Monday, February 27, 2006

NFU Has Betrayed Small Farmers

Another good piece on Newsnight about the National Farmer's Union. Apparently the militants are set to take over. The guy who led the fuel protests a few years ago, David Handley is standing for NFU President. He's unlikely to win, according to Newsnight, but he's being backed by Zak Goldsmith and Mark MacGregor, who stood for the Tories in Thanet at the last election and knows a thing or two about campaigning. Newsnight were billing this as a Cameroonian takeover of the NFU. Hardly. But whatever the result of tomorrow's vote it is clear that some in the NFU view their role as cosying up to New Labour, managing the decline of British farming and allowing the big conglomerates to grow ever bigger, at the expense of the smaller farmer. I speak with some passion, and a little knowledge about this, as my father is one of the small farmers who has been driven out of the industry due to the failures of successive government's policies. He gave up full time farming last autumn after sixty years.

7 comments:

Andrew Woodman said...

Let's just hope that someone who has the interests of local producers at heart wins. Although it sounds like the nanny state, I feel we should promote the idea of buying fresh local produce as much as possible.

The madness of setaside needs addressing as well. We could be growing crops to produce biofuel. Our ineffective government and the inefficent EU, couldn't organise this though could they.

RememberRinka said...

Our innefective Government etc...

Surely as Conservatives we believe in market forces (though I am not sure that Cameron/Osborne/Letwin qualify as Conservatives on that count). That means what we want is the Government and the EU to butt out of farming altogether. No more subsidies for any farmers. Freedom to grow whatever (legal) crops you want & lower taxes all round. Oh - and the sacking of 90% of the regulators at DEFRA...

That would mean more biofuels, more happy competitive British farmers and lower taxes all round. It distresses me greatly that the Conservatives of Cameron discuss at length how they tinker with Government NOT how they roll it back. Are my Conservative views no longer acceptable in Notting Hill Toryland?

Theo Spark said...

I haven't driven a tractor for five months. It's now all contractors or renting out the land to the big boys. The end of a way of life!

Hughes Views said...

Sorry to see you cosying up with losers such as David Handley who represent the really hopeless end of British farming. They were even too dim to see that they were on the wrong side in the fuel protests. It is the availability of cheap transport that has, as much as anything else, broken the link between local farmers and the local market. Their failure to form effective co-operatives (fuelled by a dogmatic belief in unbridled competition) also hasn't helped.

Sorry about your dad but why should a government intervene to help small farmers any more than small electricians (for example)? Do you really want to encourage farming on a small scale by blokes such as the one who allegedly brought foot and mouth to Britain by feeding his pigs with swill he'd bought cheaply at the docks?

Equally laissez faire conservatism (and "sacking of 90% of the regulators at DEFRA") won't fix the problems except in the minds of those whose view of economics is that of a sweet shop proprietor.

The only reliable crop in farms around here are the 'vote Tory' signs which appear most springs! But fortunately they don't bear much fruit these days....

ian said...

If you really think farmers are hard done by, try replacing the word farmer with the word miner.

I thought conservatives were supposed to be for the free market and against subsidising unprofitable businesses. Why doesn't that apply here?

RememberRinka said...

laissez faire conservatism won't fix the problems, according to hughes views. Is that the problems of farming or of any economy? Is it only sweet-shop owners who believe in free markets? No it is those behind all the world's mosy dynamic economies. Those who oppose the market (the deluded fools of Euroland or G Brown Esq for instance) preside over economic disaster.

Would Hughes Views perhaps provide some examples of economically stagnent countries where there is a free market or go ahead tiger economies where there is not?

Hughes Views said...

If the curiously named RememberRinka can find a really free market anywhere on this complex planet he/she is doing better than I am........