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Barbara’s Blog



With unemployment heading towards the 2 million mark, where now for the economy. Barbara Panvel goes back to basics.

Governments unthinking admiration for the financial world was expressed in 2002 on its website:

London is a global centre of finance and has great power as a result. With power comes responsibility. The Government has supported the Corporation of London and Forum for the Future's Centre for Sustainable Finance, in developing a high-profile set of Principles and a casebook of good practice examples . . . and the development of new 'Guidance on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Management and Reporting for the Financial Services Sector'. ( )

Another misdirected government desire is to make tourism this country’s second best earner. Dismissive of agriculture and manufacturing, farmers in Britain were given a new mission by the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food: to switch from growing food to caring for the countryside (

Agricultural heritage centres were built in rural areas and former industrial and mining areas were encouraged to turn to tourism for regional revitalisation and put manufacturing machinery in museums. Renewable energy proposals were often blocked, fearing adverse impacts on tourism.

An Act of Parliament set up Natural England to implement recommendations by Lord Haskins of Northern Foods - a large food corporation which produces pizza, biscuits, ready meals, sandwiches, salads and puddings and requires cheap imported food to keep costs down.

In 2001 Christopher Haskins pinned his hopes for the Lake district on tourism and the trade generated by servicing this sector [his ready meals?], praising the scenic caravan and holiday park sector which “has 'shown the way' to the rest of the tourism and hospitality industry in terms of the sustainable development of the tourism product”.

Natural England's decision to allow 14 houses to slip into the sea was declared illegal by a High Court judge. This quango had urged that when the cliffs had eroded its fossils would be exposed – no doubt to the lucrative gaze of tourists.

Natural England is encouraging the reintroduction of predators such as the sea-eagle and lynx, because sea eagles, the lynx and beavers can generate interest and income from tourism - but at what cost to local people and agriculture?

Some Scots are resisting the reintroduction of beavers. In Estonia a single pair of beavers were released in the 1920s and there are now about 100,000 whose activities have caused roads and farms to be flooded. Ministers are warned that they would be liable for any damage done by beavers in Scotland.

Roy Dennis, awarded an MBE for his services to nature conservation in Scotland, told The Scotsman: "I don't think everything we do should be for the benefit of humans. We have a moral responsibility. We killed [the lynx] off, so we should bring it back."

Robin Page, chairman of the Countryside Restoration Trust, says that the proposal to reintroduce sea eagles in Norfolk is about tourism, public relations and money. Fifteen sea eagles were released in Scotland in August and sheep farmers claim that they have attacked their flocks. Crofters report that the sea-eagles have taken up to 200 lambs.

Natural England also regards wild boars as generators of interest and income from tourism but they are degrading pasture, upturning gardens, breaking fences, charging cattle and scaring dog-walkers and children. One repeatedly entered a primary school and was only shot by rangers after it became too aggressive. Advice is being sought from Germany where the problem is even more serious. ( and

When will government realise the futility of relying on finance and tourism and redirect their energy and our money to build a solid, stable economy in which skilled people once more produce real wealth – food, energy and goods?



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