If you have been in a shop recently, you will probably have noticed that a lot of shelves are empty, and what is there seems to have increased dramatically in price. Not just your normal inflation, this is part of a world-wide shortage of lots of things, but particularly food.
A major part of the problem is that the Ukraine is unable to ship wheat and cooking oils out of its main ports, due to Russia’s blockade. Lockdowns in China are also causing serious disruptions to supply chains.
The Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, warned on May 17 that is the world should brace for serious food price rises. He added soothingly
“Sorry for being apocalyptic, but that is a major concern.”
In a column for The Sunday Times, Jeremy Clarkson, who knows a thing or two about prices (of cars anyway) stated
“I don’t pretend to be an expert in geopolitics any more than I pretend to be a farmer, but I really think the world has slipped into a pair of margarine trousers and is now hurtling down a well-watered slide into the pit of hunger, misery and death… Politicians say they are ‘monitoring the situation’, which means they aren’t doing anything at all, but one day they will have to because while people can live without heat or clothing or even sex, they cannot live without food.
Hunger makes people eat their neighbours.”
The Guardian reports that around forty countries rely on Russia and Ukraine for more than half of their wheat imports, and some of those countries, such as Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.
Well, the Russians were glad to hear Clarkson, who they seem to imagine is one of the UK’s most respected commentators, warning about the consequences of aiding the Ukraine in its battles against the Russian army. TsargradTV – which is owned by Vladimir Putin-supporter Konstantin Malofeev – has used Clarkson’s comment in an article headed:
“Cold, Hunger, Cannibalism: London fell into its own Ukrainian pit”
The article was accompanied by a vision of a future London – two cavemen peering through some Union Jack flags.
If you needed any further proof that politics is just a slightly more polite form of cannibalism, another article earlier in the year reported that the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, had (before the invasion began), advised President Volodymyr Zelensky not to hold direct talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“If Vladimir Zelensky starts negotiating independently with Vladimir Putin, he will eat him for breakfast.”
Maybe THAT will ameliorate the food shortages a bit.
Talking of food shortages and cannibalism, next week’s film review blog concerns just that. The 1970 film No Blade of Grass is set during a world-wide famine caused by a viral disease which destroys all grasses, including wheat, rice and maize. Like Soylent Green, made only a few years later, it posits a near future of too many people and not enough food, and the answer to that seems, well, obvious.
Food for thought?