Clarkson on the nail again?

Muddyroads

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Exeter, Devon
Hopefully this will copy across from this morning’s Sunday Times:

I do tend to go through life with a general sense that everything will be all right in the end. Yes, we are told every 20 minutes that soon the Earth will be a superheated ruin that’s no longer capable of supporting even bacterial life, but I continue to run seven cars, six of which have V8 engines, because I reckon that in the nick of time a Munich-based boffin will invent a giant space-based vacuum cleaner that will hoover all the unnecessary carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and make everything normal again.
I had the same attitude with Covid. Of course it wasn’t going to wipe us out, because somewhere in Germany there’d be a scientist in a room full of pipettes and Bunsen burners who’d invent a vaccine. And so it turned out to be.
Financial crash of ’08? Yup, I did a bit of running round in circles back then, thinking that all my savings would be consumed by the invisible and unfathomable fugazi that is Wall Street, but soon there was quantitative easing, and a deal with China, and by the spring of ’09 my snout was back in the fish roe.

This Ukraine business, however, is causing me to have a few chin-scratching moments of despair. 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.
Let me run you through my thinking. The conflict and the sanctions and all of the other flotsam and jetsam that hurtle round a war zone have caused gas prices to skyrocket. You know this, of course, because it now costs a million pounds to heat your house and £20,000 to cook a lamb chop. I know it, too, because chemical fertiliser has gone from about £250 a tonne last year to about £1,000 a tonne now.

Naturally, because you don’t need fertiliser, you don’t care. But you should care because soon you’re going to go to the supermarket and all you’ll be able to buy is an out-of-date copy of Auto Express magazine and maybe 20 Benson & Hedges. And then, on the way home, you’ll be murdered.
The problem is that next year many farmers will decide that, because of the costs involved, they’ll use less fertiliser. Some will doubtless try to use none at all. Others will try to use cardboard or lawn clippings or faeces instead. Either way they will produce less food. Some farmers — I know of three in my area alone — have already decided to fallow their fields next year and grow nothing at all.

And this is not just happening in the UK. It’s a global phenomenon and it could well result in there being maybe 20 per cent less food in the shops than is necessary. That’s bad. And then it gets worse because, between them, Russia and Ukraine grow more than a quarter of global wheat exports . They are also responsible for about half the sunflower seeds we use, which is why, already, sunflower oil is being rationed in Britain.
So, thanks to the war, we lose a lot of the grain we need, and then, due to the cost of fertiliser, we lose 20 per cent of what’s left. Prices are already going up, not by 7 per cent or 10 per cent but by a massive 37 per cent. And the World Bank says it won’t stop there. They call it a “human catastrophe”.

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.
Or move. And surely that’s what must happen next. It’s said that nearly a third of the wheat Ukraine grows goes to Africa, and it won’t be getting any this summer. Nor will Africa be able to afford mine. Not at £300 a tonne. Anyway, what I grow is going to be needed here.

So what do you do if you are in Africa, or the Middle East for that matter, and there is literally no grain? Sit around waiting for Midge Ure to fire up his Nokia and call Bob Geldof? No, you’re going to up sticks and move to the only haven that’s remotely accessible: Europe. We’ve seen a lot of migration in recent years but I suspect that soon we’ll realise that what we’ve had so far was only a trickle.
So now the streets of Europe are filled with hungry and desperate immigrants claiming 40 quid a week from the government and finding that it isn’t even enough for a loaf of bread. Add them to the poor indigenous folk fed up with choosing between heating and eating and that’s when things risk turning really ugly.

It’s hard to see what on earth can be done to stop it happening. The British government could take a lead and force farmers to farm their land, with grants to pay for the fertiliser and nationwide clapping every night at eight. But that isn’t going to happen for a couple of reasons. First, the British government is run by Carrie Johnson, who thinks the countryside should be for badgers and not for growing food.
And second, the rest of the government (and the fourth estate, if I’m honest) is currently consumed by whether a slice of cake can turn a work gathering into a party and simply isn’t paying attention.

I get this, of course. They’re like me, assuming that a German with a Bunsen burner will come to the rescue, but this time I can’t see that happening. The war has chopped off a quarter of the world’s grain exports and caused gas prices to skyrocket, which means farmers in the West can no longer afford to feed their crops properly. Less food and massively higher prices are the inevitable consequence, and the result of that is hunger and many arterial blood splatters across the fridge-freezers in your local Iceland.
Prince Charles will tell you that the Arab Spring uprising was caused by global warming. Indirectly he may be right, but the direct cause was a sudden jump in food prices. And the world is still feeling the effects ten years later.

This time, though, it’ll be worse. And then we’ll get the right-wing, anti-immigration parties leaping onto their soap boxes and blaming the EU, which will cause Europe to fragment and then the world’s last bastion of liberalism and common sense and decency will be broken.

Which is exactly what Putin wants. Sure, the war in Ukraine may result in him gaining only a tiny bit of land in the east of the country, but beyond that it could well destabilise Europe for years. Unless, of course, none of that happens and the continent is saved, hilariously, by a German. In which case we could all go back to worrying about whales and global warming.
 

Muddyroads

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Exeter, Devon
Three things wrong with Clarkson's scenario:

1. There isn't actually a shortage of oil or gas -there's just a supply/distribution issue

2. The hike in fert prices is due to 1.

3. 90% of Ukraine's land area is not a war zone, wheat etc. is being grown as normal.
But is the infrastructure still there to be able to transport it?
 

Bignor Farmer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
West Sussex
There are some large elements of truth in this. It’s the worlds poor that will go hungry first and suffer the most. They will come to Europe and who could blame them.

The EU and the UK haven’t handled the challenge of immigration well over the last decade and far right groups have gained lots of traction. I don’t know what the answer is but there its all going to lead to a huge mess and discontent.

Its interesting how Europe and the public opens it doors to white Ukrainians but wants military on the border when equally needy black Africans come knocking on the door!
 

roscoe erf

Member
Livestock Farmer
Tin_foil_hat_2.jpg

you see my stockpiling my bunker and all my guns not looking so daft now eh
 
What are the odds of a British politician listening?
Not a chance
An MP who is a contender for chairman of the AG sub committee was at a local mart this week

His 1st line was "Isn`t it wonderful the gov are paying half the SFP in July"
He was surprised when the response was No. Doesn`t go anywhere to address the situation
Someone at the gathering was pondering how someone can be so out of touch with current situation.
 

Henarar

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Somerset
Not a chance
An MP who is a contender for chairman of the AG sub committee was at a local mart this week

His 1st line was "Isn`t it wonderful the gov are paying half the SFP in July"
He was surprised when the response was No. Doesn`t go anywhere to address the situation
Someone at the gathering was pondering how someone can be so out of touch with current situation.
hope nobody is stupid enough to spend it on over priced fert for a loss making crop
 
Location
southwest
But is the infrastructure still there to be able to transport it?


Why wouldn't it be? Russia isn't destroying the roads etc. in the areas it's fighting in let alone the rest of the Country.

If/when there's a truce everything (Ukrainian wheat, Russian gas) will start moving again.

Clarkson, being a petrolhead should be asking why petrol and diesel is so expensive-despite the much heralded cut in fuel duty.
Crude oil is currently cheaper than it was when the Ukraine war started-there is no energy shortage, just massive profiteering by energy companies with the compliance of the UK Government.

The (mainly US owned) fert makers have sussed out the UK Government as well-create a crisis (shortage of CO2, expensive fert) and sooner or later they'll get a subsidy.

Putin may or may not be "unbalanced" but there's no doubt whatsoever that our current Government is inept
 

quattro

Member
Location
scotland
Three things wrong with Clarkson's scenario:

1. There isn't actually a shortage of oil or gas -there's just a supply/distribution issue

2. The hike in fert prices is due to 1.

3. 90% of Ukraine's land area is not a war zone, wheat etc. is being grown as normal.
I think you’ll find your figures are wrong there will be very little taken through to harvest
lots of the crop isn’t been looked after through lack of Chems/fertiliser/people or if they could grow them they could be taken by Russia
 
Location
southwest
I think you’ll find your figures are wrong there will be very little taken through to harvest
lots of the crop isn’t been looked after through lack of Chems/fertiliser/people or if they could grow them they could be taken by Russia

Ukraine is a massive Country compared to the UK and only a small area is subject to fighting. Most of it is totally unaffected.

Did the oil wells stop flowing when Iraq was invaded?
 

egbert

Member
Three things wrong with Clarkson's scenario:

1. There isn't actually a shortage of oil or gas -there's just a supply/distribution issue doesn't make much difference what's behind it in the end.

2. The hike in fert prices is due to 1. prices started hiking before the conflict...a conflict Putin started, which makes me wander.

3. 90% of Ukraine's land area is not a war zone, wheat etc. is being grown as normal. How many tonnes usually leave by sea? I don't know much about shipping wheat in bulk, but I'd guess when you start trying to find rail rolling stock for thousand and thousands of tonnes, things get bunged up. And the rail wagons run along a very easy target for someone who wants his own sanctioned wheat suddenly desirable and more expensive.

When you get behind the boorish persona, Clarkson has summed it up a lot neater than almost anyone.
Boris won't see the problem till the cobblestones are being hurled over the gates at the end of the road, and there is going to be a huge surge in boats full of hungry migrants bobbing about the Med.
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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