Jim Paice was good. It’s worthy of comment, because who can remember anyone else who has distinguished themself at any level, whether as minister, junior minister or anything else at the ministry of the environment, food, farming, or whatever the Government was calling it at the time?
To be fair, I was always quite impressed by David Curry, and the characterful John Gummer was at least interesting and managed to give the impression that he cared about whether we had a farming industry or not, but I’m going back a long way.
We’ve had some strange ones. Margaret Beckett always heads most peoples’ list, having given the very distinct impression that as far as she was concerned, Tescos would guarantee food security, so she didn’t need to think about it.
Let’s face it, British politicians really aren’t, on the whole, very good, which is why reading Michael Wale’s report on Neil Parish’s questioning of Ms Truss is so encouraging. What’s not encouraging is the unavoidable feeling that no one with the grip on the subject that Neil Parish has will ever get near the ministry.
It’s not just farming, as a look at Richard Wright’s Bottom Line piece in this week’s Farm Business will remind you. According to the excellent Political Betting website (I think gambling’s a mug’s game, but I’m still an avid reader), William Hill says nobody has bet on George Osborne for Prime Minister since the Google tax scandal broke. As Richard points out, our only chance for anyone standing up to the likes of the US internet giant is the European Commission, not that our politicians will ever admit to it.
The Commission might also be mean enough to stand up, one day, to our overweening newspaper owners, which is why nothing useful it does will ever appear in the British papers. Meanwhile, the Germans get Angela Merkel, and we get… meh. They say you get the leaders you deserve. What on earth did we do to deserve this lot?
Editor, Farm Business