FIRST we were placed under virtual house arrest. Now we are being frozen by soaring fuel bills and energy supply shortages in those same homes. Coming next, we are to be starved. All in pursuit of one of the Net Zero cults: Covid or carbon emissions. Too bleak a picture? We have only to look across the North Sea to one of our nearest neighbours, the Netherlands.
Surprisingly for such a small country (it is only about twice the size of Wales), the Netherlands is the second largest food exporter in the world, second only to the United States. It is Europe’s largest meat exporter. Four million cows, 13million pigs and 104million chickens are reared annually. It provides vegetables to many of its Western European neighbours.
One would assume this success story would be widely cherished, especially in an era of increasing food insecurity and shortages, with other key sources such as Ukraine under serious threat due to the continuing conflict there.
Remarkably, and many would say sinisterly, the polar opposite is the case. The supposed crime of the Dutch farmers? They have fallen foul of the ‘Zero Carbon’ fixation of the Climate Change Cultists who control so much of the current political and economic agenda.
One of that agenda’s chief targets is agriculture, particularly the use of nitrogen. The Dutch are at the top of the tree for nitrogen use per hectare of cultivated land, at nearly twice the European average.
The European Commission has given strict guidelines to EU member states to reduce their use of nitrogen. To comply with this the Dutch Government introduced laws to enforce a reduction of 50 per cent in nitrogen emissions by 2030. Such draconian targets can only come with draconian enforcement measures.
Dutch farming is being strangled through an assortment of regulations, including new flood prevention regulations, bizarrely given the success of the Dutch in preventing flooding over the centuries despite the fact that large parts of the country are below sea level, having been reclaimed from the sea.
Perhaps worst of all, one of the Government’s new laws bans the children of farmers from inheriting the farm when their parents retire or die. Once a farmer stops farming, their entire family becomes banned from farming in the Netherlands again. A whole way of life plus decades, sometimes even centuries, of experience is being gratuitously thrown away.
Where regulation fails, mandatory purchasing of land by the state is feared to be the next step as farmers have so far shown little interest in selling any of their land. Around 300,000 hectares of farmland is earmarked to be converted into nature conservation areas between now and 2040. More than 1,000 farms face forcible closure.
Nor is it just the Dutch Government that the farmers are battling. A panoply of NGOs are on the case too, using the courts to pursue any part of the government at national or provincial level deemed to be faltering in enforcing these objectives.
Those of us in the UK, long weary of seeing how political charities and activist lawyers run rings round attempts to enforce curbs on immigration, will be familiar with the process.
It’s worth pointing out too that, despite Brexit, Northern Ireland still has to implement these same EU directives as part of the Northern Ireland protocol. Thanks for that one, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. So while today it is Dutch farming under siege from its own government, tomorrow it will be farming in Northern Ireland that is compelled to go through the same pain.
Interestingly, no one has yet stepped forward with a credible plan for how these vital lost sources of food are going to be replaced. The Dutch Government hopes that it will come from artificially created meat from laboratories and is investing in this technology, though how it can be sufficiently scaled up remains to be seen. Given what is already widely known about the harmful effects of eating too many processed foods instead of natural foods, such as the triggering of obesity and potential heart disease, it has to be asked whether this is a desirable course, or indeed what the further health implications for users may be.
Some would say the whole agenda is a straight forward grab by bad actors intent on taking control of the world’s food resources, for whom Net Zero objectives provide a convenient camouflage for their own lust for power, control and yet more wealth than they already have. The usual suspects certainly spring to mind.
Others argue that out-of-control digital technocrats are so conditioned to assuming they can control anything, however complex, that they can’t accept that some things remain beyond human control, such as airborne viruses and the climate.
Each failure to learn that simple lesson is leading to ever more intensive efforts to achieve that control, control that must be achieved at all costs. Either way, vicious cycles of more authoritarianism, human misery arising from absurd and seriously harmful measures, plus more setbacks in failing to reach unobtainable goals lie ahead. Unless we can shake off the grip of these technocrats on our societies and the political institutions in thrall to them, the prospect of starving to death will become our grim reality in an increasingly tyrannical world.
Think that couldn’t happen here? Just look at Sri Lanka, though as with the Dutch farmers, most of the media and nearly every politician would prefer you not to!
This article appeared in Patrick Clarke’s Column on December 14, 2002, and is republished by kind permission.