by Ed West
Monday, 30
March 2020

Let Brits pick their own fruit!

The UK needs to fill 90,000 positions to pick crops that will otherwise die in the fields, a charity warned

What a brilliant idea. Right in the middle of a lethal pandemic killing thousands a day, let’s fly over 90,000 fruit pickers from eastern Europe to pick fruit, while keeping millions of young people here imprisoned in their homes.

British people, of course, are genetically incapable of picking fruit so we must bring them in from Bulgaria.

Here’s a fun exercise. Google “crops rotting in the field” or something to that effect and go through the news story covering this terrible danger down the years – there are dozens of them.

Then type into the search bar “wages” and see what you find. The usual result is, of course, nothing; no counter-response that British workers are capable of doing this labour but would demand higher wages than foreign workers. We simply have to hire immigrants, sorry!

Centre-left papers run this genre of story the most, and if it seems odd that they are not on the side of higher wages, then it all makes sense if you look at the modern economy as a sort of informal caste system.

The British hierarchy is slightly different to the more extreme California model cited in that article, but it’s not much. At So at the top we have our highest caste, or First Estate, comprised of the ultra-rich and in particular the world of finance. They tend to be liberal, in the sense of valuing freedom; they support whatever’s good for the market, and therefore free movement of goods, services and people, and they’re not “Left-wing” by any real means, certainly.

The Second Estate are the thinkers, working in the media, schools, quangos and academia; their values tend to be progressive, in that they believe in equality, and this has become more extreme as their financial situation has worsened (the housing market is the biggest but not only aggravating factor).

When people talk about the “liberal elite” worrying about their nannies from Romania, it’s a bit of a mischaracterisation because the intellectual elite today can’t afford nannies anymore; they can barely afford children. Corbynism is explained, largely, by the impoverishment of this section of society.

The first and second caste have little in common, and liberty and equality both clash, but they both have a strong interest in supporting globalisation and free movement; the former for financial reasons, the latter for moral and emotional needs.

They also both fear the third estate, which you might call “the people” for want of a better word; this is why, as the brilliant “smug style in American liberalism” article once explained, progressives now see “the people” as the obstacle to progress.

(Because of these trends, of course, Right-wingers increasingly make — often laughably insincere — appeals to the “people” opposed to the elites.)

That’s why, even with the virtual apocalypse coming, you still see a Left-wing paper covering, without criticism, a policy proposal by a campaigning charity that benefits landowners and harms the interests of the poor. We don’t need to fly people over to do this labour — we can do it ourselves, if only we paid people the right amount (or, if necessary, mechanised). And, as perhaps people are now beginning to realise, we never did.


  • April 3, 2020
    Why just them? Because they are, by definition, at a loose end at the moment. Read more

  • March 31, 2020
    Bearing in mind that students and many others cannot go to the gym or play sports, I see no reason why they should not do what I did as a student, and pick fruit and vegetables. We have an able workforce. And those who object and insist we need all those thousands brought in from across Europe are... Read more

  • March 31, 2020
    Why just them? All people consume taxpayer-funded services. We are all ultimately on some form of government support. Read more

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