George Eustice, was speaking at the conference of the National Farmers’ Union. He began by paying “tribute to the great work” of its outgoing president: “thank you for what you’ve done.” Can you picture a minister in this government saying that about the head of any other trade union? The NFU’s primary work is lobbying. Yet the critical distance between government and lobbyists you would expect in a functioning democracy is non-existent.
The same goes for distance of any other kind. The address of Eustice’s ministry, the department for environment, food and rural affairs, is 17 Smith Square, London SW1. The address of the National Farmers’ Union is 16 Smith Square, London SW1. Though farmers comprise just 0.3% of the population of England and only 1.4% of the rural population(6), ministers treat them and their lobbyists as an idol before which they must prostrate themselves. Rural policy and farming policy are, to the government, synonymous; 98.6% of rural people are marginalised by the decisions it makes.
The west – run by a generation that believes the market is the solution to everything – suddenly found you cannot outsource strategy; that there are situations in which the boss of JP Morgan cannot help you; and that the pursuit of legally dubious wars of conquest, by legally indefensible means, flattens the public appetite for force for a generation.
If an economic proxy war breaks out between the EU, USA and Russia, and China backs the latter, then you can kiss globalisation goodbye.
That is why, as we wake up, come out of the theatre, or the shower, and pick up our smartphones, the sensible thing to check for is not the outbreak of world war three, but the end of the global order.
Forth Bridges Festival
They are two world famous icons, a brace of engineering triumphs that span the waters of the River Forth. The Forth bridges also play an integral role in the Scottish psyche and, of course, adorn many a postcard. The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge and the good news is that there is going to be a mammoth ten day party that we are all invited to. http://www.forthbridgesfestival.com/
Bill Nye, Science Guy, Dispels Poverty Myths
Peter Joseph on technological unemployment.
Oldest Living Pianist, Holocaust Survivor, Alice Herz-Sommer - 109 years old
Al Bowlly with the Ray Noble Orchestra, (find a grave)