Farmer Focus : Kevin Littleboy - Farmers Weekly

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Farmer Focus : Kevin Littleboy

THE ELECTION budget reconfirmed my views that Rt Hon Gordon Brown really does believe he is the modern day equivalent of Robin Hood, without a mask that is.

While I accepted those of us who have filthy habits like smoking and drinking would be taxed more, I had no idea I would wish to be over 65 years old. Mr Brown is a wise old bird though, as this pensioners” give away budget will all be clawed back again next year when Labour institute the revaluing of property for the Council Tax.

There were roughly 300 important criminal offences on the statute book if one excludes all the minor offences. Since 1997 the ruling party has introduced a further 87 offences. Has not Britain just been involved in a skirmish to get rid of a dictator?

I wonder whether the words – democratically free country – should be redefined as I am sure there can”t be many people who truly believe that we are that. With more and more rules and regulations we actually can”t be far off being classified as living in a dictatorship.

Oral rehydration therapy liquid is used here on the farm for twin lamb disease. It is also a little known fact this liquid sells exceptionally well at city centre chemist shops where universities are located. This fact remained a mystery to me until recently as there aren”t many sheep in the middle of universities.

I also have always accepted my shepherd”s explanation of why we need this liquid – our many darling ewes with triplets need special care and attention.

Well the secret is out – it is an exceptionally good hangover cure. I always wondered why Wayne looked so bloody well in the morning after a good party, when everybody else was suffering. On that note just off to Farmway at Thirsk to get three boxes of …

howe@farmline.com

Farmer Focus: Kevin Littleboy

GETTING A NEW car could cause me a bit of a dilemma. That new-fangled extra called satellite navigation drives me potty. Using a friend”s new car, I decided to leave the road to drive across a field, only to have an automated monotone voice announce repeatedly “please return to the carriageway, please return to the carriageway.” You would not believe that I was an advanced driver. Having said that, at least it means the poachers I have been inundated with could be satellite position tracked for the police”s arrival.

The majority of sane people believe the new Hunting Bill is totally unworkable, not only practically in the field, but also by the police and prosecution services. There is a silver lining in my respect with Section 1 of the Bill stating “a person commits an offence if he hunts a wild mammal with a dog, unless his hunting is registered or exempt”. At last there seems to be the power that will enable all the dog men illegally chasing my hares and deer to be prosecuted.

That is if I can find a police officer at the time. They may be all out chasing across fields and arresting 30 odd riders, then having to look after the horses, while rounding up and seizing 50 excitable slavering hounds, protecting any property with the arrested rider at time of the offence, writing down the description of horses, hounds and riders for identification purposes, monitoring video surveillance, operating stop and search powers and using the power of seizure. Then there is the endless red tape and form filling, typing statements, giving testimony to a court of law, returning property seized to rightful owners, etc. No, perhaps I won”t find an officer available after all. Beagles or burglars: What a dilemma the poor police have nowadays.

 howe@farmline.com

Farmer Focus: Kevin Littleboy

IT IS official that British Agriculture is in decline.

It cannot be right that two owner occupier farmers can be subjected to such humiliation due to the state of our once glorious and profitable industry which looks after 80% of the land mass.

I saw a near neighbour of mine, who farms over 445ha (1100 acres), walking into the latest retail outlet in Thirsk – The Junk Shop. This close to Christmas the mind boggles at what presents he was planning to buy his wife and children.

In another instance I witnessed a large Cambs farmer from the land of milk and honey having the audacity to enter the House of Lords for lunch in a city suit but wearing brown shoes.

His new wife will, I hope, soon correct this lack of protocol by buying him black shoes for Christmas.

I was there, invited by CPB Twyford, to witness the Food and Farming Industry Awards. An extremely pleasant lunch preceeded the ceremony, but a glitch came when I wanted a between courses cigarette.

After countless visits to the House of Commons I know exactly where to have an illicit smoke. I didn’t have the same inside intelligence on the House of Lords. So I was delighted to be rescued by host Lord Palmer as he wanted a cigar.

I suppose that will change if this government gets its way. Tobacco tax is more than the cost of the NHS. If we all packed up smoking VAT would have to rise to 22.5% and income tax by 11.5p in the pound.

Isn’t it ironic that smoking is being made illegal but cannabis is being decriminalised? The incarcerated will still be able to smoke in prison. So Labour will make smokers criminals, and criminals legal smokers. Can I book a bed now?

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