A Glimpse of Post-Brexit Britain

I see the British government is the latest to jump aboard this particular bandwagon:

The level of household food waste in England is “unacceptable” and householders have a key role to play in reducing it, MPs have said.

As others have said: who is working for whom, here?

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee said 7.3m tonnes of food was wasted in UK households in 2015.

The committee said shops should relax standards that prevent the sale of “wonky vegetables” to help cut waste.

Vegetables that shops currently cannot sell is now classed as household food waste, is it? This is three paragraphs in.

Committee chairman Neil Parish said: “One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, and in the UK over £10bn worth of food is thrown away by households every year.

You know, perhaps the people throwing away this stuff are in a better position to judge than some bureaucrat in London?

“Economically, food waste costs households hundreds of pounds a year and causes increased disposal costs to local authorities, pushing up council tax bills.

Oh, so that’s what is pushing up council tax bills: people throwing away too much perfectly edible food. Right.

Food waste costs the average person in the UK £200 per year, the report said.

The average household lost £470 a year because of avoidable food waste, while those with children lost £700, it said.

Okay, but a couple of paragraphs before we were told that:

“Socially, it is a scandal that people are going hungry and using food banks when so much produce is being wasted.

People are supposedly so cavalier about food that they throwing it away to the tune of £200 per year, yet they are also hungry and going to food banks. Yes, I get that we might not be talking about the same people, but it sounds more like Marie Antoinette’s vision of society rather than modern Britain.

It said it would be “hugely challenging” to reduce food waste further and would require “a considerable investment of resource”.

“Give us more money,” they said.

And isn’t this lovely:

In their report, Food Waste in England, the MPs said:

The incoming government should establish a national food waste target for England.
It should examine how lessons on food and avoiding waste could be incorporated into the curriculum.
Waste reduction body Wrap, a charity which helps people and businesses reduce waste, should have sufficient money from the government to maintain its efforts in raising awareness.
Food businesses and retailers over a certain size should be forced to separate food waste for collection.
Supermarkets should be required by the government to publish data on the amount of food they bin. The report commended Tesco for already doing so and Sainsbury’s for moving in the same direction.
Retailers should increase the amount of surplus food they give away to charities.
Retailers should improve their packaging by, for example, increasing resealable packets.
Retailers should make food storage instructions clearer on packaging.
The next government should work with restaurants on reducing waste by, for example, offering smaller portions, reducing the amount of sides, and encouraging the taking home of leftovers.

Anyone who thinks that Britain will be free of meddling, petty bureaucrats seeking to line regulate every tiny aspect of life while lining their own pockets once they leave the EU is seriously deluded. Yes, I get the argument that “we can at least kick them out”, but let’s see this actually happen for once.

That a government department can put out stuff like this in a run-up to a general election speaks volumes. What it means is that most people either agree with this stuff (spend five minutes on Mumsnet to see who) or they don’t care. Either way, people deserve the government they get. If this is what they want then good luck to them, but wasn’t the plan for Britain, once Brexit is complete, to become some sort of commercial paradise free of all that red tape and crushing regulation? Uh-huh.

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10 thoughts on “A Glimpse of Post-Brexit Britain

  1. “Anyone who thinks that Britain will be free of meddling, petty bureaucrats seeking to line regulate every tiny aspect of life while lining their own pockets once they leave the EU is seriously deluded. Yes, I get the argument that “we can at least kick them out”, but let’s see this actually happen for once.”

    Really isn’t much to add to that insight. Except to point out that it has (almost) never been about petty EU bureaucrats- mostly they tend to be homegrown and meddling at the behest of our own sovereign independent parliament.

  2. Has the EU just been the British bureaucrat’s excuse all along? You know, like how shop staff will use their boss or “the computer” as a scapegoat when they’re telling you you can’t have a refund.

  3. I don’t think it’s been an excuse as such but the EU encouraged our home grown jobsworths because it is much more the continental way to lay down rules governing the minutiae of normal behaviour. Previously we had general precepts and the discretion of those who enforced them. It is a truism that in Britain if it was not specifically forbidden it was allowed; whereas in the EU if it is not specially allowed you can’t do it. (I generalise and exaggerate of course.) But our friends in Europe didn’t pay too much attention to the rules whereas we are basically much more law abiding. (Another generalisation.)

  4. @mike fowle
    ” It is a truism that in Britain if it was not specifically forbidden it was allowed; whereas in the EU if it is not specially allowed you can’t do it. ”

    not much of a generalisation tbh! It was always the major difference between Roman/Norman Law and English Common Law (and no I am so not one of the FoL mob). Returning to this country under Blair from Germany I got the shock of my life. Suddenly everything here was forbidden, regulated, made one put on weight….or offended someone.
    And I think you and McC are both right, the EU was the empowering excuse for our own Jobsworths, our own politicians and our own Public Health nannies.

  5. Anyone who thinks that Britain will be free of meddling, petty bureaucrats seeking to line regulate every tiny aspect of life while lining their own pockets once they leave the EU is seriously deluded.

    In one.

  6. There are red socialists (with all their petty-fogging regulations and rules and procedures and ambitions of equality for you but not them) and then there are blue socialists, with much the same.

    Currently we have the blue variety in power, that’s all.

  7. “It was always the major difference between Roman/Norman Law and English Common Law”: people keep repeating this bollocks but when they cross the border they move from a Common Law jurisdiction to a Scots/Roman Law jurisdiction, and yet the same ‘OK if not forbidden’ custom applies.

  8. In most parts of Africa more than half of food goes to waste between farm and market. The Guardian wants to ban motor vehicles. Those nasty CO2 producing things which transport food to market. Many regions have civil wars which prevent distribution of food even when it is cheap and abundant only a few miles (sometimes hundred miles) away.

    But of course, throwing stuff out of the fridge is MUCH more important.

  9. My worry has always been that we will end up with the worst of both worlds owing to the showers in charge, and your post just feels me with dread.

  10. “Waste reduction body Wrap”

    No it’s f*cking not. Wrap is hugely responsible for _increasing_ food waste because they don’t want it packaged up to stop it getting damaged.

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