Gordon Brown has just made me strike my forehead with similar force over an equally minor thing. He’s said:
If we are to get food prices down, we must also do more to deal with unnecessary demand such as by all of us doing more to cut our food waste which is costing the average household in Britain about £8 per week.
Chris Dillow is pretty acerbic on this, noting that people will economise without being told if they feel the need to, that if they don’t feel the need than being told will have no effect at all, and that Brown seems to feel the need to be seen ‘doing something’.
I’d add that it’s not the best of ideas right now to tell people, in effect: ‘You are about to become so painfully impoverished that you will need to save the scraps from your dinner plates to feed your children in the morning.’ Austerity rhetoric is political stupidity beyond belief. It’s not quite saying that we should eat all our food because of the starving kiddies in Africa, but it does evoke the less-well-nourished people of Glasgow East, which Labour held in 2005 with 61% of the vote.
This will collapse, but whether to the point of losing the seat is hard to say. I almost wonder if Labour’s candidate-selecting troubles are a cunning plan to avoid having to actually fight the byelection. Just as David Davis’s win will be rendered hollower through lack of a proper contest, so an internal cock-up that kept Labour out of the ring in Glasgow would be deeply embarrassing for a couple of days – but might at least be less painful than getting crushed by the voters in an ultra-safe seat.
But surely not. Labour will fight the seat – although, perhaps, on an empty stomach.