Today spotted the following tweet on twitter. I feel I should elaborate my response in a bit more than just 140 twitter allows, so here it goes….
Why is this tweet ‘disingenuous’ coming from a eurosceptic Brit?
First of all a bit of history of the EU Common Agricultural Policy is required from the perspective of Britain’s accession negotiations to the ‘Common Market’ in the years leading up to 1973.
In a previous tweet I explained how in the aftermath of WWII our EU leaders (yes we still had some in those days) instigated the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to ensure we had food security in Europe after years of post war rationing. Note how Kippers love to moan about CAP.
What actually happened in those years leading up to the UK’s accession to the Common Market is brilliantly explained by New Zealand’s terea web site:
“A country of less than 3 million people negotiated concessions (in the form of access quota rights to the British and European markets) from a powerful group of countries with a population of over 200 million.
To do this New Zealand needed Britain’s support. It was gained by playing on New Zealand’s wartime contribution, the strong cultural ties between the two countries, and the impact on the British consumer – New Zealand was a low-cost producer, so food prices in the UK were likely to rise if New Zealand produce was excluded from the market.”
So it wasn’t like the UK simply ‘dropped’ New Zealand in it in 1973. The web site explains how over the years New Zealand continued to have butter and cheese quotas well into the 1980s and 1990s – although gradually the levels were reduced, as New zealand developed alternative markets in it’s own geographical region.
When I was just married and moved to England in the ’80s, my then wife insisted on loading her shopping trolley up with New Zealand Anchor butter and Cheese as indeed her mother did before her. As a Dutchman I was acutely aware of the butter mountains piling up on the continent as an unforeseen consequence of Common Market intervention prices. (This alongside French and Italian wine lakes turned into industrial alcohol and Dutch tomatoes being ground up for pig food). Needless to say I replaced her NZ butter with packs produced in my adopted motherland the UK, even if slightly dearer at the till and much to the chagrin of my British wife.
Personally I thought it rather obscene, that we in Europe dumped packets of EU butter for 10 cents a pack on Russia, just to give a few Brits the idea they were supporting long lost cousins on the other side of the globe. Thank goodness that madness gradually came to an end, not last because British opposition within the EU to this kind of farm support which resulted in enormous waste when it overshot the intended production targets.
So with EU market intervention schemes aborted, milk prices started their descent in Europe, until a new scheme of mandatory milk quota’s was introduced. The EU had to, when tumbling prices meant dairy farmers all over Europe were quite literally going tits-up. Again, as with all such schemes, they work for a while and then over the years become somehow counter productive. Again it was the Brits leading the way in abolishing these milk quotas in the EU, let there be no doubt about that! A fact that doesn’t however stop kippers like Wayne Andrews in the above mentioned tweet moaning about it and seeking to mislead us all that it was in fact the EU that is/was “directly responsible” for the current woes of British dairy farmers.
I think ‘bullshit’ is an appropriate term for the musings of @TreasuryTutor. Greedy supermarket chains are more likely the culprit, when milk is sold cheaper than bottled water, don’t you think?
I guess many of you will have noticed how ukip likes to complain CAP supposedly adds hundreds of pounds to UK household’s annual shopping bills. Make no mistake: when they say this, they dream of ‘Anchor’ butter! In fact with their ‘trade global’ cries, they once again want to reduce milk prices, maybe even lower than today, by giving New Zealand industrial farmers with 15,000 cows unfettered access to our supermarket shelves.
And who has to compete against these super dairy farms from the other side of the world? You guessed it: the poor UK dairy farmers they are at the same time trying to mislead into voting for #brexit while planning to take away their precious farm subsidies.
And to whom is it left to protect our farmers? All of us who love our countryside and respect the hard working people who look after it. The same people who wouldn’t dream of voting “No” in the coming EU referendum, because we know which side of our bread is buttered.