pourers of spirit

james armstrong james36armstrong at hotmail.com
Thu May 19 16:09:17 BST 2005

My point to the producer of B.B.C.'s ' Farming To-day'  is a simple one.
To talk about the future look of the UK countryside without highlighting the 
biggest factor distorting it  - the  Common Agricultural Policy of the EU., 
is fatuous.
If you want to see what the C.A.P. policy means follow the money trail.
Since 1973 the  effect of pumping £billions into the sector is to drive up 
land prices.  Many individuals get over £1million , and that every year!.
'Farming' is a weasel word- the sector rewarded is land-owning and agri- 
business. Tenant farmers  are having a hard time or have packed up. 
Employment for farm workers has largely dried up ( and the treaty of Rome 
ostensibly set out to defend the (whole) 'agricultural sector')
We don’t need to make a diversion to  Kirkaldy to ask what the sage would 
However Adam Smith's  'Invisible hand" - out , reminds us of the £3billion 
annual payments which don’t appear in the Budget.
When I ask the Audit Commission to do a cost benefit analysis of the 
£75billion (my estimate)  spent by UK taxpayers since 1973 they are 
strangely reticent.
The latest C.A.P. scam , misleadingly described as a 'reform', -the  
introduction of the 'Single Farm Payment' is an example-
It  is not a single payment but an annual payment.
It is not specific to farmers since it can be claimed on the land, the land 
sold net of the right to payment and the payment kept or traded on the open 
market-  So it is really a freeby- a gift of capital to those already owning 
This echos the milk quota- which is also …. traded on the open market-- and 
can be   bought and sold by those who don't know a cow from a bull's foot.
What kind of  mad-house do we live in?  The keepers are mad ,  the inmates 
long suffering, and the observers (BBC Farming To-day) ,   complicitous.

Also 'political economy' does not well describe successive public  payments  
for   surplus wine, tobacco . meat,  cereals , olive oil , and to a less 
extent encouraging  a fishing catch most of which  goes into petfoods.
£60 a ton wheat is the price of  'soft' wheat suitable only for biscuit 
making., or to bulk out said pet-food..  The flour I use to bake bread is 
from hard wheat probably grown in Canada.
Britain imports about forty percent of its food  and never has been 

If 'garbled' described the present agriculture policy we should be so lucky.
'Ineffective', 'hugely wasteful', 'corrupt', 'bureaucratic' , 'deceitful' 
and 'cynical ' are words I would use.

Previously we tried to antagonise the cheesemakers, now for the  whisky 
drinkers ,or are they the same people as the cheesemakers?
'Blessed are the pourers of spirit.   Their barley shall be subsidised.'  
Matthew V.

More seriously,
someone at public accounts committee of H of Commons has invited and agreed 
to read a paper
'monopoly of land causes the housing crisis.'
can i get comments if i do a draft of such?

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