IT'S an indication of just how out of touch with reality London-ites are when government advisor, Alan Manning – who in keeping with the season is coming across as a right tumshie – thinks that farming should not be given special treatment to source labour for harvesting seasonal fruit and veg.

It is also a manifestation of just how far down the line agriculture features in the list of 'to dos' regarding Brexit in in the minds of many Westminster politicians who appear to be sticking their heads in the sand with regard to food security in a post-Brexit world. We cannot understand how the very real threat of food shortages in this country does not appear to be a risk to the nation – or, for that matter, how those in power cannot see the danger they may be in at the next election from voters punishing the 'culprits'.

There does not seem to be the collective gumption, either, to realise that while we might be able to live quite comfortably without the latest BMW in our driveways, or the highly fashionable SMEG cooker in our kitchens, that the Great British Public will not stand for a shortage of food of any kind. Look at what happened when the Beast from the East emptied supermarket shelves of bread and milk, two of the basics in the weekly shopping basket. Then, just a few months ago, we were dangerously near to public disorder.

The fact that we are already heading down to just parity in providing our own nation's food – it is currently about 60%, which is a huge drop on the 70%-plus we had about two decades ago – should be setting off alarm bells in the halls of Westminster, rather than eliciting a grudging 'why should we make life easy for agriculture by giving them privileged access to labour' from Professor Manning. As chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee, he will wield enormous influence over whether there will be an easy flow of migratory labour into the UK or not. To suggest that agriculture is not important enough to merit special attention, is fatuous in the extreme and we can only suspect he will go into hiding, or be promoted the moment the first empty shelf appears! Someone in power needs to put this neep in his place.

Pumpkin power

IT MIGHT be another sign of being Americanized (did you get the way that was spelled?), but we can't help feeling that trading turnips for pumpkins is a 'good thing' for the health of the nation.

Many a finger has been lopped off in the pursuit of the perfect Halloween lantern made from turnips and Swedes, and so the softer and more easily carved pumpkin is a healthier alternative. It also makes a nice soup.

We also grow them quite well in Scotland, so it's not as if we have to import them (see above). Therefore, families, get carving this weekend and send us in a picture of your efforts – a glorious prize awaits (See page 59).