The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Domestic Protectionism
Posted Monday, 9 February 2009 at 14:02

As someone who swears by free trade for all it is worth, I fear I may be developing hues of protectionism in my approach.

This was brought home to me today as I made a food subsidy, whilst pondering on my new passion for food security.

Let me explain.

My daughter attends university in a seaside town. There is no possible way she could live on the £1,000 per term student loan and pay her own rent.

So, I subsidise her living by paying her rent.

After a weekend at home, she never leaves on a Monday morning, to join the rest of the student population migrating back via National Express (all with bags of clean washing), without what spare cash I have at the time, which I make her take.

The food subsidy comes in the form of the clever way she raids my freezer, fridge and larder and gleefully explains that she has a whole week’s food in her bag.

She has tried to get a job; however, every bar, café, hotel and shop is well staffed with Eastern European labour.

As I write this she, I hope, is sitting at a computer writing her dissertation, aware that as soon as she graduates the subsidies will stop. She doesn’t expect them.

She will be well-trained, a graduate, and able to go out into the world and compete.

Subsidy will continue in the form of a roof over her head and food on the table, whilst she gets herself started; however, once she’s fit, she’s on her own.

Although most of the people that I speak to are opposed to protectionism, maybe it’s the broad brush with which protectionist policies tend to be applied that make them such a disaster for trading partners.

Would protectionist principles work if applied in a sensible, minimal, clearly defined way with an absolute exit strategy? Is that possible? Can a government have its finger close enough to the pulse to know just how much and when?

Just a thought, because it kind of butts onto my new passion for food security, which I’ll blog about tomorrow, or Iain Dale will whinge that my blog's too long!

 
 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
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