The Bickerstaffe Record

Summer 07 Bickerstaffe Record

Fairtrade proposals rebuffed by ‘sick’ Conservatives

07.24.07 | 1 Comment

As we’ve noted at the back page, most business in the Council Chamber must be considered thoroughly dull and certainly not newsworthy enough to mention in the Record.   Some readers however, may be interested in one matter that came before Council on 18 July, and which is close to Paul’s heart 

Labour Councillor Cynthia Dereli put forward a perfectly sensible motion asking that

West Lancashire become a Fairtrade District, promoting the sale and purchase of Fairtrade products across the area in support poor farmers in the third world.  This is something that came to Garstang, for example, a number of years ago, and in which several Councils express pride.    The Conservative councillors in

West Lancashire chose instead to indulge in a right wing rant about the virtues of ’free trade’ in sub-Saharan

Africa (and one councillor appeared to suggest that that is where the terrorists come from!). 

The Conservatives voted en bloc and defeated the motion, though some faith in humankind was restored by six abstentions.  As someone who has worked in both

Bangladesh and

Tanzania with farmers left utterly destitute by ‘free trade’ (in the third world interpretation of destitute, meaning malnourished), Paul found this all a little bit ‘sick’.  It was a real eye opener to hear the kind of sentiment and, frankly, ignorance expressed in the Council Chamber that night. It’s a reminder that, despite accepted wisdom that the parties are increasingly alike, the basic political values remain poles apart.

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