Telfer column Nov 25 2002
By Bill Telfer, The Journal
comes as no surprise to anyone at the sharp end of the farming industry
Defra has merited only a "very poor" on the reports of its efforts.
have seen from day one just how unfocused and ignorant of the real job
hand it actually is.
One of the many mistakes which never make the
non-farming press has recently
come to light. I complained many times in the
past about the fact that we
pour far more money into the EU than we ever get
Well, Defra has just missed a chance to repatriate at least some of
There is, within the EU, a fund to help fight animal disease, and
we have suffered in that respect over the last few years, I'd have
that any help in that direction would have been very
The United Kingdom was the only state not to apply for funds
which are said
to have been worth £5m.
Incidentally, the French
received £20m and Ireland over £4m.
A Defra spokesman admitted: "We did
not make the deadline of June 1. We
forgot about it."
As one of the
departments stated key objectives for 2003 was tackling animal
someone definitely needs to stand in the corner wearing the
I bet it was interesting at headquarters when the omission
while all around claimed "It wasn't my
Meanwhile, Defra has released more details of the review of its
to be undertaken by Lord Haskins, together with a small team of
It certainly needs a review.
I still haven't forgotten
their stand at the Royal Show this year where
those manning it knew nothing
about farming but were hired from an agency,
while some of them demonstrated
how to make paper sacks into papier mache.
I see they have been
castigated for not putting farming and food production
higher up their
I'm not surprised.
They take advice from far too many
organisations. One has only to look at
the spokespersons from non-productive
quarters who welcome every swing away
from sustainable farming.
are to believe a statement made in Parliament, there are actually
different organisations advising Defra. No wonder it doesn't know
I'm very disappointed to read that the 20-day
stand-still rule on livestock
movement is to stay in place, apparently at the
behest of vets working in
It seems things have changed
little over the years.
About 20 years ago I was very heavily involved
with those in charge of that
department and spent many hours at their
headquarters at Tolworth.
Even then theory reigned. Most of those I dealt
with had no practical
experience whatever. I could write a book about the
Perhaps we should move the Scottish Border back to
Scottish movement restrictions are much more