2017-12-05 13:25:38 UTC
But where is the incentive to do so?
"Donald Jones, Cryzine" <***@remove-this.cryzine.com> wrote in message news:***@126.96.36.199...
: We are not preparing for major food shortages says the Cabinet Office
: by Donald Jones
: 5 Dec 2017
: Britain imports more than half its food, and even what it produces at
: home largely relies on labour from elsewhere in the EU. Yet the Cabinet
: Office says it knows nothing about the risk of food shortages.
: As the shape that will be taken by Britain's trading environment post-
: Brexit remains unclear, the Cabinet Office has formally denied having any
: information about even the possibility of major food shortages.
: The denial came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request that
: asked whether things remain the same now as they were in 2012, when the
: Cabinet Office issued a similar denial. For the purposes of the Act, the
: department also speaks on behalf of the Prime Minister's Office.
: Despite the present uncertainty as to whether trade talks between Britain
: and the EU will even commence, let alone the shape that any trade
: agreement might take, the denial by the Cabinet Office was categorical.
: Cryzine has seen copies of all three documents - the request and the two
: responses - none of which have yet been published.
: The request asked for "any documents (...) regarding the possible
: scenario of major food shortages or the threat of famine in the UK", a
: scenario defined as "shortages in which at least 1% of the population
: might be at risk of not getting enough to eat, unless emergency steps
: (are) taken".
: Could the finest moment of Thomas Malthus, said to be the canonical
: expresser of the Tory attitude towards the lower orders, be yet to come?
: It continues "These documents would include, for example, documents
: regarding the scenario which might arise if financial collapse brings a
: collapse of international trade, and importing food in the quantities in
: which it is currently imported then becomes difficult or impossible."
: The 2012 reply stated that "(the) Cabinet Office does not hold any
: information relating to the type of scenario you describe (...) (A)
: scenario of (that) severity is not considered likely in present
: The second request, submitted last month, asked whether the statements
: made in 2012 are still true today, "given the decision to leave the EU
: and the consequent uncertainty including regarding the shape that will be
: assumed by the UK's foreign trade relations in the near future".
: The 2017 reply, released late last night, states in no uncertain fashion
: that "the statements made in (the 2012) response still hold today".
: The Cabinet Office repeats its unequivocal denial that it holds any
: information regarding emergency food stocks.
: It further states that "the UK has a highly effective and resilient food
: supply chain (and) the resilience of the sector has been demonstrated in
: response to potentially disruptive challenges in recent years", that "the
: food industry remains highly resilient owing to the capacity of food
: supply sectors and the high degree of substitutability of foodstuffs".
: It is not clear how substitutability can prevent starvation in a country
: such as Britain imports more than half its food.
: They know. They must know. Cryzine's advice: stock up on food now
: Explaining that "(the Government intends) to seek customs arrangements
: that facilitate trade relationships with our European partners", the
: Cabinet Office makes clear that it holds no papers regarding a possible
: failure to achieve its intention.
: The Cabinet Office's Nero-like denial comes in the face of statements by
: various players in the British food industry that there there could well
: be very serious problems.
: * The National Farmers' Union has revealed that British horticulture had
: a shortfall of 29% in its seasonal workforce in September, causing tons
: of fruit to be left to rot across the country.
: * Frazer Thompson, boss of Chapel Down, Britain's biggest winemaker, has
: said in no uncertain terms that if the agricultural labour issue is not
: sorted out after Brexit, Britain will "starve".
: * The chief executive of supermarket giant Sainsbury, Mike Coupe, has
: said that fresh food could be left rotting at the border if strict
: customs controls for EU goods are introduced after Brexit.
: * In an article published by the Royal Society, researchers have
: emphasised that Britain imports more than half its food and its animal
: * While the Tory right paint World Trade Organisation terms as if they
: are some kind of fallback in the event of "hard Brexit", the reality is
: that no country has the right to trade with another country without a
: trade agreement. In a country as reliant on food imports as Britain,
: famine remains a very real possibility if trade breaks down.
: * In July, leading food policy specialists in London, Sussex and Cardiff
: published a briefing paper entitled "A Food Brexit: Time to Get Real",
: warning that "the implications of Brexit for food are potentially
: enormous". They found not just that "the entire UK food system is
: dependent on migrant labour", but also "the UK food system faces real
: challenges on food security". Their conclusion was stark and terrifying:
: "The UK has no food policy".
: Could a population readjustment, also known as FAMINE, be around the
: In their words: "Supplies could be reduced, prices could become
: increasingly volatile, environmental sustainability could be further
: diminished, safety could be imperilled, inequalities could be amplified,
: and public trust be undermined. The just-in-time distribution systems,
: complex contracts, and labyrinthine supply chains cannot quickly or
: easily be restructured."
: But for the British government, it appears all can only possibly be
: We have to ask whether the finest moment for the wicked 19th century
: English curate Thomas Malthus, believed by astute critics to be the
: father of the quintessentially Tory and British ruling class attitude
: towards the lower orders, is not still to come. Could a population
: readjustment, also known as FAMINE, be around the corner?