Can the Government make a positive difference to the UK food system – please?

Dr Clive Black

December 14, 2023 1:58 pm
Can the Government make a positive difference to the UK food system – please?

The sight of Mark Francois MP and his band of crap right-wingers holding court on prime news time at the Palace of Westminster ahead of a piece of self-suicide politics (Rwanda Bill) by a UK Government not looking at itself in the mirror, not reading the national dressing room, and not acting in the national interest, was frankly depressing.

His cabal of unhinged anti-EUers, has seriously contributed to the de-rating of the United Kingdom, rendering the Teresa May government unworkable to be followed by the total buffoonery and disingenuity of Boris Johnson, despite a mandate, and incompetence of Liz Truss.

Sunak, who is intelligent and trying to be statesmanlike, is leading a fragmented party that has lost sight of the privilege and responsibility of Government. Francois et al., excess in the taxpayer funded luxury of Westminster, when the country needs more than ever competence. In 2024 the country is likely to take its toll on this shower of political excrement, a cabal that is so bad, the immediate emotion is just get rid and worry about what’s next at another time.

Clearly, the latter thought is not progressive and indeed dangerous, and should Labour and Starmer win the next UK general election, the solidity and competence of his Government will need to be assessed. However, for the British food system, all industries in fact, there is a chronic need for a better State context, it is really important to the potential of the nation’s business from the supply side.

Starmer or Sunak will also have to deal Liz Truss’ legacy in that her monumental incompetence – it is staggering that she has the brass-neck to glad rag around the world now as some sort of political thought-leader – will mean that the gilt (UK Government bond) and currency markets will be the controlling factors behind his room to manoeuvre from a financial perspective, noting that Labour is not going to be able to fund an expansion of public services from carried interest, non-doms and private schools alone (expect ever-decreasing revenues from these sources as private capital adjusts ahead of the next election).

Indeed, whatever colour of rosette is standing at the Prime Minister despatch box in 2025, they will need to find ways to encourage economic growth that has to more positively involve the private sector. Frankly, poor supply side provision – crime, education & skills, the health service, planning, transport & communications, welfare etc… – key functions of the State for decades has eroded the capability of the United Kingdom and the country will only increase business investment – a sustained problem – and so fulfil the potential for economic growth and ongoing wealth generation if these matters improve.

That should be the next Prime Minister’s priority with the central state and government agencies tasked with enabling such a drive. To do so will need a change of culture in the workings of government, including the civil service, which frankly is not the best in the world, far from it. Rather it is a problematic self-perpetuating deliberately constructed entity, set in the bygone days of classics and humanities is a digital era, that is draining the country dry; in this respect, Bishop Auckland loving rogue Cummings was correct.

Amidst this mire it is easy to become fatalistic. However, business cannot afford to do so, the food system especially cannot adopt such a stance. Indeed, I remain very frustrated that the biggest industrial system in the United Kingdom is just so badly treated and its potential blindsided by several UK Governments. Put another way I see enormous good to come from a well thought-through industrial strategy for the British food system that brings together what are many world-class features of the nation where 1+1 could equal 10!

Sunak is trying the bring stability but he is surrounded by a circus. Starmer, if elected, has to show he does not have such internal dysfunction and prove that he can bring something better to create the context for sustained British economic growth. It would be inappropriate to be naive but with inflation stabilising into less uncomfortable zones, UK interest rates potentially at their peak in the present cycle, real living standards rising, simply competent Government with a patient approach to supply side change would make for much better times.

Hence, whilst Francois et al leave one fuming as to how the crazed single agenda privileged few can mess it up for the many, maybe there is hope that the ground swell of the good British can re-emerge with a more settled Government in 2024/5 that allows the country and its food system to starting fulfilling our potential. Amidst all this domestic shenanigans, 2024 also brings elections in Ireland and the United States of America… What could possibly go wrong?

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas.

Dr Clive Black

Senior Advisor

Coriolis Consulting

December 2023.

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