Saturday, 13 October 2007

In the midst of a serious crisis gripping agriculture, he chose to make a statement about banning energy-sapping light bulbs

The FWi reports that poor Hilary Benn, when confronted by some very anxious and angry farmers at Skipton Auction Mart, could do no more, than try to defend himself behind Defra Spinspeak. But with people who have no problem with actual English, such phrases as "we are working closely with supermarkets" and "we want to increase the promotion of British meat" cut no ice.
"Mr Benn was generous with platitudes..."

As the FWi says, they "served only to expose the minister's failure to grasp what is really at stake here..."
"But, then, this is a man who in the midst of a serious crisis gripping agriculture, chose to make a statement at his party's annual conference about the banning of energy-sapping light bulbs by 2012.."
Not much illumination from that quarter. But we are reaping a very grim harvest. The centralisation of agriculture - all the ropes having been delivered up into the hands of DEFRA - and the UK's increasing dependence on the Brussels "one size fits all" mentality has led only to mistrust, confusion and the erosion of common sense. Scotland is at breaking point with England over what it sees as duplicity. Wales, in parlous plight, can get no sense from its Minister of State.

"I have no knowledge of your allegations, nor does my office, and I do not accept them." Peter Hain

icWales quotes the Shadow Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan, who last night accused Peter Hain of dismissing her concerns about compensation payments. She says that Mr Hain ".. is quick to exonerate himself from any blame on this issue." Mr Hain had replied to a letter from Ms Gillan by saying
“I have no knowledge of your allegations, nor does my office, and I do not accept them. Our Government and the Welsh Assembly Government recognise the huge damage caused by foot-and-mouth and will continue to support those farmers affected. As Secretary of State for Wales I will continue to ensure that the interests of Welsh farmers are properly represented."
And that was all. It left her wondering whether he had even bothered to discuss the matter with DEFRA and the Treasury. But he has so little time. Peter Hain is a man so busy that he must cope with the two jobs Gordon Brown gave him; Secretary of State for Wales and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Quite a plateful. He "cannot accept allegations of which he has no knowledge"? Such bizarre use of English makes one wonder yet again about how far our political masters still have mastery over their own language - or anything else.

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