I say unhealthy because I have seen first-hand the farmers who worry, becoming visibly stressed as they see only the negatives. This is not good for them or their blood pressure.
The UK produces just 60% of the food we eat, the rest is imported from the EU and elsewhere.
We export produce, including lamb, beef, chicken, grain, dairy products, food and drink of all kinds, and much besides including flowers.
Currently many farmers, growers and slaughter houses rely upon the services of migrant workers, including vets. Prior to joining the Common Market, there was no difficulty recruiting staff from overseas. If dishonest scare tactics stopped, farmers and EU workers would soon realise that very little will change following Brexit, other than identifying those who come for a specific job and plan to return to their country of origin, from those coming as economic migrants.
As a nation we are very fickle. We like to consider ourselves patriotic and supportive of all things British. However, when it comes to our purchasing power we are not consistent or supportive of our producers. We could and should do so much better.
It is disappointing that the NFU fails to invest the funds which it collects from British farmers into vigorous marketing campaigns. The NFU and its officers are meant to be the voice of our industry. Instead of playing politics on the fringes, which they quite obviously are not very good at, their time and our money would be far better spent encouraging the public to ‘Buy British’, and inspire producers to widen their range to more exotic products.
If the public truly got behind the industry and insisted on filling our shopping trolleys with locally sourced in particular, British produce, the major supermarkets would have to follow our lead. We must also question the origin of food in restaurants and take away outlets.
We should lead the way with our purchasing power and not be led by the nose by multinational super stores, and coffee shops such as Costa Coffee doing their best to increase their profits.
At a time when our high streets are dying as we walk past on our way to one of the UKs 2,121 Costa Coffee shops, or drive past on the way to one of the 3,400 Tesco stores and others, we should think very carefully about what effect our thoughtless behaviour will have upon the future of our high streets and communities.
When did any of us last stop to speak to someone in a supermarket? They are impersonal, sterile environments. On the other hand, each time we drop into our local butcher, baker, and farm shop or news agent, it is rare to emerge without having caught up on local gossip, including news about recent births, marriages or those who have been recently dispatched.
We must support our local independent stores, and whenever possible demand British products. Then those farmers worrying about finding a regular market for their products, will have less reason to do so, and sleep much better at night.
So much has been said about Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement, it is hard to find new words to describe her duplicity. Not since Cameron and Osbourne circulated their Pro- Remain leaflet to every household prior to the Referendum, has such dishonesty been so widely distributed, as in her ‘open’ letter.
The Prime Minister treats the British public and democracy with utter contempt. Her ‘40 Reasons to Back the Brexit Deal’ are mostly untrue, and deeply damaging to the UK. Any MP intending to vote for this Agreement should seriously question their conscience.
The backstop is totally unacceptable, Mrs May cannot blackmail Parliament into agreeing a deal which permanently ties the United Kingdom to the EU.