Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nursery government

Certain sections of the media, such as The Times are getting (moderately) excited about Defra's latest initiative on food security.

This is bolstered by a new report, which launches a public consultation, with the department telling us:

We have put this package of material together online to gather your thoughts, ideas, views and concerns. We want this feedback to help shape the Government’s food policy agenda, and help us work out what we need to do to tackle some of the pressures, and maximise the opportunities, we are all faced with.
Even to begin to analyse this effluvia would, however, be a waste of time and effort. Firstly, the government is transfixed by the idea that cropping patterns are going to be affected by global warming. Yet we are currently in a cooling phase, which may last 30 years or more, with profound – and different – effects on food production.

Secondly, it is labouring under the impression that it has any control over food policy. It hasn't. This is a sole competence of the EU. Has the government never heard of the CAP? Yet it is not mentioned anywhere in the report.

Thirdly, the government is purporting to make plans for food policy for thirty years ahead. Next year, though, there is a general election. It is a racing certainty that this government will be kicked out – it will not even have time to analyse the response to its faux consultation.

The only thing that this initiative tells us, therefore, is that we have a government in denial. This is nursery government, with about as much relevance to reality as kiddies playing doctors and nurses.