December 09, 2008


Checking through the blogs I found out Oliver Postgate has died. I was just watching Noggin the Nog and a bit of Ivor the engine with 'im o' the nails the other night. I think he'll be very sad. Clicking over to Oliver Postgates website I couldn't help noticing he is recommending a novel way to deal with the quandry Afghan poppy growers find themselves in-

The Afghan farmers have no option but to sell their produce to the drug-traders who bank-roll the Taliban, or have it destroyed and so lose their livelihood.

After the British and Coalition forces have fought their way across Hellmand Province in Afghanistan and have ‘taken’ villages and settlements of farmers who grow poppies for sale to the illegal drug-trade via the Taliban insurgents, they must retreat again to prepared positions. Before they leave they are faced with the prospect of destroying the poppy-crop. This they can do either by burning it or, as has been proposed, by spraying plant-poison on it from the air.

This action would immediately destroy the farmers’ means of livelihood and so engender enormous hatred and hostility towards the Coalition forces, thus encouraging the farmers to welcome the return of the Taliban as soon as the coast is clear.

The alternative, of leaving the poppy-crop intact, is more likely to increase the friendliness of the Afghan farmers, but would allow them to harvest a valuable crop for which the drug-dealers will pay a good price to the Taliban which will use it to buy sophisticated weaponry to use against the Coalition forces.

The only viable alternative is the heretofore unthinkable one of subsidising and helping the Afghan government actually to buy the poppy-harvest and convert it into medicine in village-centred processing plants in Afghanistan.

Maybe they could name one of these processing plants after Mr Postgate. Better still, they could name them after some of his characters. The Clangers scag house maybe?


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