tayberries, damsons, plumbs (other than strawberries perhaps) freeze rather well anyway.

    • BJC
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Indeed, much capital has been made of chlorinated chicken, but there’s still space for a gullible establishment to be seduced by the powerful GM lobby to grow modified produce on a commercial scale. With new markets available to us, we can afford to take our time to understand our changing needs without planting acres of everlasting apples or blight-free potatoes!

  11. Ian Wragg
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Just make sure we leave completely on 31st December.
    No ifs, no buts. We’ve all seen the contempt with how Brussels has treated us so no giving way now.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      +1

    • beresford
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      No reason not to talk, particularly about reciprocal micro-deals on stuff that Andy has highlighted like driving licenses, but we must focus on preparing for a WTO departure at the end of the year. Suspending preparations because ‘talks’ have resumed just allows the EU to run down the clock and then reinstate their original position in December when they can blackmail us.

      • Andy
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Driving licences at agreed. Yours is no longer valid in the EU. You need an international driving permit instead – available from your post office for £5.50 plus the cost of a passport photo. And the inconvenience of the pointless red tape. Of course there are different versions of the international driving permit – and different EU countries accept different versions – so you may need more than one, depending on where you are doing.

        And if you are taking your own car don’t forget your green card – which you will need to apply for a month before you travel. Some insurers charge an admin fee to send these. And you need GB stickers to ruin the paintwork of your car.

        Plus your passport needs to be valid for longer. EHIC doesn’t work – pushing up insurance costs for everyone, but particularly for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. You’ll soon also need an ETIAS visa waiver, which will cost up to £10, you won’t be able to stay for more than 90 days. There will be strict limits on what you can bring back tax free and you’ll face longer queues at airports. Just don’t try to take your pet.

        Mr Redwood can explain the benefits of all this pointless – and expensive – Brexit red tape we need just to take a holiday. I see no benefits.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

          Don’t worry Andy, I will never travel to the Continent again. I don’t need a valid driving license there. Watching people suffer is not what I think of as a relaxing holiday. Poor sods. Let’s hope something can be saved.

          • bill brown
            Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

            Lynn Atkinson

            I am sure the Danes, Swedes, Germans, Dutch, French, Belgians, Fins, Austrians, Swiss and others really feel they are suffering or are they more looking at us?

        • 'None of the above'.
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

          Why on Earth would I want to Holiday in the EU when there are so many more interesting places to visit, such as in the UK!

        • Edward2
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          Andy,
          You assume there will not be any agreement on these minor red tape issues which apply to European travellers visiting the UK as well.

        • NickC
          Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          Andy, So you would give away your country’s independence for an EU driving licence? Really? A mess of pottage was invented for people like you.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      That is exactly what Boris has said today!

  12. Garland
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    This is economically illiterate. You say you want lower tariffs payable by importers of produce into the UK. That lowering will apply to imports from the EU and from everywhere else in the world – that is the basic rule of the WTO. So our farmers will be undercut by producers with lower cost bases. The net result of your plan will be to put our farmers out of business.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Our farmers will not have to pay UK tariffs so will need to sell more into the UK market or countries with whom we do have a free trade agreement.

      Those farmers will be more competitive in the UK as produce imported will be subject to tariffs except where there is a free trade agreement agreed.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Difference is allowed by WTO and does occur.
      Individual trade deals are also allowed.
      PS
      Our farmers and growers and fishermen have been put out of business under EU trade rules.
      Have you not realised?

    • DaveK
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Is this another sock puppet/troll who has not read your diary? There seems to be more comments from them daily, even though they complain of censorship. As far as I am aware SJR has advocated for reduced tariffs on things we Do NOT produce and our own (Not enforced – Newremainiac) chosen levels equally worlwide (stand fast trade agreements). I’m starting to find the daily annoyance of skipping multiple posts by rude, repetitive haters wearing.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Ah…well none of them is illiterate in any way whatsoever.
      Nor are they chaotic or inept.
      They know exactly where all this is going…so no doubt your conclusion is what will take place.
      After all they do want to BUILD BUILD BUILD!
      Mega cities, housing estates and smart motorways don’t really gel with farming do they?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      You think like a Continental Corporatist. Our farmers will be allowed to supply our own market without trading quotas. They will be able to go to the world market with their excellent produce, the best beef, lamb, pork, chickens, duck, game, fruit and vegetables from the northern climates. We will be able to buy bananas and other product which we can’t produce at world trade prices.
      Food in the UK will be better quality and at lower prices, and the producers will get more for their production, with less damage to the environment.
      It’s win win win …

  13. Everhopeful
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    The obvious question is.
    How does growing more food, for a rising population chime with Build Build Build?
    Conservative Concrete Crash!

    • Mark B
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      True. We are building on land that should be used for food production.

  14. Stred
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The problem with tomatoes grown forty times as fast is that they have a fortieth of the taste. Some scientists need to find a to put the taste back in.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Best to eat seasonally I find or buy tomato passata, paste, tins, sun dried or puree out of season. This rather rather than eat the watery dutch or English ones. Better still get an allotment or big garden much better than jogging or going to the gym. Rather cheaper too usually and you get you free sunshine provided vitamin D while out there.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      There is nothing wrong with growing tomatoes under glass as long as you don’t harvest them too early. The demands of delivery times and supermarkets don’t allow fruit to be properly ripened before picking. My advice is to grow your own. If that is not practicable, buy locally grown from a good old fashioned Greengrocer.

      On the subject of apples, the best I ever tasted was a ‘Laxton Superb’ (difficult to find now, even a tree for the back garden).
      The Government needs to encourage the reinstatement of orchards and the sooner, the better. And what, may I ask, is wrong with Welsh lamb farmers selling their produce in the UK. It will be tariff free and therefore likely to be affordable. It certainly tastes better than any other lamb, with the exception perhaps, of salt marsh lamb.
      Buy British seasonal produce, good quality, tastier and fewer food miles.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        None of the above. I agree it your excellent post. Welsh lamb. Yum.

  15. Sea_Warrior
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to eating more haddock and chips.
    P.S. We really should aim to become a world leader in agricultural automation. Are we doing enough in that area, Sir John?

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Not having to import it from China as now would be a bonus

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      What’s stopping you now?

      I am not aware of any law against it, nor scarcity of either haddock or potatoes.

      Are you all right?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        The price dear, the price – to include the EU’s ‘protection’ cut.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Where I now live in Dorset, automation has arrived. Massive farms seem to be handled by one bloke and a million quids worth of equipment.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Excellent news! We don’t have to have fresh migrants to pick cabbages!

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted October 21, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Such will never happen when government thinks in the short term for just about everything.

      It is that attitude over the last 50 years which has destroyed our industry and belief in ourselves.

  16. Everhopeful
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Maybe the govt. will have to persuade people to remove all equipment of anti social noise making and start growing veg.
    Bliss.

  17. Dave Andrews
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Farming has hardly been a priority for government for some time. Far more value in selling financial services rather than growing cheap food. Turn the countryside over to housing so UK people can spill out from the towns, to make room for the waves of immigrants coming in has been the policy.
    Where are the farmhands going to live when all the surrounding property has been sold off for second homes and holiday lets?

  18. Andy
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    If you put tariffs on EU products then, under WTO rules, you have to have those same tariffs for everyone else. As the U.K. has next to no notable trade deals in place this effectively means tariffs on everyone.

    Helpfully the UK has published its tariffs guide already – and its tariffs on tomatoes will be 14%. About the same as the EU’s which is 14.4%. Of course the EU’s tariff only applies to countries with whom it does not have either a trade deal or other arrangements. Most African countries m, for example, are exempt from EU tariffs under development and partnership schemes. But Farage never told you that.

    Under a WTO Brexit UK consumers would unquestionably pay more for tomatoes. Why? Because we would have to charge a 14% tariff on tomatoes imported from the EU – these imports are currently tariff free. And as 9 out of 10 of the countries which import tomatoes to the U.K. are EU countries it would be impossible to avoid price rises.

    So well done. Brexit means more expensive tomatoes.

    • agricola
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Why import any tomatoes from the EU. We can grow our own. You seem to infer that the only place to buy tomatoes is the EU, yet I believe it is an American plant.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      The Government published a draft schedule of tariffs some months ago and, as far as I am aware, it has not been changed. It’ a long read but worth it if you value facts over wild speculation.
      There were no tariffs on food. In fact it would be simpler to state the few goods that did have tariffs, for example; completed motor vehicles (not including agricultural and emergency use) and, strangely, certain types of cotton working overalls.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Wrong you can have differentiations and you can have individual trade agreements.
      PS
      Wrong also on tomatoes, it will enable UK growers to expand as customers will obviously switch to cheaper home grown varieties.

    • BJC
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Are you seriously suggesting that only the EU has the capability to grow produce, Andy? Our own production can and should be expanded and is tariff-free (Sir John’s point) and we’re negotiating FTAs with other countries, which could include alternative tariff-free sources, if we need them.

      It may also have escaped your notice that we’ve been trying to encourage the EU to enter a FTA, which could help protect their industries because as you have identified, tariffs make their products uncompetitive, don’t they?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Brexit means more UK grown tomatoes. Hurrah!

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      So tariffs for the EU will go up (from 0%) and for everyone else, down (from 7%).
      Hurrah!

    • NickC
      Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Your tomato example is wrong. Here is the actual line for the UK tariff on tomatoes: “Tomatoes, fresh or chilled Entry Price 8.00% (01 NOV – 14 MAY), 14.00% (15 MAY – 31 OCT)”.

      Under a WTO Brexit, UK consumers would unquestionably pay the same (or maybe less) for tomatoes. Why? Because the tomatoes would be grown here or imported from countries such as Morocco, Mexico or the USA, under a trade deal. Certainly EU tomatoes will be more expensive. But who eats those any more?

  19. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Yes, what a lot of problems Cameron’s silly General Election gimmick referendum offer has caused.

    Hasn’t it?

    • agricola
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Mostly for you it would seem.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      No Martin.
      The problems were caused by Mrs May and a cohort of undemocratic politicians including a significant number who crossed the floor of the house without having the courage to submit to a bye-election. That situation was rectified by the General Election in December 2019 but the hangover of the lack of preparedness for departure meant that we were not ready for WTO at the end January 2020. This was as a direct result of the continual undermining of the Brexit process by a cross party rump of rabid remainers.
      I am sick and tired of hearing unpatriotic carping from the side lines. One would have thought that those people disappointed by Brexit, if they could not say anything constructive, might maintain a dignified silence. Sadly not.
      Even Mrs May has been unable to keep quiet. She should give some thought to the reputation that Ted Heath earned.

    • Northern Monkey
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Ah, the “Cameron was a fool” defence of the EU…

      Perhaps, but a referendum on Europe was always coming, as support for the EU was weakening, the advantages of being in the EU were declining (more bills, less agile decision-making, less democratic responsiveness, more QMV), the complexity of being part of the EU was ever increasing (more regulations, more directives, more trappings of an EU “state”), the EU was economically moribund due to the adoption of the Euro by many member states, and UKIP, later the Brexit party, were growing to become a threat to all established political parties.

      David Cameron was trying to nip Brexit in the bud.

    • Sea_Warrior
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Yep – gotta hate this democracy stuff, don’t you? What are the circumstances when a referendum should be called? When the ruling elites all think the same way on an issue and the electorate doesn’t.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Not at all. An act more liberating than Magna Carta.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      What a lot of problems Heath’s EU experiment has caused!
      Hasn’t it?

  20. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    We probably can’t replant the orchards Sir John as we have built over them to accommodate all the people we have also had to import.

    • beresford
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      It was reported yesterday that French fishing boats are now being hired to launch the dinghies from mid-Channel because this ‘evades’ British surveillance drones. Surely a fishing boat has a bigger radar return than a dinghy, there is no excuse for not stopping it because it is ‘too dangerous’, and having been stopped the boat can be seized as equipment being used for criminal activities.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Plenty of fields still left in rural Kent, Herefordshire etc suitable for apples. The main problems are high UK wages and daft employment laws often make it uneconomic to pick, pack, store, distribut or process them in the UK. You have to pick rather a lot of apples to cover the costs of one employment tribunal and insurance should someone get a bruise on their head from a falling apple or twig or suffer a sexist comment from another picker!

      • NickC
        Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, I was going to suggest student pickers. Until you reminded me about their snowflakery.

    • graham1946
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Absolutely true. I live in an area which was noted for the best apples and strawberries available. The orchards were all grubbed up in the 80’s as they were not competitive due to CAP and are now housing estates. Theses things take generations to grow and cannot just be turned off and on.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        But we can take a long view now. Plant orchards and lay down wine! We have a home again, under our own control, to hand to our children.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      We didn’t have to import them. The government imported them to increase GDP

  21. Andy
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    The EU has offered the UK a free trade deal. But it has made clear if you want tariff and quota free access to the single market – and you do – then you have to commit to no dumping. That is an EU red line and it will not budge.

    The internal markets Bill has also shown the EU – and the world – that the Brexiteers are dishonest and cannot be trusted. They negotiated an agreement in October, fought a general election campaign on it being ‘oven ready’ in December, voted it through as a legally binding international treaty in January, then started disowning it in July and then voted to break it less than a year later. How can the EU trust such charlatans?

    • beresford
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      I agree that we shouldn’t be ‘dumping’ but we should be able to support strategic industries if we choose to do so. How is this issue managed in the FTAs the EU has with Canada and South Korea? I think the normal process is that if one side is dumping the other complains and then applies tariffs, rather than one side having permanent control over the other.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Dumping is EU speak for no competition allowed.

      Your other claim has been demolished many times.
      The Withdrawal Agreement is a trade agreement which is only eff6if the EU and UK reach an agreement before December 31st 2020 and can be removed by an act of Parliament.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        should say “effective if”

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Why should we commit to no dumping when the EU doesn’t? The CAP subsidies produce cheap food and exploiting Eastern Europeans on low wages produces cheap manufactured goods.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      I don’t know why I’m bothering but here goes.

      Only the EU are allowed to dump, it’s what their system is geared up to do, ask African Nations.
      As to your penultimate sentence; A treaty is only legally binding if it is absorbed into Domestic Law. This Treaty said that the EU would negotiate in good faith a trade agreement that would essentially replace the ‘Withdrawal Agreement”. They have not negotiated in good faith and, in my view, deliberately so.
      I believe that it was always their intention to waste time and entrap us. They do not respect our independence or our Sovereignty and never have.
      Repealing the ‘Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 will be sufficient to solve the problem. If it’s not Domestic Law then it cannot be International Law. QED.

      Have a nice day.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      The bill as it has entered law contained an important clause which enables the govt to prevent breaches of international law such as the Good Friday Agreement and the acts of union with Scotland and Ireland – all of which which would have been threatened e.g. by the EU’s extraordinary intention to impose a food blockade between GB and NI. In addition the ridiculous posturing by the EU in recent days shows clearly they are in breach of the fundamental clause in the WA in which they agree to negotiate an FTA in good faith.

      ‘no dumping’ is a leftwing weasel word for protectionism in everything from employment and environmental law to tax. Of course the govt shouldn’t agree to be subject to the EU’s laws in such areas in the future any more than they should eg agree to be subject to Australian laws if we do an FTA with them.

    • Mary M.
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      It may be a surprise to many that during the Spanish orange-growing season, the EU increases tariffs on oranges grown in poorer nations. Farmers in say Africa are understandably discouraged from growing produce on a large scale. This is one more example of EU meddling which has a knock-on negative effect on the wider world. (Think devastation of fish stocks.)
      Once we are properly detached from the EU, we will be free to trade with all nations, thus enabling poorer nations to make it worth their while to invest in their producers.

    • Northern Monkey
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Your use of “you” and “they” is bizarre for a British subject. I don’t believe in “my country, right or wrong”, but I identify with “my country”.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Fine. If they don’t trust us, GREAT! I sure as hell don’t trust them. Could you let us know the terms of this ‘free (sic) trade agreement’ we have, according to you, been offered?

      How many people from other countries do you want to allow to live here?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      We do not want tariff and quota free access. That benefits the EU.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        + 1. Lets go WTO and thrive, that will give hope to many on the Continent.

  22. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    With a €80 billion deficit in goods and services with the EU there is much scope to increase the amount of produce and other goods that we create in the UK which would make us all richer overall rather than the profits being shared among the few.

    Unfortunately the reason for offshoring manufacture and growth in the first place is that it was cheaper.

    I do not see our companies opting to make less profit in the future so English made goods will cost more than what we are used to purchasing made in the EU.

    Some goods from outside the EU may be cheaper but I suspect that this will not fully offset the UK made increase.

    Speaking purely about food, that means that our shopping basket will undoubtedly cost more, for other goods we may just have to learn to buy less tat, which would be a good thing.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      I struggle to understand why a potato grown in France and transported to a local shop should be any cheaper than one grown locally.

      • Mark B
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the French are not burdened with the minimum wage?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          The French are burdened with more wage costs than anyone else!

        • hefner
          Posted October 22, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          MarkB, The French had their very first minimum wage (salaire minimum interprofessionnel garanti) in … 1950.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Land prices, electricity, labour costs, rates, CAP, volume, cost of living.

  23. Nutrient Dense
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The farms in Wokingham have become housing estates. Food security is a poorly understood concept and considered unimportant 😳

    • beresford
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Wokingham Council while hiding behind so-called Government dictates’ is the majority owner of the farms the have committed to housing.

      You are right, just as important as homes is the infrastructure and the farming facilities to help support the communities. Does Wokingham really need all these Riding Stables?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      The UK had total food security while it was a member of the European Union.

      So maybe people just forgot about it, like they did about freedom from Roaming Charges?

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Total food security so long as we toed the line with the idiotic policy of importing farmers from rural Romania who ended up wiping windscreens in our overcrowded country?
        It’s just daft.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        Tell that to the Greeks who are now all underweight!

      • Fred H
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        It is simply choice as to whether you wish to use a mobile abroad and incur the charge. A magnificent achievement from the EU. Well I suppose they wanted to ensure all immigrants could ‘phone home’.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 21, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Ah the roaming charges remainer myth again.
        Roaming charges were negotiated and introduced by the various mobile phone companies.
        Due to competition and customer demand.

        Afterwards the EU PR machine tried to take the credit.

      • NickC
        Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Martin, The EU could change anything at any time and there was precious little we could do about it. So, no, we didn’t have EU “food security”. At all. We are much better off controlling our own food.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Some people grow a few tomatoes in their postage stamp sized gardens. Every cloud eh?

      • Fred H
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Pots on patios too.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      +1
      Agree totally!
      Whereas aggressive marketing is very well understood.
      Now I wonder which brand of COVID killing baby shampoo most folk will choose?
      Hmmmm 🤫

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Every farm should be a housing estate. Our population should be 200 million. That is Tory policy, is it not? If not, why are they stuffing the country full of more and more people?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        I had this weird thought that maybe they are stuffing the country as you say, in order to eventually do away with private ownership of land and property as per global instructions?
        Purposely create a housing crisis and then use commie faux morality to take houses and land away from the owners. Give according to need etc. Equality of outcome is it?
        After all, these COVID measures are a first step in taking away our rights as to who can and cannot come into our houses and gardens.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 21, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        not should be — it is actually happening around Wokingham.
        So much for children seeing cows, sheep, fast growing, colour arable fields. Now its bricks, tiles and tarmac.

  24. turboterrier
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Here in Shropshire hundreds of acres of maize are being harvested for bio digesters plants.

    The farmer gets more money. All these so called green operations are slowly destroying the amount of land available for human crops.
    Wind farms, solar,wood chip for bio mass all take up precious land.

    We need people within the cabinet that understand what all this green madness is doing .

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes it’s amazing how many bio digester are being built. No bees this year due to rapeseed planted everywhere. No local honey. Something is wrong.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been led to believe growers are not investing in rapeseed currently?
        What areas are you talking about?

  25. Nivek
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Off-topic:

    I understand the following to be correct:
    1) the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill, if passed in its current form, would permit a limited range of UK authorities to commit an unlimited range of crimes;
    2) this is a Government Bill, sponsored by the Home Secretary;
    3) it has received its Third Reading in the Commons just three weeks after being introduced to the chamber.
    Meanwhile,
    4) the Rule of Law (Enforcement by Public Authorities) Bill, if passed, would require authorities to actually enforce the law;
    5) it is only a Private Members’ Bill; and,
    6) it is not even due for its Second Reading until almost nine months after its introduction to the Commons.

    If my understanding of the above is correct, I would be grateful if you discuss Conservative Party policy on these related matters.

  26. Andy
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    There is an interesting report out today about young people losing faith in democracy. Of course they have. They have a system rigged against them by the elderly. The Tories are the party of the old – and they are the party with a permanently unfair electoral advantage. They use this to bribe the old with handouts and the old respond at election time with the unfair electoral advantage reinforced. The young repeatedly lose out, are ignored and – because the system is unfair – they can’t change it.

    As Covid and Tory Brexit collide next year to further damage the opportunities of the young, as unemployment among the young skyrockets and as their debts grow expect to see the anger rise. Particularly as the old have been shielded from the economic cost of the pandemic having had their pensions fully protected while the young have had their earnings slashed.

    When democracy doesn’t work for you, you resort to other methods. And I predict a summer of anti-Tory protests / riots next summer as the young fight back against those who have raped and pillaged our country and kept all the wealth for themselves.

    It is time to fix the democratic deficit and to make the elderly pay their share.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Sounds like Dave Spart has got into you again andy.
      You are on one of your man the barricades rants again.

      One vote one citizen.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Glad I didn’t grind this axe in my 20s paying 18% mortgage interest to those old people with bulging bank accounts at the time. It’s the way the world turns, sonny. Get over it.

    • NickC
      Posted October 21, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Retirement age is now 66; average life expectancy is 81. That means the old (whom you love to hate), are kept by younger people for 15 years. But children are kept by older people for a minimum of 18 years (often 21 years). So who is being subsidised the most?

      Frankly, this is what human life is – at the beginning and at the end of every person’s life s/he is “subsidised” by the able bodied. That applies to you too. Your continual moaning about the elderly is just bigotry.

  27. The Prangwizard
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Without question we must increase self reliance and domestic production as much as possible. There is no reason to persust with the thoughts that produce from overseas is best and will always be. England is blessed with a favourable climate and fertile soils. And to food production we could add flowers. We import large quantities from Holland yet we once we grew sufficient quanties here.

    If we want to see how England can improve on the image, quality and productivity of our land resources look at English wine.

    Intitially written off and derided by snobs and the snooty and the many obsesssed with foreign things generally the industry has now become successful. The pity is the French recognise this and have been encouraged to buy up land and businesses to bolster their own slipping image.

  28. Ian Wilson
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Be wary that food “packaged with the OK flag” doesn’t always mean the produce is grown in the UK – we need to read the small print as supermarkets practise deception over food origin.

    It’s worth noting that the modest rise in CO2 over recent years has boosted food production by a useful 14%, a figure which varies substantially between crops. This is hugely beneficial both for feeding a rising population and for releasing more land for leisure use and improving the environment. Isn’t it strange then, that the government and even the National Farmers Union are hellbent on a ‘zero carbon’ policy to the detriment of farmers? (and everyone else!)

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      There is no chance, whatsoever, in anyone’s lifetime, of atmospheric CO2 levels actually falling.

      All that the measures can do at best is to slow the rise.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        and in 20 generations time, someone might say ‘ what was the level like in 2020, higher or lower?’

      • NickC
        Posted October 21, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Since you are unable to come up with an explanation of what creates the natural balance between CO2 sinks and sources, you have no idea whether CO2 will fall, rise or stay stable.

        • hefner
          Posted October 22, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          OK, I try for CO2 (in random order):
          Sources: (natural) volcanoes, plant & animal decay, forest fires, natural CO2 release from oceans through pH and temperature changes,
          (anthropogenic) cement production, burning fossil fuels, raising cattle

          Sinks: (natural land) photosynthesis (growth of land plants), weathering of silicate rocks, (natural ocean) photosynthesis of phytoplankton, dissolution, acid-base reactions (carbonate forming reactions)

          Both: forest deforestation and land-use change (can go both ways, depending on the initial and final state).

          Interestingly the carbon isotope ratio 13CO2/12CO2 has been confirmed to be lower in practically all human-related CO2-producing activities and this ratio keeps (slowly) decreasing.
          So can one take this parameter as indicative that atmospheric CO2 keeps increasing?

  29. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The wonderful orchards of Evesham, indeed Worcestershire and Kent, hop-gardens too. Hundreds of varieties of apples and beautiful gnarled old trees. I particularly miss The Rev. Wilks, a custard apple.
    What a sacrifice, along with the wealth they delivered.
    That is why, my Monmouth MP Peter Thorneycroft said, to get the UK into the EU ‘The people must be led slowly and unconsciously into the abandonment of their traditional economic defences.’
    Because consciously they would not have done any such thing!

    • ukretired123
      Posted October 21, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      See my comment below what Raymond Blanc thinks happened to devastate English orchards!

  30. Alan Jutson
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    off topic

    My wife received an e mail/text from Gov.Uk about a covid test, sent at 9.00pm last night for a test at 10.00am this morning, problem is it was for a 91 year old male with the same surname, and it contains the necessary code for access to the drive through centre about 50 miles away.
    Whilst both of us have down loaded the Covid 19 app, clearly it is not for her, as she has not requested a test, but unfortunately we cannot contact the test centre or Gov.UK because it was sent with no contact details at all, from a no reply address.
    We have done our best to search on line to try and find the correct person, and we believe we have found the town, but no telephone number or full address, and they are not on social media, so contact not possible.

    John, If this is not a scam, why does a government department send out documentation which has no means of return contact, no e mail address, no telephone number, absolutely nothing.

    Doubtless the intended person who requested the test will not now be going and at 91 years of age (date of birth shown) that is a worry.
    Is this one of the reason why test and trace is failing

    It’s not only government departments that seem reluctant to put their contact details on correspondence, I find many on line suppliers are the same.

    Stupid, absolutely stupid !.

  31. Bryan Harris
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    It’s vital that this is all achieved – we badly need to build up our capacity to grow our own food and then be able to export a surplus, but it does need to be of a high quality without us being poisoned with huge amounts of pesticides…

    If we cannot now get out from under that EU thumb and start making things work for us, and indeed really think for ourselves, then it will all have been for nothing, and we might as well have allowed the EU to keep our collective degenerative soul.

  32. Ian @Barkham
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    Having grown up in Kent and can admit to scrumping on a regular basis – what else do you do when the foot path from school goes through an orchard. I do like English apples, plumbs, pears even greengages(whatever happened to them). School holiday’s permitted toiling on the farms picking strawberries, extra pocket money and all the strawberries I could eat. No namby-pamby rules on child exploitation to deal with.

    This morning Sainsburys, tomatoes bought English. Sugar snap peas – Peru. String beans Kenya. Kiwi fruit – New Zealand. Apples South Africa. Still to early for English Cox to have developed the right taste.

    The appalling way these EU negotiators have tried to double down on trying to rule the independent sovereign UK. Suggests they want to drive a wedge between the peoples of the UK and Europe. The have no interest in a friendly association of any kind, just total control. The Government talking to them is an insult on the people of the UK. We must never forget the EU is protectionist zone ruled by those that are comfortable with the likes of Putin but hate the idea of being engaged equally with the free world

  33. Jack Falstaff
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    There will certainly be no shortage of mushrooms who have been kept in the dark and fed on taurine number twos by those supposed to inform us responsibly about the continuity or otherwise of Brexit “negotiations”!

  34. JoolsB
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    “The fresh food in supermarkets packaged with the UK flag is popular and usually of excellent quality.”

    Don’t know how often you go to the supermarket John but it’s only English produce which is packaged with the UK flag. Scottish produce is packaged with the saltire and clearly states produced in Scotland, similar for Wales. I have written to Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons to point this anomaly out to no avail. Your Government and previous ones have done a good job in brainwashing everyone into believing England and the UK are the same thing. Their don’t mention England at any cost mantra even affects what we buy..

    Reply I shop every week as I need to eat! There have been some excellent English strawberries this summer

    • JoolsB
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Reply to rely: yes there has John but they will be packaged as produced in the UK with a Union Jack on unlike products produced in the rest of the UK.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        Quite right Jools as I am always pointing out. Indeed earlier on in this post.

      • Mark B
        Posted October 21, 2020 at 1:47 am | Permalink

        Agreed. I notice that he does not deny the clear bias against us. This must end !

  35. villaking
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Sir John, don’t you think that continually framing this as the EU “denying” the UK an “obvious” FTA is a little disingenuous? It would be more helpful for your readers if you were honest about what obstacles there are to the FTA, it is not simple or obvious. The main issue is around the level playing field and state aid in particular. It is “obvious” that the EU does not want the Single Market to be threatened by heavily subsidized goods coming from the UK and there needs to be some mechanism for preventing this. It is “obvious” that any comprehensive FTA with a major trading partner needs to address this. State aid provisions are included in our post Brexit FTA with Japan for example so surely having something with the EU is “obvious”? Why mislead your readers in this way?

    Reply We had agreed a Canada style FTA with the EU which does not include our subservience to their laws!

  36. a-tracy
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    What are the tariffs the EU put on the RoW food that we import?
    What are the main food items we import?
    Why isn’t the UK producing Cheddar Cheese for example, why isn’t this made in the Cheddar region why do we import it from Southern Ireland? What tariffs are there on cheese outside of the EU?
    Why didn’t the UK government protect our products when we joined as the Italians did with Parma Ham and the French with Champagne?
    I thought things like Bananas came from South America or is it India?
    Where do we import apples from right now?
    Which main food products do we import right now from the EU that we don’t make in the UK? Is this where all the pasta comes from, where does the rice come from, where do the potatoes that are sold in UK supermarkets come from I thought they were already grown in the UK?

  37. margaret howard
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Back to turnips, carrots and spuds. I remember the limited varieties we could buy prior to EU membership which gave us so much choice in healthy mediterranean foods from our southern friends.

    • ukretired123
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Fruit & Veg Wholesalers I knew were importing Spanish citrus produce well before the EU in the 1960s just when Britain was getting more affluent after the Second World War. They also could choose from the 140 varieties of Apples both home grown varieties and worldwide e.g. Canadian Mac Reds from Nova Scotia.
      English apples’ USP was great taste grown in the temperate climate and even today cider from them is exported worldwide similar to blackcurrant in liquid form.
      French Golden Delicious (imposter as it was not delicious) flooded the market as it’s USP was it could be stored and sold all year round even though the taste fell off.
      See DM https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7687639/Pigs-Nose-Pippins-pushed-French-invader-says-Raymond-Blanc.html
      “Raymond Blanc says Golden Delicious apple has ‘murdered the British orchard’
      He says people should rediscover classics like the Peasgood Nonsuch apple
      Of the 3,000 apple types known to have been created, 2,200 are grown in UK”

      • ukretired123
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Thanks to Frenchman Raymond Blanc for correcting my 140 varieties!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Chard, celeriac, endives, garlic spears, asparagus, beetroot, cabbage, sprouts, garlic, salad potatos, parsnips, swedes, spinach, artichokes, onions, cardoons and thousands of other delicious choices can be easily grown in the UK. Plus a vast and delicous ranges of fruits, fish, meats, game.

      You can be sure the mediterranean countries will still sell us their produce as well.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Plus the wide variety of nuts, herbs, oils and mushrooms in the UK.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Plenty of choices from non EU nations.

    • Fred H
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      thats about marketing, not ability to grow!

  38. Gramp
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly with consuming more British produce. Unfortunately orchards even if planted this winter will take years to produce much.

    • Fred H
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      not exactly positive are you?

  39. glen cullen
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    At times of great hardship and unknown futures with Covid19 lockdown and Brexit – what does our esteem house of commons choose to debate today …’’Black History Month’’, an american construct of the 1970s and because of our media savvy politicians imported to the UK this year and celebrated continually on the BBC

    And not one MP will agree with me that it’s a waste of parliamentary time

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Oh goodness, this system really needs uprooting or we are done for.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 21, 2020 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      Glen

      Should we actually Leave the EU then these MP’s are going to be really too busy to do crap like this. Give it time 😉

  40. Ian @Barkham
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    From the MsM – One EU diplomat said: “They got what they wanted – intensified talks, on legal texts, on multiple areas. Now, they are just faffing around.
    “All this posturing is only aimed at strengthening Johnson’s hand. If they don’t want to talk, that’s their choice. There is no point at this stage to give them anything more.”

    If the above is true, it would appear the EU still doesn’t get it. The UK hasn’t asked for anything, the UK doesn’t want to be given anything the only aim is a neighbourly relationship i.e. a similar association the EU has with others countries. Nothing more, nothing special. What the UK doesn’t want is the EU interference, laws and rules administered by them within our own country – not forgetting 94% of UK GDP has no relationship to business with the EU. Those that earn from within the EU clearly expect that in the EU they will toe the line. Why should the rest of the country be held back, Oh I forgot ‘Control’

    The EU has spent 4 years on posturing and maneuvering not on trade or mutual agreements but on how they can maintain control over the UK.

    If the EU is unable to announce they recognise we are independent, sovereign and a democracy, then act with the respect required in that situation, then there should be a satisfactory outcome.

  41. Anonymous
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Superb farm shop near me.

  42. XYXY
    Posted October 20, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Would you please press for better labelling of all products post-Brexit?

    I’d like to be able to identify products from countries that I no longer wish to buy from.

    The current labelling is not easy to read at a glance especially in a scenario where one is doing a weekly shop, you can’t read every label, it needs to be at-a-glance.

  43. Ian
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Well done Sir John , more bucketloads of common sence dealing with the majority of what
    Is essential for the Government to get its act together.
    There will be trouble if more business go to the wall, and those that are working are thinking there is no pleasure when they finish work

  • 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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