It's the lead story this morning, and PushCred as well; which means we'll have to wait a prudent interval before dropping its prominence. So what is this item that the OMS insists we all see? It's the start of another DOA campaign against guerrilla gardens and verge farms.
The justification given is always the same: To prevent the cultivation of drugs, as well as the use and spread of unregulated Genetically Modified seeds; for only the Department Of Agrivironment in its all-knowing wisdom can licence what may be sown - be the seeds organic or transgenic. Food production must be as planned and regulated as the rest of the economy, with cultivars chosen only from their Approved List of varieties.
We hoped we'd freed ourselves from this bureaucratic nonsense when the Transitional Council negotiated the Federation's partial withdrawal from the European Union. Instead we exchanged corrupt collectivist control from Brussels for incompetent collectivist control from the local office in Basingstoke.
Such is the state's obsessive-compulsive need to control every aspect of horticulture that even individual gardeners must pay a fee to register, report their plantings, and account for each item of produce; whether lost to the weather, pests, or harvested. Successful growers are then assessed as to how much of their crop must be 'donated' to their local Community Food Store, or be counted as 'income in kind' to be offset against their ComCred. And not forgetting the inevitable losses to confiscation of produce deemed to be 'contaminated' by fallout or pollutants.
Unsurprisingly, what happens in real life is very different. Despite the ever-present risk of an audit from the eager and mobile Agriviroment Inspectorate the returns submitted bear hardly any resemblance to what is actually grown, with losses being grossly overestimated. So what it results in is a black market in illicit vegetables and erroneous statistics of food production.
We could probably put up with it and laugh it off in times of plenty; but these aren't times of plenty. The cost of food spirals relentlessly higher, with constant shortages of official produce, and an increase in demand for dark veg. With a shortage of land to grow on people try to supplement their income, or even avoid starvation or rickets, by growing greens and roots on any spare patch of ground they can. If it is possible to grow on, it'll be used by clandestine farmers and Ferals as a source of uncontrolled food.
The DOA claim their actions are there to protect the public by discouraging people away from potentially dangerous areas such as motorway verges or railway embankments; and the prohibition of private foraging for wild food is to protect the environment from over-exploitation. Yet the state approved, Connie dominated foraging parties inevitably strip bare any areas they are allowed to harvest.
Yes, it's logical to preserve the 'linear reserves' of wildflowers so vital for pollinating insects, or to prohibit invasive plant varieties potentially harmful to the environment, or even to prevent the cultivation of drugs. But that isn't their reason.
If the DOA really cared about the environment their hazmat-suited staff wouldn't liberally be spraying weed killers the department themselves have condemned as unsafe; confiscating any 'legacy stocks' they come across for their own use for this, and only this, purpose. Instead theirs is a darker, ulterior motive. It is that of control.
Whoever regulates the source of your sustenance has absolute authority over you. Having managed to get the majority of people food-dependant on the state, and therefore more susceptible to its domination; the Consensus intends to keep them that way. Cutting-off alternative sources of supply reinforces their power. (Remember the furore there was when the Irish charity, Hands Across The Sea, tried to organise food banks and Community Canteens in the Fed? And how they were told they couldn't do so unless they 'cooperated' with the authorities and abided by strict 'eligibility criteria' for the recipients of the aid, among other stipulations?)
No, the random, mobile checkpoints on rural roads aren't only there to search for 'illegally' foraged plants or 'unsafe' game or road kill. They also reinforce the assertion that one eats only by the state's munificence, with its permission; and by no other means. Denial of wild food supplies is also a means to try to starve the independent, wandering Ferals back into society.
So it's no surprise to see land which might have been used for growing food rendered temporarily poisonous and barren; the state using hunger as a weapon against its own citizens, and its bureaucratic stubbornness plumbing new depths of obduracy.
Yet despite their best destructive efforts, new strains of unlicensed, untested GM seeds are easily smuggled into the Fed and distributed. No amount of searching or scanning at ports and airports can stop virtually undetectable GPS guided stealthy drones from flitting at low level across the Channel or the Irish Sea laden with the latest varieties of cold-tolerant, pesticide resistant cannabis or tobacco plants.
But the DOA still go on doing as they do because that is what they do and are used to doing. What I can't understand is how they are allowed to get away with it.
I think I'll let that 'Cred drop down the running order a bit sooner than would be politic; if anyone wants to resist the pervasive DOA intimidation and grow their own unregistered food, than the best of Feddish luck to them! I for one am getting sick of IMS being used as a state mouthpiece. I think there will have to be a few more unfortunate 'technical issues' in the future.
Things must be bad; they're hoisting the Alban scare flag again. It's semi-official PushCred speculation and absolute bollocks as usual; yet some people still swallow it.
We have to 'cast it without comment of course, but judging by the feedback we're getting, few of those brave enough to comment on public spaces take it at all seriously. Usually we get an outburst of anti-Alban propaganda on the 30th of November - St Andrew's day - along with video of the habitual 'border protection' exercise; and the opposing forces glaring at each other through the pelting Reiver country sleet; as if the Albans would push south beyond Hadrian's Wall... But this is an unscheduled 'Cred so something must be up.
The unattributable background briefing claims that Alba's resident community of expatriate North Korean weapons specialists have been busy. They've dismantled the Trident sub, HMS Valiant, they managed to seize while she was docked at Faslane prior to her disarming and decommissioning as part of a vicious commando operation that took place during the secession blitzkrieg; mercilessly slaughtering the crew who did their best to resist the boarding.
Thanks to Commander Bannister's and Senior Weapons Officer Franklin's heroic acts of self sacrifice - they were both awarded the Victoria Cross for simultaneously blowing each others' brains out on a count of three to prevent themselves being captured alive and revealing the mnemonic component of the launch codes under torture - the Albans were denied a fully armed SSBN. Not that they have the resources or technical capability to run a sub like that in any case, but that hasn't stopped them from dismantling the warheads and reusing the plutonium to make an estimated fifty or more viable nuclear weapons of varying yields thought to be as high as 100 kilotons. The spent fuel from the reactors is said to have provided material for over a hundred Radioactive Dispersal Devices, or 'Dirty Bombs' as they are commonly known.
Not only we're told do they have the weapons, but they have the means to deliver them as well, thanks to the cargo of crated Nodong medium range missiles the Nodong gyegeub-ui cheol-ui uiji (The Iron Will of the Proletariat) delivered when it docked in South Leith. Though regarded as dated by current standards they still remain potent and reliable weapons. What components the Alban government can't make for themselves they have been very astute at getting made for them in defiance of the selectively ignored UN arms embargo.
They've also been wily when it comes to deploying their arsenal. Along with the squadron of Typhoons captured before they could be flown out from Leuchars, they've deployed road mobile Transporter Erector Launchers, and adapted cargo ships as standby launch platforms. In addition numerous hardened launch complexes have been constructed for their rocket fleet. Not all of the bunkers are occupied all of the time, but even when unoccupied they are guarded by the Alban army as if they contained live missiles or dirty drones; with regular movements of both real and decoy launch vehicles to enhance the uncertainty. Such a shell game and dispersed arsenal, as well as the availability of Radioactive Dispersal Shells to the Alban long-range artillery units renders a decisive first strike by the Fed an impossibility.
Some of it may well be true but to me it appears to be a desperately pathetic piece of scaremongering: Not that I'm a military expert, but I know bullshit when I see it. No doubt fedologists here and around the world will be reading the story with interest, trying to work out what the release at this time says about the relative strengths of the various fractious elements who have been forced together by circumstance to form the Consensus.