30 November 2001
‘Cardboard Marge’ hits the nationals

By Tom Allen-Stevens

THE plight of arable farmers has been covered in the national press – thanks to a cardboard effigy of Rural Affairs secretary Margaret Beckett.

“Cardboard Marge” made a star appearance at this weeks Crops Conference near Cambridge.

The real Mrs Beckett declined an invite to address the conference and refused to send any other representative from Defra to take her place.

It was the first time in the conferences 15-year history that no government had addressed delegates, seen as a snub to the arable sector.

Meanwhile her namesake has appeared in a half-page story of The Mirror and on page two of The Cambridge Evening News.

“[Mrs Becketts] absence infuriated arable farmers who say the Government is putting them at a disadvantage with their European counterparts,” report The Mirror.

The coverage has delighted Crops editor and conference organiser Debbie Beaton, who also appeared twice on BBC Radio Cambridge.

“Cardboard Marge has done far more to tell the public about the plight of arable farmers than the real one ever has or probably ever will,” she said.

  • Look out for The Adventures of Cardboard Marge, starting in the 15 December issue of Crops. Unlike her namesake, this one not only visits a farm, but mends a tractor, does some spraying, and much, much more …

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