Easy to be friendly

File:A tin of Fisherman's Friend strong menthol lozenges.jpg
By Feureau (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
I went to a Greenpeace event on Wednesday evening – about their ‘Be a fisherman’s friend‘ campaign.

There were some very nice inshore fishermen there too – people with whom it was easy to be friendly. These were fishermen from NUTFA and their website is well worth a look.

It’s easy to be friendly with small fishermen, small farmers and, generally, small businessmen. I bet you feel more of a feeling of warmth when you hear the term small farmer than large farmer – don’t you?

That’s probably why the Minister, Richard Benyon, made the small joke that he came from a small business background – yeh right!  The Minister owns a small part of London and a small part of Berkshire and a small bit of a few other places too – he’s worth a small fortune (and good for him!).

The truth is that we tend to feel more empathy for the small underdog than the successful large enterprise – don’t you agree?  However, I think there is precious little evidence that small farmers deliver more as a group for the environment than do large farmers – I certainly haven’t seen the evidence. I know of plenty of environmentally friendly small farmers and plenty of environmentally friendly large ones too – not enough of either but plenty of both.  I guess the same is true for fishermen too – but I am guessing.

It’s easy to be friendly, but if we are to fix farming and fishing and probably forestry and lots of other f’s too, then we need Government Ministers who can be tough and say unwelcome things to businesses large and small.



8 Replies to “Easy to be friendly”

  1. Mark, I think you’re both right and wrong. You’re right that “we need Government ministers who can be tough and say unwelcome things to businesses large and small”. You’re wrong that it’s easy to be friendly – or rather, language being a slippery bugger, that it’s easy to be a friend. A real friend tells you when you’re acting like a dickhead. A real friend won’t let you drive when you’ve had that one drink too many. Under rare circumstances, a real friend might punch your lights out or turn you in to the police. Someone who is always “friendly” no matter what isn’t your friend but a sycophant, and definitely not to be trusted. Being tough, saying unwelcome things – hell, even George Osborne and Owen Paterson fulfill those criteria. What’s hard is to mix those qualities with compassion and a genuine concern for the object’s well-being. I think the tone of Greenpeace’s “Fisherman’s Friend” campaign is about right. Surely being a “Farmer’s Friend” needn’t mean snuggling up to the NFU or green-lighting practices harmful to wildlife and the environment? Or am I wrong?

  2. We need Government ministers who can do a lot of things but don’t hold your breath! At the moment most of the unwelcome things they say are to the electorate. How, in a so-called democracy, can we find ourselves with Richard Benyon as an environment minister, I don’t know.

  3. It’s very difficult to be a fishermen’s friend when as an industry they have single handed devoid the sea of fish. Ok the politicians have let them do it – but all commercial fishermen just see a fish as a £10 note (or even a £20 note) and until one realises that’s the only motivation they have (why would they have any other motivation?) then the fog may start to clear a little.

    The under 10 meter fleet are now bleeting when ‘big’ fishing industry, starts to have an impact on their ‘sustainable’ ways. Utter tosh of course – they are the architects of their own downfall and they are as unsustainable as their bigger cousins.
    The sooner the new IFCAs start to look to their new conservation responsibilities the sooner the tide will start to turn – although I won’t hold my breath.

  4. Nor the “small” fishermen who were prosecuted for landing on the Roseate Tern colony in NORTHUMBERLAND (B.TOGGER SEE RSPB DO WORK VERY WELL IN YOUR AREA) after being told not by the RSPB.

  5. There is considerable evidence on the continent that small farms does mean better for the environment, hence a strong push by the EU towards supporting SMEs in land management. It is embodied here in France within the concept of terroir, where produce is defined by a landscape and as landscape is environment including people, all elements including nature within that landscape must be preserved for the sake of taste – neither can you produce the same product outside of that landscape, which is why te French fight so hard against product names being used by anyone else, anywhere else. The UK due to historical reasons including the obsession in forming associations or clubs for everything and anything have largely destroyed any means to have a system where a locality, a place, a landscape can see its nature fully protected by commercial need and only deeply fragmenting land designations can do this instead. If there was power to be found by breaking down the large ‘corporate’ organisations into local landscape or community based groups, under a national umbrella if needs be, would this enable discourse to head towards more understanding of the protection of nature and the potential profits to be gained by doing so? I fear this is absolutely impossible now.

Comments are closed.