Perhaps I should e-mail you to say that, despite Alan Michael's assurances on the 'Today Programme' yesterday morning, to the effect that the creation of DEFRA will integrate the government's treatment of all aspects of Rural Affairs, and despite the latest DEFRA 'Information Sheet: Foot and Mouth in Devon' [sent to farmers with registered holdings] telling us about the £74m 'Foot and Mouth Disease Business Recovery Fund (BRF)',

here in Devon, farm related businesses still continue to be refused any assistance from the fund.

So far as our own application is concerned we have been strung along and left in limbo. Others have been given a range of reasons for refusal or being put aside, including 'the situation following the events of September 11th'...

This seems to imply that the need to expend the Nation's resources on the pursuance of a war in Afgahanistan outweighs the need to help the victims of government action at home. Each of those high tech bombs cost a great deal. How many would the £74m BRF buy?

But why do we need to spend so much of our resources on destruction?

John Pilger's article in the Daily Mirror 29th October [ full] suggests the real reason.

The American oil interests behind the Bush Presidency want to build oil and gas pipelines from the oil and gas reserves in the Caspian basin, "the greatest source of untapped fossil fuel on earth", though Afganistan. This source would be "enough, according to one estimate, to meet America's voracious energy needs for a generation." and "Only if the pipeline runs through Afghanistan can the Americans hope to control it." British troops are to carry out ground operations as "little more than mercenaries for Washington's imperial ambitions" - and resources which might otherwise be used to assist Rural Business in Britain diverted to facilitate the installation of a compliant government in Afghanistan.

I urge everyone to read John Pilger's excellent analysis of the fraudulent "war against terrorism" and then to look again at the foot and mouth disease fiasco here - and wonder again what truly lies behind what is being inflicted on us.