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Alistair McConnachie published Sovereignty from July 1999 to its 120th consecutive monthly issue in June 2009, and he continues to maintain this website.
Alistair McConnachie also publishes Prosperity - Freedom from Debt Slavery which explains why publicly-created money is a democratic imperative which is necessary to solve the financial crisis and A Force For Good which explains why Scotland and England should remain united.
To find out more go to the about who is Alistair McConnachie page.
Buy the Complete 10-Year, 120 Back Issue Set of Sovereignty - worth £162.50 - for only £89 inc p+p, a 45% discount. Cheques to Sovereignty, at 268 Bath St, Glasgow, G2 4JR or go to the Sovereignty back issues page and click "Buy Now".

Cartoon, Farmers Weekly, 26 July 2002
Alistair McConnachie writes: One year on from the world's worst outbreak of Foot and Mouth, alleged to have reached these shores via illegally imported meat. So just what is the government doing to keep out illegal imports?

Sniffer Dogs
Sovereignty has been calling for sniffer dogs at every port of entry in Britain, and amnesty bins for illegal food imports, since the start of the FMD outbreak. Action so far?

According to a report in The Times on 21 August 2002, the government plans to reveal two specially trained food sniffer dogs which will work at Heathrow sometime in September. That is "two" dogs, as in, one... two ...dogs. They will be trained to detect meat, fish and other animal products inside luggage and freight containers arriving at the airport.

But spare a thought for the pair. As an NFU spokesman said, "Two detector dogs are a start but something nearer 200 are required to provide the level of protection that British livestock deserve. Those two dogs will have their work cut out checking the 219,178 bags that arrive at Heathrow every day."

Apparently DEFRA want to ensure the pair are successful before expanding the scheme. Also DEFRA are "considering" X-ray equipment to scan containers and personal baggage for organic material, and "considering" the introduction of "amnesty bins" into which passengers can deposit illegal food.

All this "considering" really doesn't bode well, "considering" it is now over a year, and the only thing being done to "tighten up" import controls is the introduction of two poor little over-worked dogs at Heathrow.

What else is being done?

What about an Outright Ban on Importing Meat for Personal Consumption?
At the moment, it is legal to bring in up to one kilo of meat.

According to The Herald of 12 September 2002, the EU announced on 11 September that it is "intending" to ban the importation of meat for personal consumption into the EU. In other words:

1) We still haven't banned the importation of meat for personal consumption into Britain, even though the government claims this is how FMD entered the country, and even though illegally imported meat was almost certainly the cause of the severe outbreak of classical swine fever in East Anglia two years ago.
2) Our government prefers, or feels it has to wait, for the EU to pass this law, rather than implementing it themselves.

If it really wanted, our own government could implement this obvious necessity, and it could enforce it appropriately, regardless of what the EU had to say about it. And if the Customs and Excise is under-resourced then -- excuse the pun -- it needs beefed-up.

Warped Ideology of Market Reliance!
And what about the overall ideology within which international trade is being conducted. Are we concentrating on self-sufficiency and localised economies as the way to cut down on unnecessary trade and transport, reduce the disease risk, and improve living standards in both the North and South alike.

Eh, no actually. Quite the opposite. DEFRA secretary Margaret Beckett and the present government look set to back the World Bank economic theory which argues that opening up our markets to agricultural produce from developing countries is the way to reduce "poverty" and "inequality" (conditions seldom specifically defined) in the Third World. This is part of the profit-maximising agenda of big business -- although it appeals to some people because it seems to make globalisation "fair".

For example, just as the more powerful North is able to demand, and usually get, market access to the South, so, the argument goes, this market access should be reciprocated and the North should open up its markets to the South. On the face of it, that seems "fair", but it doesn't address the fact that the game of globalisation is intrinsically flawed to start with, and making a bad game "fair" just means that we all keep losing in the long run.

For example, relaxing trade restrictions in this manner could see billions of pounds of food imports flood into Britain, undermining our agricultural base, putting people out of work, and raising the threat of even more animal and human diseases entering the country.

Sovereignty advocates a policy of self-reliance, not market-reliance as the most effective way to protect and raise living standards in both North and South alike.

See November 2004 update here

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