26 November 1999

A monthly column remembering days

gone by

November 1988

IT may have been the 1980s: Mrs Thatchers decade of city bonuses and wine bars – but forget yuppies, a new abbreviation had entered the vocabulary. "Fruppies".

It stood for Farmers with Rollover Using Planning Proceeds to Increase holdings to Economic Size. And Savills reckoned they accounted for more than half the purchasers in the south west.

A FW leader column, meanwhile, dubbed it a "disgrace" that government was resisting compensating a group of farmers affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The government feared that, if they stumped up cash for this 130-strong group in Cumbria and North Wales, it would lead to further disputes among those already paid.

FWs editor likened the groups fate to Falklands dwellers. "The 130 farmers have suffered a foreign invasion of a different kind but the governments reaction should be the same."

Gloucestershire farmers had a different fight on their hands – resisting proposals for a sex shop at the city centre market. "It would degrade agriculture and could cause offence," was the opinion of one farmer addressing a NFU meeting.

New moves to combat sheep rustlers in mid-Wales were planned by the Dyfed-Powys police, with 16,000 sheep rustled in the Montgomeryshire area over the previous 12 months.

But it was the price of lamb that was of more concern to others. Some commentators suggested it could fall by a fifth under Brussels proposals to phase out variable premiums. "Rumour and ill-informed comment," retorted the-then chairman of the NFUs livestock and wool committee. Someone who has since gone onto bigger and better things. A one Ben Gill.