The agri-environmental politics of Brexit – this is box office

You need to find an hour to watch this video. It is a debate from the Oxford Farming Conference involving Guy Poskitt, a carrot farmer from Yorkshire; Minette Batters, a beef farmer from Wiltshire and Vice President of the NFU; George Monbiot, environmental journalist and campaigner and Dame Helen Ghosh, the director General of the National Trust (and former Defra Permanent Secretary). An hour is a long time perhaps but this is box office stuff if you want to understand the tensions over Brexit, farming and the environment.  It is admirably chaired by Charlotte Smith.

Monbiot, as you might expect had the best soundbites

Having a specific fund for farmers is like having a specific fund for plumbers and solicitors

It’s wishful thinking to think we can leave Europe in a planned way

We’ll leave the EU like a drunk stumbling from a pub at closing time

It reminded me of a wedding when all the clans had come together and were on their best behaviour but just wanted to get through it and then go home –  I thought you could see it in everyone’s faces (perhaps with the exception of George who seemed to be enjoying himself).

The Treasury must be rubbing its hands in glee at this spectacle – the culmination of 70 years of agri-environmental tension – three ‘stakeholders’ trying so hard to agree and get on, along with a man with a sharp pointy prodding implement.




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