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Farmers for BREXIT

I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Lutterworth Dairy Farmers’ Group at the Lutterworth Cricket Club on January 28th, with our UKIP Agriculture Spokesman (and Chief Whip) Stuart Agnew.  For me, it was just down the road (Stuart had the long trek from Norfolk), and an easy evening, because naturally with farmers Stuart did most of the work. Farmers are naturally worried about what happens to their CAP cheques when we leave the EU. 

Stuart reminded them that Britain had a perfectly good farm support scheme before we joined the EU, and will have one afterwards.  The difference is that it will be a scheme designed in Britain for British farmers, not a scheme designed in Brussels for French farmers. Some people seem to think of the EU’s CAP as uniquely generous, but Stuart produced figures showing that in terms of percent of GDP spent on farm support, the EU is in the middle of the pack.

 Of course we assume that the current Conservative government will still be in place the day after the Brexit vote, and we can’t speak for them.  But all politicians recognise the importance of food security, rural employment, and maintenance of the countryside, and it is inconceivable that the UK government would not.  In reply to those who questioned whether a British government would be as generous as Brussels, Stuart reminded us that the UK contributes around £6 billion to the EU CAP budget — but gets only £3 billion back — so there’ll be cash to spare.

 One point which Stuart stressed for agriculture (and is true more generally) was this: that a vote for the EU is not a vote for the status quo.  It is a vote for a process leading inevitably to a United States of Europe.  The new countries that may join the EU (and especially Turkey, which David Cameron wants in) are very poor.  So they will be net beneficiaries.  They will attract extra CAP funding — which means less money for Britain (and France and Germany).  Stuart also pointed to regulatory developments that will damage farmers.  We ban GM crops in the EU — but import GM crops from abroad.  We are banning critical herbicides and pesticides — but importing crops grown abroad with the same chemicals. We are undermining the competitiveness of UK and European agriculture, while driving up imports and hurting our balance of payments.  I could not but reflect that in the energy field (my specialist subject) we are doing exactly the same — undermining competitiveness in Europe, and driving jobs and industry and investment off-shore.  There’s only one solution.  The only way is Brexit.

Next day, on Jan 29th, I was saddened to read of the plight of dairy farmers.  Some have fixed contracts, but the open market price is now so low that many are struggling. Slack exports to China and Russia are blamed — but perhaps the end of China’s one-child policy may increase demand for milk and milk products.

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About Roger Helmer MEP (81 Articles)
Roger Helmer is an East Midlands MEP and UKIP's energy spokesman. His articles appear both here and on his personal blogging site by agreement.

3 Comments on Farmers for BREXIT

  1. I think however they fix the referendum, the country is now realising the EU has become a bit strange, compared to the heady days of real money, Heath & pre-Defender Land Rovers.
    I’ve tried to gather some Brexit reading here:

  2. Correct me if I’m misinformed please, but my understanding of the EU budget is that 40% of it goes to CAP.

    In his book “Why Europe Will Run The 21st Century”, Mark Leonard wrote

    Europe has been able to extend itself into the lives of Europeans largely unchallenged by seeping into the existing structure of national life, leaving national institutions outwardly intact but inwardly transformed. The ‘Europeanization’ of national political life has largely gone on behind the scenes, but its very invisibility has seen the triumph of a unique political experiment.

    The people I refer to as the EUnuchs glory in this sentiment; opacity as a means to power. The plebes are simply moderately intelligent cattle to be milked and grazed in the service of The State.

    Your dairy farm setting is more appropriate than you may know

  3. I would like to expand on the mention of status quo. By leaving the EU Britain will stay much as it is, we will retain the status quo. Obviously as time goes by we will change and adapt in concert with the world around us as we have done so successfully in the past but we will do so in our own unique British way.
    I believe the EU will be facing considerable risks in the years that lie ahead. The massive influx of unskilled migrants into the EU, many with a decidedly archaic world view, is likely to create enormous financial strain and possibly hardship which may give rise to wide-spread unrest. History is full of examples of states, especially ones that do not have a sound democracy, starting wars as a way of diverting attention from internal problems, Germany being a prime example. Recent adventures in the Ukraine, Turkey shooting down a Russian plane perhaps give a flavour of things to come. I mention Turkey as its future membership certainly seems to be part of the EU project.
    I do not share the view that the EU can reform due to its current structure which provides former German Democratic Republic politicians and others from former communist East European states a platform from which to exert their influence.
    Ironically I think we have a better chance of exerting our influence and encouraging much needed EU reform from without than from within. So we must resist another, deeper, more beguiling sham.
    If we do it will not be the first time we have changed the course of history. And this time there will be no need for bayonets, bullets and Bren guns, no need for more blood sweat and tears.

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