BY JIM WEBSTER
Every so often you realise you’ve missed a trick! I was chatting to another church warden and she commented that she cannot wait for somebody to demand her church be decolonised. She’d point out that the parish isn’t worthy and she could gift the church building to those protesting. Then the church itself could meet in the local community centre where it’s warm, the chairs are comfortable, and she doesn’t have to worry about the maintenance. Let somebody else go slowly bankrupt trying to look after the building and at the same time face the opprobrium of the community who neither attend nor contribute, but are furious that you’ve not maintained it to the high standards their grandfather thinks he remembers.
Well it’s not just church wardens who can leap on this bandwagon. What about farmers? First let’s hear it for sheep farmers and their carbon sequestrating wool. Surely cotton ought to be no platformed! Not only has it a horrendous environmental record, but it’s integrally linked with slavery. Wearing a cotton t shirt? Check your privilege!
Then there are the other foodstuffs redolent with the stench of colonialism, imperialism and slavery. Tea for example, sugar, bananas, and coffee. All of them should be banned immediately. Admittedly I’ll miss coffee, but there again, a refreshing mug of honest beer with your breakfast must be the morally superior option. So if somebody comes into work not smelling of drink, send them for compulsory unconscious bias training.
If you stop to think about it, it would make sense (and be administratively easier) just to ban the produce of entire countries on ethical grounds. Given the treatment of Native Americans, just ban all US imports. There are worries about the rainforest, just ban everything from Brazil. Clearly there are going to be no imports from Australia because of their historic treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants.
Then there is France and their refusal to admit there are more than two genders. Given that (according to one website) there are many different gender identities, “including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these” it has to be pointed out that just using ‘le’ and ‘la’ is obviously some sort of phobic. Evidently, as a gesture of disapproval, we’ll have to ban food imports from countries with languages that presume the gender of things.
Again we cannot keep importing cheap labour from countries poorer than us. If that isn’t colonial exploitation and the visible sign of a rampant patriarchy I don’t know what is. One alternative is to pay visiting workers decent wages, perhaps linking farm workers’ remuneration to the pay of Civil Service Executive Officers. But that would put up food prices. Another alternative would be to conscript university academics from all universities where the intake of working class white males is lower than the proportion of this group in the general population. Admittedly as a workforce they’re likely to be neither use nor ornament but still. I personally would chuckle watching them harvesting winter cabbage in the sleet in December whilst asking whether the universe is real, or whether you can experience anything objectively.
Now it might be argued that we’re playing with fire here. Surely, like Caesar’s wife, we have to be above suspicion. This is where we have to be careful and do things in the right order. After all, once we’ve managed to ban most imported food and stopped them flying vegetables and fruit into the country, people are going to be so damned hungry they’re not going to ask too many questions about the food they can get.
Amazing how, when you have something real to worry about, a lot of other ‘problems’ suddenly disappear. Ah well, in the future we might even look back nostalgically at all those entitled people of today with their first world problems.
Jim Webster farms at the bottom end of South Cumbria. Jim was encouraged to collect together into a book some blog posts he’d written because of their insight into Cumbrian farming and rural life (rain, sheep, quad-bikes and dogs) It’s available here.