Guest Speaker at the Supper Club organised by the Conservative Policy Forum was Zac Goldsmith. He spoke at a capacity audience at Burghclere Manor about his work on the Quality of Life Policy Group, set up by David Cameron and chaired by John Gummer.
Zac has been editor of the Ecologist magazine since 1998. and in 2002 helped to launch FARM - an independent voice for farmers, following the foot-and-mouth outbreak. He farms near Tavistock in Devon, where livestock and produce are organised on sustainable and organic lines.
Speaking after dinner, Zac criticised the present Government for its poor environmental record and in particular John Prescott for his construction policies in the South East. He regretted that so many farmers were going out of business, when the country should be promoting locally grown produce and should be more self-sufficient in agriculture. While being critical of some of the multiples, he complimented Marks & Spence for being open with its customers about where it sourced its products from. He believed supermarket products were still over-packaged, and regretted that so much food was air-freighted into the country. He praised Prince Charles for being ahead of the game in raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting a more sustainable form of agriculture.
Thanking Zac for coming to North West Hampshire, Sir George said that, when David Cameron became leader, he wanted to do three things. "He wanted to show the country that the Conservative Party had changed; that the environment was one of his top priorities; and that political parties should reach out to people disengaged from party politics, particularly to young people. By asking Zac Goldsmith to help the party shape its environmental policies, he has helped to achieve all three goals."