I watch the growing tiger economies with detached interest. Unlike the Vegetablists I donât see slave labour as an issue. If some 10 year old kid is gluing trainers for 20p and hour, its 20p more than he would have earned under Mao. But China is beginning to have a direct effect on my life. Last week half a dozen manhole covers vanished from a lane near me. Hit that hole at 30mph and it would rip your suspension apart. China needs steel, so scrap prices have gone through the roof. A couple of years ago you had to pay a scrap yard to scrap a car. Now thereâs adverts everywhere offering Â£80 a lump. Then on Saturday me Mum asked me to get some millet for her budgie and a pigs ear for me Aunties dog. Neither of which were available since China has stopped exporting them along with all âhide productsâ. Millet I can understand. You can eat it and make beer from it. Hide you can make shoes from. But what the hell are they doing with pigâs ears? Whatâs next as the Chinese move from a bowl of rice a day to the sort of consumerism we enjoy? Theyâre developing Western tastes. Beef burgers and dairy products. Fair enough. They can grow cows. But beer? More grain out of the world stocks and not good news for the price of a pint.