Voting on the ‘European Horticultural Union’

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I was interested to read Derek Mann’s tale about the election of club committee members. (Nelson Leader, November 8th). It put me in mind of an Allotment Society AGM where the same people are up for election. Many members are unhappy about staying in the European Horticultural Union, the vast bureaucracy which rules the lives of ordinary gardeners.

Older horticulturists remember having a vote on joining what was then the European Horticultural Community, back in the 1970s, when swapping seeds and produce with other vegetable growers in Europe seemed a good idea.

Sadly, over the years the EHC changed out of all recognition and has become the EHU. Each year the allotment rule book becomes ever thicker, as this European behemoth spews out directives on everything from the kind of seeds you can buy, to banning the re-use of glass jars for your home-made jam, and lots more besides.

Candidate Ed doesn’t seem to realise most ordinary members are really concerned about so many new European gardeners joining the society despite there being no spare allotments for them. People worry the size of everyone’s plot will be reduced and they won’t be able to grow enough food for their families. Many of Saj and Ali’s relatives, whose parents joined the society years ago when there were plenty of spare plots to go around, and who are now some of the most hard-working members, are also worried about having to share their land with all the new Europeans.

Secretly, some of us wonder if the real reason why Dave and Nick are so keen on staying in the EHU is so their rich friends can retain a plentiful supply of cheap European labour, depressing the wages for all workers.

So, down on the allotments, lots of disgruntled horticulturists would like the chance of voting on the option of leaving the EHU. We reckon we’ll still be able to trade seeds and produce with growers all over the world, without being tied to this European bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, most of those up for election aren’t keen on giving ordinary members the chance to vote on this important matter; they seem to think the average gardener doesn’t have sufficient knowledge to make such an important decision and it should be left to the committee to decide for the rest of us.

Thankfully, Nigel and Paul have put themselves up for election on the ticket of pulling out of the EHU and making a go of it as an independent society, and I for one will be voting for them.

Christine Stables

Nelson