Milky, Milky, And A Bit Of Contention

11/07/12 -- We've heard all the excuses before: "It's not our fault that the arse has fallen out of the price of cheese. Nobody wants cream when it's raining. We can only sell milk at the price that the housewife is willing to pay. It's all very regrettable, but we'd like to assure our valued suppliers that we will hold the current low prices low for as long as we possibly can. We've got shareholders to keep happy you know. That's our #1 priority."

The UK's dairy industry* is rightly up in arms over falling milk prices as once again feed prices go into orbit. Asda's stand at the Great Yorkshire Slow (deliberate spelling mistake for those that live in the area) was picketed by angry farmers yesterday. (As an aside, I assume that they all turned up in their tractors as nobody else was able to get into or out of the car parks).

And today thousands of dairy farmers are expected to descend on London to meet Farming Minister Jim Paice plead their case. Mr Paice was in the news yesterday for admitting that he didn't know what the price of milk was, as his wife buys most of it. I'd be embarrassed to admit that too, an MP has far better things to do than to go shopping surely? There's the moat to clean out for a kick off.

As the use of the phrase "most of it" suggests that someone else is involved, who I wonder, buys the rest of it? Jim's kids are grown up, according to his website, so I'm assuming that they've left home and therefore he can't rely on them for his milky requirements when Mrs P is incapacitated.

I have visions now of a distraught Jim sat at the breakfast table, tummy rumbling, Mrs P ill upstairs in bed, staring longingly at a dry bowl of cornflakes and a black cup of tea. "Margaret, Margaret.." (I don't know if that's what she's called, it's a guess). There's a pause. "Yes? What is it Jim, I'm ill you know?"

"How much is a pint of milk, Margaret?"

"Is that all, I'm bloody dying up here, it's about 50p - now let me rest will you?"

The kitchen door slams. Ten minutes pass.

"Margaret, Margaret..."

"Yes, yes, what is it now?"

"What sort do we buy Margaret?"

"Semi-skimmed, now leave me be."

The kitchen door slams. Ten more minutes pass.

"Margaret, that the one with the green top or the blue top?"

"For Christs sake! It's green, Jim, green, now bloody well leave me alone."

The kitchen door slams. Another ten minutes pass.

"Margaret, Margaret. Where do we keep the spoons?"

A single gunshot can be heard from the upstairs bedroom.

*Well most of them are anyway. "What do you mean by that?" It's just something I've heard. "Like what?" That not ALL dairy farmers are quite as upset as you might think. "Of course they are, they must be, what the Wensleydale or you on about?" I can't tell you. "Oh come on, you can't leave it like that." OK then, I've had it put to me that some of the big producers secretly xxxxxxx xxxx xxxx, and that, xxx xxxxxx xxx little man xxxx's xxx xxx of the business, then xxx xxxxxx that they can xxxxx xx xxxx xxxx xxxx profits. "Can I quote you on that?" No.