19 September 2000
Outrage at ‘farmer scum’ remarks
REACTION to claims by a Daily Telegraph columnist that farmers are tax-fiddling “scum” and “terrorists” dominates the newspapers letters page.
Sion Simon said fuel protesters were self-interested hypocrites who fill their family Mercedes with red diesel which is exempt from excise duty.
Ten letters to the The Telegraph condemn Mr Simons remarks, with the sole voice of support coming from Labour MP Gerald Kaufman.
Prof Stephen Bush suggests Mr Simon should do something useful such as tend the sick or maintain the sewage system.
This experience would show him the things that matter in modern society and teach him to “curb his offensive tongue”.
Dr Richard North says Mr Simon must be “utterly mad” or “dangerously ignorant” if he believed protesters were on a par with terrorist groups.
Best-selling author and farm-owner Frederick Forsyth says Mr Simons “bitter hatred” of small farmers is “as revealing as it is unpleasant”.
He says the protesters incur Mr Simons venom because they are independent and refuse to toe a party line.
Dorset dairy farmer JA Watts invites Mr Simon to the family farm to see the reality for producers whose milk sells at a 4ppl loss.
But Mr Kaufman congratulates Mr Simon on “a brilliant column, saying, at last, what needs to be said about those demonstrators”.
- Farming scum fiddle tax, FWi, 18 September, 2000
- The Daily Telegraph 19/09/2000 page 27