West Dorset Conservative MP Chris Loder happy to see supply chains collapse…

Ever get the feeling that the current crop of Conservative MPs – especially Brexiters – fail to think things through? Brexit is itself the most monumental example of a failure to understand (in fact, wilfully mis-understand) the consequences of shooting ourselves in the foot. There’s an endless stream of nonsense from John Redwood whose Twitter feed is more surreally ‘amusing’ than any parody account could ever hope to be. Johnson himself is, of course, the master of the unhinged whopper and no doubt the Conservative party conference will supply some bonkers dead cat ideas from the Known Liar to distract everyone from the utter trashing he is inflicting on the country.

And here’s a Dorset MP with a bad case of nostalgia-fuelled ignorance of the workings of the real world:

Chris Loder. Image by LMComms on Wikimedia Commons

Let’s just look at this again:

“I think actually one great opportunity we have from the issues we see at the moment is actually for some of these supply chains to crumble. I know it might not feel like it in the immediate term. But it is in our mid and long-term interest that these logistic chains do break.

It will mean that the farmer down the street will be able to sell their milk in the village shop like they did decades ago. It is because these commercial predators – that is the supermarkets – have wiped that out and I’d like to see that come back.”

Oh, Chris! Where to begin? OK. Short term. What do you think a collapse in supply will do to prices? How are the family who have seen their universal credit cut or their national insurance hiked and their fuel bills sky-rocketing going to cope this winter with even higher food prices? I doubt they’ll be thinking that hunger pains are worth it for the dim prospect of a pint of local milk or of the milkman returning to the streets some years’ hence.

And then there is this unbelievably naive view of the local farm down the street! What? Look, I know Bridport is a foodie heaven and big on organic and local…but that’s Bridport and I doubt even the local farmers and growers can supply the whole of the town with food in any event. Washingpool Farm Shop won’t replace Morrisons, Lidl, Waitrose and the Co-op , will they, however idyllic that notion might be. So how on earth do you think the bigger towns and cities are going to fare, eh? We’re talking millions of people, Chris, with no dairy down the road…

You know, much as you may wish it, we really cannot forget what your party has done to food and farming so far. It’s quite some list:

  • Taken us out of the single market and customs union with a devastating impact on exports for farm products. This means farms go out of business or get hoovered up (Dysoned up, more specifically) by the big ‘factory’ operations. These small farmers or village shop owners won’t suddenly find the money to buy a milk float and toddle off round the streets at 5am delivering milk bottled magically by the milk bottle fairies, though I am sure you dream of that.
  • Wrecked access to labour by ending freedom of movement – again with a consequent hit to viability/survivability.
  • Struck a deal with Australia which undercuts our food and animal welfare standards with potentially disastrous consequences AGAIN for farmers/ producers of high quality, high welfare food. Dread to think what any US deal will do!
  • Voted AGAINST maintaining food and animal welfare standards post Brexit.

If the farmer down the street – if there ever was such a phenomenon – is still in business after your lot has taken a wrecking ball to his livelihood, then it will be a bloody miracle, quite frankly.

If you had done everything you could to ensure that the outlook for our farmers and growers was healthy, sustainable and supportive of their efforts then I’d say fair play for wanting to see them able to exploit some much-needed pricing power and expanded market opportunities. But you haven’t. Quite the reverse.

So, for goodness sake, get a grip, man! People and businesses can no more live off nostalgia than they can off sovereignty. But then people’s welfare isn’t that much of a priority, is it and nor, it is clear, is farming.

PS: apparently Loder comes from a farming background! Really? Political ambition creates selective amnesia?

PPS: Oh, and farmers increasingly sell their milk locally in village shops but also in 24/7 vending machines (EU funded!) at the farm gate! Fine in rural areas and if their customers have transport or are a Shanks’s pony distance away…