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Richard Elwes @RichardElwes
, 11 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Once, there was a boy called Union Jack, who lived with his family on their farm. They sold half their produce at the market in the nearest town, and one morning Jack was sent to pay the rent on their market stall. On his way, he met John Redwood. 1/11
“Do not waste your money on that stupid, worthless stall!” said John Redwood “Who needs a stall to sell vegetables? You can do it anywhere! Instead, buy these sovereignty beans. Plant them, wait two weeks, and a magic beanstalk will grow. It’ll solve your problems, guaranteed!” 2
“The beanstalk will fertilise your soil - your farm will become the most productive in the county! Your Grandmother is sick – beanstalk extract has the most amazing medicinal properties! You like curry? Beanstalk makes incredible curry – the very best! ” 3/11
Jack thought it over. Maybe a market stall was a waste of money. He did want to help Grandmother. And he did like curry. John Redwood seemed a trustworthy man, so he bought the sovereignty beans and took them home. After a furious argument with his family, he planted them. 4/11
And that, boys and girls, is where we have reached so far in this fairytale (although John Redwood was recently overheard advising agricultural investment funds to look ‘further afield as Jack’s Farm hits the brakes’). 5/11
There are two possible endings to this story, and neither involve a giant beanstalk miraculously solving the family’s problems. In the first, they leave the weird beans for two weeks, during which time they do nothing but poison the soil and make farming harder than before. 6/11
Having lost their prime location in the market, sales are hit badly, and Jack is sent to trudge the byways in search of customers. Jack’s family blame him for their misfortune. He hates his new job and blames them for not having believed hard enough in the magic of sovereignty. 7
Most evenings, the farm sees bitter arguments, name-calling, and vicious recrimination. The family farm has become a poorer, nastier place. Several of Jack’s siblings decide to leave for nicer, more successful farms elsewhere. Jack works even harder, and hates it even more. 8/11
In the second version, the family assess the situation the morning after the beans have been planted. They unearth one and examine it. There is no beanshoot. It has leached toxins into the soil. They agree that nothing good is going to come of leaving them there any longer. 9/11
No-one really blames Jack– his aims were noble and true: he wanted to save money, to help Grandmother, and to enjoy some good curry. All the same, they agree that the best course of action is to dig up the beans, and try to save their space in the market before it’s too late. 10
There's no fairytale ending either way. But it’s your choice, boys and girls, which version of the story shall we have? Merry Christmas! 11/11 #FBPE
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