"Greenest government ever." That’s the phrase that’s already been used to slap the current UK administration a fair few times. It’s an ambitious claim, but it seems even on the black-and-white issues UK ministers can’t quite bring themselves to go green.
Take fish. It's been big news recently with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight, the lasting fall-out from the End of the Line, campaigns from people like us on tinned tuna, and the overarching shadow of European Fisheries Policy reform next year. There is now an undeniable desire for fish to be ‘sustainable’ and ‘sustainably-sourced’, and even the average voter-on-the street is aware of that.
When it comes to things the government can influence directly, few are as obvious as their own purchasing policies. If the government wanted to source sustainable fish, then it could simply decide that was what it was going to do – only buy fish from sustainable sources. That would mean all the fish paid for with a government cheque book - such as the stuff served up in the Westminster canteen and at official events - wasn’t costing the earth. You’d think this was a no-brainer.
But here’s the thing: at the moment the government is suggesting it will only source 60 per cent of its fish from sustainable sources.
Pardon? Just over every second fish will be sustainable? How pathetically unambitious.
There are a number of ironies here – but I’ll give you just three:
- The 2012 Olympics have already made a commitment to source only sustainable fish, so why would the government be less ambitious? If it’s good enough for Lord Coe, why is it not good enough for the rest of Whitehall?
- Also as part of the Sustainable Fish City campaign, the Greater London Assembly agreed in December to adopt the same standards as the 2012 Olympics – so it’s good enough for Mayor Boris Johnson too.
- And pet food manufacturers Whiskas (after a hoo-ha with some ill advised new flavours a year or so back) have also pledged to source only sustainable fish in their cat food. That has led our friends at Sustain to point out that the prime minister’s new cat, Larry, will probably be eating more sustainable fish than the PM.
Makes you wonder, huh? The government are intent on spending their - sorry, our - money on unsustainable fish... so it seems only right that we tell them that this is simply unacceptable.
We know this issue is being discussed now in Whitehall, so please add your voice to ours and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s, and let the government know that when it comes to fish they need to go 100 per cent green.
Fish is supposed to be brain-food, and this is a no-brainer. Let’s make the government think again. After all, if it’s good enough for Boris and Larry, it’s good enough for Dave and Nick too.