One of the more intriguing appointments that Jeremy Corbyn has made to his shadow cabinet of curiosities is Kerry McCarthy, the MP for Bristol East. Amongst other matters, she’s going to be in charge of agricultural policy. She’s a vegan (Corbyn, the LINO wimp, is merely vegetarian).
Farmer’s Weekly sounds a tad anxious:
An outspoken critic of the meat industry, Ms McCarthy believes livestock farming contributes to world hunger by using crops as animal feed, rather than to feed humans.
Not only that, she has some thoughts on what Britain’s current eating habits mean for the nation’s health:
“Then there are the sky-rocketing healthcare costs that are attributable in large part to the increase in human consumption of meat, eggs and dairy products.
“Loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat, these products have been linked to cancer, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and obesity.
“These top killers burden the NHS and necessitate that billions of pounds be spent searching for cures and medications to relieve disease symptoms.
“They also claim a huge number of lives.”
And yes, she was one of the dispiritingly large number of MPs that signed a 2007 motion calling for positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals.
Vegetarians are of ‘that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking to the smell of “progress” like bluebottles to a dead cat’.
And, yes, yes, before you write, there are plenty of vegetarians who do not fall into that stereotype, but, in the ranks of the British (and not just the British) left there are also quite a few who do. Corbyn, of course, has been seen in sandals. Just sayin’.
Meanwhile the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane picks up on the class angle (of course he does, he’s a Brit) which may mean that David Cameron has to tread more delicately than some Americans might assume:
The Tories, on the benches opposite Corbyn, will no doubt be praying for blood, yet Cameron, no fool, will be treading with extreme caution. For one thing, he will be the junior partner: a paltry fourteen years in the House of Commons, as opposed to Corbyn’s thirty-two. The Labour leader knows the ropes of the place as well as anyone does, and, for all his dedication to peace, he has long since mastered the most effective way to land a punch. There is also a serious risk that Cameron could seem to be behaving de haut en bas: the smooth and ruddy-cheeked squire, gazing down with a courteous smile upon the callow upstart at the cottage door. Nothing stinks like condescension in the British nose. Think of their duel: the scion of Eton and Oxford standing face to face with a man who performed poorly at school and has no college degree. The hale fellow who might have made his name, and a far larger fortune, in countless spheres of life, and who sometimes gives the impression that politics is a useful and diverting sport, versus the gentle ascetic who can conceive of no life other than the political brand.
He’s right about that. Cameron will need to be careful, but, I suspect that Lane’s wrong to describe Corbyn as ‘gentle’. Labour’s new leader is too fond of the hard men and the thugs for that.
And note Lane’s reference to Corbyn’s lack of academic success. Despite coming from a reasonably prosperous background, poor Jeremy could only manage two grade E’s at A level and a brief period of attendance at North London Poly. A British friend can tell you what that means, and when he or she has done that, think back (as I am not the first to observe) to the hooting and jeering of the British left about the supposed stupidity of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.