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Defra is controlled by civil servants who do not support food production

A group of Defra civil servants who do not support commercial food production are in control of policy-making, says Norman Bagley, head of policy at the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS).

The Brexit bandwagon rolls slowly on with the usual amount of desperation, half-truths and downright lies, but hey ho.

 

There are two separate issues for me.

 

First, those of us including a large proportion of farmers who want out of what they consider a corrupt system in terminal decline.

 

Second, the consequences of such a decision and what follows, as I am betting nobody wants a bad trading outcome which disadvantages the industry.

 

Sanity

 

For today, I will concentrate on what Government in the form of Defra wants post-Brexit.

 

I have long been a critic of Eustice and more recently Gove point-blank refusing to support commercial production of any sort, which most with an ounce of sanity believe is a prerequisite for attaining their ambitions for ever more environmental and welfare bureaucracy.

 

Our competitors will lap this up, safe in the knowledge there is not a cat in hell’s chance of the UK imposing such rules on their imports – remember sow stalls.

 

Three or four years ago, I attended a beef summit at Defra when prices were on the floor to be told by the top civil servant that the future in beef production lay in rare breeds. I joke not.

 

Gove

 

Fast forward to a joint NFU-Defra presentation a couple of weeks ago where Gove was speaking.

 

Who was the top civil servant introducing the whole boondoggle? Yep, you’ve got it, same genius.

 

I almost passed out – you could not make it up. Food security? What’s that got to do with Government? Everything I thought, but what do I know.

 

As I have been saying for ages, what we are up against is a long-time blob in Defra. This blob is made up of a group of civil servants who have an agenda they think they can impose on Ministers, and usually do, which is rabidly anti-commercial production.

 

Socially superior

 

In their dreams, they would give all the support dosh to poor countries supposedly to allow them to increase production and then export the products back here. They do this all the while telling themselves just how socially superior they are.

 

Then they wake up from their stupor and find 99 per cent of the dosh has been trousered by the despotic leaders of those countries, their production has not changed and by the way we have also screwed our own production system at home to boot.

 

Don’t worry though, it was still worth it, think of the environment!

 

Concession

 

Back to the NFU-Defra presentation, where after months of criticising Defra’s lack of appreciation of food production and any mention of it in the command paper, NFU president Minette Batters did get a concession out of Gove that he may not have given food production enough recognition.

 

For a fleeting moment, I thought he would go the whole hog and support commercial production, but he couldn’t – or wouldn’t.

 

The blob would never have forgiven him. They haven’t gone away you know.

 

Margaret Beckett, who once said domestic production wasn’t needed as ‘we could import it all’ would have been so proud.


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