NFU National Farmers' Underground

james armstrong james36army at
Mon Sep 29 08:21:47 BST 2008

Copy of a complaint sent to BBC

            NFU - NF Underground?
 Can I draw your attention to the former practice of government reliance on NFU and CLA  being 
the subject of a judgement against  a government agency by the Queens Bench Division (later overturned on appeal). The effect was that from September 29th 1954 lay members of the Agricultural Land Tribunals were no longer selected by the Minister of Ag. from lists submitted by these two 'private' parties , but thenceforward the  independent legal chairman made an independent selection of members.   (See Woolett v Agricultural Land Tribunal of Chelmsford.)

NFU has a dedicated  parliamentary department , and is a major commercial lobbyist.
NFU is represented similarly in Brussels
NFU has a media department 
NFU is  a corporation with commercial and corporate funding
NFU is not representative of  'farming' generally , since agribusinesses working thousands and tens of thousand acreages  are over represented in the membership. 
NFU is not uninterested in supporting the continuance of    huge annual  subsidies amounting to £billions
NFU has  long established  political connections which it is fair to say hark back to the less egalitarian social conditions of yesteryear when the heredity landed interest commanded deference.
        The  regular  and repeated airtime opportunities given by FT to representatives of the NFU give rise to questions of judgement and  propriety by the producers of FT and suggest the regulation of their conduct by BBC management is lax. 
 Is there also a creative input by NFU?
It is arguable that BBC should shun association with sectional commercial  interests that savour of  yesterday's agricultural practices. 
       It is incontestable that  BBC gives undue opportunities to NFU  (and to a lesser extent to CLBA) To push commercial self interest on behalf of this sectional minority.
Acreage buys influence but  is not the test of democracy and it should not  guarantee deference from FT producers. 
        Rather, I would like to think that FT staff  are politically as well as environmentally  green, so for the information of any tyro  producers, the NFU is a trenching machine with a very long history of  worming their way into HMG, the EU , and  now it undermines the integrity of BBC Radio's  'Farming Today'. 

 The headline which FT  fails to grasp   is that  "Farmer Giles" has got no clothes! 
  Two million households who own no bulk land pay £1,500 each to subside 'farmers'. This money goes , at the rate of £15,000 each,  to 200,000 rich landowners, and £2million each to five dukes and one duchess.   The BBC corporation gets quite a few pennies from quite a few people to tell the world how it is with farming in UK. 
But they don't.    NFU  helps not to tell the story.  Its time to ditch the trenching machine. 
         May I please have acknowledgement of receipt and  reply to my letters of complaint ?  
Yours faithfully,

James Armstrong


More information about the Diggers350 mailing list