I saw a rather ‘academic’ definition of mushroom management. “Mushroom management, also known as pseudo-analysis or blind development, is the management of a company where the communication channels between the managers and the employees do not work traditionally.”
Actually it was defined to me by an employee as ‘we’re kept in the dark and fed bullsh*t.’
Now we have the mushroom theory of environmental management. Apparently according to those in the know, you’re expected to sit in the dark and feed yourself bullsh*t.’
I just read an article from the BBC
It seems that the National Trust accidentally destroyed an important natural habitat in an attempt to rewild a field! Apparently they ploughed up grassland near Bassenthwaite. Conservationists pointed out that the field contained waxcap mushrooms which indicate that the land has not been cultivated for a very long time. Indeed a lady from one of the local conservation companies pointed out that it would be ‘very difficult’ to restore the land.
Given that one would hope that National Trust staff have some training in environmental matters, it’s an embarrassing mistake, but also it’s a symptom of a larger issue.
Yesterday somebody pointed out a Facebook post made by Tommy Sheppard, SNP MP for East Edinburgh on his Facebook page. He was extoling his vegan breakfast. To be fair it was just a bit of harmless virtue signalling. MPs of all parties do it all the time. Scrolling down his Facebook page he gets between thirty and a hundred likes for his post and can get up to twenty comments. Indeed if it’s an information post (details about postal voting or similar, which is a useful thing for an MP to post), he can get up to twenty shares.
After he’d virtue shared his breakfast he got two thousand four hundred likes, hates and equivalents. He also got three thousand three hundred comments and a hundred and two shares. His facebook page had become a battleground. He was inadvertently hosting a small war.
I’ve dipped into the discussion but frankly it’s a waste of time. How can you explain things to a vegan who insists that soya for cattle feed is flown into the country and demands that the air miles be included?
Then you get people demanding you watch a certain BBC documentary, and then get somewhat aeriated if you point out that the BBC has already had to apologise for errors of fact in that documentary.
It was at this point, where the thread had grown so massive you couldn’t really find whoever was preaching at you, that I decided I’d taken part long enough for research purposes. I had cattle to look after.
The problem is that people ‘believe’ and their belief is part of their self-image and because they’re ‘the nice people’ they have to be right. Any attempt to show that they might not be as right as they think they are is regarded as a personal attack.
Belief is a funny thing. The latest figures I saw for the UK was that 11% of the population are regular church attenders. So however else you define things, the UK is not a Christian country. We are now, for good or ill, a secular country. Mind you when you tot up the numbers of members of political parties, there are about a million who care enough to put their money down. So in reality we’re not a country of people who believe in politics either.
Now the advantage of Christianity and politics is that they teach humility. Christianity teaches it overtly, it’s there in the manual. The fact that people prefer not to read those sections says more about them than it does about the faith itself.
It’s the same with politics. When you talk to those who have been involved in politics in a ‘real world’ context, they know that they have to work with others to get stuff done. So when you get them chatting over a beer or a coffee, they’ll tell you about the times their political opponents came good and supported them (or vice versa) and they’ll even tell you about where they screwed up. Yes in politics there are the ones who talk a lot and put ideological principle ahead of reality. But generally they’re people who do nothing. Even their own side realises they haven’t got a good enough grasp of reality to be allowed near the levers of power.
But the trouble with a lot of the modern beliefs that have replaced Christianity or Political principle for many people is that they are both cheap and allow endless opportunities for virtue signalling. So you can be an actress and fly 5400 miles to join an extinction rebellion protest. But then you’ve probably got the money. Similarly if you’re prosperous, a vegan diet (or any other diet) is easily affordable and you can have a wide variety of foods fetched from all round the world to your door. I suspect that the vegan diet would be far less popular in this country if, instead of imported rice and lentils, (neither of which grow well in this country) you had to eat potatoes with turnips and cabbage as your winter vegetables.
The problem is that people have decided on a belief and are sticking with it. I’m sure everybody could produce examples of this sort of thing. People who have build belief systems, almost personal religions, around something we don’t think of as particularly important, or even just plain silly. But because I got dragged into the ‘debate’ on Tommy Sheppard’s Facebook page, I’ll use that one as the example. Going back to the ‘discussion’, just scrolling through the threads, the same person had posted a link to a ‘propaganda video’ (I won’t mention which side the video supported) any number of times. Whether it was relevant or not to the discussion. They didn’t bother to hang round and discuss it, they had given the proles the benefit of their wisdom and saw no point in wasting time explaining it to those so irremediably thick that they disagreed with it. Similarly several times people would make claims they claimed were scientific. One such claim was ‘livestock use 83% of the arable land while only producing 18% of the calories consumed’. So I asked for the source of the data. After the usual abuse I was given a link to a document which didn’t include the claim. So I asked again, and got more abuse. The reason is that the quote is wrong. A Guardian journalist wrote that livestock provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of farmland which is an entirely different thing altogether. Even if he’s correct (and looking at the article there are questions that need answering) a lot of farmland isn’t suited for arable agriculture.
In the UK, “The agricultural area used is 23.07 million acres (9.34 million hectares), about 70% of the land area of the England. 36% of the agricultural land is croppable (arable), or 25% of the total land area.” These are Defra figures via wiki.
So in the UK which is a densely populated and fertile island, we cannot crop 64% of our farmland. If there were no livestock, it wouldn’t suddenly produce arable crops, it would produce no food at all. Or, where it could be ploughed, you’d find yourself in the same embarrassing position that the National Trust found itself when they dug up ancient grassland to ‘rewild it.’
What we really need is a ‘grown-up’ debate with a lot more humility and people willing to admit they don’t have the answers.
There again, what do I know? Ask an expert.
Yet more observations on rural life. We have cattle, environmentalists, a plethora of new thinking as Defra plunges into the new world but more importantly we still have our Loyal Border Collie, Sal. She is joined in a starring role by Billy, the newly arrived farm cat. As well as this we have diversification opportunities for those wishing to serve niche markets, living in the past, and the secret of perfect hair.