At a time when the functioning of the European Union is very much under scrutiny, there’s been a timely reminder that perhaps we should be looking closer to home when we’re thinking about who to criticise. The Public Accounts Committee report on the handling by DEFRA, the RPA and the Government Digital Service told us what we already knew, or had pretty well worked out for ourselves, but it’s still shocking.
I wonder how the officials involved would react if the money they were relying on to arrive in their bank accounts at exactly the same time on the same day every month failed to turn up, for a few months. I wonder how the vocal critics of Brussels would react if a cock-up of this magnitude had originated from that direction. It’s a timely reminder, if anyone is daft enough to need one, that our own Government and bureaucracy are a long way from perfect.
Meanwhile the referendum story still goes on and it’s got a long time to go on.
I can’t praise the leading farming figures who put their names to that letter to The Times, warning of the dangers for agriculture of leaving the EU, highly enough. I’m sorry we didn’t have space to list the names, but when we said leading figures, we meant it. It’s a catalogue of some of Britain’s cleverest, most successful and most switched on commercial farmers. They’re right and they should be listened to. They know what they’re talking about.
The pre-referendum process is getting boring, but we mustn’t switch off. The biggest danger to our democracy in every election and referendum is apathy and the biggest threat of disaster is that people just don’t bother to turn up and vote. I’ve no time for the smug types who announce from their armchair that ‘they’re all the same’ and can’t be bothered to turn up for their one real chance to have a voice.
There’s lots more in the latest issue of Farm Business, including the Dairy Extra, with the entry form for this year’s Cream Awards. Go on, enter. You know you’re worth it.
Editor, Farm Business