The colour purple

Solid_purpleThe UKIP surge has coloured in most of rural England as purple on the political map.

It isn’t easy to find out what UKIP thinks about the CAP, badger culls, marine protected areas, climate change, grouse-shooting, neonicotinoids or other environmental matters from their website.

The environment will be just one area of doubt over what UKIP really believes in the run-up to the general election in 2015 – there will be many others.

UKIP opposes the HS2 rail link, wants tolls abolished on the Dartford Crossing and seems to oppose windfarms everywhere they are suggested – that’ll add up to a pretty ungreen transport and energy policy then? Or maybe not? Who knows?

UKIP wants us to leave the EU and wants to give a better deal to British farmers – so that means…? More or less taxpayers’ money going to farming? More or fewer strings attached to the payments? More or less emphasis on environmental stewardship? Who knows?

Our English badgers with their English bovine Tb – kill ’em or take them down the pub for a pint?  Badger beer anyone? Who knows?

If I were a Scot, then one of the joys of devolution would clearly be to get away from regular Conservative governments based on English votes.  Now, I would be even keener to get away from the influence of UKIP on my life. Will that give a small fillip to the YES vote come the September referendum?




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19 Replies to “The colour purple”

  1. Actually Ukip have a point about the Dartford crossing. Originally the tolls were only supposed to be in place until the new bridge had been paid for then scrapped. It has been paid for three times over now and forces H.G.V. operators to go round the M 25 the long wsy/anti clockwise which equates to longer journeys and more fuel which is more harmful to the environment. ...surely?

    1. Doesn't the cost of the extra fuel, engine and tyre wear and driver time incurred by going the long way round the m25 exceed the cost of the tolls? It seems hard to believe that driving an extra hundred miles or so is really cheaper than a five pound toll.

  2. "More or fewer strings attached to the payments?"

    This is what they are proposing in NI so I assume they would like to see similar measures employed in the rest of the UK.
    The highlights include:

    - 'Eliminating cross compliance measures presently required for SPS. Farmers will be free to farm, with compliance measures limited to:
    - Maintaining hedgerows;
    - Maintaining grass banks;
    - Clearing out storm drains and gullies;
    - Clearing snow and storm debris from the sections of road on farmers land.

    - Overhauling the Nitrates Directive, allowing farmers to apply the right amount of slurry at the right time.

    - Reviewing all ASSI's and the restrictive practices associated with them.

    See pages 8 & 9 of the following doc:

    It's as if someone sent Jeremy Clarkson on a three-day environmental management course and then asked him to produce a manifesto.

    1. Ernest - blimey! It's worse than I imagined. Thank you very much for the information - even though it is scary.

    2. "the right amount of slurry at the right time"

      What is the right amount, and when is the right time?

      1. UKIP clearly in favour of recycling then, kindly offering farmers free copies of their manifesto as fertiliser...

  3. Mark, may I offer the suggestion that you consider inviting their 'environment spokesperson' to answer a series of searching questions crafted in your delightfully politically astute manner? Guest blog with a difference?

    1. Mud Lark - see
      in particular third paragraph.

      1. Cheers MK, useful but as Martin admits .... paraphrase .... a direct 'authoratative' statement will nail their colours to the mast for us and if they were asked for evidence based science upon which they base their policies &c.?

        I'd actually find it useful if all parties would provide clear statements, mmhh politicians clear statements ok, unrealistic expectation?

    2. That would be very interesting. Although I listened to the soundclip on the Wildlife Trusts election hustings page, and his contribution can be summarised as follows: he doesn't believe in climate change, wind farms are bad and kill loads of birds, and he is proud to be a member of Songbird Survival. He makes Owen Paterson look like a tree hugger with dreadlocks.

  4. I e-mailed them last year to ask what their policies were on the environment.
    They hadn't sorted one out properly at the time, but wanted to get rid of all non native species ....... flora and fauna. They were also in favour of hunting.
    They didn't get my vote.

    1. No doubt they think sheep and pheasants, to name but two, are native. Good luck with the rhododendrons chaps.

  5. UKIP just wants England as it was in 1960 as far as I can see. It's the nostalgia party. Now if biodiversity was as it was in 1960 we'd all be happy, but I don't think they're into that bit.

    1. 1960 and then some. They still think it's 1940. Don't panic Mr Mannering! And I too have been wondering about their effect on the Scottish Yes vote (Rick Wakeman came out top). They could end up as the UK Breakup Party. As far as the environment is concerned, they're either not interested or haven't got a clue. Probably both.

  6. A link to this piece by UKIP's agriculture spokesman Stuart Agnew arrived in my inbox this am.

    Key proposals include:

    - SFP of £80 per acre on the lowlands (less pro-rata on uplands), to be capped at £120,000 or 1,500 acres (more acres on uplands, but same financial cap).

    - To qualify for this payment, land must be farmed to ELS (Entry Level Stewardship) standard. There will be no modulation and no cross-compliance.

    - We will give additional help to hill farmers by taking advantage of the WTO’s concession for limited headage payments on livestock.

    - Having established that the subsidy is strongly linked to environmental good practice by the use of ELS, as a base standard, we will discontinue HLS schemes (Higher Level Stewardship) after their expiry. If, for example, the RSPB wants land to be farmed in a particular way, they should approach the farmer concerned and offer him a deal.

    - County Councils will be able to offer grants to farmers in sensitive areas to adopt certain practices.

    - The EU re-registration of pesticides will no longer apply. This means that pesticides which had full UK approval in the past can be offered for sale again.

    - We wish to conduct a scientific review of the maximum stipulated level of nitrate in water, currently set at 50 mgs per litre. The old British standard of 100 mgs resulted in no health issues whatsoever. The ground water in the soils on the eastern side of the UK is inherently between 50 and 100 mgs, making a reduction very difficult. Indeed, the study commissioned by the NFU into what measures would be required, concluded that, to keep within the maximum of 50 mgs, half of the arable land in East Anglia would need to be permanent un-grazed set-aside. Science needs to be applied here and we feel certain that a favourable movement of the limit is achievable.

    - Whilst there is a law against the spreading of ragwort, there is no attempt to enforce it. We would require local councils to take responsibility for this and suggest that pulling ragwort is a useful way for prisoners and those with community service orders to spend their time.

    So there we have it, no cross compliance other than the requirment to farm to the ELS standard (whatever that really means), no HLS and a return to headage payments in the uplands. Mind-blowing.

  7. It's hardly surprising that UKIP has an underdeveloped agri-environment policy given its age as a party. All the others have been at it for decades and look where we are - UKIP has had no influence on our current state yet the knives are out for what they might or might not do in the future.

    There is a lot needs fixing in our broken agricultural model - dismantling the influence of the Sheds in UK and the multinational agribusiness hegemony; facing up to the needs of our burgeoning population; facing the fact that the dream of a return to some imagined idyllic undegraded natural environment and the extensification of agricultural production in the UK means exporting our pollution and soil degradation to someone else's back yard; questioning taxpayer support for the production of food subsequently exported. And every other Elephant you want to add that none of the usual suspects are addressing with or without the laughing clown of UKIP leering round the door.

    1. The official UKIP policy is that climate change is natural variation

      How stupid is that?

      That alone renders them totally unelectable

      1. Steve - it makes them wrong, IMHO. It also means that I couldn't vote for them - but it's not the only reason. But it doesn't make them unelectable - that depends on what others think. And I think there will be plenty who agree with them, I'm sorry to say.

  8. For 'UK Breakup' (yawn), read 'The Rebalancing of Britain' with mature Scottish counselling of shouty adolescent English Nationalism - includes seminars on civic nationalism and a fringe event on upland regeneration without sporting estates, courtesy of last weeks Report of Scotland's Land Reform Review Group. We just do it better.


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