18 September 2000
‘Farming scum fiddle tax’

FARMERS are “terrorists” and “scum” who fill their luxury cars with red diesel and avoid paying income tax, claims a columnist in The Daily Telegraph.

Sion Simon considers the “thrilling excitement” of the farmer-led fuel protests last week, and the “the good-natured anarchism of the general public”.

He compares this with the “sinister, hypocritical self-interest of the “protesters (terrorists would be a better word).”

He says the most startling example of this is that farmers red diesel, “plenty of which usually finds its way into the family Mercedes”, is exempt from excise duty.

“And farmers,” adds Mr Simon, “pay virtually no income tax either, because they are so single-mindedly adept at evading it.”

Far from being democracy in action, the protests saw “self-appointed vigilantes” sacrifice democracy “on the alter of a few self-employed profit margins”, he claims.

“The public is too canny not to perceive, over time, that such types are more scum of the earth than salt of the earth,” says Mr Simon.

The Telegraph is usually noted for its support of farmers.