Hugh Broom: Politics and farming

By the time you read this the Party conference season will be two-thirds of the way through and what has been an interesting political summer will be turning into an even more politically interesting autumn.

Glorious leader Gordon needs to have made the speech of his life or have become a master in the art of mass hypnotism if he is to sit down to Christmas dinner wearing a glorious leader hat.

The New Labour brand is critically damaged if not in terminal decline. They have – in effect – checkmated themselves. If they push for a new leader, then we will have a third leader in as many years with no general election. The alerternative is to pin all hopes on Gordon Brown winning the next election, something that in the current climate would be just short of a miracle.

The next real crunch point will be the outcome of the Glenrothes By-Election to be held in the next few weeks. All Labour eyes will be on the former head teacher of Gordon’s old school in the vain hope that he will scrape past the post with some form of victory. If he doesn’t, then we will most probably have a new prime minster. Although, if the new leader is installed without a general election there should be national outcry and protest.

The administration of the past 10 years has on the whole been totally clueless about rural policy. Now it seems that the rest of the country has finally caught up with us simple rural types in realising how out of touch those in power have become.

The worrying thing is that rural-wise the current lot has thrown cash all over the place. In opening and then closing government agencies, maladministration and over-complication of EU policy and the forming of rural quangos that have achieved very little apart from making self-important types feel even more self-important.

So whenever you accuse them of not caring you just get told about the millions that have been spent. Not that you will probably have noticed it on the ground if you are running a farm business.

The polls at the moment are putting the Conservatives straight into Number 10. But regardless of who forms the next administration, expect things to get tougher in terms of money.

If there is a Conservative victory don’t expect a cakewalk in terms of finance and tax. We the rural sector are still a tiny proportion of the electorate and the new government will have its work cut out mopping up the mess of the past 10 years and keeping those in middle England happy.

But the one thing that any new administration can do at zero cost is listen and trust. Listen to what is actually happening on the ground and trust the industry to sort itself out. Crucially, it must recognise the vital and strategic role the small minority of rural voters play in ensuring that food gets to the nation’s plates each day.

It can also save a fortune by pruning some of the checks and double checks that have been imposed by the over-zealous interpretation of EU directives and the constant pandering to minority groups. Check things are being done by simple outcomes not by ticking lots of pointless boxes.

Gallery: Lambing 2021

One of the highlights of the farming year, lambing season is a challenging but joy-filled time for Britain’s farmers. View our gallery and share your lambing photos!
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