If the CAP fits.
The idea was that this single farm payment would, in time, wither away. Instead, the environmental schemes that Britain has pioneered, very successfully, would be expanded, to reward farmers for the number of lapwings and watervoles finding a home on their land. Almost 70 per cent of the agricultural land in England is in such a scheme; biodiversity has flourished as a result.
Now along has come the EU Agriculture Commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, a Romanian, proposing a different approach. To find policies that can be applied equally to the foothills of the Carpathians – a fragile relic of a simpler era in farming – and the golden wheat fields of East Anglia is a bit of an ask. Not surprisingly, Mr Ciolos tends to favour the former over the latter.
Farm subsidies in the UK have been becoming more aligned with paying for "public goods", such as lapwings, rather than keeping the peasants happy on the farm and not blocking the boulevard with burning tyres.
Of course the NFU argues that "Food Security", the ability to grow our own food on this isle is a "public good" in case Wolfsrudeltaktiks or climate changes blockade the channel. That is why they argue for some cash for crops. But on the whole it is money for doing the unproductive that we, as a general population, are deemed to want.
But with our large and efficient units we can afford the luxury of looking after the birds. Scratching a living off a couple of acres of middle European mountain you can't and you just want the folding to feed you.
Finding a policy that fits across Europe is as sensible as a currency union...