Food campaign news
A long-awaited meeting
At last! A meeting last Friday with an MEP, an influential one, about the European parliament's moves to tighten their grip on food speculation (as well as other commodities trading).
Thanks to a robust exchange of letters in the Guardian recently, WDM gained this window for us to put what we consider must be non-negotiable expectations of the process to Sharon Bowles, Lib Dem MEP and chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) committee.
WDM local group members were joined on Friday by WDM’s director Deborah Doane for meeting with Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles
It was very short notice but four local group members were able to make it, along with WDM’s director Deborah Doane and campaigner Christine Haigh. Ms Bowles gave us an hour of her time, did a lot of explaining but also agreed to hold out on certain key issues. One can never be sure until the votes are in, but my impression was that she wants to curb the unethical activities in the markets and will support key amendments to remove loopholes in the legislation. We can only hope that our efforts underlined the importance of this in the interests of all, not just the EU or the UK, and maybe strengthened her will.
It felt as if we were a good team. Even though the issues have been made difficult and complex, we kept bringing it back to a few key points but coming at them from different angles according to our strengths.
Reflection since, has led me to feel rather sorry for people like Ms Bowles at this time: caught between personal ambition, the demands of powerful vested interests, and the structures of economic and political systems that are clearly unable to meet the needs of an ever hungrier, angrier global population and suffering planet. However, that sympathy can in no way be allowed to slow or quieten the demands for simplicity, transparency and justice - the very opposites of the present situation.
We came away with a strong sense of the importance of keeping up the pressure on the European parliament, the council of ministers and the European commission. With a key vote due to be held at the end of this week, there’s still everything to play for – so please take action now!
Pauline Welch is a member of the Milton Keynes WDM group.