Even though Mugabe and his gang look to have decided on ignoring the voter's judgement in Zimbabwe, the bio fuel 'food riots' have started, and my home telephone and Internet have been down since yesterday, I'm in a good mood. As is every Welsh person, except perhaps Leighton James and a few like minded souls in the Swansea area. (In passing, is a Swansea man wanting Cardiff to lose to gallant Barnsley any worse than a Welshman wanting England to lose to the All Blacks?) Anyway, Cardiff are in the Cup Final. And Mrs Canada Goose has settled on her clutch of eggs in our garden. I'd put up the photograph except I can't do it from the Conservative Office in Welshpool, where I've had to come tonight to access the Internet, my emails and to moderate comments.
Back to the food riots, which I've been predicting for quite a long time on this blog - well more warning could be a possibility. There's an interesting article on the subject in the 'Business' section of today's Telegraph. What alarmed me over a year ago was realising the scale of the transfer of crops in the US from food to bio fuels. It seemed to me that when added to the exponential demand for food from China, India, and other 'growth' countries, this transfer was inevitably going to create increased demand, followed by increased prices, followed by increased hunger in the poorest parts of Africa in particular, followed by social unrest. Well, according to the excellent Liam Halligan, riots began last week in Niger, Cameroon, Senegal and Burkino Faso - though this was to do with shortage of rice rather than maize or wheat. But the market in these basic foodstuffs are interdependent. The UN is warning that the food riots witnessed last week "may become common in other places in Africa".
The context in which I've raised this has been the need to properly research the implications before rushing headlong down a gleaming new 'green' road because it seems an attractive option at first sight. It may be that a switch to bio fuels is sensible on a limited scale and if introduced in a controlled and sustainable way. But not the wholescale transfer from food to fuel that's happening at present. Like the UN, I hope that the world doesn't witness a human tragedy born of this well meant but uncontrolled rush to bio fuels.