Phil Latham: ‘Our position on the global stage is shifting’

farm lifeBusinessBrexitPolitics+-

Phil farms 385ha (950 acres) in Cheshire, split between the family farm on Lord Cholmondeley’s estate and Organsdale Farm near Tarporley. He milks 300 cows, mainly pedigree Brown Swiss, as well as diversifying into business units and an equestrian facility. He is also a Nuffield Scholar. Twitter: @PhilLatham


We recently had half-term week, Daisy turned three years old and it has been great to get away with the family. We did not go far, just to the Norfolk Broads for a few days messing about on the river. We had a great time passing through the fabulous countryside and navigating our hired 12-metre (40ft) boat, weighing eight tonnes, around the many and varied challenges of the waterways.


I even wrote a list of birds, something I used to love doing as a child and have not found the time to do for ages, but we only managed a mere 39 species. It was a great chance to spend time together and Grandpa got to show his grandkids how to use a telescope and steer a boat, play patience and row a dingy.


I think it is what the good times are made of. With so much uncertainty at the moment, with the General Election and Brexit and with the horrors of the Manchester bombing, which fatally touched our local rural community, there is a considerable amount to be concerned about.


Political leadership seems to be more about petty point scoring than policy development and I think the electorate are more sceptical than ever given the lies of the Brexit campaigns which seem so easily forgiven and forgotten.


I have not seen or heard a leading politician discuss agriculture or the impacts of Brexit on food prices and the rural community, though I am encouraged some manifestos have pledged to carry on with the current agricultural spending regime till 2022.


Who would have thought it, we are pleased to receive what we already had and the same rules to boot. There can be no doubt that our position on the global stage is shifting and I think our global standing is a little diminished.


I think it is a disgrace we are protesting behind closed doors about ‘the regrettable decision’ the USA is withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement while our European friends are issuing joint statements from the world’s richest trading bloc on the need to make our planet ‘great again’.


Perhaps a little time to reflect while in comparative isolation will be good for the US and perhaps for us too as we find ourselves marginalised so we can reappraise what we want to be as a society. We are at our best when we are positive, constructive and looking forward.

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