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The Tractor Factory

Aug 03,2006 Bob Cox

West of the Ural Mountains, in the dark waste of the old Soviet Union, lies a vast tractor factory, ten miles to the south a massive smelting works. The tractor factory closed ten years before the USSR itself shut up shop.

For the last few years of its life, the tractor factory was a victim of the break down of the communist supply system. Critically, it received no tyres for its products. Undeterred they drove the new tractors to a vast parking lot, jacked them up, removed the wheels ready for the next new tractor, They couldn't stop making tractors, so many jobs depended on them.

Artwork by Gavin ward

Left idle in the parking lot, they rusted to the point that they were no more than scrap iron. That was handy for the smelting works to the south, they too had supply problems. After all, they had to supply the tractor factory with its steel. The rusted tractors were taken to the smelters, broken up, melted down and the new steel sent to the tractor factory, which turned them into new tractors. These were fitted with the few wheels they had and taken to the.........

Crazy, inefficient, corrupt communist system I hear you say, it would never happen here. It does and has done for years. Our tractor factory is called MAFF - in fact its the last F that is the tractor factory and it works like this.

Fishermen left to their own devices would wipe out all fish stocks within ten years. With the aid of powerful and safe boats and bristling with the very best electronic aids that the ex-arms industry can sell them, they now roam the seas with the sophistication that, ten years ago, the Navy would have killed for.

The purpose of "F" is to manage and control the catches of the fishermen and intervene if the stock is threatened. To do this they employ a battery of marine biologists, who carry out research programs into the life cycles of fish. By monitoring each year's spawning, they are able to predict how many fish will be in the sea with in a year or two. They then calculate how many fish can be caught without over fishing causing the stock to collapse. This information then goes to the fishery managers at "F" head quarters, just over the road from the House of Commons. There they set the quota that they will allow the fishermen to catch, but the fishermen always say they want to take more, their jobs depend on it. "F" management give a little and the fish stock is again threatened. "F" managers then proposes that an expensive research project be mounted by the scientists to assess the effect that the mismanagement will have on fish stock. From this survey data they set the quota that they will allow the fishermen to take. The fishermen reject the quota and demand more, "F" gives a little and set up...........


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