What we learned this week

Having concluded that the government and telecommunications wouldn’t ever get them high-speed broadband, this village decided to raise the money and dig the cable in themselves.

Talking of digging, the new draft national curriculum for Britain’s primary schools includes horticulture for the first time, meaning all children could learn how to grow their own food.

The IF hunger campaign is sending out its first actions – you can sign a petition here to coax the government into clamping down on tax dodging in developing countries.

Some good news on that front – Barclays announced that they will stop speculating on food this week. Before we get too excited about a bank doing the right thing however, they will continue to sell financial products that allow others to speculate on food, they just won’t do it themselves. But a step in the right direction.


  1. What is wrong about speculating in food prices? If you are a farmer looking to hedge your crops for next year you need speculators to buy your futures.

    1. You should ask Barclays. CEO Anthony Jenkins says they’re aiming to restore public trust in their brand by giving up “situations where we’re short-termist, too aggressive and too self-centred.”

      1. That doesn’t refer to food speculation does it? Don’t just dredge quotes up out of context.There is a place for speculators, without buyers you can’t sell.

        1. Why are you always so quick to assume that my position is simplistic and anti-markets? I’m fully aware of the role that speculation plays, and I’ve written in the past about the importance of advanced food markets in Africa.

          And no, the quote is not ‘dredged up’ or out of context. It’s from the session with the Banking Standards Commission last week where Jenkins told MPs about his commitment to more ethical standards. He doesn’t specifically mention food speculation in that conversation, it’s a statement of overall purpose. Ending food speculation is part of that vision, as we learned a few days later.

          I’m posting more on food speculation later today, as it happens.

          1. You only seem to mention markets is the context of “I’m not anti-markets but…..”. You also quote approvingly from many sources who are definitely anti-market. Hence my suspicion that you don’t genuinely believe in markets.

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