Why Britain’s Farmers should back UKIP

UKIP Agriculture Spokesman Stuart Agnew MEP on his farm

UKIP Agriculture Spokesman Stuart Agnew MEP on his farm

In the course of my work in the East Midlands, I meet quite a lot of farmers, and I find that generally speaking they tend to support UKIP’s broad objectives.  They, like the rest of us, think we’d be better off governing ourselves as an independent country.  But they have one big hang-up.  Their payments from the Common Agricultural policy (CAP) are a vital part of their income.  If we leave the EU, how will they manage without it?  Yes, they’re frustrated by the bureaucracy and the box-ticking and the cross-compliance, but they need the money.

Of course UKIP understands this.  Our Agriculture spokesman is Eastern Region MEP Stuart Agnew (Aggers to his friends), who has been a working farmer all his adult life, and is a member of the NFU.  Stuart is currently putting the finishing touches to a UKIP agriculture policy ahead of elections in 2014 and 2015, but I can already tell you that he and his team are fully aware that agricultural support is a central plank in the farm policy of all major, developed countries including the United States, Japan, and Europe. Clearly, therefore, British agriculture also needs similar support to compete. UKIP wants to strip out the excessive red-tape and compliance costs whilst retaining the direct support that the active British farmer needs.  We also want to remove those bureaucratic rules that are damaging our agricultural competitiveness.

How will we afford it?  EU funds don’t arrive out of nowhere.  We pay for them.  At the moment, every pound that the UK gets back from Brussels costs our economy several pounds.  Simply by saving our direct EU budget contributions we should have more than enough to fund current levels of support.  When we start to strip out EU regulatory costs across the rest of the UK economy, we shall be a much more prosperous country, and able to afford what we want to do, not what Brussels tells us.

We certainly can’t do that now, while we’re in the EU.  The British political class is still in denial, but since the Treaty of Lisbon, they simply have NO power in key policy areas like agriculture.   Post-Lisbon (if not before), as Owen Paterson discovered over the horsemeat scandal — rather I think to his horror — DEFRA is reduced to little more than the EU’s compliance Agency in London.

At best Britain’s agriculture minister is reduced to just one of 28 voices on just one side of a three-sided table, the other two sides being occupied by Parliament’s representatives and, out on his own with sole power of proposing regulation, the Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos.  So British agriculture is currently run largely by an unelected Romanian official, the French-educated Agriculture Commissioner Mr Ciolos (I understand that his only experience of agriculture was on an organic farm).

He has driven through the current CAP reform.

The outcome and therefore the prospects for our farmers is to do more for less support — but with the ‘more’ consisting not of growing more food, but spending more time on compliance and red tape.

Built upon flawed ‘Green’ theories, this so-called CAP reform is an insult to the very idea of reform and a step in the wrong direction for British agriculture and the British people.

Only Stuart Agnew and his UKIP colleagues in the Agriculture Committee have consistently argued — and voted — against this nonsense.  It is only by voting for UKIP that British farmers can express their dissatisfaction with a policy which is bad for farming, and bad for Britain.   Sadly, all the other British parties, including the Conservatives, collude in the institutionalised, pan-EU consensus-building process which ensures Britain’s voice is scarcely heard.

There are many reasons to call for British self-government and independence.  There will be huge economic benefits, a vast increase in democratic accountability.  But there will also be real advantages for agriculture.  Farmers who believe in Britain (and I suspect that’s most farmers) can vote UKIP with confidence.

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10 Responses to Why Britain’s Farmers should back UKIP

  1. Linda Hudson says:

    Sorted by the sensible, (SIMPLES)

  2. neilfutureboy says:

    Some of the richest people in Britain are ex-farmers, or the inheritors of farms, whose land became valuable when it was used to build homes.

    Of course this is a small minority. However if UKIP is to support allowing the free market to build more houses, hopefully modular houses since they can be both better & cheaper if allowed, it will increase.

    I am not trying to say that on average farmers can do well, because average here means nothing. I am trying to say that the reason farming is failing economically is that it is not the economically best use of the land. The way to alleviate that is not to subsidise it continuing, which means we will subsidise forever, but to allow change of use and provide a safety net for those who lose. I would say that a GENEROUS pension or one off payment for farmers who go broke or tenant farmers who cannot continue would allow a lot of restructuring with minimal pain. Since the Ministry of Agriculture employs more people than there are farmers in this country I expect this would be considerably less expensive than the CAP even for the first year and costs would trail off very sharply.

  3. Mike Stallard says:

    Where I live in the Fens, mile upon mile – sorry Km upon Km – is flat ploughed land with the winter wheat beginning to sprout. In the Spring, it all goes green or yellow into the flat, far distance. Sometimes, (more and more rarely) are flat fields of strawberries or cabbage. In the autumn there are a few pumpkins too.
    This is one of the most fertile parts of the whole world. It used to be one vast orchard. Now it is almost entirely wasted on biofuels.

  4. Romania Magna says:

    So you are complaining that Agriculture is run by a non elected Romanian? Leaving aside the racist inference of Ciolos not being worthy to run the Agriculture because he is Romanian, I remind you that another non-elected Briton is running the EU Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton. While Ciolos has studied and worked in the Agricultural sector, she has with no Foreign Affairs experience whatsoever. Before complaining about Ciolos, start with your own Catherine Ashton!.
    And you deliberately failed to mention that a British farmer receives TWICE the amount in subsidies that a Romanian farmer. If the leave the EU, these subsidies will be gone forever. Her Majesty, one the bigger subsidy recipient in the UK won’t be pleased.
    And talking about not being elected, why you were advising Romanians to start cyanide based mining that would empoison the country??? No Romanian elected as MEP, so you have no right, legal or moral, to advise Romanians what to do with your country. So stop meddling in Romania’s affairs and mind your own business.

  5. Romania Magna says:

    Errata: The last sentence should be read as following: And talking about not being elected, why you were advising Romanians to start cyanide based mining that would empoison the country??? No Romanian elected you as MEP, so you had NO RIGHT, legal or moral, to advise Romanians what to do with their country. So stop meddling in Romania’s affairs and mind your own business.
    And if cyanide mining excites you, open a cyanide pit in your garden!

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      I agree with you the the EU is an unmitigated disaster for all of us. We never wished for it, never asked to join it. Like your good self I agree that we need to all butt out of interfering. Incidentally are you living here in with us?

  6. Brin Jenkins says:

    I just think we need to leave the EU ASAP, there are too many unelected idiots in charge telling us all what to do.

    • Katie says:

      Yes, and giving away our money. Let other EU countries sort out their own affairs and stop relying on us to provide the finance. We sort our own affairs out but we should not be expected to sort out other countries.

  7. fdsfdsf says:

    I would tell these farmers to piss off. If they cant be competitive then they join every other business that cannot- into bankruptcy.

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