Thursday, August 09, 2007

Polly Hari

How can a person be so consistently wrong? Easy, be an over-paid left-wing polemicist in one of the nation's less discriminating viewspapers. (Interestingly, I am not sure Tony realises it is an insult?) So, taking on, as he has, this mantle of cretinous metro-socialism, channelling the very witch-queen herself, let's have a look at his latest ouvre:
One of the most gnarled and disingenuous clichés about Britain is that while our cities are coddled, the countryside is forgotten. The semi-feudal writers at The Telegraph and other temples of right-wing opinion proclaim incessantly that in the national distribution of resources, London always trumps Cumbria, and Glasgow always trumps Dorset. Now that foot-and-mouth disease has somehow seeped out of an American pharmaceutical lab and into the animal population, this complaint is poised to become the casual received wisdom once again.

Apart from the not-nearly as casual as it looks ad-hominem attack, we have one of the usual evidence free clichés of lefty journalism - attack the Americans. Everything must be their fault. Apart from the fact that this is a government laboratory and, even if the point source was their American tenant, the government would be responsible both for setting the biohazard containment levels and for verifying their effectiveness ...

But far from taking our cities too seriously, we treat their fate with a glib and casual self-assurance. By contrast, every single rural worry, no matter how unjustified, is given a wildly disproportionate weight in the national debate. If you want evidence, there are two fat examples this summer. If foot-and-mouth disease has carried beyond the initial Ground Zero, we will swiftly proceed - as we did in 2001 - to kick a hefty dent in our second biggest national industry, tourism, to rescue a tiny and economically worthless beef export market.
Olympics 2012, which will starve funding from the whole of the UK to dump benefit where, exactly. Hmm, London. But, I digress.

And, at the same time, we may be poised to hand the mayoralty of our biggest city to a reactionary rural clown.

Better that than a jihadi-embracing racist newt-fancier but that's just my opinion.

There is a simple solution to foot-and-mouth, followed by many South American countries: vaccinate all hoofed animals at birth. It hardly costs anything, and, as a result, no animals get sick or die. There are none of the periodic panics about the disease we suffer, and none of the pyres of burning animal corpses broadcast across the world, proclaiming to potential tourists your country is dangerous and closed for business. The only drawback to vaccination is that our beef would no longer be available for export, because most countries are still trying to fend off foot-and-mouth rather than accept it as a reality and vaccinate.
Yes, this would be a viable solution. Except for one tiny, little missing point. Her or, to be honest, the legions of bureaucrats who work for her. In Brussels, Strasbourg and in the UK. They won't let us. For excruciating amounts of detail on this from the last outbreak, see here. So don't blame British farmers, don't blame Boris, it is the EU you fuckwit. Can we leave yet?

But you only have to look at the figures to see why this really isn't that bad. The British beef export market brings in £700,000 a year, and employs fewer than 40,000 people. Almost none of that money is real profit: it comes from the £5bn of direct subsidies that we city-dwellers hand to the countryside every year.

Via the EU, you complete gibbering moron. The "Common Agriculture Policy". Can we leave yet?

For too long, we have allowed romantic ideas about ruddy-cheeked farmers to make us underrate and underfund our cities. Far from going to small farmers, most of our subsidies go to vast agribusinesses and millionaires: Tate and Lyle has received over £233m in subsidy in two years, and Charles Windsor and his mother are handed over £1m annually for their farms.

Errm, Johann, the EU - remember them? It's not the fault of the UK political right (although the Cameroonies seem to be heading in that awful direction) that the EU haven't engineered their market-destroying subsidies to support small farmers.

Now we seem poised to react to foot-and-mouth with the same tourism-trashing mania, and perhaps even to elect a shootin'-and-huntin' rural toff to run London. So remind me again - what were you saying about how we "ignore" and "neglect" the countryside?

1. We? Nope, the British Government doing what it is told by the EU. Can we leave yet?

2. Boris is a London political journalist, when he isn't in the marquee with the rest of the clowns. He represents the constituency of Henley. Henley is rural? A mere 2.2% of the jobs are in agriculture. To look at it another way, less than 8 times as many people are employed in "agriculture, hunting and forestry" than work in private households - nannys, cleaners etc.

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