By Richard Griffiths, chief executive, British Poultry Council
It’s time to decide if Brexit is worth it. The Prime Minister managed to coalesce the two extremes to oppose her and received a record-breaking loss for the Government, only to later whip against her own deal. If only she could harness such power for good, then we may not be plummeting towards a Brexit still arguing about whether no-deal is a very, very bad thing.
The underlying social issues that created Brexit still exist and will only be exacerbated upon departure. People being able to feed themselves and their families is a measure of the problem, and food can be part of the solution, but even the softest Brexit will need mitigation. Let’s talk about schoolchildren all having a hot lunch, or social mobility that allows people to afford food through purposeful jobs, but let’s not fool ourselves that Brexit offers any answers.
Anything less than our current relationship with Europe will affect people’s ability to access and afford food, and our capacity to produce it, but we mustn’t start thinking that any deal is better than no-deal. A deal should be measured against what we have now as a full member, which for us means ensuring frictionless trade and access to EU labour. Only then can we decide whether the compromises are worth it; both for society and the individuals who will bear the highest burden.
The future should be in the hands of democracy and we’ve got the right to choose it, but a democratic society should also protect its citizens from harm. Food is a national security issue and a human need, and to compromise either is harmful. Democracy needs reflection – on decisions made and aspirations for the future – and maybe the chance to change its mind. We may revoke or extend Article 50, or a revised deal may arrive, but no-deal is an unmitigated act of malice that would be disastrous for British business, for British food, and most importantly, for British people.
That everyone deserves a square meal should be a given for our country, so let’s not make it harder than it already is.