Thursday, 13 August 2009

Consider the source

Earlier this week I read a piece about the “revolting” use of “manipulative language” by the present government in order to “inspire fear” concerning Britain’s food security and prepare us all for Stalinist intervention with a view to imposing vegetarianism. (No, it was not in the Daily Mail: I don’t read the rag.) Naturally this brought on a panic attack, but I managed to recover enough to go online and find the culprit publication apparently referred to.
It is a report by DEFRA which gets right down to business in paragraph two with the sentence: “By any objective measure, we enjoy a high degree of food security in the UK today.” Are you frightened yet?
The report (entitled UK Food Security Assessment: Our Approach, available on DEFRA's website) strikes me as a sober and thoughtful document which is well worth reading by anyone seriously interested in public policy.
On the other hand, dear reader, if you are not seriously interested in public policy then by all means go on believing second-hand, or more remote, regurgitation of what is actually stated. And do by all means blog about it. Just don’t expect me to bother reading it.
While studying for the law, one of the best bits of advice I received, which I in turn like to pass on, was: never cite a case you haven't read.
Moral: consider the source.

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