What’s the difference between a Yorkshireman and a Coconut?

I’m sure not all Yorkshiremen will excuse me but, as a former resident, I’m sure the ones worthy of the name will.

The answer is:- You can get a drink out of a coconut.

Perhaps that is why coconuts don’t flourish in Yorkshire.

Mind you, it turns out that the oil is the important part.

Does George Eustice, the Agriculture Minister, albeit a Cornishman, but still a (prosperous) farmer himself, realise this?

Because there seems a great appetite to think that there is major scope for import substitution when Britain leaves the EU.

George Eustice must realise that there is usually only one harvest a year and that crops and livestock do not grow overnight. His colleagues from the shires seem blissfully unaware, that, for example, about 30% of our lamb is exported – to the EU.

And even in Cornwall, although there may be a supply of tea there are no coconuts.

If farmers are to provide the food Britain needs they need, with just 20 months before potential ‘B’ day, to know precisely what they should be growing in order to earn a living.

And farmers might need to know that, for example, the  days are numbered for British Sugar and that coconuts are the future.

Indeed I think both are true even if we remain in the EU, but if the former may prove of some concern to East of England farmers the latter should be the concern rather for the British consumer.

Food and drink comprises the biggest section of EU regulation and yet, quite remarkably, there is no plan.

In the recent report by a combined Sussex, Cardiff and City Universities  Professor Lang, one of the contributors, said “UK food security and sustainability are now at stake. A food system which has an estimated three to five days of stocks cannot just walk away from the EU, which provides us with 31 per cent of our food. Anyone who thinks that this will be simple is ill-informed.”

And, he could have added, that all of that is based on a just in time ordering system.

When customs controls are reintroduced by the EU, even if the UK may, characteristically, choose not to afford them, then using the M2 as a lorry park is likely to become permanent.

Still, at least coconuts are more likely to come to Liverpool or Tilbury.

I think we have to conclude that food is one of many areas and also actually, probably the most important area where the government does not have the foggiest idea what it is doing. By failing to act now it is giving neither farmers nor their customers – us – any security.

This is a decidedly ill thought out way for the Government to run a country which is leaving a Customs Union. As a result the so called precariat is likely to comprise ever more members and will result in that same precariat becoming pervasive.

A sad indictment.

With a despairing heart, I return to to the more optimistic coconuts.

I cannot find anywhere in the EU that produces them.

So at least it is likely we will still be allowed the luxury of frying or roasting in coconut oil – and indeed organic supplies seem widely available.  Which is perhaps some recompense.

Perhaps this is a suitable way of encouraging ‘healthy life’ afficiandos to buy coconut oil to cook with, and in – if they aren’t already- and trying to encourage the spread of the good word.

When cooked, coconut oil doesn’t generally produce hydrogenated oils – so the oil you’re cooking in doesn’t change much. The table is below:

We can now even use lard without guilt.

In the past, I’ve consumed fish and chips with delicious chips cooked in lard. This was – and is now again – a tribute to Yorkshire, although, of course originally we were told that we should not allow lard, never mind appreciate the taste.

Now I’m much encouraged towards real food and just fry again – preferably in coconut oil – but local lard will certainly do!

Simple Strategies for Optimising Mental Health. Or….. If all the world could go for a walk…..

In response to Peter May’s post of a few days ago, I didn’t want to leave Mental Health Awareness Week without mentioning some positive and potent lifestyle changes that can be adopted to combat the kind of low-grade  anxiety and depression many of us are now subject to. Anger, frustration, disquiet, helplessness, fuelled by division, have become the daily fare and you might go as far as to say that if you’re not depressed to some degree at the moment, then you might well be in need of some psychological help! It’s not easy. The World Health Organisation website tells us that the current generations is 4 times as depressed as the previous one and the previous one was ten times more depressed than the one before it. This depression epidemic should shock us to the core but we seem to be taking it in our stride. Perhaps it’s because so much is in crisis we don’t know where to look next. Just a thought. 🙂

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Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week . What an excellent time for the Conservatives to pledge an extra 10,000 mental health staff by 2020 – it’s surely just minor carelessness that they’ve managed to lose 4,800 mental health staff on their current watch so far.

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Housing must be made a Priority to Reduce Homelessness

Walking around the city streets of the UK, it is impossible to miss the growing levels of homelessness. Ever more homeless people appear, asking for change or sheltering in doorways. Are they asleep, unconscious, or worse? It’s hard for passers-by to tell, and few are willing to check.

It is often the most vulnerable people in our communities – those that most deserve our protection – who end up suffering the brutalities of homelessness: poverty, insecurity, violence, substance abuse, fear, stigma, ill health and an early death.

So why, in one of the richest countries in the world, do we still have a problem with homelessness, and what can we do about it?

Manchester has been chosen for this case study but the problem exist in nearly all (if not all) of the cities in Britain.

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Do you take sugar? No thanks.

Amid the election fever I feel it is still important to draw attention to this cardiologist for whom I’ve long had respect. Although I’ve never met him (probably fortunately!) I’m even more delighted that he was based at what used to be my local hospital, the Lister Hospital, Stevenage. For me he is spot on. I cannot understand why he never seems to be on the BBC. So don’t let anyone tell you the sugar tax is a stupid idea.

Continue reading “Do you take sugar? No thanks.”