We’ll miss him when he is gone won’t we?
He couldn’t resist having a badly-judged dig at the RSPB, which should bring home the message to the RSPB that there is no point (or under Peter’s reign there has been no point) in trying to build relationships with the NFU because they are not reliable allies.
Martin called it Peter’s silliest ever speech! And to get to the top of that list takes some doing!
I’m not so sure though. Although Peter Kendall has been a pantomime villain in the pages (electronic though they are of this blog, this speech is well worth reading and thinking about.
Peter starts by living in the mid-1950s – I sometimes wish I could too, it would be such a revelation to see the richness of the English countryside then, and such a depressing journey back in time to the present day when arable plants, insects and farmland birds are so depleted.
Kendall’s six points on EU are;
- improve governance because decision-making among 28 nations is a nightmare – I agree and have said the same here and elsewhere often. I am not sure about the solution but I am convinced that this is a problem.
- make the food chain work – yes, but for whom? Peter wants farmers to have a fair return from the market, and I guess I do too, although I am more concerned about farmers getting a fair return than whence it comes. Maybe Peter should have a word with the Tory Party about markets. There is nothing unfair about the market – it might not give farmers what they want but then driving down prices and boosting efficicincy is what markets are supposed to do. The NFU seems to want to be rewarded by the taxpayer and protected from the market – they should look to a Left-wing political party if that’s what they want! They might not find one when they look, but that’s what they need.
- base things on science – everybody says this but Peter really means technology not science. The NFU ignore the science on biodiversity declines and what has been shown to be needed to reverse those declines all the time – the impact of intensive farming on the environment is their inconvenient truth. I think Peter wants GM technology and publicly-funded research to underpin innovation in agriculture. Most indetroesd
- review competencies – Kendall wants agriculture policy to remain a European issue whereas environment could be a national one. I suspect that this is because farmers are such a strong lobby inn the EU that Kendall thinks it is in the selfish economic interests of UK farmers to have the French arguing strongly on agriculture but that he thinks farmers incomes would be higher if there weren’t all those foreigners arguing for environmental measures too. we can be quite sure that Kendall wouldn’t like this to be done the other way round!
- environment protection or enhancement – protection should be a European issue whereas enhancement should be national.
- the next Commission – Kendall is worried that the next commission might not be totally pro-industrial farming. He worries that it might look backwards towards protection!
And he goes on a bit more, including some descriptions of the past that don’t accord with my recollections of what happened.
I started by saying that we’ll miss him when he’s gone, won’t we? Well, I’d be surprised if he will be gone.
After Peter picks up his knighthood for service to agriculture in the summer what will he do then? He has ruled out a career in politics – though those in the know suspect he might be tempted in that direction. I must check who the next Conservative candidate for Sir Jim Paice’s South East Cambridgeshire constituency might be when Sir Jim stands down next year.