Week 19 news grist

Events that added grist to the news mill during week 19, 2024.

The descriptions and content of these brief items are kept as short as possible: if you want to follow up the details of a story, click the link that will always be provided.

Is Labour doing the right thing when it accuses the Tories of “gaslighting” the state of the British economy, that is to say querying the tory grasp of economic indicators to unsettle conservative assumptions? Top of the list: will Thursday’s meeting at the Bank of England really decide to keep interest at 5.25%?

Read it here: https://news.sky.com/story/government-gaslighting-public-about-state-of-economy-labour-claims-13130738

Livestock farmers are facing the threat of wind-borne midges carrying a new strain of blue tongue virus across the North Sea, potentially infecting British sheep and cattle. The illness is established in northern Europe, where it causes significant livestock losses.

Read it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-68944155

Tea time: Manchester Evening News parent editor Emma Gill compares retailer brand tea bags after a series of substantial price rises.

Read it here: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/reviews/i-tried-cheapest-supermarket-tea-29098610

The outlook for olive oil supplies is as grim as ever. Sarah Butler lines up the industry’s international data and tells readers of The Guardian to expect more of the same. Urban Food Chains ran an overview a a few months ago.

Read Sarah Butler’s piece here: https://www.theguardian.com/business/article/2024/may/07/extra-virgin-olive-oil-prices-global-production

Good news from pesticide campaigners: PAN Europe has become the first civil society to win a substantive case in Europe’s highest court. Pesticide Action Europe challenged the absence of any new scientific data in support of product approval renewals. The EU Court of Justice found in favour of the campaigners, adding that authorisations and renewals at national level should be fully documented and should no longer rely on the work of other member states when renewing product licences. The decision should stop the endless re-use of data going back decades. Read more on the PAN Europe website.

Defection of the week: Dover MP Natalie Elphicke crossed the floor of the House of Commons to join the Labour party benches. It will be interesting to see how her position will change on things like the Brexit border tax. To help readers spot the changes, I downloaded a couple of posts on May 9 from https://natalieelphicke.com, laying out her position before she jumped ship. The original posts were here: one makes the case for providing adequate funding to allow Dover Port Health Authority to maintain its biosecurity targets and the other highlights ways in which Blockchain applications can speed up border checks. Just in case the originals disappear, download the May 9 versions here and here.

Strong European cheese is a taste challenge to consumers in south east Asia, where the strong flavours and live textures literally get up the noses of potential export customers in cities like Singapore. The BBC filed this report about the seasoned export cheese sales teams from countries such as France, Italy or Switzerland. They are very careful not to push their challenging products until they have earned the confidence of prospective customers. British cheese sales teams headed for Asia with high hopes of conquering sales prospects with cheeses like Stinking Bishop. The broadcasters learnt that the British team was only allowed to promote their strong-smelling cheese at the show because they paid to exhibit at the show on the spot with their own money.

Read the full story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/c03ded49zw2o

Oxford Real Farming Conference 2025 supporter tickets are now on sale: follow the link…

How many of us knew that IKEA is a major landholder in Romania? Click the link and find out why this might matter. https://action.eko.org/a/stop-ikea-from-destroying-europe-s-last-ancient-forests

Representatives of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have been meeting DEFRA ministers and officials to request a post-Brexit review of water quality standards, according to The Guardian. (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/may/10/farmers-union-lobbied-to-increase-pesticide-limit-in-uk-drinking-water). 

The NFU knows the rules on water and reminds its members of their obligations. (https://www.nfuonline.com/updates-and-information/farming-rules-for-water-what-you-need-to-know/) Shame they want to move the goalposts, though.

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