misleading info on CAP on air

james armstrong james36armstrong at hotmail.com
Sat Jun 4 08:28:20 BST 2011

I found Farming Today on Radio Four this morning misleading and I told them so .( below)



Congratulations to Cas Graham etc for this faltering step to
publicise CAP.

I would have dropped ijnto the conversation the basic facts
that CAP costs taxpayers £200 each household every year and that there is not a
whisper about cutting it.


I look forward to hearing about the bigger picture  without which listeners will be misled by
this programme.The £3.9billion p.a. cost and the social and political aspects
are huge.


1 CAP payments go to corporations (below) not to dog and
stick farmers 

  (should FT be
renamed ‘Dog and stick Farming To-day?’


2 RSPB were featured without revealing they received
£1million CAP plus, in Scotland
and England
.  Misleading or what?


3 The interviewed farmers’ £10k and £25k doesn’t shock us and
neither does  the £83,000,000 CAP cheques
to British Sugar Corporation in 2009 (because it was not mentioned).    How can FT ignore this week by week?


4 Upland farms were featured but what
justifies £100,000 or more to barley barons 

in E Anglia (ask Oliver Wolston) or
for cultivating grade A land?


5 Government uses sticks as well as £3.9billion carrots for
other policies. Why not legislate to protect the environment  or even expect everyone to act responsibly
to maintain the landscape- 60 million townies get no CAP carrots.  Why not reward housewives for feeding sparrows
and erecting nest-boxes? It is illegal for non landowners to root up trees and pick wild flowers - extend the law to forbid overgrazing and rooting up hedgerows.  


6 Are agriculturalists incapable of acting responsibly
without payment?


7 The £83,000,000 cheque to British Sugar Corporation
2009  is a secret well  kept by FT and unknown to listeners hearing
belatedly about a £10,500 payment. Misleading or what?


8  How does CAP aid
food production  and simultaneously maintain  one million acres of pony paddocks degraded
by overgrazing ,  donkey sanctuaries and
bird reserves?. 


9 Drax Estates Ltd in Dorset received a £417,000 CAP cheque in
2009.  Ask Dorset MP Richard Drax, on the H of
C Environment Select Committee to comment. 
Would he sell the ancestral estate to small- holders without it?

I hope this FT  programme on CAP payments is  followed by many others to explore and
evaluate this important element (fifty per cent?) of agriculture income.

Repeating these hackneyed canards ’custodians’, ‘park-keepers’ and ‘food security’

is unworthy of BBC journalism.


“Is the present system of CAP payments the best way of achieving
agricultural and environmental goals ?”

“What are the democratic implications of taxing unknowingly landless
townies to reward Britain’s
one  per cent of the mega rich who own
two thirds of Britain’s

Listeners await FT’s contribution to these questions.


     James Armstrong , Dorchester

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