January - it’s a tough month. Christmas is over and the excitement melted much faster than the snow seems to. Now it’s just cold and dark with months to go until spring. Starting back at work after a long break isn’t much fun either.
At least that’s what I expected. But actually, I’m feeling pretty excited. There is a huge buzz in the office around the next phase of our fabulous HungerFREE campaign.
In just over a week we are launching a food not fuel campaign against biofuels. Using corn to fill cars instead of empty bellies has already increased hunger and their impact is set to rise exponentially. We will need your help to demand zero meals per gallon. You can sign up now to come to the big biofuel debate on February 16. More ways to take action will be on these pages soon.
This campaign is a chance to help stop a terrifying trend. If the current plans are followed, biofuels could drive another 600 million people into hunger by 2010.
The other campaign I’m excited about right now is a chance to start something positive: higher wages for workers in poor countries.
For several years we have been campaigning for a supermarket watchdog as part of Who Pays? A watchdog would make it much easier for workers in developing countries who help supply our supermarkets get decent wages. The campaign has had some real high points, for example the Government’s Competition Commission agreed with our recommendation and is calling for exactly what we want. The past few months have been slow going though. The decision of whether or not to create an ombudsman is in the hands of Lord Mandelson. He is really taking his time over it.
Given how slow the Government is being, I needed something big to help excite me about the campaign. The last few weeks have delivered not just one, but two huge successes. Firstly, a Private Member’s Bill has been tabled in parliament that would set up an Ombudsman. This could be the break we are looking for, but with an election looming we can’t be sure there will be enough time.
Then last week the Conservative Party came out in favour of a supermarket watchdog. Their proposal differs from ours, but it is still an exciting development. So all of a sudden there is everything to play for in this campaign as well. You’ll be hearing from us soon about just how you can help make higher wages for poor workers a reality.