Theo Rebergen - People Power: principles and solidarity

With the horse meat “scandal” neighing out of every TV channel across Europe, I wondered whose fault it is. Mafiosi type meat traders that buy Nicolai Ceausescu’s old race horses and put them in our ready-made meatballs, greedy supermarket managers strangling their suppliers or scrupulous restaurant owners that pay their staff peanuts?

If somebody offers you goods, food, or services below the market price, I promise you it will have a bad smell or taste. If you see three beef burgers for £1 with a free ticket for The Grand National, take a hike.

In times of recession low conscious supermarket bosses become ruthless predators when it comes to maintain profits; cutting corners is the obvious writing on the wall.

Another method to achieve low prices is to move food and live animals back and forward around Europe cashing in on ex- and import subventions funded by your tax payments to Brussels. I know because some of my fellow Dutchmen are the spiders in this logistical money spinning net.

How did we miss the clear signals that we were being scr……? Because we got blinded by the super deals and buy the cheap rubbish! So the whole misery is our own fault; we have forgotten the strongest weapon against malicious business practices called People Power.

So how should we practise this? I don’t believe in blocking roads or other infrastructures though it was a shock when hundreds of furious Spanish fishermen showed up in Brussels a few years ago.

Boycott is the magic word; it will stop those scrupulous business boys.

Now the TV channels that live on the money supermarkets spend on advertising, now want us to go back to the few butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers and bakeries that are left.

France has a law which stops supermarkets building within a 15 mile range from the town centres so small shops can survive.

German butchers or bakers are respected professionals like doctors (or bankers before they became greedy). The apprentice system keeps them coming. Holland went the English route; when tins took over the restaurant kitchens 15 years ago I started home cooking. And since I found out that mass produced bread contains 15 chemicals, I make my own bread; simply throw water, flour, salt/sugar and yeast in the oven and your very tasty loaf jumps out after 35 minutes.

No bread machine needed. The French and Spanish buy fresh bread three times daily; and the left-over stale bread is the base for so many scrumptious dish. I don’t take the rubbish of having no time; Jamie O is down to 15 min. for a meal from scratch.

Talking about principles you could boycott fashion discounters selling £5 t-shirts made by 10-year-old kids in India and China; travel agents that offer you a package too good to be true? Stay at home; it will be a holiday from hell! Stop going to petrol stations from oil giants that abuse their monopoly to turn your petrol tank into their personal cash machines; when German petrol prices went through the roof in the eighties, motorists drove miles to find the cheapest filling stations often spending more money to get to the cheapest stations than they saved on the lower petrol prices.

However the press made it into a national campaign and in the end the big oil magnates had to bring down the prices. A victory for People Power built on principles and solidarity.

Boycott TV companies that rob you for £50 or 60 Euros a month to watch millionaire ball kickers so they can earn £150.000 plus a week; watch it for free on your PC. Wow, I just dumped my own principles.

Finally, you could bombard politicians that close their eyes for all these hideous developments and force your MP’s to disobey Brussels and it’s senseless behaviour.

So up to a new healthy sustainable life style but that comes with a price: it is based on principles and solidarity and that are the only things that do not come cheap.