Opinion – Chokepoints and Vulnerabilities in Global Food Trade | Chatham House

Global think tank, Chatham House, warns that policymakers must take action immediately to mitigate the risk of severe disruption at certain ports, maritime straits, and inland transport routes, which could have devastating knock-on effects for global food security.

Source: Chokepoints and Vulnerabilities in Global Food Trade | Chatham House

One of the most important recommendations is to incorporate ‘choke-point analysis’ into mainstream risk analysis. Whilst this is a good recommendation, I worry that many governments are fire-fighting, ignoring strategy and risk analysis. A good example is Theresa May’s current ‘weak and wobbly’ UK government, which is fire-fighting on a daily basis – see related blog.

Let’s stay with the UK, as an example. Clearly, austerity measures have been ineffective, reducing the effectiveness of public services and value for money. This blog has repeatedly argued in favor of a strategic approach, based on radical reform – but the political masters have not had the stomach for the truth.

Because of UK history and recent cuts to the UK’s military capability, strategists will be particularly alarmed at the UK’s risk profile, both in imports via Dover and Felixstowe.

Here’s an open question:

What steps should the UK take to reduce risk of food shortage from choke-point events? Does this responsibility fall on DEFRA, and if so, what are the terms of reference?



Opinion – The Brexit negotiations: Issues for the first phase | European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Please don’t rely on the UK mainstream media for truth and evidence – it’s too biased. Here’s an excellent guide to the first phase of the Brexit negotiations published by the European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Source: The Brexit negotiations: Issues for the first phase | European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Of course, worse than the output of the UK mainstream media are the platitudes and false truths from Prime Minister, Theresa May and her Brexit Minister, David Davis. I agree with my friend, and fellow blogger, John Gelmini, that these two are such weak negotiators that the UK will be forced into huge financial penalties and political sacrifices.

At least with the above checklist, you can track May and Davis’s concessions.

These are dangerous times for the UK politically, with massive downside economic risks – look at the increasing number of headlines that cite the word ‘revolution’ in relation to the UK.

I suggest that there are four political forces in play:

  1. Conservative Party 1922 Committee ready to replace the prime minister if she continues to bungle her leadership and lose ground to Corbyn’s Labour Party – May has limited wiggle room on Brexit
  2. Right-wing populism, with Nigel Farage, sitting in the wings, ready to step back into the limelight, whipping up support from the Far-Right
  3. Left-wing populism, with Jeremy Corbyn‘s Labour Party, having been hijacked by radical Far-Left activists focused on revolution.
  4. The strategic political center for democracy, like Macron’s France, currently virtually unoccupied in the UK but looking increasingly attractive to Pro-European Tories and Blairite Labour MPs.

The way forward depends upon emerging contingencies and national events.

Strategists should be able to project a series of scenarios for risk profiling  – that’s for another day. But let me share a deep lingering fear, when right-wing populism and left-wing populism converge – a nightmare, with perhaps a new ‘Hitler’, ‘Mussolini’ or ‘Stalin’ emerging in the UK, fanning the ashes of the revolution.