Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monty Don: fucking moron

What is it about people who are really, really, really fucking stupid—almost to the bounds of stretching the overly cynical credibility of your humble Devil—that the MSM are prepared to listen to their utterly worthless views?

I don't know who the fuck this Monty Don character is, but this must qualify as one of the stupidest things uttered in the last decade.
Monty Don, the former BBC Gardener’s World presenter, said the UK could run out of food “within weeks” because the country is so dependent on imports and it was essential for the country to grow more of our own food.

He urged businesses around the country to follow the lead of the National Trust: “If every household, business, office or factory dug up a patch of land there would literally be millions of allotments made available. This is just the start of something really big.”

Yes, you fucking fuckwit: the biggest famine that this country has seen since the late 1360s. I don't know who you are, Monty Don, but I do know what you are: a stupid fucking cunt.

So fucking thick are you that I cannot be bothered to waste my precious time elaborating on your mental ineptitude; why should I, when Bella Gerens has already done it so fluently?

Monty Don? Ha! Monty Fuckwit more like...

65 comments:

Roger Thornhill said...

Yeh, something big for a mediocre sleb gardener.


He is conflating. Right about their being 2 weeks food supply, wrong that growing food in a country with basically ONE HARVEST per crop and months without any yield...

I do think it is good people grow their own food, but does Monty not realise that most people live in cities and have no access to such? Does he also not know that if people want to it is their business. It is not enough to make the allotments available, but for pepole to want to do it.


If he wants to have a go, where was he when the Olympics screwed over an allotment community to do what? Put in some FUCKING FENCE that could easily have been x feet in y direction, but oh no. Where was Monty then, eh?

Fidothedog said...

Yes lets get back to plagues, starvation for many, crop failures, burning witches, religious pogroms, crusades and short life spans.

TheFatBigot said...

Monty had a stroke last year, looks like he hasn't recovered very well.

William said...

Does he own a seed company by any chance?

Anonymous said...

What the fuck does the retard want me to grow? I hate my garden, it's barren and bereft of sunlight. About the only crop I can produce is winnits, nostril hair and earwax, to which Mr Don is more than welcome if he sends me a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

It's a market force. My grandparents in Australia maintained their backyard vegetable garden after the war, not because they were hard-up, but because they were well-off and could afford the luxury of fannying about with a garden. Alas, I don't have that privilege (or climate). If we import food, ipso facto, it must be better to pay some Kenyan to rummage in the dirt for peas whilst we get on with grown-up activities.

If every household, business, office or factory dug up a patch of land there would literally be millions of allotments made available

Well, if every household, business, office or factory blew up, there would be literally millions of fires. This numbskull stands accused of taking the word 'literally' in vain.

wildgoose said...

I normally agree with pretty much everything written here, but in this case you are all just plain Wrong.

We have needed to import food since the end of the nineteenth century and two world wars showed how important it was to protect our food supply lines lest we all starve.

The ratio of food imports to what we produce in this country is now massive - nearly half the food we eat is imported along "Just-in-Time" supermarket supply lines.

That strikes me as dangerously precarious, and as the old saw has it: "Civilisation is but 3 hot meals from anarchy".

Neal Asher said...

Nope, I think you're going to have to be a lot clearer here, DK, because I cannot see what you're ranting about. No one is asking for a return to the Middle Ages or complete dependence on home grown vegetables. All that is being asked for is more land to be made available for allotments, which could supply many people with vegetables that actually have some taste, teach a degree of self-reliance and maybe result in a few kids in this country being able to distinguish between an artichoke and a turnip. Also, it is no lie that if our economy does get sufficiently fucked over that we can't pay for those imports, we are going to be in trouble, unless we start putting IT managers on the menu.

By all means rant if the government orders everyone into the allotments, starts imposing 'organic' strictures or fining people for not attending the community vegetable patch. But the proposals you seem to resent are harmless, if not beneficial.

Incidentally, talk of just one harvest from a vegetable garden and months without a yield displays a large degree of urban ignorance.

The Penguin said...

It's a complicated area, but I do agree that Monty Fucking Don is a cunt. His re-invention as a gardening guru from a hippy "jewellery" maker doesn't qualify his to save the world, even if it's ensured him a fat pension.

Growing your own vegetables and fruit is hard work and often extremely disappointing in yield for effort.

The Penguin

Guthrum said...

He is a TV Gardner for the BBC, he is paid to say this !

Fair play to Monty though he is venturing into the world of Politics and may have got over excited- he was the token celeb on question time, and argued against Kelvin McKenzie,and the Lab/Social Democrat (LibDem)/ Conservative drones that Wilders should have been let in on the grounds of free speech, only supported by the leader of the Respect Party.

Not all ex Hippies are bad !

FlipC said...

Why is it we always tend to extremes?

MD: If our imports of food stop we'll all die Waaaaah! [runs in little circles]

DK: So you want us to return to subsistence farming do you, you stupid fucker [runs in little circles shouting fuck]

At which point you both have an argument that neither can win because you're both right, in your own contexts.

Here's a thought, as both wildgoose and Neal Asher suggest, why don't we try to reduce out dependency on imported food by making land available to grow food for those who wish to do so. Do you know the length of the waiting list for allotments?

Dick Puddlecote said...

Well I'm sold. Though I don't think Plod would approve of my choice of crop.

Steve Tierney said...

I think I have to play Devil's Advocate.

While both this and Bella Gerens were fun reads, I'm not sure they were 'wise reads. They both smack of an incredible amount of arrogant assumption.

If the current economic crisis has taught us nothing at all, it should have taught us that we don't know what's around the corner.

I can see nothing wrong with increasing the amount of food we grow ourselves. It doesn't prevent us from importing, as you seem to summise, it only gives us more we made ourselves.

I can see nothing wrong with people tending allotments or growing veg and fruit in their gardens, particularly if they want to do so. Learning a little about agriculture and producing your own food can hardly "hurt" you.

I can see nothing wrong with encouraging people who are interested in doing so to do a bit of labour for their dinner. Nothing about planting a few strawberry bushes is the same as "going back to medieval society".

I know its fun to take somebodies idea, then destroy it with colourful and over-the-top comparisons to situations and events which have no bearing on the original suggestion. It's funny to read too. But in the end, Monty Don (for all his failings) had an idea. All the opposers had was a cupful of sarcasm. Amusing, but useless.

I will say one thing though. If the world situation were to spiral out of control, or we were struck by a disaster, or we were hit by hyper-inflation, people who had a garden full of food would probably be feeling pretty smug.

Nothing Monty Don said was actually stupid. Maybe nothing will ever happen, we'll continue importing food and all will be well. The end result of his plan would therefore be: we'd have more turnips and rhubarb and potatoes and would save a few pounds. That's hardly the end of the world.

Anonymous said...

I will say one thing though. If the world situation were to spiral out of control, or we were struck by a disaster, or we were hit by hyper-inflation, people who had a garden full of food would probably be feeling pretty smug.

And it wouldn't get filched? Who's on dog watch tonight? And how will you guard it? And if you follow OH's lead and equip yourself with firearms, once you've despatched some thieving pikeys, what will the authorities do with you?

In a national emergency, local authorities will simply seize what you have and dispense it to those too indolent to provide for themselves.

No change there, then.

John's New Blog said...

My 30 rod allottment supplies All my fruit and veg. Surplus produce is exchanged for beer in my local.

dmc said...

This does seem a bit of an hysterical rant over an,not a law,an idea.Not one I would follow but lots of people like to grow some of their own food,if more did then we would import less.Isn't that better for us?
The article linked to shows an ignorance of the subject implying we would go back to medeival times surviving on turnips and parsnips(not even sure parsnips were around then)over the winter. Typical eletist snobbery and DK's reaction is hardly libertarian either.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Typical eletist snobbery and DK's reaction is hardly libertarian either."

One of the things that utterly pisses me off is the number of people around this here blogosphere who seem to set themselves up as arbiters of what is libertarian or not.

My reaction is perfectly libertarian: I think that he's a fucking idiot, and I am exercising my right to say so.

There is nothing unlibertarian in my attitude; unlike, for instance, FlipC's:

"Here's a thought, as both wildgoose and Neal Asher suggest, why don't we try to reduce out dependency on imported food by making land available to grow food for those who wish to do so. Do you know the length of the waiting list for allotments?"

Who is this "we"? Whose land, exactly, will you be "making available" and how will you be making it available? By force, perchance?

DK

Anonymous said...

Growing your own vegetables and fruit is hard work and often extremely disappointing in yield for effort.

Precisely. As a diversion, there is nothing wrong with it at all, and Neal is right in saying that there is much to be savoured by growing your own (and by that I mean all crops, especially the greens).

Urban ignoramus I might be, but when my garden is blessed with two hours' sunlight in summer, thanks to the surrounding buildings and the parapet of a Tube station to the South, I must protest that I cannae change the laws o' physics. We do grow our own rosemary, though.

"Civilisation is but 3 hot meals from anarchy".
Yes and no. My grandfather was on the Burma railway. My girlfriend's ancestors got through the Weimar republic and the 1945 winter. Depends on how softcocked you are. Shoot the Alfie Pattens for looting - sorted.

Anonymous said...

'Whose land, exactly, will you be "making available"'?

Quite. Neal Asher et al, why don't save up & buy your own land, instead of asking the rest of us to subsidize your "Good Life" bollocks?

Centaur said...

In a bad mood today DK? You seem to be having a touch of the straw men.

Neal Asher and FlipC have it right, I think. As for making allotments available, as a start we could stop developing on the ones which are left. And we should certainly be able to debate whether we think they are a good thing without getting into "you're stealing land from people" arguments

The Filthy Smoker said...

Nothing wrong with having an allotment but don't pretend they produce anything more than a handful of scraggy vegetables every few months. They're a hobby. Nothing more.

Yes, we import a lot of food but we also export a lot of food. In a crisis we would presumably stop doing both. Whether we would be left with enough to survive, I don't know (if we cultivate set-aside we probably would), but I do know that a few cabbages and an amusingly shaped turnip are not the solution. If Monty Don is genuinely worried about running out of food then he should speak out about organic farming, which is a disaster waiting to happen. If all British farms were organic last year, for example, there would have been no potato crop at all (bad year for blight).

And exactly which part of my city centre flat does uncle Monty want me to 'dig up'?

Neal Asher said...

In reply to the anonymous poster: Who the hell suggested anything about subsidized allotments? And, incidentally, I've never been fucking subsidized by anyone you prick.

A lot of these anti comments stink of urban contempt for things rural. It's all rather silly really.

Damo Mackerel said...

Could there be a problem with the availabilty of food in the coming years?

Now that BofE is beginning to print more money could this lead to
superinflation and perhaps hyperinflation? would this in turn lead to
extremely high prices of basic food stuffs leading to rationing and
price controls and ultimately food lines?

Just some thoughts, that's all.

pond life said...

Filthy S: organic systems increase fertility and health of topsoil where as industrial methods decrease it over time, only producing more because of petro-chem additives. In times of crisis petro-chems unlikely to be available, ergo it is in our interest to look after our soils.

Monty Don does have a point as world food reserves are at a record low. however as other have pointed out a few allotments aint gonna make too much difference to the over all scheme of things. Might make the soylent green more palatable though

bella gerens said...

'I know its fun to take somebodies idea, then destroy it with colourful and over-the-top comparisons to situations and events which have no bearing on the original suggestion. It's funny to read too. But in the end, Monty Don (for all his failings) had an idea. All the opposers had was a cupful of sarcasm. Amusing, but useless.'

Comparing a situation in which everyone grows their own food to...a situation in which everyone grew their own food is useless?

I was not arguing against gardens, allotments, or anyone's choice of food source; I was pointing out that living conditions have improved enormously since and because trade in food expanded. To say that importing food is undesirable, as Monty Don has, is to display ignorance.

And to those commenters citing urban arrogance and ignorance: to make unfounded assumptions about the author of an argument is just as sloppy a debating technique as sarcasm or hyperbole.

max the impaler said...

Soylent red would be good.Made from re-cycled socialists.Would suggest a good vindaloo sauce as a medium and some Cobra to wash it down.Montys just an old hippy; be more at home in the Shire.

Bishop Brennan said...

"Not one I would follow but lots of people like to grow some of their own food,if more did then we would import less.Isn't that better for us?"

No, you twit! Imports are a good thing (you seem to have fallen for the 'businessman's economics' line that exports = good, imports = bad). They enable me to do something more interesting than grow turnips... and be a good deal wealthier.

If you think we should become a self-sufficient state ('autarky'), then start looking to North Korea for an illustration of what will happen to us...

Neal Asher said...

Cast that critical eye over yourself, Bella. At what point did Monty Don say imports were undesirable? He implied that such dependency is undesirable, which is a different thing. He was not saying imports should be stopped and we should all return to the Middle Ages. To assume that was his intent is a rather 'sloppy assumption'.

bella gerens said...

Neal - it does not require any great stretch of logic to assume that when Don says 'it is essential for the country to grow more of our own food,' he means consequently that we should import less of our food.

And even if he didn't say imports should be stopped, would not growing more of our own food result in that?

P said...

Dear Mr Devil,

I can't disagree with your point, but I can help you in relation to your missing information

("I don't know who the fuck this Monty Don character is...")

I believe he is a former BBC Gardener’s World presenter.

Hope this helps,

P

Wyrdtimes said...

Censored? Nice one DK

Libertarian? Or hypocrite?

Once again more allotments is a great idea!

Grow up and stop being such a prat.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Wyrdtimes,

"Censored? Nice one DK"

Seriously, what? Are you implying that I've censored one of your comments?

I. Do. Not. Censor. Comments.

All I can conclude is that you are such a nitwit that submitting a simple form first time is beyond your skills.

"Once again more allotments is a great idea!"

What the fuck?

I don't have a problem with allotments; if people want to spend their time grubbing around in the dirt, then hooray for them: everyone needs a hobby.

What I have a problem with is the more than vague suggestion that "we" should "make land available" for said allotments.

Do you have a garden Wyrdtimes? If so, just let me know where you live, and I shall wander along and start dividing it into allotments and apportioning said allotments out to random strangers: since allotments are a great idea, I'm sure that you won't mind...

"Grow up and stop being such a prat."

Go fuck yourself.

DK

The Filthy Smoker said...

Pond life: "organic systems increase fertility and health of topsoil where as industrial methods decrease it over time, only producing more because of petro-chem additives"

Nope. Farmers (organic or 'industrial') still practice crop rotation. They don't need to increase the dosage. Ands these 'petro-chem additives' are principally nitrates, the same nitrates that are in lovely organic manure.

Yes, if World War III breaks out, we are in trouble (for lots of reasons) but a much more realistic threat to the food supply is crop failure and reduced yields as a result of ecomentalist nonsense.

For example, last month's EU ban on a whole range of pesticides (not all of them, of course, just the effective ones) based on no evidence whatsoever and no thought as to the consequences.

This ban poses such a threat to productivity that even Hilary Benn opposed it:

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said the regulations could hit agricultural production in the UK without producing a recognisable benefit to human health.

"We are being asked to agree to something here when nobody knows what the impact will be," he said.

"While we have managed to secure some improvements surrounding the use of certain pesticides, the UK does not support these proposals."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7825552.stm

These people know not what they do.

Anonymous said...

I'm normally quite amused by this blogger. However, in the 1980s when mortgage rates rocketed and we lost an income, we survived by putting all our garden to vegetables and became self-sufficient. The Devil is dangerously ignorant.

You can easily grow salad crops and save a bundle for very little effort. Think of your standard of living falling to the level of the 1950s and then most working class people outside the cities had vegetable gardens.

Melvin Cragsbury said...

Ha! He was a total fucking moron on Question Times last week as well. He should stick to gardening.

SciFi25 said...

Meh, I think as usual the correct ground is somewhere in the middle of both sides of the argument!!

Allotments are a good idea, as is not spending money you don't have too on imported food. I don't agree in forcing people to use allotments nor in forcing companies to provide space for them. If companies want to find space to provide allotments, then brilliant!! If people want to use these allotments to grow their own food then by all means dig away!!

However I doubt this idea is going to make the country entirely self sufficient as I quiet like Dragon fruit and I am not sure it would grow in this country so has to be imported!! Plus the fact I am not sure there is enough land to feed the 69 million or however many of us there are living in this country!

Anonymous said...

DK, you are shooting the messenger with this one. have a read at this. it may be quite relevant. i would appreciate your thoughts on this guy's views.
http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2009/02/social-collapse-best-practices.html
it's not unreasonable to want a bit of free food growing round the place, the only true wealth is food production if you think about it.
GB

pond life said...

Filthy S - Sorry to be the pedant but for example:

according to a report documenting 15 years of findings from The Rodale Institute’s long-term Farming Systems Trial™. The experiment compares highly productive, intensive corn/soybean systems under conventional and organic management. The experiment demonstrates that after a transitional period of about four years, crops grown under organic systems yield as well as, and sometimes better than, those grown conventionally. In years of drought, organic systems can actually out-produce conventional systems. Specific findings:

"Organically managed soils achieve better physical structure. Soils in the organic systems gradually became looser and more porous, and absorbed and held water better than conventionally managed soils.

The organic soils "had reduced levels of nitrate leaching compared to the conventional soils and were more effective as a carbon sink."


"Water is able to percolate into the organically managed soils at a faster rate. During rain storms, more water will be absorbed into the soil and less will run over the surface and out of the field."


"As measured by soil respiration rates and available or potentially available nitrogen levels, both of the organic systems indicate higher levels of microbial activity than the conventional system. Potentially more significant, the organic and conventional systems have differences in the species composition of microorganisms."


A 1987 study that compared adjoining organic and chemically treated wheat fields in Washington State found that the organic fields had eight more inches of topsoil than their chemical neighbors and only one-third the erosion loss.

One teaspoon of compost-rich organic soil hosts 600 million to 1 billion helpful bacteria from 15,000 species. One teaspoon of chemically treated soil can host as few as 100 bacteria.....

I could go on but I'm boring myself and its nearly time to go to the pub.

defender said...

Maybe its because I am here in Lincolnshire it seems the natural thing to grow what I like.
As for poachers, we are renowned for them, salt of the earth. Also they are used to the odd pellet in the arse if they are caught. They say fair play mate, and off they go.
The city poachers will be armed with MAC9's or whatever I would think..
Wouldnt swap for city life for a million quid.

defender said...

Just having a look at my local rag and this is the kind of thing we do up here. Not the kind of thing you city guys would be used to. Swans going into the pot, fishing lakes raided for fish to eat, vodka stills rural stuff mostly.
Quaint aint it.

http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/news/work-Poles-forced-live-tents/article-713269-detail/article.html

Out of work Poles forced to live in tents
Friday, February 20, 2009, 07:30

Dozens of eastern European workers are living in tents and relying on hand-outs for food after losing their jobs in the credit crunch.

Homelessness is soaring among eastern Europeans in Lincoln, having doubled from 15 to at least 30 in the last six months.

In one of the most shocking examples, four homeless Polish men each with a history of employment have been forced to live in tents on a riverbank after losing their jobs.

The men are relying on strangers for food because they are not entitled to benefits...more if fancy

Rightwinggit said...

"Ha! He was a total fucking moron on Question Times last week as well. He should stick to gardening."

You mean surrounded by vegetables and shit, as opposed to question time, which is being....

Oh.

Never mind.

Farmer Giles said...

For fuck’s sake, pond life, The Rodale Institute is a colony of organic farming nutjobs.

You wouldn’t believe a report put out by Monsanto, would you? So don’t expect the rest of us to believe a load of drivel spouted by these soon-to-be starving peasant hoe wielders and dung shovellers.

Thatcher's Child said...

You know what pisses me off about all this bollox we read both here and in the media is that its all wrong!!!

For instance, do you actually have any idea of what sort of figures we are talking here?

I guess not - everyone seems to be working with the idea that gut feeling is a scientific measurement!

Here are some stats

Look how we export more grain than we import - however, more interesting is that we use mostly home produced grains - The idea of importing our food is only really an issue when it comes to low prices or food which cannot be grown here practically. so - no more Kiwi fruit and more expensive runner beans.

The whole - grow your own food bollox is just another green nazi initiative to make us all feel guilty about living!

The best thing to do is make people aware that its all bollox, as often as possible.

defender said...

Here is the problem, we are absolutely fucking skint, never mind the green shit, thats got fuck all to do with it.
Skint, that is the reality, face the fact. You might have a bit put away that is safe enough, whoopy do, lucky you. How long will your luck hold? I am sure you cant believe what being fucked is yet, it will get you too.
2 fucking trillion and counting, how much need it get to for you to get it. Yes it really really has,
there will be riots, there will be killings, there will be suffering. That is the reality of where we are in history right now.
Anyone to bet against it?

NorrieC said...

I have read DK for nearly a year now and agree mostly with what you say. I detest this fucking excuse for a government and resent the encroachment of the police state.

However, I cannot understand your rant against Monty Don. A relatively unknown fact about this country is that we are a net importer of food. That means we have to swap IOU's in the form of fiat, printed, useless bits of paper in exchange for real food from our neighbours. When our neighbours figure out that these IOU's are completely worthless (which is going to happen very, very soon)they'll stop sending us the food.

When that happens starvation will turn all the bravado about being a software writer and not a farmer on its head. Starvation has an uncanny way of changing your politics. Check out this country's history for proof of that.

This country's economy and hence its currency is completely and absolutely fucked. It has past the point of no return. A default on our foreign debt is guaranteed. The fall out from that is war.

Ok, Monty may not have expressed his views in a way that didn't make him sound like another gummint dept but the message is 100% sound whether you like it or not.

I normally read this blog rather than write but this time I have to point out you've got it wrong. The importance of the role of our currency in our food chain is totally misunderstood. I do hope your under stairs cupboard is full of dried foods and you learn to read the instructions on the back of the seed packet. You cannot eat software even if you're very good at writing it.

With all due respect.

defender said...

Agriculture, thats the new place to invest. Get yourself a few acres and get working boys. Good for your sex drive too. Bit of fun as well seeing off the poachers.
The Devils Kitchens Farm, yes I can see that. Sheep is what I see you doing along with a couple of border collies at your command.

Anna Raccoon said...

Monty Don's latest headline grabbing idea eh?

His last one was 'rescuing' inner city lads by teaching them to grow turnips, worked a treat that one did - no turnips and our crime rate went up!
Still, he got a TV series out of it, so that's OK ain't it Monty?

Monty Don, ex-neighbour, one very good reason why I left the country.

Anonymous said...

Neil Asher "I've never been fucking subsidized by anyone you prick."

Great, so you've bought your vegetable patch, or paid a lease on it at the market rate.

I don't think that's what Monty's suggestion or this post were about though.

Monty wants evil corporations to give "communities"(ie like-minded middle class dropouts) bits of their land for free. Land which those "communities" would otherwise have been unable to buy, and which might otherwise have slightly helped the profitability of the business. Eg, by turning it into a customer car park, or selling the plot to build a nice new Tesco Metro.

Anonymous said...

Monty Don?

Typical Middle-Class Liberal, I'm alrght Jack, and we'll be alright so long as everyone listens to me.

When it goes off I'm going to be calling on that cunt!

Anonymous said...

You can either be a ant or a grasshopper. The Dervaes family managed to grow several thousand pounds of vegetables in a 1/10 of an acre strip of land in the middle of Los Angeles.

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=dervaes&view=videos

If they can do it, anyone can.Even if its a windowbox with some herbs and a trailing tomato plant its something, even if its just a container with a single potato plant in it its something.

But hey, if you want to rely on government rationing and relief packets when things really go to shit, be my guest.

Chalcedon said...

I live in the country and have a garden. I grow runner beans and tomatoes. Very nice. very tasty. But this will not stop us starving will it? To feed your family you would need a decent acreage, multiple different plants yielding at different times and a chicken coop for eggs and birds. It can be done. But certainly not in a city very easily. It is inconvenient, noisy and smelly. Digging for victory in a war is fine, but in peace time WTF is he on?

I get loads of apples and pears too. Have to give them away we grow so many. But it won't stop me starving will it if I had to depend on just this?

He's right you know said...

Our Lords and Masters fully intend to use food as a weapon against us to usher in their NEW WORLD ORDER.
Forget the BBC Listen in to Radio Truth Radio Here

neil criag said...

He was the BBC's non-politician invited guest on Question Time a few weeks ago which basically marks him as somebody who can be relied on to say the right duckspeak.

He duly obliged by being one of the 4 to say that freedom of speech was less important than stopping Geert Wilders getting into the country & by saying that "99%" of scientists support the global warming lie.

The BBC clearly have a rota of such parasites - my favourite is that QT have TWICE had programmes from Scotland including 4 party representatives (we have 4 here) & as a representative of the "Scot in the street" had Hardeep Singh Kohli an "alternative comedian" (the alternative being that he is "deeply unfunny" to quote a review) living in London who was on the BBC's "diversity graduate programme". (Also a slum landlord in his spare time).

Such people are reliable because they get paid to be.

Pogo said...

The "Fat Bigot" opines an interesting logical point, namely that "growing your own" is unlikely to make much impact upon imports for the simple reason that we are limited to what varieties we can grow in the UK by our climate and growing season. Britain's commercial farmers have much the same limitation and it's likely that vegetables and fruit that we can grow instead of buying are largely UK-sourced anyway.

As it is, spuds, cabbage, carrots etc can be home-grown by us plebs, the Righteous will be "forced" to continue buying - fucking difficult to get Kiwi Fruit and mangetout to grow in December in the UK.

Dick the Prick said...

I'd love to use my garden more but am a right lazy git.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I think that many commenters on here are confusing actual 'farming' with fscking about on a little allotment.
Supporting actual FARMING in the UK is something I support, and will genuinely produce more food in this country and reduce the reliance on imports.
'Encouraging' countless fools to mess about on allotments will do no such thing, and will only harm the economy as these fools inevitably give up work to get 'back to the land'(!).
Theres a reason we've got large scale industrial farming- it's terribly good at producing food, and leaving everybody else to get on with better things. If all of our food was produced on small scale allotments, we would have time for little else.
As other people have said, we've done the whole subsistence farming thing before; we gave up on it because it was shit. We had the industrial revolution instead.
All this "golden age of x hundred years ago" bollocks is getting tiring, and all to often hides an alterior motive.

neil craig said...

Sardeep Singh Kohli has contacted me regarding some similar remarks I made on my blog & I am happy to confirm that he denies having been called an "alternative" comedian or that the BBC graduate programme he was on was a "diversity" one & that he has actually been on QT 3 times. His email & my reply are reprinted there.

bernard said...

I AM am an allotment holder...and I can tell you that from October to April all I get is cabbages and sprouts. If I stored and froze all the summer vegs, I'd need a personal power station!!

Mark said...

Actually,for most people growing food in an allotment is considerably more expensive than buying it from elsewhere.

Thats why we do it.

(Expensive in terms of time and time of course = money.)

FlipC said...

DK - "Who is this "we"? Whose land, exactly, will you be "making available""

To be precise I was talking about land use with regard to planning class. Take a look for yourself see if you can spot farm land or allotment in that list. If the council can only designate land as being only for certain types than oddly enough that's what happens.

Oh of course you could complain that the council shouldn't be able to do this blah free-market blah libertarianism blah and I'll remember that when someone wants to build a night-club next to your property.

Devil's Kitchen said...

FlipC,

"Oh of course you could complain that the council shouldn't be able to do this blah free-market blah libertarianism blah and I'll remember that when someone wants to build a night-club next to your property."

Why is it the default setting of you people that libertarians are libertarian only until our own interests are threatened?

I know that your convictions probably run barely skin-deep, but some of us actually believe the stuff that we advocate.

DK

Farmer Giles said...

Look FlipC, you fuckwit, it’s no good looking at a list of planning classes titled ‘Guide for Businesses’ and expecting to see classifications for farm land. If you look further down on the left, you’ll see ‘Guide for Farmers’. This links to the pages for farms.

(And yes, before you say it, farmers run businesses, but evidently that wasn’t how the web designer decided to lay this page out.)

Not that I can see why you think producing a partial list of planning classes is supposed to prove anything. So farms and allotments are not on some stupid list that you found - are you trying to argue therefore that allotments and farms don’t exist? Duh.

FlipC said...

I'll address you in order:

DK - Congratulations a true libertarian, and when you have people staggering past you and vomiting on your front step, unable to move due to the plummeting price of your property you can wrap yourself up in its flag.

As for convictions, no I try to leave such absolutes for those of a religious-type of mind preferring myself to deal with the muddy mess of reality.

Onto the charming Farmer Giles who I would guess didn't bother to examine that link they thrust upon me or they would have realised it was tangential to my answer. To keep it simple -

FC - make land available to grow food
DK - How?
FC - Through land use (as per such things as LDF) however as you can see that's currently rather difficult as it's not a recognised class
FG - You fuckwit, are you saying there's no such things as farms.

Yes Farmer Giles I'm saying there are no such things as farms in exactly the same manner that Monty Don was calling for the complete cessation of food imports.

Farmer Giles said...

Sorry to call you a fuckwit, FlipC, but your argument really is so dense as to invite it.

The list that you pointed to (which by the way you found - I did not thrust upon you - and which I did examine, evidently more closely than you, and if it was tangential to your answer, why did you introduce it?) to support your specious argument, is a list of planning classes for businesses.

If you want a comprehensive list of the land use classes in the UK, try the National Land Use Database project. Note that agricultural land is class 1.1, whereas allotments and urban farms come under class 4.6, which is recreation and leisure use. That indicates a lot about the way it’s seen, as we shall see.

The planning laws in the UK are mainly about controlling development. Reversing development doesn’t yet seem to be much of a concern, because the ever-increasing population continually demands more housing, workplaces, shops and urban facilities.

The planning laws provide a mechanism to stop people building on open land, or turning a house into a nightclub. Notices are posted, neighbours can complain, committees meet, permission is given or refused.

If DK doesn’t want that nightclub next door, he has an opportunity to object; if he doesn’t mind, he can ignore it, or even write a letter of support. If a nightclub opens without planning permission, the council will shut it down again. I can’t speak for the libertarians, but in principle it seems to me like a reasonable, if bureaucratic, process.

While the construction of new buildings or a fundamental change of use of premises in most cases requires planning permission, there are some forms of development that do not require planning consent, or are granted consent by statute or other statutory instrument.

It’s boring and complicated, but for example, planning permission is not generally needed for internal alterations to buildings that do not affect their external appearance, for small external works, or most works of repair and maintenance. Limited changes of use may also be permitted. Changes of use within classes tend not to need permission, and this is what they are about, for example, a greengrocer’s shop could be changed to a shoe shop without permission as these uses fall within the same ‘class’. There’s an inherent hierarchy in the planning classes, and it is broadly easier to move down than up the hierarchy. So turning a nightclub into a shop is easier than vice versa. Demolishing a building can need permission, e.g. if it’s an amenity or is listed building, but is usually easier than building on a green field.

Allotments are treated as one of a broad range of open spaces of public value. Open space is defined in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as land laid out as a public garden, or used for the purposes of public recreation, etc. They are primarily recreational rather than agricultural.

Planning consent relating to agricultural land is whole different thing, which you can read up for yourself now you know where to look, but suffice it to say that as far as planning is concerned it is a damn sight easier to turn a caravan park into a wheat field than vice versa.

Turning land into allotments is relatively easy. They are most often run by councils. There may need to be permission, but it is unlikely to be controversial. Many councils have policies encouraging healthier lifestyles which are consistent with the promotion of allotment gardening. The relevant planning guidance, Planning Policy Guidance Note 17 (Sport and Recreation) (PPG17) is very supportive of councils providing allotments, and places various obligations to provide and monitor the provision of recreational open space, including allotments.

Furthermore local authorities have statutory duties under the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 and the Allotments Act 1925 to provide a sufficient number of allotments when they consider that there is a demand. They also have powers to acquire land for the provision of allotments. I doubt that these powers extent to seizing it at gunpoint, but probably allow councils to spend money to purchase it.

On the other hand, changing allotments to another use, even to something like playing fields, is extremely difficult.

Allotments are uniquely protected through the legislative and planning framework within the wider context of a firm national policy to improve the quality of urban green spaces. To dispose of a statutory allotment a local authority must obtain consent from the Secretary of State. As part of the consultation process, there is a requirement to consult with the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners. Change of use of the site also requires planning permission, and local consultation to establish demand.

It doesn’t happen often. A 2006 Survey found that two thirds of councils who responded had not disposed of any sites, in whole or part, since 1996. Those who had disposed of sites were more likely to have more than twenty vacant plots.

Apparently, the 1997 English Allotments Survey found there to be over 43,000 untended, vacant plots with around 13,000 people registered on waiting lists for allotments, i.e. a net surplus of 30,000 allotments, although there’s clearly local mismatch.

If the situation is still the same today, and lack of land for allotments isn’t actually a significant problem, it makes Monty Don’s original comments and DK’s post all rather redundant.

But if councils and other organisations are willing to provide allotments to meet a demand from people who want to use them, what’s the harm?

Absence from the list of planning classes for businesses use is completely irrelevant to the definition of allotments in law; the various duties of local authorities; their statutory obligations to provide and maintain allotments; their powers under statute to obtain land for allotment use; and their inclination to provide and encourage allotment provision (about which most councils tend to be positive where they see there is a need).

If you think that a lack of a recognised planning class somehow constitutes a reason why it might be rather difficult to establish an allotment, you are simply wrong.

There may be other barriers, but the planning classes are irrelevant.

FlipC said...

FG it was your link I found tangential, as for your land use link that is for classifying existing land not for specifying changes. The Local Development Framework that councils need to produce does indeed use the lane use system to classify areas, but then uses the planning classes to determine what, if anything, can be done there. Therein lay my point that in a densely urban area pretty much everything may be outside the remit for agricultural use.

As for the Allotments Act etc. it seems councils are doing a bang-up job with that. What I was attempting to show was why that may be the case.

Farmer Giles said...

Are you on about the Rodale link? That was directly in response to ‘pond life’ at [2/20/2009 04:55:00 PM] who quoted a chunk of one of their reports to show ‘The Filthy Smoker’ how wonderful organic farming is. I agree that organic is tangential to allotments, but perhaps someone thought it was relevant to Monty Don.

I won’t reiterate my tedious description of planning law, except to restate that allotments are a specific type of ‘open land’ as defined in the Town and Country Planning Act and certain statutes that specifically cover allotments. Allotments are encouraged in the planning guidance PPG17.

Allotments are viewed explicitly as recreational, as opposed to agricultural, land. Urban areas tend to have little agricultural land, by definition, but even central London is about 25% ‘open space’, which includes parks, playing fields and allotments.

Allotments, as others have pointed out, produce rather a small amount of food, but provide recreation; whereas agricultural farming produces a substantial quantity of food and materials. My land yields around 8-10 tonnes/hectare of wheat, whereas my garden plot provides just a modest supply of vegetables.

There may be many reasons why some councils fail to provide an adequate number of allotments to meet local demand, but a lack of a planning class is not one of them.