Time to grow more of our own food

I notice in my local supermarkets a keen enthusiasm to display the Union flag on many  foods the retailer can claim are home grown. There is a marked reluctance to celebrate the EU origins of continental food with an EU flag, or even to put a Dutch flag on the salad items and a Spanish flag on the vegetables that come from there. This makes it a bit more difficult for home grown food enthusiasts to spot the import. It implies the supermarkets think there are plenty of people who want to buy UK food, but  not enough who will insist on EU food so they seek to disguise it.

Our time in the Common Agricultural Policy lost us a lot of market share. As recently as the mid 1980s the UK grew 84% of its own temperate food, but this had slumped to 60% last year. The EU did its best to speed the demise of sections of UK agriculture. They provided grants to remove UK orchards to give continental apples and pears a freer run at our market, on the proviso that the farmer could not replant with new fruit trees. They kept our milk industry short of quota, forcing us to import more higher value products like yoghurt and cheese from the continent. Even pro EU John Major went into battle against the severity of their beef policy in response to an unfortunate outbreak of disease.

Now we are free to grow and rear more of our own food we should do so. The Environment Department should make cutting the food miles a crucial part of its green agenda. It should tailor grant schemes to encourage new plantings, investment in mechanised nurture and harvesting, and support for on farm reservoirs and soil improvement programmes. The NFU have raised their standard over the opportunities. The Netherlands supply much of our salad stuff and flowers. They have  no weather advantage over us, so we should get on and invest in competitive production with suitable government assistance of the kind they have enjoyed.

It is not a green policy to pay our landowners not to farm our land and then to import our food from hundreds of miles away with the need for so much transport, chilling and packaging to get it to us.

 

213 Comments

  1. Mick
    October 14, 2021

    Here’s a novel idea why not build houses with enough land so we can grow our own veggies, or failing that reclaim land for more allotment use

    Reply
    1. Whyaxye
      October 14, 2021

      1) Because few people have the time and inclination to do so; the norm is now two working parents with little free time.

      2) Because house-building is already out of control, and we don’t want to destroy any more of Britain’s irreplaceable countryside.

      Reply
    2. Sir Joe Soap
      October 14, 2021

      Indeed, when several allotments within Wokingham Borough alone are under pressure to be built on.

      Reply
    3. alan jutson
      October 14, 2021

      +1
      Similar point made lower down in the thread..

      Reply
    4. Peter
      October 14, 2021

      There was good coverage in newspapers of Sir John Redwood backing Lord Frost over the Northern Ireland Protocol and insisting there is no room for the ECJ in matters relating to Northern Ireland.

      The key question is whether Boris Johnson will also back Lord Frost or continue to duck the issue.

      Reply
    5. Al
      October 14, 2021

      As our council has just built over half the only surviving local farm, has already built on the rest, and is now looking at building over allotments and even the local park (barely rescued from their last attempt) I don’t think that land for agriculture and growing vegetables is in our near future.

      Reply
  2. Mark B
    October 14, 2021

    Good morning

    The EU did its best to speed the demise of sections of UK agriculture.

    The first food industry to go to the wall was the fishing industry. It was not the EEC (as it was known then) that was resposible for that, it was the Conservative government under, Edward Heath and, it was the price the French, Dutch and the Germans wanted the UK government to pay for memvership. The truth wasm they had no right to claim our territorial waters as part of their own or, as they put it, a shared resource.

    I blame the EEC / EU for much, but they would have never been in such a position to harm us if it wasn’t for the Tories.

    I have also come accross transfers of fish tonnages fro UK to EU and EU to UK on a UK Government website. I shall post later today what I find. On a cursory note it does not look good as we are giving the EU more than before.

    The Environment Department should make cutting the food miles a crucial part of its green agenda.

    According to ‘Harry’s Farm’ (YouTube) farmers are being given subsidies to create wilding of farmland. ie Stop growing food ! I will post links seperatly but others can easily find this themselves.

    Much like everything else our kind host wishes to happen, it won’t. Not his fault, it is good to see someone saying something. But just don’t get your hopes up.

    And one last thing. Those items with the Union Jack Flag on them, they were grown in England. Scotland and Wales get to put their own flag.

    Reply
    1. acorn
      October 14, 2021

      JR says. “The Environment Department should make cutting the food miles a crucial part of its green agenda. […] and then to import our food from hundreds of miles away with the need for so much transport, chilling and packaging to get it to us.”

      JR isn’t too bothered about his carbon footprint it seems.

      “I buy much of my food from U.K. farms. I do not buy EU food given their unpleasant attempts to punish us. Happy to have more choice from Australia.”— John Redwood (@johnredwood) June 15, 2021

      “Good news that Australia wants to expand trade with the U.K. on a fair and friendly basis. What a contrast with the EU that does everything it can to block trade and pick trade fights with us. — John Redwood (@johnredwood) June 15, 2021.

      Reply
      1. Peter2
        October 14, 2021

        Do you not understand the difference between trading with Australia and growing food in the UK acorn?

        Reply
        1. acorn
          October 15, 2021

          You see P2, I thought we grew all this food stuff at home with little food miles with and a lot smaller Carbon footprint involved!!!

          “Full access for beef and sheepmeat imports will not occur for 15 years. However, the amount of beef and sheepmeat allowed into the UK in the first year of the agreement is significantly larger than the volumes currently imported from Australia. Tariffs on dairy will be gradually removed over five years and on sugar over eight years.” (UK-Australia free trade agreement)

          Reply
          1. Peter2
            October 15, 2021

            Well you seem to be getting there acorn.
            Yes we can grow our own food at home and trade goods with Australia.
            Or we can send foodstuffs from the UK to Australia and vice versa and make it profitable then why not.

    2. jerry
      October 14, 2021

      @Mark B; “The first food industry to go to the wall was the fishing industry”

      Indeed, and its slow death began in 1958 when Iceland imposed a unilateral (new) 12 nml fishing zone, nothing to do with the EEC nor French, Dutch or Germans.

      Then there was the second “Cod War”, 1972-3, again Iceland unilaterally imposed new limits, again nothing what so ever to do with our joining the EEC, nothing to do with French, Dutch or Germans.

      Then there was the third “Cod War”, 1975-6, had little to do with the EEC, French, Dutch or Germans, again Iceland imposed new limits. If some want to find a scapegoat to blame might I suggest the UN and their oversight of international high seas?

      Reply
      1. Peter2
        October 14, 2021

        It has survived for decades under a heavy unfair burden.

        Reply
    3. Fedupsoutherner
      October 14, 2021

      Mark B. It really annoys me that the English flag is not shown and also that the country of origin on the front of packets is so small I can’t see it without my reading glasses on which I don’t wear to the supermarket.

      Reply
    4. formula57
      October 14, 2021

      Also Harry Metcalf (he of ‘Harry’s Farm’ (YouTube)) said he wished to plant trees but could not last year since all were awaiting details of the relevant scheme being released by Defra.

      Reply
      1. Mark B
        October 15, 2021

        Yes. A farmer having to farm according to what government subsidy rather than to what the market / consumer wants. It further underlines what I have been banging on about for a number of years – government intervention into markets damages or ruins them. It does not do what it claims its sets out to do !

        Reply
    5. Mark B
      October 15, 2021

      I have looked at the transfers of tonnages for all types of fish to and from the UK to the EU. It is only for 3 months but, given that the central plank of leaving the EU was to take back control, and that includes our territorial waters, it makes for some depressing reading.

      For August the UK transfered to the EU 1331.65 Tons of its fishing quota, whilst in return the EU transferred 1312.75 to the UK, a loss of 18.2 tons.

      For September the UK transfered to the EU 4595.2 Tons of its fishing quota, whilst in return the EU transferred 3374.9 to the UK, a loss of 1220.2 tons.

      For October the UK transfered to the EU 1471 Tons of its fishing quota, whilst in return the EU transferred 2348 to the UK, a gain of 877 tons.

      This is a small sample but, I will make a note of this and will collect more data over time.

      Reply
  3. Mark B
    October 14, 2021

    Here are some links to the rewilding of British Farmland that could be used to grow food. All courtesy of the UK Taxpayer via the UK Government. No EU involvement at all here.

    https://www.knightfrank.com/research/article/2021-06-17-rewilding-trend-boosts-the-uk-farmland-market

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/31/convert-farmland-to-nature-climate-crisis

    Reply
  4. Javelin
    October 14, 2021

    More importantly. It’s time to start mining coal, gas, shale gas and oil to start heating our homes. They will be burying pensioners in their own ice blocks unless this unsubstantiated anti carbon agenda is crushed.

    Reply
    1. Andy
      October 14, 2021

      This isn’t true. There aren’t enough gravediggers so most frozen pensioners won’t be buried. Burned maybe. That’ll warm them up.

      Reply
      1. Sea_Warrior
        October 14, 2021

        The most evil post of the week, I’d wager.

        Reply
        1. Peter2
          October 14, 2021

          Correct Sea Warrior.
          I was really shocked by this dreadful comment from young andy.

          Reply
      2. Cheshire Girl
        October 14, 2021

        Another tasteless reply from you Andy. I’m sure you are relishing the day that unlikely scenario would happen.

        Reply
        1. Fedupsoutherner
          October 14, 2021

          Let’s hope it’s the norm when he’s a pensioner.

          Reply
          1. Lester_Cynic
            October 15, 2021

            FUS

            I’m sure that if I attempted to post similar comments they certainly wouldn’t be published, it just emboldens him to post even viler comments

            The remoaners have found a platform to continue their rants against Brexit, although it isn’t Brexit!

      3. Glenn Vaughan
        October 14, 2021

        UGH !!

        Reply
      4. No Longer Anonymous
        October 14, 2021

        Ironically we shut down the economy because no-one was allowed to die of Covid and had a day of remebrance. Yet dying of hypothermia is acceptable and we can joke about what to do with the bodies.

        Do you not get that irony, Andy ?

        Reply
      5. agricola
        October 14, 2021

        Appalling statement.

        Reply
      6. Micky Taking
        October 14, 2021

        very few people elect to go into the ground, at least us oldies will be very hot at our last hurrah, we choose it. A different authority might be keeping score to decide where you will go, sunny uplands or the fires…

        Reply
      7. Micky Taking
        October 15, 2021

        You are strangely quiet, Martin? Is this recent tirade of spiteful hate even too much for you too?

        Reply
    2. David Peddy
      October 14, 2021

      Hear ,hear

      Reply
    3. glen cullen
      October 14, 2021

      You’re Spot On Javelin

      Reply
  5. SM
    October 14, 2021

    Of course your advice is sensible, Sir John, but the Government is encouraging the building of houses on greenfield sites, and a BBC presenter and his cohort are eager to ‘re-wild’ large areas of land, and then there must be room for more windmills and solar panels, so where are a few herds of cows going to find space for grazing?

    Reply
    1. Donna
      October 14, 2021

      You won’t be allowed to eat beef or consume dairy. To “cut CO2 and save the planet.”
      (Won’t apply to the Elite, natch.)

      Reply
      1. Micky Taking
        October 14, 2021

        No McD, KFC, others are apparently available, no lattes, no ice-cream parlours, no steak-restaurants.
        Nut roast anyone? Who grows ’em?

        Reply
      2. Mark B
        October 15, 2021

        If you read one of the links I provide above (Guardian) it gives an interview of a former government advisor who became a vegetarian. His views, lifestyle and subsequent advice make for a most telling reading.

        😉

        Reply
    2. jerry
      October 14, 2021

      @SM; Yes the BBC needs to be reigned in, they should be reporting, not setting the agenda!

      Start with (the now very inappropriately named) “Farming Today” programme on R4. Then perhaps return “The Archers” to its core purpose, inform and educate both farmer and public about farming, the countryside and how to maximise the resource.

      Reply
  6. Newmania
    October 14, 2021

    More protectionism .Food miles is a stupid concept from the start, it is not environmentally beneficial to do things the most expensive way you can think of and then apply further taxes in order to subsidise the whole thing.
    British food in the 70s was a vile assortment of tasteless bread, bacon that tasted of fish, and meat you wouldn`t feed a dog . I remember well my first taste of French food ..it was simple bread ham and chips but of the difference to the awful soggy plastic British ham sandwich.
    Arctic roll, fluorescent sweets , cereals that could rot your teeth form the bowl dank miserable drizzly closed minded rotting teeth Gary Glitter and Jimmy Saville on a plate . I`ll pass

    Reply
    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      October 14, 2021

      Thanks, I enjoyed that.

      It seems an odd thing for Sir John to ask, mind, when there’s plenty of UK food being produced as we write but being incinerated, or left to rot in the fields because of an acute, brexit-induced dearth of people willing to do the jobs needed to get it to the shops.

      Reply
    2. Mike Wilson
      October 14, 2021

      it is not environmentally beneficial to do things the most expensive way you can think of and then apply further taxes in order to subsidise the whole thing.

      Of course it is beneficial to the environment to grow food and consume it close to where it is grown. The price of the food, and subsidies, may well be issues – but they are not environmental issues.

      Reply
    3. alan jutson
      October 14, 2021

      Newmania
      Food in the 1950’s -1970 did not taste like that to my recollection, guess it depends upon the person choosing and their purchasing decisions, we had fresh bread from the bakers, fresh veg from the green grocer or our own garden, meat from an independent butcher, fish from a wet fish monger, all within 100yds walking distance from home, as was the local milk dairy.

      If you purchased commercially manufactured convenience food products, I would agree with you.
      It’s the same now.

      Reply
      1. Micky Taking
        October 14, 2021

        The main thing that sticks in my mind in that era was the paint stripper French red wine, and the sour make you wince French whites…. Then along came the German fruity stuff that probably sowed the thought of inventing Rib..a Eventually we all got sophisticated and ventured to Italy and had to return clutching our bottle of Chianti, so awful most never got opened.

        Reply
      2. Dennis
        October 15, 2021

        If those 150-70s foods produced as then, were available now what would they cost? The butcher, baker and candlestick maker would all need say, £500 – £700 per week before tax, no?

        Reply
    4. dixie
      October 14, 2021

      How is it protectionism to ensure secure food supplies in the teeth of French actions and threats?
      In any case your posturing fiction that continental food is and always has been superior to UK local produce belongs in the garbage with the rest of the bullshit.
      If you don’t like it here why don’t you foxtrot over to the country you clearly prefer.

      Reply
    5. jerry
      October 14, 2021

      @Newmania; Yawn, another silly anti Brexit rant, ever more shrill and now obscene.

      Reply
    6. Fedupsoutherner
      October 14, 2021

      Omg Newmania. You obviously should get out more. British food has come a long way since then. There are many farm shops selling very good cheeses, free range and grass fed meat and free range chicken and eggs. The bacon from pigs raised outdoors is FAR superior to the muck from the Netherlands. All you get is a pan of salty water while it’s cooking. Even now I am buying English strawberries which are very tasty. Do try to experiment more and support your own country for once.

      Reply
      1. Dennis
        October 15, 2021

        I’ve just googled ‘farm shops around and near Hastings (E. Sussex) – a blank page.

        Reply
    7. Richard1
      October 14, 2021

      I share similar memories. but i’m not sure why thats an argument against clear food labelling?

      Reply
    8. No Longer Anonymous
      October 14, 2021

      I rarely, if ever, saw a fat person. Now morbid obesity is common.

      Proper A levels, apprenticeships 11 plus exams that would stump today’s graduates…

      And don’t think police turning a blind eye to child abuse has gone away. (A propos recent scandals.)

      You live in Lewes, Newmania. You work in the City. You will never ever understand why those elsewhere voted Brexit. You’re too… um… closed minded.

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        October 14, 2021

        PS, Importing people to work on slave wages while our own workers are propped up at home on benefits is a pretty expensive way of producing food too.

        Reply
        1. Nottingham Lad Himself
          October 14, 2021

          Employment law except for H&S was always sovereign.

          Tory UK made it perfectly legal for the practices that you describe. It need not have been.

          Reply
          1. Peter2
            October 14, 2021

            Complete nonsense.NHL
            Treaty requirements meant thecUK had to implement all rules regulations and directives in those treaties

          2. No Longer Anonymous
            October 14, 2021

            NLH

            But Remainers tell us EU labour brought in under such conditions is a main benefit of being in the EU !

          3. glen cullen
            October 14, 2021

            The EU Working Time Directive (WTD) still applies

    9. Peter2
      October 14, 2021

      Price isn’t an environmental item NM

      Reply
    10. jon livesey
      October 14, 2021

      No, increasing domestic production is not protectionism. I don’t know where you got such a daft idea.

      Protectionism is when you use tariffs to keep out cheaper foreign products, in other words, rigging the market,

      And by the way, protectionism is what the EU is all about. EU tariffs on imported food run all the way up to 50% Now that is protectionism and we’re much better out of the EU so as to avoid it.

      Reply
  7. Sea_Warrior
    October 14, 2021

    Yes, we should be more self-sufficient in food-production. But that means that the government has to stop building on farmland and stop encouraging experienced farmers to leave the industry. I swear, it’s as if one department doesn’t know what the others are up to.

    Reply
    1. jerry
      October 14, 2021

      @S_W; There has been green field development around here, but non of it has actually taken the best or even average farm land out of production, not all green field farming land is of equal value – obviously no one want to build housing (or industrial buildings) on best livestock or best Arable land and I doubt anyone does.

      From what I’ve read and heard said, experienced farmers tend to leave the industry because there is either no money in farming, they can not obtain suitably skilled people (or those willing to learn) to work on the farm, or there is no one to inherit/take over the farm.

      Reply
    2. glen cullen
      October 14, 2021

      It means will need to stop following the ideals of the EU common agriculture policy and its level playing field….we still follow too many (all) of the EU regulations

      Reply
  8. Shirley M
    October 14, 2021

    I agree wholeheartedly with your comments, Sir John, but how does this fit in with ripping up good arable land for more housing? How can we keep pace with providing the additional food production, roads, doctors and other infrastructure and services when we import a city worth of ‘new’ citizens each year?

    The government needs to cure the disease of an unsupported and neglected (over)population instead of tinkering with the damaging symptoms.

    Reply
    1. Timaction
      October 14, 2021

      Totally agree. Its time to hold them to account for their mass immigration policy. The Tory Party are worse at this than Labour. Lets see action to deport the boat people as well. I’ve read that not one has been deported this year. Utter failures or deliberate policy at our expense and increasing taxation? 4* Hotels anyone or are they all full up with illegal aliens?

      Reply
  9. David Peddy
    October 14, 2021

    I refuse to buy any fruit, vegetables, meat, butter, cheese from the EU
    Ditto Shampoo,shaving items, other toiletries

    Reply
    1. Andy
      October 14, 2021

      Why? Are you an idiot?

      Reply
      1. Peter2
        October 14, 2021

        Ah the caring delightful extreme left.
        Well exposed young andy

        Reply
      2. Micky Taking
        October 14, 2021

        Free to choose, you know, what you are always banging on about!

        Reply
    2. MFD
      October 14, 2021

      Thats my actions too! The eu made it easier when they ruled that country of origin must be on the label. Thats my starting point when buying our weekly stores.
      Since we voted leave I have made every effort not to purchase any thing from the eu. I have since added China to the banned list, thats a tougher problem

      Reply
    3. Fedupsoutherner
      October 14, 2021

      Well done David. Good to know I’m not alone.

      Reply
    4. Len Peel
      October 14, 2021

      Wow! Global Britain!

      Reply
    5. Timaction
      October 14, 2021

      Since the referendum we don’t buy anything from the EU. End of. I read yesterday that German exports to us have halved since 2016. Good.

      Reply
    6. glen cullen
      October 14, 2021

      Buy British is a good policy

      Reply
    7. jon livesey
      October 14, 2021

      Yes, me too. I consciously avoid anything produced in the EU.

      Reply
      1. Dennis
        October 15, 2021

        ‘.. I consciously avoid anything produced in the EU.’ What if that is actually British owned?

        Reply
    8. Original Richard
      October 14, 2021

      David Peddy :

      I have not bought any French agricultural products since 1990 when CAP supported (with UK taxpayer money) French farmers set fire to one truckload of live British sheep, killing 219 of them as well as poisoning, slitting throats and dousing others with insecticide.

      Reply
      1. Dennis
        October 15, 2021

        French atrocity – reminds me of what the French did in their colonies and during their decolonisation – so much worse than in our colonies – any anger about that in France today? – not heard anything.

        Reply
    9. dixie
      October 15, 2021

      Quite right, most of the EU fruit and veg is tasteless anyway.
      We grow our own tomatoes, beans and greens. After that we buy local and UK produce. After that it is non-EU produce – Australia, New Zealand, Sound America, Africa, Far East for rice, tea and specialist veggies.
      We roast our own coffee buying green beans imported directly from Java and Kenya, bypassing EU brokers.

      Reply
  10. Dave Andrews
    October 14, 2021

    We could grow more of our own food, or we could continue the current policy of selling properties where farmworkers might live off as second homes and holiday lets, ensuring there is nowhere they can afford to live, and surrender farmland to urban sprawl.
    An acre of farmland becomes a liability on the state with all those subsidies, whereas an acre estate of hedge fund managers brings in a huge amount of tax. Face it, food is really cheap.

    Reply
  11. GilesB
    October 14, 2021

    On every receipt from SuperValu, the largest supermarket chain in Ireland, it shows the percentage by value of items grown/raised in Ireland. U.K. supermarkets could and should do similar. How can they be persuaded?

    Reply
    1. Dennis
      October 15, 2021

      Good idea. I notice in my GP surgery the screen now shows the cost of many surgical procedures- no wonder more tax needed!

      Reply
  12. Cheshire Girl
    October 14, 2021

    It may be time to grow our own food, but we’ll never do it, while we are ploughing up agricultural land to build houses on, for our ever growing population.

    Reply
    1. jerry
      October 14, 2021

      @CG; Yawn. Go look at Google Satellite view for the UK, zoom in to the non-urban areas, what do you see, green, straw or brown coloured fields, or do you see concrete?….

      Reply
      1. Micky Taking
        October 14, 2021

        could you look for petrol tankers and tell us where they are headed? That would be more useful.

        Reply
      2. jon livesey
        October 14, 2021

        There are parts of the UK that have population densities of about one person per square mile. Not everywhere is the South East of England. Where I come from, the North East, doesn’t even *look* like the South East. Seriously, the landscape of the North East looks like a foreign country. Visit there, and you will be amazed at how different the various parts of your own nation can look. The food is different, too, as is the way people talk, and what they talk about.

        Oh, and you can’t get there on the tube.

        Reply
      3. Dennis
        October 15, 2021

        Jerry – your comment is ‘cos you know nothing about ecology.

        Reply
        1. jerry
          October 15, 2021

          @Dennis; On that rational most homes built in the last 500 years should never have been built!

          Reply
    2. BOF
      October 14, 2021

      + Imported!

      Reply
  13. Everhopeful
    October 14, 2021

    Outbreaks of cattle disease have always been most unfortunate for England/U.K.
    There was one in the mid 1800s which led to the decimation of our cheese industry. Shenanigans around Cheddar production didn’t help either. Still, it helped the French dairy industry!!
    So we lost, until recently, many of our traditional, local cheeses ( Blue Vinney and others).
    And as usual we were told that the U.K. had no food worth eating whereas the continent ( where there were few draconian poaching laws), apparently did.
    And moreover we always made perfectly decent wine, sometimes encouraged by govt. to discourage smuggling.
    All myths regarding the inferiority of our alimentation seeded by jealous European travellers. Politics as ever!
    And us for 50 years bound and gagged by EU diktat!

    Reply
    1. hefner
      October 14, 2021

      Please give more detailed information on how the outbreak of cattle disease in the mid-1800s could have helped the French dairy industry, as there was no such thing as a ‘French dairy industry’ in those days.

      The development of ‘la filiere laitiere francaise’ did not actually start before 1954-55 when PM Pierre Mendes-France encouraged people to drink milk instead of alcoholic drinks! It got a further kick at about the same time with the arrival of the UHT (ultra-high temperature) processing (invented in Switzerland) and of the TetraPak (a 1950s Swedish invention).

      Unfortunately both novelties, which had been readily adopted in the USA and in some continental European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, with ~50 % of UHT Tetra-packed milk in the ‘70s) did not get accepted in the UK before the 1970-80s and even so with a much smaller take (~10%) by the public. Which certainly did not help the British milk potential exporters (if there had been any).

      That’s for milk, as for cheese, it would seem that France had not been waiting for the UK to provide its cheese. Isn’t it General de Gaulle who said in 1962 ‘How do you want to govern a country with 258 types of cheese?’ He was obviously talking about French cheese.

      And if the UK lost its milk and local cheese industry (which I do not think it’s true), isn’t it because the British consumer, given past and current advertising campaigns and the available choice, decided to try other (possibly non-UK) products and decided they wanted to stick with them?

      To put all the responsibility on the EU is simply the laziest way of shedding all responsibility for the Brits’ own actions. But what can one do when it is the politicians’ default way of thinking?

      Reply
    2. a-tracy
      October 14, 2021

      Most Cheddar is imported from Southern Ireland. There are very good quality British cheese manufacturers now.

      Reply
      1. Everhopeful
        October 14, 2021

        +1
        Which is why I said “ until recently”.
        We have always been quite happy to over-react to viruses, climate “emergencies” and foreign diktat in order to hand over all our God given advantages to other countries.
        Still, apparently Mozzarella is now the most popular cheese in France!

        Reply
  14. Oldtimer
    October 14, 2021

    Yet again you have exposed the ineptitude of the political class in exposing the UK to risk – this time of reduced self sufficiency in foods we can grow. Was there any quid pro quo negotiated? I do not recall that financial services were ever granted free and easy access to the rest of the UK. And were EU providers of such services paid to shut up shop?

    Reply
    1. John Hatfield
      October 14, 2021

      All part of Boris’s global green dream.

      Reply
  15. Enigma
    October 14, 2021

    In Wokingham we’ve built houses on our farms 🤷🏼‍♀️

    Reply
    1. Mike Wilson
      October 14, 2021

      @Enigma

      You wouldn’t want to eat food grown there with all the pollution from the cars on the M4 and A329M. And, of course, all the extra pollution fro the cars owned by the people who have bought the 10,000 new houses constructed there recently.

      Reply
    2. Nota#
      October 14, 2021

      @Enigma +1 – and the are still actively chasing the concreating over valuable farm land. Additional rate payers imported into the area is most important to Woking Councilors. They own some of the farms, but now on very short leases, the others its basically ‘cease and desist’

      Reply
  16. Philip P.
    October 14, 2021

    Interesting to know, Sir John, that in the mid-1980s we produced the vast bulk of the food we could grow in this country. But then, under the CAP, almost 2 million acres of farmland were lost to urban development and forest planting across Britain 1990-2015. I see that in 2018 Parliament produced an ‘environmental land management’ scheme. It said farmers wanted to produce more food in Britain, but didn’t recommend that that should be an objective of the government. This March the government announced the scheme is going ahead from next year. Having got ourselves into this damaging position, we still seem to be prioritizing the Green Agenda – those in power just don’t seem interested in how best to feed the population. Perhaps Parliament should produce a report on how this can be better achieved, now the impact of depending on fragile global supply networks is becoming clearer.

    Reply
    1. Everhopeful
      October 14, 2021

      +1

      Reply
  17. turboterrier
    October 14, 2021

    But the (problem Ed)is that all the time farmers perceive they can get a better return for growing maize, willows , trees in general and other non marketable products for bio mass boilers, and digesters they will take the easy option. They are very green when it comes finance’s. Many of our industries have been infiltrated by green products and materials as the end users are subsidised to purchase them.
    The basic skills and crafts are forgotten and so the public buy all the essentials we once made from China and Korea.

    Reply
    1. Hat man
      October 14, 2021

      Indeed, Turboterrier. Farmers also know that under this government they can turn a field over to solar panels, then after 10 years the field will be classed as a brownfield site, and available for councils to designate for housing development. Government policy is not so much supporting the farmers, as buying them off.

      Reply
    2. Lifelogic
      October 14, 2021

      Bio fuels are an evil & rather idiotic thing to push and tax payer subsidise in general. It does huge harm and nothing really beneficial for the environment or the climate.

      Reply
  18. Everhopeful
    October 14, 2021

    To comply with greencr*p surely the only way is local growing and selling?

    Reply
    1. Everhopeful
      October 14, 2021

      Oh yes and the hippy mythology of soil depletion is just that…a myth.
      Is Johnson a hippy?

      Reply
      1. Sea_Warrior
        October 14, 2021

        I could offer an opinion – but I like to spare our kind host difficult ‘moderation’ decisions.

        Reply
        1. Everhopeful
          October 14, 2021

          +1
          Lol! 😂

          Reply
  19. Ian Wragg
    October 14, 2021

    DEFRA is a fully paid up Brussels department. They will encourage rewilding so as to protect continental farmers. Much like the Business secretary wants to close down north sea gas and stop Cu.brian coal.
    Your whistling in the dark John but good luck.

    Reply
    1. Nota#
      October 14, 2021

      @Ian Wragg +1 in the dark he may get heard, more like a very deep cellar

      Reply
  20. Gary Megson
    October 14, 2021

    You celebrated the trade deal with Australia which will bring agrifoods into our country from the other side of the world. But you hate imports from the EU, which is next door. This is nothing to do with growing our own food is it, it’s all to do with your manic obsession with hating the EU. Brexit has failed – time you accepted that, apologised, and we can get on with unrestricted free trade with our neighbours once again

    Reply We have a trade deal with the EU!

    Reply
    1. Andy
      October 14, 2021

      We have a lousy trade with the EU – which makes trade significantly harder than it used to be. Despite Brexitists promising otherwise.

      Reply
    2. Len Peel
      October 14, 2021

      Our new trade deal with the EU means border checks and masses of red tape. The old one didn’t. Progress? I think not. #failedbrexit

      Reply
  21. Andy
    October 14, 2021

    They put a flag on product because it makes elderly Brexitists weirdly excited. Next to nobody under the age of 50 cares.

    Producing more of our own food is an excellent idea. Sadly we have nobody to pick it or catch it or kill it because it turns out the Brexitists don’t want the jobs they said they wanted. They are happy to watch Countdown and book cruises – less happy to work in abattoirs.

    Hence we have the sight of farmers murdering and burning their pigs by the thousand. We were told Brexit would be great for animal welfare. And we are already at the pig murder stage. Oink.

    Reply
    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      October 14, 2021

      D’you know, if they were forced to put the European Union flag on its produce -I think that Sir John implies that they should be – then I might buy it in preference to Leave-voting UK farmers’.

      We’d soon find out whether there were more of “them” than there are of “us” from the supermarket sales, wouldn’t we?

      Reply
      1. Micky Taking
        October 14, 2021

        and then what? Would you whiners finally shut up?

        Reply
    2. Cheshire Girl
      October 14, 2021

      Andy:

      Please don’t forget to let us all know, when you sign up for one of those jobs.

      Reply
    3. Peter2
      October 14, 2021

      The EU loves its ownlittle flag young andy.
      It is put on lots of places and on many things.
      I expect you get more than “weirdly excited” by that.

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        October 14, 2021

        Touche’

        Reply
      2. hefner
        October 16, 2021

        P2, what experience do you have of seeing EU flags on products available on the continent? I am curious to know.
        When I am in a French supermarket, I do not see any EU flag on products, but I am much more likely to see Corsican symbol on brocchiu cheese, occitan crosses on all sorts of cheeses, biscuits, sweets, the Hauts de France trademark on the Betises de Cambrai or the Boulette d’Avesnes, the red and white symbol of Jura on Comte and Morbier cheeses, the Normandy lion on camembers, or the Brittany ‘queue d’hermine’ on ciders, galettes de Pont Aven, or Kouign Amann.

        Are you making up your EU flag story?

        Reply
        1. Peter2
          October 17, 2021

          NoI am not heffy

          Reply
    4. Sharon
      October 14, 2021

      Andy

      Why are you sooo rude?

      Reply
      1. Peter2
        October 14, 2021

        It is how the extreme left are Sharon.

        Reply
      2. Micky Taking
        October 14, 2021

        But I expect his mother loved him, past tense.

        Reply
    5. No Longer Anonymous
      October 14, 2021

      2021 was the year my brother was made redundant from driving a farm worker van ferrying British workers. We were pretty independent before Germany decided that we were to do our share in taking in Eastern bloc workers so they could channel funds back home for reunification (not mentioned when we voted to join the EU btw.) I read that even Polish lorry drivers were giving up on England because the pay and conditions had been undercut so badly – this before Brexit.

      My Mum (a Boomer) picked potatoes in her youth, before her career in nursing. When did you ?

      Whatever made you think that the mass immigration of poor people into already poor areas was going to be popular among poor voters ?

      D’uh !

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        October 14, 2021

        PS, Yet you still seem to be happy for slave labour and conditions (including lorry drivers) just so your kids can enjoy a gap yah (year) in the French Alps.

        Reply
      2. hefner
        October 14, 2021

        The well of wisdom of some contributors here is bottomless:
        – Eastern bloc workers (from Poland, Hungary in 2004, from Romania and Bulgaria in 2007) were welcome in the UK thanks to a decision by the UK government to let them in right after the accession of these eastern European countries to the EU, at a time when Germany (and other countries like France, Italy, the Netherlands, …) had kept a transition period of between two and five years before accepting them.
        – All these Eastern European workers certainly sent back funds to their countries of origin, but I doubt very much that it was for the German reunification. The German people have had to pay a 5.5% additional tax, the Solidarity Surcharge, since 1991. It is only now in 2021 that it might/will be abolished.
        – The UK had joined the EU on 1 January 1973, the Berlin wall fell on 9 November 1989. It would have taken a wonderfully prescient clairvoyant to predict this 16 years and 313 days ahead of the actual event.
        – And are you not happy that Polish drivers now stay in continental Europe and do not come any more to these isles to undercut the native drivers?

        Reply
        1. Peter2
          October 14, 2021

          What is the actual point you are trying to make heffy?

          Reply
          1. Micky Taking
            October 15, 2021

            I agree, it lost me too.

          2. hefner
            October 16, 2021

            NLA talked rubbish regarding Eastern Europeans 1/ coming to the UK because of a German decision and 2/ paying for German reunification. P2, MT, Is it clearer?

        2. Nottingham Lad Himself
          October 15, 2021

          The ignorance has to be fake – no one can be quite that impervious.

          However, pretending to believe the nonsense that they do morally excuses their various vicious hatreds perhaps.

          Reply
      3. No Longer Anonymous
        October 15, 2021

        Sorry 2001 !!!

        Reply
    6. a-tracy
      October 14, 2021

      Andy, but who owns the abattoirs in Britain that are refusing to process British farm meat in preference to cheaper imports from Europe?

      Reply
      1. hefner
        October 14, 2021

        I am not sure it is still up to date, but there was an interesting item on ‘foodmanufacture.co.uk’ by Chloe Ryan on 16/08/2018 ‘Are small abattoirs for the chop?’.
        The problems appear multiple but not as simple as you might imply with your comment.

        Reply
        1. a-tracy
          October 15, 2021

          hefner, I didn’t mean to imply anything was ‘simple’. I merely suggest after looking into this recently that moving from the traditional British small slaughterhouses all around the Country, local to the markets and butcher shops, using local people and spreading the workload of this difficult job around into smaller units (there used to be over 30,000) and going along with the European model of large slaughterhouses killing literally 100 million units per month in just under 400 such large factories employing 75,000 people (69% of whom are brought in from the EU to work 10-11 hour shifts) may not be the best model. The UK is not just slaughtering British grown animals in these factories we are importing animals for slaughter (it must be more cost-effective even with the big transport costs).

          I appreciate having this brought to my attention. I think we need to know more information about the meat not just sold as individually packaged items but also that meat processed into frozen meals and ready meals. A BBC report from an insider of one of these large meat processing factories said that lots of the workers suffered with mental health problems and couldn’t talk about them because they didn’t speak English. We really do need to think more about the true cost of cheap meat.

          Reply
  22. alan jutson
    October 14, 2021

    Many private individuals also used to grow vegetables and fruit in their own gardens prior to us joining the EU, a hangover from war time when rationing was the norm. Few it would seem to do so now.

    Modern estate gardens are simply not big enough, and are now used as private play grounds for the kids, or social entertainment centres with all sorts of equipment taking up valuable garden space.

    Given the time it takes to prepare, cultivate and nurture plants, as well as the extortionate price of seeds and plants, most people now find it simply easier and much quicker to purchase ready grown food from a supermarket, with money they earn from a job, and whilst this is true for those that have paid work, the satisfaction and mental stimulation of growing your own fresh produce is lost.

    Yes fully aware that farming produces the vast majority of our food, but a good percentage was really HOME grown in years past, it also kept some of the nation mentally and physically fit, without paying for gym membership, and travelling to it by car.

    Reply
    1. No Longer Anonymous
      October 14, 2021

      I ran my own plot but watering is the big problem. The cost !

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        October 14, 2021

        I did grow tomatoes this year and they were far tastier than the supermarket.

        Reply
      2. Augustus Princip
        October 15, 2021

        Storing rainwater is so expensive.

        Reply
    2. dixie
      October 15, 2021

      @Alan, without exception all our friends, family and neighbours grow their own veggies and some also have allotments from which we get spuds, pumpkins and a range of fruit which take up too much space in for our garden.
      A large contingent of family are commonwealth so some foodstufs we have to buy, but we are experimenting and have been able to produce some crops here like chinese melons.
      We typically produce a year’s supply of beans, greens and tomatoes in our own garden and try to work with heirloom plants so we can avoid having to buy seeds, though will try some commercial varieties for variation – next year is will be Selma Zebra beans.

      Reply
  23. Sharon
    October 14, 2021

    Ignoring all the green nonsense, it really is just plain common sense to re-build our ability to grow food , here in Britain. Our ability to feed ourselves was plundered by our membership of the EU.

    With the benefit of hindsight, why on earth did we agree to this at the time? It makes no sense.

    Reply
    1. Shirley M
      October 14, 2021

      Sharon, ‘we’ didn’t agree to it. Our politicians agreed it, and bypassed all democratic processes where the EU was concerned. Too many of them were too eager to please our masters in Brussels instead of the electorate who they think can be safely ignored, and it still happens today.

      Reply
    2. Fedupsoutherner
      October 14, 2021

      Sharon. At the time they agreed to all of this the green issue wasn’t at the top of their lists. Nothing about the green agenda makes any sense.

      Reply
    3. Everhopeful
      October 14, 2021

      +1
      I think that possibly we thought the politicians had our best interests at heart and knew what they were doing.
      They didn’t!

      Reply
  24. Lifelogic
    October 14, 2021

    Indeed but what is needed for much food production in the UK is cheap reliable energy for fertilisers, tractors, greenhouse heating, CO2 to enrich the greenhouse air and fairly cheap labour to harvest and package the produce. Much the same for meat production too.

    What an absurd report by the committees chaired Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark (as one might expect of these two & why on earth was Clark allowed back as an MP after his appalling attempts to scupper Brexit?) Nothing about the vast collateral damage to both health, the economy, education caused by the extended lockdown which surely exceeds any benefits. Hunt, the man who was health secretary for nearly 6 years and but left is as the NHS as the dire, dysfunctional, state monopoly & very poorly pandemic prepared organisation that has failed the country so badly. Blaming the delayed lockdown is quite wrong as Boris put it “this will help us delay and flatten the peak, squash that sombrero.” the justification was just to spread out the pressure on the NHS.

    Additional deaths reports suggest, just in cancer alone caused be the delayed treatments and diagnosis, might weelcbe as many as 100,000 over three years.

    Reply
    1. Lifelogic
      October 14, 2021

      Allister Heath today is surely right as usual.

      “Anti-British, anti-Brexit Macron has turned France into a hostile state
      Ministers are furious at the French president, who has brought relations to a multi-generational low.”

      Reply
  25. Micky Taking
    October 14, 2021

    Many farmers found it was more profitable to cover fields that had been arable with solar panels!
    That has a place but only where soil quality was poor. It has been good to see more southern slopes being used for vines, the quality is now amongst the very best.

    Reply
  26. Nottingham Lad Himself
    October 14, 2021

    The European Union response to the UK BSE epidemic was far less severe than that of the US and Japan, for instance, who only recently lifted their bans on UK beef.

    China has just reimposed theirs, incidentally in response to a recent case.

    Reply
  27. Old Albion
    October 14, 2021

    You may see the Union flag. You’ll also see the Welsh Dragon and the Scottish Saltire. But you won’t see the English flag, oh no! Because England doesn’t exist does it?
    Scotland, Wales, N.Ireland and Britain that’s the UK in your Governments eyes.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      October 15, 2021

      +1

      Reply
    2. Nottingham Lad Himself
      October 15, 2021

      Oh, you see it hundreds of times, tattooed on heads at football matches.

      Fear not.

      Reply
      1. Peter2
        October 15, 2021

        Classic NLH
        A showing of support for England is wrong but and another UK nation is fine.

        Reply
  28. Donna
    October 14, 2021

    I stopped buying EU agricultural products a long time ago, unless there really is no alternative.

    I cook “seasonally” so I use British produce when it’s in season. And, if necessary I buy produce I need which are grown outside the EU, particularly using my small “power of purchase” to help African producers. Apart from wine, which generally comes from Aus/NZ or Chile. I’d buy British wine if they’d just bring the price down a bit.

    I support re-wilding in some circumstances ie the re-introduction of the Pine Marten to the Forest of Dean to control the grey squirrel population. The re-introduction of beavers etc. We need to live in better harmony with nature. That is genuine environmentalism …. not the dictatorial “original sin” lecturing by the Green Lunatics who want to destroy our manufacturing base; drive tens of thousands into fuel poverty and completely change our way of life …… particularly when it is just so they can posture on the world stage about eliminating the 1% of global annual CO2 we produce.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      October 15, 2021

      There is a wonderful story of when they reintroduced the Grey Wolf back into Yellowstone National Park. Well worth looking up.

      Reply
  29. R. Grange
    October 14, 2021

    Yes, a great deal has gone wrong in this country as regards self-reliance with food, and this blog post outlines some very sensible things that we could be doing. It seems unfortunate that we see a model of how not to do things in Sir John’s own constituency – local authorities are undermined by the government’s planning inspectorate, who relentlessly push Westminster’s housing targets against the wishes of councillors and residents. I will not vote for parties that are content to continue with this unjust system.

    Reply
  30. Narrow Shoulders
    October 14, 2021

    What is the priority as you see it Sir John?

    Importing enough willing people to do out jobs?
    Reforming the benefits system so people do our jobs?
    Building houses for all those people?
    Growing our own food on the land that might otherwise be used to house those people?

    There are over 2 million disabled people who are locked out of the jobs market because employers won’t make simple adjustments. Get these people into the jobs market and you will then be able to provide land to grow food. We need joined up thinking to make our way in the world following the pandemic and regaining our freedom

    Reply
  31. agricola
    October 14, 2021

    While I agree with the principal , for the last two years in the UK I have encouraged my partner to grow her own tomatoes, with great success. At long last there are tomatoes with flavour to be picked as required as opposed to the bland , uniform red objects that our supermarkets offer us.

    Reply
  32. jerry
    October 14, 2021

    Farming is already highly mechanised, it has been increasingly year-on-year since the 1950s, but some jobs are still best done by the human hand with the judgement of touch and eye, even smell.

    Was it EEC policy that caused the govt in the early 1980s to close, or sell off, so many of the govt run or sponsored agricultural/horticultural research facilities? I suspect some might be trying to blame past UK policies on the EEC/EU.

    If the UK is to farm more food, and I am sure farmers are more than happy to do so, as our host suggest first they need to be allowed to (again) farm whatever land they feel able to, and do so without undue restrictions. They need to be allowed to use the best seeds and fertilisers possible, yes that might mean GM, bought at the lowest possible price, and of course they need the labour force – a lot of comments on this site (and others) dream of automation and AI but there are two issues never talked about, suitability and cost to the farmer, the latter will be reflected in the price paid by the consumer at the checkout.

    If market forces are King (meaning no subsidised from govts) surely the (supermarket) wholesale buyer will simply buy the cheaper European or RotW produce that uses cheap, and willing, manual labour? The UK doesn’t just need a post Brexit reset in farming policy but also in our Further/Higher education policies.

    The consumer perhaps needs to relearn the seasonality of food, and how to preserve that seasonality at home where possible if they desire out of season fruit and veg – just don’t count on having a freezer though, there might be no electricity to keep things frozen! I note the energy crisis deepened yesterday, a wholesale supply company appeared to exit the market, another two domestic supply companies failed and even some rail freight is going back to diesel traction due to electricity costs.

    Crisis? What crisis?! Has our PM returned to Downing Street yet…

    Reply
  33. George Brooks.
    October 14, 2021

    The root cause of all this is that we are a grossly over crowded island, adding to the problem on a daily basis due to a failing immigration policy. We are running out of space and the ‘green brigade’ are making it worse.

    The acreage of these islands has not changed but our total population has increased from 50m in 1955 to nearly 69m last year and increasing by several 100,000 every year. Two simple changes will make a significant difference within 5 to 10 years.

    A successful asylum seeker is barred from applying for ANY member of their family to join them here. If a family wants to come then they apply as a group and don’t arrive by RIB or in the back of a truck.

    We stop this daft ‘wilding’ of our productive farm land

    Reply
  34. MWB
    October 14, 2021

    You will need all the land in England to accomodate the rubber boat people that are still pouring in.
    Keep on building houses.

    Reply
  35. The PrangWizard of England
    October 14, 2021

    Even my village store, the owners of which like say a lot about local produce, sell Dutch tomatoes and other items, laying it out loose as if it were local. In addition a wholesaler supplier to them package bags of potatoes showing a Union flag but when examined the wording says ‘packed in the UK’. Thus the potatoes are imported and they are attempting deceive the shopper. So, I don’t buy from them.

    Reply
  36. Qubus Merrie
    October 14, 2021

    Wildly off topic, but perhaps I may be allowed to mention it since it is so topical: despite 50,000 UK vocational drivers waiting for their licences, the DVLA is threatening to go on strike.
    Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the Germans’ song-book. Their equivalent to our civil servants, which I presume the DVLA workers are, are so-called “Beamten”. In Germany, Bampten are not allowed to go on strike. Until recently, they had to swear an oath of allegiance to the state before being employed.
    Something elste that the Germans have got right.

    Reply
    1. jerry
      October 14, 2021

      @QM; Of course govt could always do the more sensible thing, listen to the grievances of the DVLA workers, otherwise there might still be few people to do the work even with a no-strike law, or are you also suggesting it be illegal for those workers to hand in their resignations, and if they strike, what then, put them all in jail?!

      You also forget to mention the flip side of modern German’s no-strike agreements, worker representation at the highest levels. BTW the term “Beamten” hasn’t been used since 1945 it would seem, having first been used in 1933…

      Reply
    2. Micky Taking
      October 14, 2021

      sounds like a hangover from….no I won’t go there, there will be howls of anguish.

      Reply
    3. Hat man
      October 14, 2021

      But why this strike threat, QM? Because management want to increase DVLA testers’ workload to 8 tests a day. And why do they want to increase their workloads? Because, according to the union, the Public and Commercial Services Union, hundreds of DVLA staff have had to take time off over the months quarantining after a positive Covid test. But the union’s website refers only to many Covid ‘cases’, so-called, at the Swansea DVLA site, not to any Covid deaths or serious illnesses, which surely would be mentioned to strengthen the union’s case, if they had existed.

      So that’s how it is- the Test’n’Trace Pingdemic keeps hundreds of staff at home, the majority probably perfectly healthy, and drivers and the public suffers the consequences of cancelled HGV tests.

      Meanwhile the union has come up with a cunning plan: let DVLA testers test candidates whilst… working from home! You couldn’t make it up.

      Reply
      1. jerry
        October 14, 2021

        @Hat Man; “You couldn’t make it up.”

        Except you just did!

        Reply
  37. Lester_Cynic
    October 14, 2021

    My party membership has been cancelled and I’ve recently a refund

    Result!

    Reply
  38. ChrisS
    October 14, 2021

    At first glance, the concessions from Brussels over the Protocol go further than I thought they would.
    If they can restrict the role of the ECJ to “determining narrow legal points” only, that can’t be resolved through an agreed arbitration mechanism, that might just be acceptable to everyone except the real hardline Brexiteers.

    The ludicrous restriction on pets is inexplicable and should not be accepted, given that the EU has regular cases of rabies and we haven’t for almost 100 years. However, are we really going to trigger Article 16 over pet passports ? I don’t think so.

    Reply
    1. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2021

      The ECJ is the supreme arbiter for EU law, and that is what it should stick to doing. It should not be the highest authority for the operation of a treaty between the EU and the UK or any other country. Hence the mooted plan of holding the ECJ in reserve for cases where international arbitration has failed would be putting it the wrong way round; if it is necessary for the ECJ to pronounce on the position in EU law then it should do that first, and its judgement should then be available as a contribution to the EU’s case before the arbitration panel.

      Reply
  39. Original Richard
    October 14, 2021

    I don’t believe the Government is remotely interested in growing more of our own food and would prefer us to become even more dependent upon imports.

    Policies such as 300K/year net immigration so ever more houses, schools, hospitals, roads, warehouses, reservoirs, sewage plants etc. need to be built taking up agricultural land.

    Re-wilding programmes to reduce agricultural land and the building of wind and solar farms to allow the eventual change of use of agricultural land to building plots.

    The Government’s poor deal with the EU on fishing not only means that the EU has almost full access to our waters but are able to fish unsustainably large quantities.

    As with our industry, the Government’s guiding policy to reduce our CO2 emissions is to import everything.

    Reply
    1. Lifelogic
      October 15, 2021

      +1

      Reply
  40. Lisa
    October 14, 2021

    Time to stop government interference in markets distorting and increasing costs for us all.

    Reply
    1. Lifelogic
      October 15, 2021

      +1 it is the distorting of markets and the green loons idiotic war against fossil fuels that has brought us to this chaotic position of energy shortages.

      Reply
    2. Mark B
      October 15, 2021

      Lisa

      Thank you 🙂

      Someone else who has finally seen the light.

      Reply
  41. William Long
    October 14, 2021

    The proportion of the considerable output I receive from DEFRA that relates to the production of food is miniscule. There is a need for real pressure to change their attitude which at the moment is clearly concentrated on Greenery of the inedible kind.

    Reply
  42. Nota#
    October 14, 2021

    Sir John

    As you infer the CAP is a weapon deployed by the EU Commission to hamper and destroy any UK element of self reliance. The UK’s efficiencies were destroyed by the ‘Levelling Down’ of the EU Overlords.

    Which is why most of us see how the Governments own version of ‘leveling down’ is so patronising. It would be nice for Government to just treat everyone as equals, permit equal opportunity. Remove all subsidies so the poor no longer finance the rich.

    Never forget one of the BIG elements of CAP is the subsidy, the undermining of the market. This is exactly what this UK Government does across the whole spectrum of UK enterprise. The trouble for the UK Government they are so wrapped up in their own personal bubble you get the feeling they believe they are doing well when in fact they are just like a ‘wreaking ball’ against the country and its economic survival. We are getting to the stage were all the interference is do infinitely more damage to everything, the complete opposite to the pronouncement – they just don’t think things though, ‘headline’, ‘virtue signal’ before brain. Just as everything shows their COP26 asperations with the aim of reducing World pollution in the direct way they are implementing things, creates a greater problem that it solves. The UK Government Policies exponentially create more ‘World’ Pollution, greater ‘World’ CO2 emissions and so on, just so they can say they have reduced our ‘territorial emissions’ – by deliberately move the problem overseas to more polluting structures then bring the finished item back does the opposite of the proclamation. – Forgetting to engage the Brain.

    Reply
  43. Micky Taking
    October 14, 2021

    OFF TOPIC.
    BBC news website.
    Only 58% of patients in England were seen face-to-face in August – the first full month following the ending of restrictions. That compares with 54% in January and more than 80% before the pandemic.
    We spoke to patients and GP Simon Hodes who says most GPs are working 12 to 14 hour days from their surgeries.
    Sir John – isn’t it about time the Government challenged this outright lie?
    We have family and friends all over the country, and with only 1 very different report all others say what a nightmare it is to contact a GP via surgery, telephone queing, lines disconnect, triage generally poor, fobbed off with anybody will do, visit for face-to-face with GP unheard of even when presenting with possible cancer. Frustration at an enormous level to the point where people talk about a non-existant NHS.

    Reply
    1. DOM
      October 14, 2021

      NHS unions from the BMA to the nursing unions are liars and grifters with their noses in the taxpayer trough but these Tories remain silent for exposing this abuse will simply damage the new Socialist Tory brand..they don’t give a toss anymore

      Reply
  44. Fedupsoutherner
    October 14, 2021

    Off topic. I see GPS are to be paid more to SEE people face to face. You couldn’t make it up. They must be overjoyed that Covid came along

    Reply
    1. alan jutson
      October 14, 2021

      Yes same old government policy, throw money at it and then see if it works any better, no penalty if they do not change things.

      Reply
    2. Lifelogic
      October 15, 2021

      The idiotic way GPs are remunerated is the source of the problem you must pay them only when they do useful work. Surely this is obvious to anyone – other than Heath Ministers and government it seems.

      Reply
  45. Mark Thomas
    October 14, 2021

    Sir John,
    I think you have pointed out the insidious nature of the EEC/EU. Over time we would have become almost entirely dependent upon it and our relationship would have changed to that of supplicant. This all began when the French were making the policies, with the connivance of the west Germans. Now the roles are reversed but the policy remains the same. All they ever wanted was our money, nothing more.

    Reply
  46. turboterrier
    October 14, 2021

    Until the country let alone government and politicians wake up and accept the fact that this relatively small island only has a finite amount of useable land. How they decide to divvy it up is critical to the future of its inhabitants. All the green initiatives in the world are not going to address all the demands made on food supply. The government has to accept that as one so small in landmass compared to the other large polluters, the country has been set onto the road to oblivion with all these green policies and projects which for other countries because of their landmass maybe are sustainable but in our situation totally unsustainable. All the things that are highlighted on a daily basis on this site each are relevant in their own way but(always a but) this country has got to cease trying to be a world leader at the top table and controlling every crisis that the world finds itself in. It is a real fact that the world has moved on, we still bathe in the way we were perceived and operated decades ago. Our influence is not what our government really thinks it is. When the UK is fully operational and firing on all cylinders with all the things that are desperately needed, then and only then will they be in a position to ask the populution to accept some of the demands being made upon us from the rest of the world.

    Reply
    1. alan jutson
      October 14, 2021

      Too many people in too little space, not only here but in many places all over the World.

      The greater the World population, the greater amount of food, water, power, and shelter needed.

      Reply
  47. X-Tory
    October 14, 2021

    It is perfectly normal and natural to support and have greater confidence in your domestic products, produced by your fellow citizens and adhering to your national regulations. It is only traitorous Remoaners who think that being proud of Britain, or British-made products and produce, is somehow ‘racist’. In Italy, where I am currently holidaying, they are extremely loyal to Italian food and all sorts of manufactured products, with advertisements and product labels specifying that they are “100% Made in Italy”, or that the food is grown in Italy. Even the pasta is often advertised as being from ‘100% Italian wheat’.

    Of course we need more British-grown food, and with the policies you set out this would not be difficult to achieve, but as I pointed out the other day the increase in the cost of energy is actually leading to a REDUCTION in food grown here!! And the government – YOUR government – have said that imports can lead to food security!! Your comments are NOT indicative of government thinking or government policy – if only they were! So what are you going to do to change their minds? With Useless Eustice in charge of EFRA there is little prospect of your sensible proposals being adopted, I’m afraid.

    Reply
  48. kb
    October 14, 2021

    The Prime Minister at the Tory conference promised to “re-wild” about a third of Britain !
    And then there are large areas destined to be covered in solar panels in the lunatic energy “policy”.
    Sir John seems to be increasingly at odds with his own government.

    Reply
  49. X-Tory
    October 14, 2021

    On the subject of the NI Protocol, I see that even Raoul Ruparel, former Special Adviser to Theresa May on Europe (and by no means a hardline Brexiteer!!), has made it clear that the EU’s much heralded proposals “definitely don’t live up to the hype of the pre briefing nor the press releases” and “the more I got into the texts, the less impressed I was”. There are a lot of EU assertions that the system will be simplified, but very little detail. The concessions that are detailed are “caveated”, have only limited application and require “ongoing alignment with product regulations which is not really a new or novel solution”. On medicines, the deceitful EU claim that they have offered a solution but this is not true since “The EU sets out they can be provided on a case by case basis, but this is the case now so they haven’t addressed this issue”. Also, “there is nothing on governance or the ECJ” and as for the suggestion that there could be different channels for goods going only to NI or going to the Republic, this is more EU deceitfulness, since “the proposals don’t amount to a ‘channels’ style approach”.

    Despite the fact that the EU’s proposals are completely useless and unacceptable, Lord Frost has actually welcomed them (is he mad?) and is already suggesting that these could be the basis of a deal – or as normal people would call it: “a sell out”. Please will you confirm that neither you nor the ERG believe that the EU’s proposals are any advance and that you still demand a complete rejection of the Protocol.

    Reply
    1. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2021

      I would also point out that we don’t know what the judges on ECJ would say even about the EU Commission’s present proposals, let alone with any further relaxations.

      Suddenly it appears that it is no longer necessary to have checks on incoming goods at the intensive level that was previously claimed to be indispensable for the proper protection of the EU Single Market; would the ECJ go along with that, if asked by some party with an interest in keeping the checks at the existing level?

      Reply
      1. NotA#
        October 14, 2021

        @Denis Cooper – the ECJ is not an independent court but a politically controlled court. Which is a major ‘beef’, the UK did suggest independent arbitration, that goes against the needs of the EU Commission s desire to dictate so they have dismissed that idea

        Reply
  50. Denis Cooper
    October 14, 2021

    Off topic, I read here about the EU’s latest display of arrogance:

    https://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Article/2021/10/14/Brexit-EC-approves-GB-sausage-exports-to-NI-and-cuts-red-tape

    “A truck transporting 100 different food products (for example, dairy, meat, fish, confectionary, fruit and vegetables) from GB to NI will now just need one certificate stating they meet the requirements of EU legislation instead of 100.”

    I would applaud that facilitation if it was applied to trucks travelling “from NI to IE”, from the UK into the Irish Republic, the trickle of goods to which it obviously could and should be applied to protect the EU Single Market, but the EU should simply have nothing at all to do with trucks moving “from GB to NI”.

    And as that same kind of certificate of conformity to EU requirements would also apply to goods exports that were produced within Northern Ireland, just as much as those brought in from outside the province, if it was applied to the correct flow of goods, which is the flow across the land border, there would no longer be any need to impose the rules of the EU Single Market, necessarily overseen by the EU Court, on the whole economy of Northern Ireland.

    Reply
    1. Denis Cooper
      October 14, 2021

      But I also read about hints from the UK government which the Irish Times detects and welcomes, so that will not be good news for those who want to preserve the UK as a sovereign whole.

      https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-new-proposals-for-the-northern-ireland-protocol-a-potential-deal-1.4699672

      “Frost’s insistence in recent days that the UK cannot accept a role for the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in dispute resolution is deeply problematic. He suggests the EU could easily agree to an alternative independent arbitration system like that in several trade agreements, including the post-Brexit deal with the UK.

      Brussels argues, however, that because the protocol is not just about regulating trade with a third country, but about the internal rules governing goods circulating within the EU single market, including Northern Ireland, adjudication of those rules must ultimately remain a matter for the EU court. This is not a principle that can be negotiated away, as the Commission last week pointed out to Poland, also demanding an a la carte approach to the court’s jurisdiction.”

      “The CJEU’s role has no relevance to the smooth flow of trade across the Irish Sea, and that it should be raised as an issue at this stage suggests that London is playing domestic political games with the protocol. Hints from Downing Street that the issue should not be seen as a “deal breaker” are most welcome.”

      The EU has to take this line because some of the goods carried across the land border into the Irish Republic are produced in Northern Ireland, not brought in from outside, and obviously any of those home produced goods which did not conform to EU requirements could not be picked up by the checks and controls on goods at the points of entry into the province. They could be picked if the checks were on all the goods destined to be taken across the border rather than all the goods brought in, as now, but in the autumn of 2019 the Irish government rejected the idea that such checks could be performed away from the actual border and Boris Johnson caved in to them, just as Theresa May had caved in to them.

      Reply
  51. BW
    October 14, 2021

    This is a good idea. Are we to use our home grown workforce to work on the farms and orchards or are they far to busy getting their sociology and psychology degrees so as to join the throng convincing us all we have mental health issues. Is there a link between the rise of mental health issues with the rise in sociologists and psychologists exiting our universities I wonder. Well they have to get work haven’t they Not for them the fields, orchards and farms.

    Reply
  52. Nota#
    October 14, 2021

    A leading transport firm quit the Road Haulage Association last night as a furious row over the lorry driver shortage dramatically escalated.

    Europa, a logistics giant based in Kent, said the RHA was ‘substantially responsible’ for chaos at petrol stations in recent weeks.

    Boss Andrew Baxter said he was ‘appalled’ by the tactics used by the RHA including ‘repeated leaking’ of confidential information.

    Yup, the RHA is now in the same league as the CBI

    Reply
    1. glen cullen
      October 14, 2021

      All the leading professional / trade bodies have been taken over by the woke brigade and ignore its paying members

      Reply
      1. NotA#
        October 14, 2021

        @Glen Cullen – in my experience most are controlled (really controlled) by foreign companies, paying tax in foreign domains. The only connection to the UK is they do employ people here. But, of course will leave once they have striped out what they need.

        Reply
  53. Margaret Brandreth-
    October 14, 2021

    John I wish to make a complaint about the commenter named as Andy on this website. The disrespect he shows for older people is abusive . If I were to say similar things about a different race or colour it would be disallowed .

    Reply
    1. turboterrier
      October 14, 2021

      Margaret Brandreth
      The comments you are referring to are totally disrespectful and vile. I cannot believe at times that our host even prints them. Totally disgusting and uncalled for. But it highlights where the future of this country appears to be going. The constant tirade of abuse directed at the older population and people who voted for Brexit is at times unbelievable. What signals does it send about the so called “younger” population to the world in general.

      Reply
      1. No Longer Anonymous
        October 15, 2021

        And our PM joined in at a recent youth conference “The old generation stole your future.”

        Reply
    2. Micky Taking
      October 14, 2021

      You’d be up before the beak ! Politically correct -not.

      Reply
    3. No Longer Anonymous
      October 14, 2021

      Or even referred to the police.

      Alas a typical Remainer and too stupid to see that this attitude precedes the Referendum, nay caused it. We had one yesterday taking the piss out of White Van Man .. the guy who kept the country going while middle-class Remainers hid away at home.

      +1

      Reply
    4. SM
      October 14, 2021

      I have made the same complaint today, Margaret.

      Reply
  54. turboterrier
    October 14, 2021

    Found on the Not Many People Know That blog

    https://www.netzerowatch.com/welcome-to-net-zero-watch/

    Backed by the GWPF.

    Reply
  55. Barbara
    October 14, 2021

    All our local farms are now identikit housing estates.

    Reply
  56. claxby pluckacre
    October 14, 2021

    Veg doesn’t grow in brick…..stop building needless houses….they are all going to starve ,as we can’t grow enough food because there’s houses everywhere.

    Reply
  57. a-tracy
    October 14, 2021

    We keep being told we have empty supermarket shelves all over Britain and it’s a crisis (this word is being overused right now like the boy that cried wolf – people will start to ignore this word when they’re not seeing a crisis).

    Everyone I ask says they’re not noticing a shortage and I have started to ask more. Ms Toynbee says the shortages are in places like Lowestoft and Minehead but she doesn’t say which supermarkets and which produce. Where did our supermarkets used to buy the missing items from? Are there British made alternatives, have they opened up their supply chains and advertised for new tenders?

    Reply
    1. No Longer Anonymous
      October 14, 2021

      Ditto here. No shortages.

      Reply
  58. Pauline Baxter
    October 14, 2021

    The trouble is Sir John, your leader is intent on other things, not on ensuring that U.K. can FEED itself and produce sufficient ENERGY to keep WARM let alone actually produce things.
    In the last few weeks my local shop has had to change it’s supplier of ‘hand made’ sandwiches because ‘NEW RULES’. I notice they now have IN VERY LARGE PRINT the number of CALORIES on them if over a certain ‘ALLOWED’ amount !! NEW RULES IMPOSED BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT. Not the EU.
    It seems that just because he is, let’s face it FAT, we must all be forced to lose weight. Meanwhile the N.H.S. is supplying me with a disgusting tasting ‘balanced meal in a drink’ because I am dangerously UNDERWEIGHT and just cannot face eating the disgusting processed food available, after years of undermining our own home grown food which we used to prepare and cook for ourselves.
    A bit of a personal rant but you must surely see Sir John that Boris Johnson is dangerously out of control over all these so called GREEN, ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY policies.
    Things like re-wilding, flooding land for wild birds, acres of wind farms and solar panels. It is an endless list as well as all the houses for the floods of immigrants.
    Either he genuinely is an idiot so NOT FIT TO RULE, or he is working towards imposing totalitarian rule by the United Nations.
    I understand when he was a child he said he wanted to be King of the World!

    Reply
    1. turboterrier
      October 14, 2021

      Pauline Baxter

      Leader? What leader we ain’t got one.

      Reply
      1. dexey
        October 15, 2021

        Yes we have. Rock on, Boris.

        Reply
    2. DavidJ
      October 15, 2021

      Well said Pauline. Boris is the usurper who must be removed.

      Reply
  59. jon livesey
    October 14, 2021

    There wasn’t a word in today’s piece that any sane, reasonable person could find fault with. And yet there are about a hundred and thirty daft negative comments so far. One even suggested that if we grow more of our own food we would go back to the British Railways standards of the sixties and seventies.

    The people who comment here are becoming caricatures of themselves.

    Reply
  60. Denis Cooper
    October 14, 2021

    Just reading the following paragraphs the EU proposals do not make sense in some ways.

    https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/national/european-union-proposes-different-model-to-address-northern-ireland-protocol-disruption-3418011

    “The European Commission is also proposing relaxing laws that would have seen some “high risk” GB produce, such as chilled meats, being banned from export into Northern Ireland.

    Again this prohibition has yet to come into effect as it is covered by an ongoing grace period.

    The EU said it will allow the movement of these products in the long term if the UK can demonstrate there is an issue sourcing supplies from within Northern Ireland.

    That would allow the continued import of British produce such as Cumberland sausages.

    Added certification requirements would be applied on certain high-risk produce entering Northern Ireland.

    The EU proposals on SPS goods apply to products that originate in Great Britain.

    In return for the concessions on agri-food rules, the EU is asking for added safeguards to ensure products remain within Northern Ireland and do not end up in the Irish Republic.

    Those include labelling, so certain items are clearly identified as being for sale in UK/NI only.”

    Once again, why have we heard nothing from the Irish government about the illegal Cumberland sausages flooding across the open border over the past months of the grace periods? Is there actually any significant problem here that needs to be solved? And how does it make sense to say that if an illegal product such as Cumberland sausages is not available from local producers then it can be imported from Great Britain? And when it has been allowed into Northern Ireland what is to stop it then crossing the border into the Republic in the absence of any UK law to prevent that happening, and if a UK export control law would be effective in preventing that happening for that particular product why not do the same for all illegal products, rather than faffing around with import controls plus Single Market checks on all companies in the province?

    Reply
    1. NotA#
      October 14, 2021

      @Denis Cooper – it’s not meant to make sense it’s about displining the UK and insuring it understand who is the boss. No independent democratic country in the World accepts laws, rules and regulations that they cannot amend or repeal. No independent democratic country in the World accepts jurdistiction of a foreign political court, and certainly wouldn’t accept one that is not independent

      Reply
      1. DavidJ
        October 15, 2021

        Excellent comment Sir John but you need to force Boris to comply.

        Reply
      2. DavidJ
        October 15, 2021

        Indeed NotA.

        Reply
  61. jon livesey
    October 14, 2021

    On topic, but probably not sufficiently inflammatory, a Swedish aquaculture company has announced plans to grow vegetables, salads and salmon in tanks so close to supermarkets that they will probably be hiring space in the parking lot.

    I don’t think you can get much closer to home than that.

    Reply
  62. dexey
    October 15, 2021

    Sainsburys are selling Gala apples grown in Kent.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *