Grauniad hangwringing

Subtitle: Rupert Neate is a tosser, since I don’t seem to have done one of my “is a tosser” series recently.

Having assailed the nutters yesterday, I feel inclined to have a go at the handwringing going on at the Grauniad; I really do despair sometimes. As Timmy puts it “Fund to buy grain buys grain from grain wholesaler” (and lest you think I’m being to nice to Timmy, it looks like he stuffed up over the Greek debt).

There are any number of things wrong with that piece, but the headline “How £50m in UN food aid for starving went to buy wheat from Glencore” pretty well sums it up. Its a lie, of course: what actually happened was that the UN spent £50m buying grain; only a small fraction of that is profit. And why did the UN gratuitously spend this money? Because they were the cheapest supplier, of course.

But the whole tone of the piece is drivel. Take Glencore International, which buys up supplies from farmers and sells them on at a profit. What is this supposed to mean? Are we to take it that buying and selling grain is evil; Is it surprising? The statement is just a matter of the bleedin’ obvious, but is presented as yet another item in the charge sheet against Glencore.

The UN seem to have somewhat left themselves open to this Guardianista nonsense, by having said “Our new motto is to help people feed themselves,” Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the WFP, told China’s state news agency. “When we can, we purchase our food from the very poor farmers who suffer because they are not connected to local markets.” But you can see the problem, of course. Setting up an organisation capable of finding farmers so poor they don’t even have access to local markets, and redistributing that grain, would be a huge task. And one that I’d rather entrust to someone like Glencore than the UN, ter be ‘onest wiv yer guv.