17 August 2001

ON OUR FARMS

EASTON LODGE

Wet cancels flying start

HAVING got off to a flying start in scorching hot weather, everything seems to have come to a grinding halt in a period of autumnal wet conditions one would pr

Imagine my amazement when on a Monday morning two weeks ago Parcel force ignored a large sign at the entrance to our farm road, clearly stating KEEP OUT due to foot-and-mouth disease and proceeded to make a delivery into the farmyard a mile further on.

An irate phone call to the supervisor at the Peterborough depot produced very little satisfaction, since I was told that everything was now back to normal since the government had instructed all local authorities to open public footpaths and byways and that anyway, Cambs had never been in an infected area.

Needless to say, I advised him accordingly and asked that all mail and parcels be held at our local post office until further notice as indeed they had been since February.

No inquiry

I hear from the news this morning that DEFRA is refusing to grant a full public inquiry into foot-and-mouth disease on the grounds of cost – how crass is that when the whole rural economy in some regions has been turned inside out?

More likely perhaps is that the government cannot cope with the concept of being shown up under oath and in public to have been inept and incompetent in their handling of this crisis.

The release of misinformation concerning cowboy cleaning contractors, farmers directly infecting their farms and the huge compensation payments are all designed to alienate the public against the farming industry and to get government off the hook.

All of this is a smokescreen and must be exposed for what it is, perhaps now is the time to resurrect the Countryside March to back up the FARMERS WEEKLY petition to Mr Blair. Its direct action that this government is afraid of as was shown up by the very successful fuel demonstrations. &#42

Lone fight on security

BECAUSE there is little sign of DEFRA getting a proper grip on foot-and-mouth disease, we have decided to maintain full bio-security measures at Easton Lodge. Imagine my amazement when on a Monday morning two weeks ago Parcel force ignored a large sign at the entrance to our farm road, clearly stating KEEP OUT due to foot-and-mouth disease and proceeded to make a delivery into the farmyard a mile further on.

An irate phone call to the supervisor at the Peterborough depot produced very little satisfaction, since I was told that everything was now back to normal since the government had instructed all local authorities to open public footpaths and byways and that anyway, Cambs had never been in an infected area.

Needless to say, I advised him accordingly and asked that all mail and parcels be held at our local post office until further notice as indeed they had been since February.

No inquiry

I hear from the news this morning that DEFRA is refusing to grant a full public inquiry into foot-and-mouth disease on the grounds of cost – how crass is that when the whole rural economy in some regions has been turned inside out?

More likely perhaps is that the government cannot cope with the concept of being shown up under oath and in public to have been inept and incompetent in their handling of this crisis.

The release of misinformation concerning cowboy cleaning contractors, farmers directly infecting their farms and the huge compensation payments are all designed to alienate the public against the farming industry and to get government off the hook.

All of this is a smokescreen and must be exposed for what it is, perhaps now is the time to resurrect the Countryside March to back up the FARMERS WEEKLY petition to Mr Blair. Its direct action that this government is afraid of as was shown up by the very successful fuel demonstrations. &#42