About the NFU elections, as someone said on the now inactive Sheepdrove FMD site,'the NFU is as democratic as Stalinist Russia'.

There was an interview last week on the Guardian women's page with a woman from Norfolk who was standing for the post of deputy president of the NFU. (Marie Skinner, see today's Guardian) She had discovered it was possible to stand without the prior approval of the Ruling Council provided she had the support of 25 members. The Ruling Council was obviously furious because they had refused to print and circulate her manifesto even though they are the only ones allowed to vote for the posts of President, Deputy and Vice-President. One member one vote it isn't.

At district level officials, paid and unpaid, work tirelessly for their members but the Ruling Council, or more likely a small clique within it appear to work to a different agenda.

Why were they so opposed to ring vaccination, which would have ended the epidemic months ago, issuing a stream of misinformation to their members and the general public?

Why do they support the Animal Health Amendment Bill, saying in their press release, 'NFU agrees the need for better animal health legislation'!!!, followed by some anodyne statements which give no idea of what it actually contains.

Why are they seemingly intent on destroying a large proportion of the livestock industry in the UK, especially sheep? Because the EU told them to? Well maybe, but I can't see how that would serve their personal interests.

How can we retain the best aspects of the NFU, making it truly democratic and representative of the farming industry, so it becomes what it claims to be?