A Turnip by any Other Name

Jack’s Wednesday guest post gets over the line again –

There’s a bit of a debate going on in the UK just now about the shortage of tomatoes and peppers in the supermarkets. The government and their media supporters are blaming it on weather in Europe, despite all the European supermarkets having plenty for sale. They can’t admit that Brexit has anything to do with it – –

But one of the crazier members of the UK government has a suggestion – eat turnips instead!

This brought back lots of memories.

When I were but a lad (cf Monty Python), My Grandad would carve out turnip lanterns for Halloween – long before we had any notion of pumpkins, which don’t grow in Scotland. The smell of a candle burning inside a turnip lantern – – –

But the words again –

Here in the US it would be a large rutabaga, while in England it would be a turnip. In Scotland there are various words – most commonly either a neep or a tumshie.

Back in the 1990s when I was Head of Department in a Scottish community college I managed an overlapping series of environmental education projects that were funded by the European Union. They all fell under the label of ‘Adapt’ and required collaboration with other organizations. One of these was headed by a Danish non=profit that grew hemp to make furnishing materials. There always needed to be an acronym for the overarching group and they suggested various including NEEPS. Of course I signed up immediately!

But there’s another, subtler, meaning to tumshie – a stupid person. That fits the member of the UK Government who suggested eating turnips perfectly.

U.K. Environment Secretary Therese Coffey

Therese Coffey is the lady who suggests eating neeps instead of tomatoes and she is definitely a tumshie!

Read more about Therese Coffey’s response to the tomato shortage:

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