If you don’t mind I share with you snippets of a discussion on a Facebook page about, well EU politics of course…..
As a large chunk of the EU budget is spent on agricultural support the conversation drifted to talking mainly about the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Sometimes I get the impression the thing that upsets Leavers most, is that French Farmers receive more money than UK farmers. French farmers are painted as small and inefficient producers, while UK farmers are naturally efficient and could well survive without.
The copied conversation is reproduced where it starts getting interesting:
Wrong wrong and wrong again. The early versions of CAP were indeed wasteful and produced food we didn’t need. Exporting that surplus food indeed risks distorting markets in places like Africa.
What folk don’t understand is that CAP’s goal was creating food security, food self sufficiency in a post war world were food was rationed.
So how to ensure food security without subsidised food production? Well that’s why ‘set aside’ was invented. Because if through ecological disasters the flow of food from other continents to EU is halted somehow, we can replough those wild flower fields and grow wheat, maize, carrots and haricots again and you folk won’t starve.
The sad fact that in U.K. millions of this money ends up in the pockets of rich City Bankers and Newspaper Editors with hunting estates is an entirely different matter, nothing to do with EU. All to do with Tory policy of looking after their own while screwing little farmers.
Later someone said EU was incapable of reform…..
Of course reform happens in EU. Take CAP and CFP. These policies currently bear no resemblance to what they once were. We had butter mountains and wine lakes. But while we sold packets of butter surplus to requirement for 10 cts a pack to Russia, Brits insisted on importing much more expensive butter from their cousins in New Zealand. It still makes my blood boil. British fishing waters were much depleted even before they joined EU. So British trawlers went further afield and started a Cod War with Iceland. When fish stocks recovered thanks to a common effort in EU, it was the UK government who decided to sell the larger part of the UK’s catch quota to big business. One Dutch trawler the Cornelis Vrolijk, was allocated 24% of the entire permitted catch by London (not by ‘Brussels’)
But hey blame the EU! Meanwhile Leaver Supreme Nigel Farage showed his face in just one of 42 EU fisheries committee meetings during the three years he was paid to attend. The hypocrisy of the Leave camp is astonishing, disgusting even.
Some more discussion on how all this EU money just ends up in the wrong pockets…
Me: “The distribution of CAP agricultural subsidies is a responsibility of national parliaments. Why are you laying this problem at the door of the EU? Before answering, can you please read this article?” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/farm-subsidies-blatant-transfer-of-cash-to-rich
Later I was asked the following:
“How can you justify the EU spending 40% of its budget on agricultural subsidies, when it can only account for around 1.5% of the EU GDP? You may think it’s good value for money, but the rest of us reject it. Subsidising specific sectors is difficult to justify, and might not not be so bad if it was done fairly across the EU. But it’s not – certain member states like France take a huge chunk of that subsidy.
Sorry, but it is a protectionist racket. It protects a small number of producers, and penalises hundreds of millions of consumers. it’s not fair that EU tax payers pay towards such subsidy, where the beneficiaries are wealthy land owners.”
I was sent the following link and asked to comment
I’ve read the article. I find the logic somewhat perverse. “Were not implementing capping of the biggest landowners because it’s not proven that it helps the smaller farmers who really need the payments to survive”. Well I have a farm and I have no CAP subsidies on it. For that I thank the brilliant idea of the British to decouple the subsidy rights from the land it was originally assigned to. In doing that the Conservatives ensured their beloved City of London had something else to trade in. It also enabled rich newspaper owners to buy up these subsidy rights. All they had to do is buy a few hundred of acres of Scottish wilderness, turn it into a hunting estate and reapply the subsidy to land that will never produce food other than a few grouse to shoot.
Plus it gives the same newspaper owners some new novel ammunition to fire at the EU besides the shooting game on their estate. Brilliant! Only in Great Britain could Leave simpletons think this is a great outcome.
Some Leave voters say the EU’s emphasis on Agricultural is crazy because only 2% of the EU workforce works in that sector. My quick fire response is why they are so obsessed about UK fisheries which only accounts for 0.3% of the UK economy. My response:
“In this case I think it’s about a much more basic need for people to eat and not worry about going hungry. I think of it in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. [Food] Security is at the base of the Maslow pyramid. It may very well involve only 2% of workers, which to me only underlines what a bargain EU is. Difference between you and me, I am talking about keeping the bottom secure. You seem to be at the top of the pyramid talking about self actualisation.
That’s What sovrinty is all about init?