Mr Benn forgets which costume he is meant to wear
FARMERS' leaders rounded on Hilary Benn, the Cabinet minister in charge of British farming, last night for neglecting the agricultural industry.
Farmers are under enormous pressure from continuing outbreaks of two virulent livestock diseases: foot-and-mouth and bluetongue.
The Scotsman yesterday highlighted how farming issues have been ignored and sidelined by many in politics and the media, the result of an increasingly urban-centric public debate.
The foot-and-mouth infection has been traced to a government laboratory in Pirbright, Surrey, while, despite repeated appeals, ministers have not made clear on what basis they will declare an official outbreak of bluetongue.
Yet Mr Benn devoted only a single sentence of his keynote speech to the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth to farming. He said he wanted to "thank all those who are working so hard and with such calm purpose" to contain outbreaks.
In all, Mr Benn, a vegetarian, devoted 39 words to farming in his seven-minute, 1,300-word address to Labour members. He devoted the rest of his speech to issues such as climate change and ramblers' rights.
So Defra unleash F&M, have no idea what to do about Bluetongue, basic food commodities have doubled in price, worldwide stocks of grain, and EU stocks in particular, are at record lows and the Minister in charge ignores the problems. Hierarchy of Needs and all that, getting fed beats the right to wander any day.