Defra has started a consultation on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy – don’t panic, you have until 5 March to respond. But Defra only wants views from those who may be affected by these proposals. And that appears to mean English farmers, environmental groups, rural communities, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties. But there is no mention (except in ‘other interested parties’) of you, the taxpayer, despite the fact that you are paying for it.
The NFU is encouraging farmers to respond to this consultation on its website which is fair enough.
So Defra is seeking, and no doubt will receive, a lot of views from the recipients of public money but appears completely uninterested in getting views from those who provide that money. Isn’t that a bit odd? It’s certainly not very Big Society is it? And are we all in it together?
Of course the ‘other interested parties’ which do not have a voice are skylarks, harvest mice, pheasant eyes and the rest of our wildlife dependent on how farmland is farmed, and how your taxes go to encourage wildlife-friendly farming, so you may wish to respond on their behalves. We’ll come back to this subject – after all, we have until 5 March to come up with some views.