Saturday, 4 October 2014

Buy British Day

Yesterday, Friday, was "Buy British Day" - an initiative I hadn't heard of until I saw it on the BBC News.  Apparently it is a drive to encourage us to support British manufacturers and producers.  British brands really used to epitomise the essence of top quality and manufacturing across the old Empire and Commonwealth.  Unfortunately, we seem to have lost the plot and outsourced a lot of our industries in recent history, and this seems to be a plot to reclaim our glorious heritage.

Buy British Day
(image from

We have some amazing products in this country, from very British food like pork pies and Stilton cheese, through to beautiful Harris tweed.  I'm all for minimising the distance that things travel from production to user, and buying British is one way of doing it.

However, buying British isn't always economical.  And that is why we lost out in the past, I believe - other countries could produce the goods at a more competitive price and consumers led the way in driving down prices.

So how do I square my conscience, buying British where I can, but also keeping account and not splashing the cash beyond the budget?  It's not easy.  One strategy is, of course, to buy second-hand.  Good quality British-made clothes are often found in the charity shops alongside the stuff produced abroad.   Another way is to support small local producers, at craft fairs, roadside stalls, and local shops for example.  Check the labels, and look for the Union Jack and the indication that the item is made in this country.

And when I am buying food, I object to buying food brought here from the other side of the world when we produce perfectly good equivalents in this country and Ireland, which is closer to home.  I recently bought some Value grated cheese from that supermarket, and noticed that the cheese and milk were from "the UK, Ireland and New Zealand" - New Zealand?!?!  The other side of the world?  Yet the Co-op can produce an equivalent product for a couple more pennies, just using UK & Ireland milk and cheese.....I've been buying it from the Co-op ever since.

It's a matter of doing what we can, within our budgets and not feeling bad if we can't.  It's an idea, that's all.  Small steps, within our means.  Harris tweed is amazing, but not within my reach!

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