Following Brexit, global warming could leave Britain without food

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The editorial of the 1 October refers to the possible advantages of not being shackled by the Common Agricultural Policy when we leave Europe so that subsidies to farmers could be directed towards environmental protection rather than intensive food production. This is a worthy objective in a perfect world. We would import the food our, by then unintensive farms, no longer produce.

Climate science indicates that by 2050 the Earth’s average temperature may hit the critical 2 degrees rise resulting in widespread reductions in worldwide agricultural productivity. Combine this with population growth and we may find that the hoped for food imports may not be available as other nations struggle to feed their own people. The EU would have no legal or moral obligation to help the UK feed it’s people after the British had reduced farm productivity and left the security membership of the EU provided.

We should be careful about what we wish for. It may come back to bite us.

Patrick Cleary

I want to support British Airways – but they need to feed their passengers properly 

I was interested to read recent reports about BA’s decision to downgrade its economy catering offering. Given my own rather sorry experience with the airline in the last 24 hours I am not in the least surprised.

I encountered some real customer service issues in connection with a cancelled flight from Mumbai to Heathrow, which were only resolved by the direct intervention of chief executive Alex Cruz, who I eventually contacted in a fit of frustration and anger. To be fair, once I had done so my original concerns were dealt with promptly and efficiently. The problem is that it had taken me eight hours of my own time and money, when one quick phone call should have been sufficient.

Once on board I felt that the catering on both the outbound and inbound flights left much to be desired; there is clearly something seriously wrong.

In Traveller Plus, where I was seated, there was none of the usual offering of nuts etc. with drinks, and for the main meal there was a 50 per cent shortage of the chicken meal offered; instead of the chicken with dauphinoise potatoes, roasted veg and mushroom sauce indicated on the menus provided, we were given chicken with mashed potatoes, carrots and peas from economy. No big deal you might think, but who in their right mind would provide potato salad as a starter (potatoes, followed by potatoes?!) and then to top it all serve a second meal later in the flight of... chicken, again!

The quality of all of the food offered was extremely poor. Why there is felt to be the need for a hot meal, which always tastes like the worst kind of cheap ready meal, is beyond me.

Going down the sandwich route, even on long haul flights, may well be a better option for all concerned, and I can appreciate the need for a handling charge.  

The current constraints imposed by security, many of them out of all proportion to the risks involved, make it practically impossible for passengers to take on board their own food.

Catering, even on a tight budget, is not rocket science. A more sensible option for all travellers would be to allow people to do this, or to order in advance and pick up a doggy bag on boarding. Far better that than the mass catered option which in its current state makes school dinners look good.

In the case of BA, I cannot help but notice that nowhere does there appear to be any consideration for what the customer might actually want. Having worked in the service industry for over 30 years I know that this is really the only thing that counts.

I am passionate about supporting our national businesses, but I also want to feel proud in doing so.

Linda Piggott-Vijeh
Comb St. Nicholas 

Giving the Scottish government a veto over Brexit will have no positive outcome 

Theresa May confirms that Scotland will be “fully engaged” in the Brexit talks but quite rightly makes clear that there will be no veto for the Scottish government. This can be no surprise. As the UK Prime Minister says, she is determined to make a success of these talks which will be so critical to the future of all of the UK. In contrast, every statement from the SNP leadership on Brexit suggests they will not be satisfied with any deal done by the UK. Giving the Scottish government a veto over Brexit would simply guarantee there could not be a positive outcome. 

While the First Minister might not yet have definitively decided on whether and when to call a second independence referendum, while that threat hangs in the air the UK government must rightly suspect the real agenda of the Scottish government in Brexit negotiations.

Keith Howell
West Linton

Trading has ben debauched for decades

It is more than a decade (“The decade that hope forgot”, 30 September). The neocon model was doomed from its inception – often viewed as the Thatcher/Reagan era and that is getting on for half a century now. Its ultimate antecedents lie even further back.

Trade is a natural development in advanced societies. When society is supported by the provision of the goods and services, as it used to be, then progress occurs. When the provision of goods and services is supported by a managed and coerced society problems develop.

Much that is traded now is intangible, unreal, superfluous, wasteful and harmful. The accumulation of personal or corporate wealth beyond a modest sufficiency is pointless. The abstraction of wealth from the common pool leaves most people worse off.

The very nature of trade has been debauched. Alternatives exist, billionaires do not need to exist.

Steve Ford
Haydon Bridge

The UK needs to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia 

I have just watched Channel 4’s always excellent Unreported World, this week concerning Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen. As Krishnan Guru-Murthy reports, thousands of children are suffering malnutrition and dying either directly from malnutrition, or from preventable diseases exacerbated by malnutrition.

Meanwhile food supplies which could feed tens of thousands of families for months rot on the dockside because of Saudi precision targeted bombing of Yemeni infrastructure.

These bombs and warplanes are reportedly US and British made.

This is a scandal if true, and a crime in which we, through our government and arms industry, are complicit.

I am sure many people are familiar with the practise of “Risk Assessment”.

In my work as a technical head of department, I frequently carry out and review multiple risk assessments relating to my business.

For those who are unfamiliar, carrying out a risk assessment involves analysing a potential hazard, and then assessing the potential for harm to arise from that hazard. Each is then ascribed a score: likelihood of an incident multiplied by maximum severity of injury caused thereby.

Thus even an extremely low likelihood multiplied by an outcome such as death will always yield an unacceptable level of risk, and mitigating actions must be taken.

I suggest that our successive governments’ perennial resorting to the mantra that there is “no proof” that Saudi Arabia is deliberately targeting civilians falls woefully short of any such standard. As such, if I behaved this way at work, I would find myself culpable for thousands of cases of, at the least, negligent manslaughter.

If there is any doubt at all about these air strikes we must, in all good conscience, halt all British arms sales. If we do not, then every one of us is complicit in the killing of children.

Wilf Mannion
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