Canola grown here in the UK will be more important than ever due to the lost sunflower crop in Ukraine, says Paul Routledge. The hills of rural Yorkshire are awash with bright yellow flowers
The weekly groceries my mother sent me to shop at the Wakefield Industrial Society Co-op always started the same way.
Sugar, butter, marge, lard, cheese. I was scared of doing it wrong and blurted out “Shutter crap…”.
Nobody cooked with vegetable oil back then. It was always lard, especially at fish and chip shops. It’s probably still somewhere.
Palm oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil were unknown in most households. And Olive Oil was Popeye the sailor’s screaming girlfriend in Hollywood cartoons.
Fast forward and vegetable oils are now the panic talk in the kitchen and supermarket aisle. Because of the war in Ukraine, where 80% of supplies come from, sunflower oil is desperately in short supply and costs are skyrocketing.
But the hills of rural Yorkshire are full of bright yellow flowers. Thousands of hectares of rapeseed are ready to be harvested. And prices are rising faster than the thermometer in July. From £200-300 a tonne last year to £1,000 now, with obvious impact in stores.
After all, we have a domestic alternative to foreign imports from Malaysia’s palm deserts, and I like the sight of the wolds covered in a bright yellow carpet.
No doubt the fundamentalist tree-whisperers will lecture me on the wrongness of using land for food production that could be “rewilded.”
But it takes a crisis like the war in Ukraine to demonstrate the vital need to grow more of our own food – rather than importing almost 50% as we do now.
I don’t want to go back to the era of heart attack-on-a-stick cooking fats, mostly from pigs. Vegetable oils are healthier and rapeseed thrives on British soil.
Still, I’m glad I never had to ask the co-op for anything that would have made me blush. Lard could do that now.
Should Ben follow Boris?
Intense speculation surrounds the Boris question. Who will succeed the great Downing Street liar?
Embarrassing revelations about his wife’s non-dom status and his personal wealth have sapped Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s momentum. And the sombre Liz Truss, posing as Foreign Secretary, may be the darling of Tory loyalists, but she’s a non-starter for voters with two brain cells to rub.
Tom Tugendhat, a former TA lieutenant colonel, threw his helmet in the ring. A plausible guy, but not exactly a household name.
As Johnson’s “crisis, what crisis?” as leadership races to its caustic end, if you have a fiver left, you can put it on Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace. As a former captain in the Scots Guards, he has spoken of the Ukraine war with more restrained military sense than bellicose rhetoric. And he delivered the weapons to courageous Ukrainian freedom fighters.
Big money spoils everything it touches. Check out English football.
The $44 billion takeover of the social media platform Twitter by Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and a “free speech absolutist,” will unleash a torrent of bile, trumpery and political manipulation.
It should be renamed to Trolls R Us.
I’ve heard that comedian Eddie Izzard is imagining becoming a Labor MP in her hometown of Sheffield in the general election. Why wait? Take part in the upcoming Wakefield by-election and beat the Tories!
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/ukraine-wars-food-crisis-shows-26822162 "The food crisis in the Ukraine war shows the importance of growing your own produce" - Paul Routledge