Saturday, 25 October 2008

Clegg; proud to 'buy British' and 'buy local'

. Well I do wonder what some people will make of this; Nick Clegg has said that to help kick-start the local economy people should be proud to 'buy British' and 'buy local'.

Launching a plan with Vince Cable to give immediate help to UK businesses, Clegg called for a labelling scheme for non-food products manufactured in the UK. He said;

"Economic recovery starts at home, so consumers should be proud to buy British and buy local."

So, I have a feeling there are some Lib Dems who will feel this is a wee bit protectionist...what do people think??


lunartalks said...

Good. Buying local and British should reduce the Cleggs' environmental impact. To which I would add buy seasonal and in local shops rather than in supermarkets.

Julian H said...

I'll be saying nothing until I've calmed down. This may take a while.

Chris Black said...

Sounds good to me.

Why should anyone NOT be proud to buy British and buy local?

James Schneider said...

Like Julian I'm spitting mad.

1. This is political posturing because of the economic downturn. This is simple "beggar thy neighbour" stuff. Read a history or two of the Great Depression and see how well that worked out then. Bad, wrong, and dangerous.

2. Lunartalks, buying local does not always reduce environmental impact. In fact, often it does not. For example, it is more environmentally friendly to import tulips from Kenya than grow them in the UK (and the flowers are better). Don't forget climate, employees emmisions, pesticide production and others in your calculations. Food miles are a trendy concern, but often foolhardy. Indeed, as liberals we should say that at some point we are willing to emit x more CO2 if it supports the economy of a developing country, especially when that country will be one of the real victims of climate change. Most of this buy local stuff is simple middle class pseudo-ethicalism and should be thoroughly rejected.

3. Chris, let me turn your question around. Why would anyone be "proud" to buy British or Local? Buying food from Africa means supporting farmers who are unfairly penalised by subsidies in the EU and America (CAP for example). It helps the third world develop, in the face of extraordinary discrimination by special interests in the developed world that hurts us, the consumer, and the developing world. I'm proud to buy as little EU or US grown food as possible.

Chris Black said...

I see nothing wrong with taking a pride in your locality or country providing you don't think that gives you the right to sneer at another places.

That's why I link to Wilkin's Jams, for example! They have quality produce that I want to see continue into the future (though they are pricier than some of the competition) It's why I like drinking locally pressed apple juice...

However, I know that realistically, a lot of what I buy is going to come from across the world for one reason for another.

James Schneider said...


Drinking really, really tasty locally pressed apple juice is rather different from Clegg encouraging us to "buy British". You buy a product because you like it, its your taste. That has nothing to do with "economic recovery starts at home". He's trying to conflate the trendy pseudo-ethicalism of local food and anti-food miles with a dose of nationalism in the wake of a recession. It may be clever politics, but it is wrong and unpleasant.