Retailers speak truth to power, only to see power fail to act and tell more lies

Lying to the public has become the national pastime in the UK to the point where the bar is now set so low that it lies on the ground, broken into pieces.

So when someone tells the truth, we sigh with relief until we realise that nothing will happen as a result. Take former Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King, who has had a go at the Government for not including supermarkets in its energy support scheme. He has blamed Brexit for what he says are “horribly hurting” UK supermarkets, following the announcement from the majors that they are having to limit how many vegetables their customers can buy.

We know that bad weather in southern Europe has led to a fall in production but this has highlighted two huge problems – Brexit and a lack of domestic food production. However, if the Government won’t talk about Brexit or own up to its devastating effects on the UK economy, what hope is there for UK food imports or boosting domestic production?

Apparently, we don’t need to grow our own food

Some government ministers say that we are so rich in the UK that we can afford to import a lot of our food – we only produce at home 30% of what we consume. That’s nonsense given that we are all talking about the importance of food security, which depends on having much greater control of domestic production. It will also come as a surprise to the millions of workers striking to recover real incomes that have fallen significantly in the life of the current governing party.

Arguments about a lack of space are also nonsense given what the relatively tiny country of Holland is able to do. However, to grow more food at home would require central government to get behind a campaign to explain why it is important and then to subsidise development, given that one of the reasons for the current shortage of food is that many farmers simply cannot afford to operate in the face of high energy costs.

Clueless government

So add Brexit to high energy costs, and inflation to a complete lack of understanding of farming on behalf of the current secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Thérèse Coffey, following her ‘clueless’ response to the food shortages in her speed to the National Farmers’ Union, and the UK is in a double bind : not enough domestic food production and no commitment to fix the problem.

This is very much in the nature of most things in the UK at the moment. Any optimism is generally beaten down once you discover that there is not the money, the will nor the competence to fix problems that have led the one of the richest countries in the world to see 2.7 million of its citizens relying on over 2000 food banks.

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