February 25, 2006

Get worried with David Cameron

According to The Guardian (found via Gristmill), David Cameron, the leader of the UK Conservative Party, identifies with consumers' worries about "what we eat, how it's grown and what it does to our children." He is particularly concerned with GM foods.

Instead he should perhaps be reassuring consumers that GM foods are perfectly healthy and that food these days is safer and cheaper than ever. Although perhaps not for long. The same news item tells us that the mayor of London, Ken Livingston, promises to impose "prohibitively high charges" to trucks bringing non-locally grown food to London. He wants Londoners to switch to locally-grown, organic food. If Londoners haven't done so already it is because they find non-local food more desirable. But Livingston thinks he knows better.


  1. I followed your post on Grist with one of my own.

  2. I have seen it. Wise words.

  3. Mike Flynn (accel2 on Grist)2/28/2006 07:16:00 PM

    You really think that "If Londoners haven't done so already it is because they find non-local food more desirable"? You really think that is a proper linking of cause and effect?

    Perhaps it is because they find non-local food more desirable, BECAUSE such food is cheaper, and not for any other reasons. And then we must ask, WHY is non-local, non-organic food cheaper? Could it be due to market distortions such as:
    - government subsidies for large agribusiness (assuming they have even a fraction of as much such subsidies as the U.S. has)
    - externalized costs (such as air pollution and infrastructure wear from all that transportation of food, and soil and water pollution from the unsustainable agriculture)
    - fewer and smaller organic producers not yet able to benefit from economies of scale

    Based on this, I disagree with your conclusion that most Londoners prefer non-local or non-organic food based on anything other than cost, if that is really your conclusion.

  4. I live in the UK and most things that our government does, on the whole doesn't suprise me.
    The bottom line is, its politics, not about people eating healthily or helping local businesses, its about bringing an uninteresting politician into the limelight and to make crazy laws that again makes money for the government.
    We Britons have a very bad habit of complaining to each other about these laws, but not actually getting off our backsides and doing something about it.
    When all is said and done, it should be our choice wether we eat healthily or not, a personal preference, not a law.