It’s difficult to imagine that anyone in big business or government has any real concern about supply chain security, when the Conservative-friendly Daily Telegraph carries a story about the CEO of the UK’s Marks & Spencer retail chain now being on a 4-day week for a salary of £750K. Meanwhile, the real people at the other end of the wealth divide are working every hour they have and cannot even afford to buy food from one of the stores.
I will leave the timing and reasoning for this announcement, along with the raft of announcements from No.10 suggesting that our self-regalvanised PM is only now ready to his job to the reader.
But to say all of these deliberate distractions overlook the many elephants in the room and particularly the questions surrounding what happens to us all next would be comical, if it were not the fact that for the majority of us all, shit is about to get very real indeed.
Call me dramatic if you like. But few of us will accept that we are already in the process of a massive financial and systemic collapse until it actually hits us and we can feel the pain pushing into our own existence or life bubble in some way. Regrettably, that day will soon come.
However, whilst things like the housing market collapsing, or small businesses going bang because they simply cannot raise employee pay will inevitably hit or touch the lives of us all differently, there is one very profound and potentially very hard-hitting way that the collapse of the systems we currently take for granted is going to touch all of our lives in the same way. That’s the production, supply and the availability or shortages of food.
Before I go any further, it is important to get to the point that the supply of many of the foods that we probably all enjoy at home, from takeaways or when we go out to a pub or restaurant for a meal, are simply not going to be available in any of these ways anymore. Furthermore, this change to our lifestyles could well be pushing its way into our lives in perhaps just weeks or months from now.
The ingredients, the processing and the transportation of the foods that contribute to what might best be described as our very exotic, but nonetheless unhealthy diets aren’t just sourced from right across the world.
The foods we eat and the ingredients used to make them are processed here there and everywhere too.
The journeys that make up the pizzas, pies and puddings that we have all been conditioned to love crisscross continents and countries in various and accumulated forms. All before they finally reach the shelves of our local supermarkets or distribution centres, usually wrapped in a load of packaging that will immediately be thrown away, just as soon as they have come through our doors.
That the global supply chains that support and provide for all of this are collapsing right now is problematic enough.
But the real problem for us all that accompanies this collapse, is that even the majority of our most local producers (that’s local farmers and growers) buy the materials they need and then supply the meat, milk, cereals, vegetables and fruit that they produce into what is in effect part of this highly centralised operational business model.
Farmers and growers in the UK and across Western Countries do not produce or supply in a way that means that any of us could simply walk up to the local farm and buy or trade with the farmer to get the basic foods that we need, when everything that we know and take for granted about the supply of foods and goods today breaks down.
The processes that take raw foods from farms and turn them into the products that we love to eat and buy are massively complicated.
This complication has itself been encouraged and legitimised by the creation of many different industry-serving laws and rules. Not least of all by our friends in the European Union, that became just another way of dressing up greed-driven globalisation, but in a more politically acceptable continent-wide way.
What we or rather more importantly all of our seat-blocking politicians in Parliament are failing to grasp right now – whilst they keep on attempting to distract us with soundbites and other hollow scheme imaginable, is that we have a massive food crisis ahead of us. A food crisis that is looming large that will not be temporary. And that in terms of re-tasking, repurposing, redirecting, and reimagining the most essential forms and mechanics of our basic food supply chain – we are now critically unprepared.
Its not as if Farmers and Growers aren’t trying to make our politicians aware that there is a crisis coming either.
The issue with the politicians we have today is that everything they stand for, have bought and dragged us into and has been motivated by or is tied up in the money or greed based system that we currently have.
By even acknowledging that the focus of food supply must immediately become local, as part of the now essential drive to make the UK self-sufficient in all basic foods, goods and services in the shortest time, our politicians will be admitting to the wrongs of the part that they and many others before them have played in contributing to this mess over decades.
That however, is not an excuse for those in power and in our Parliament not to act now.
When we are all facing a change to our reality and a process of transition where there is a growing possibility that British People are going to starve, the public representatives that we have elected to look our for our best interests should be prioritising this change to local supply and UK self sufficiency in every possible way.