DYSFUNCTIONAL EU – MILK QUOTAS – COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY

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A comment by Anthony Sargeant:

In 2015 the EU commission headed by Jean-Claude Junker and as part the highly protective and subsidised Common Agricultural Policy removed milk quotas across the EU. The message to dairy farmers across Europe was “expand”.

As a result Dutch Farmers increased their herd size by 200,000 in just two years and invested in more high-tech automated milking systems. But please note, this was not for Dutch or even European consumption but primarily for export to other, especially third world developing, countries (The Netherlands exports something like 80% of its agricultural produce).

Given the nature of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) this vast over-production might look like ‘dumping’ of produce on the developing world. Such dumping destroys local production and farmers in the third world who are unable to compete. There is a view that this is immoral.

But now the farcical but tragic EU dysfunction. Two years after encouraging farmers to increase production the European Commission is saying that the cows are a problem. Cows produce muck which is normally spread on the land and which in moderation is not a problem, but in excess it contaminates the land and water sources in the form of phosphates and nitrates. As a consequence the EU commission is now compelling Dutch farmers to slaughter  200,000 cows (yes you are right that is the number they encouraged the Dutch to increase their herd size by just two years ago) with immediate effect. The consequence is a tragedy for those Dutch farmers who invested millions of Euros in expanding herds and installing expensive milking systems. Now those very same farmers are being encouraged to slaughter their cattle and leave the industry with financial incentives so to do.

If you want to see a summary of this example of EU dysfunction look at BBC 1 Television Programme ‘Countryfile’ for the 9th April on Catch-up.

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Dysfunctional EU – Milk Quotas – Common Agricultural Policy

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A comment by Anthony Sargeant:

In 2015 the EU commission headed by Jean-Claude Junker and as part the highly protective and subsidised Common Agricultural Policy removed milk quotas across the EU. The message to dairy farmers across Europe was “expand”.

As a result Dutch Farmers increased their herd size by 200,000 in just two years and invested in more high-tech automated milking systems. But please note, this was not for Dutch or even European consumption but primarily for export to other, especially third world developing, countries (The Netherlands exports something like 80% of its agricultural produce).

Given the nature of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) this vast over-production might look like ‘dumping’ of produce on the developing world. Such dumping destroys local production and farmers in the third world who are unable to compete. There is a view that this is immoral.

But now the farcical but tragic EU dysfunction. Two years after encouraging farmers to increase production the European Commission is saying that the cows are a problem. Cows produce muck which is normally spread on the land and which in moderation is not a problem, but in excess it contaminates the land and water sources in the form of phosphates and nitrates. As a consequence the EU commission is now compelling Dutch farmers to slaughter  200,000 cows (yes you are right that is the number they encouraged the Dutch to increase their herd size by just two years ago) with immediate effect. The consequence is a tragedy for those Dutch farmers who invested millions of Euros in expanding herds and installing expensive milking systems. Now those very same farmers are being encouraged to slaughter their cattle and leave the industry with financial incentives so to do.

If you want to see a summary of this example of EU dysfunction look at BBC 1 Countryfile for the 9th April on Catch-up.

 

 

 

If I were Theresa May ……

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In the light of the European Parliament and the increasing belligerent and bullying approach of the EU politburo and their confederates it seems that any ‘negotiation’ with the EU will be prolonged and futile.

Thus Anthony Sargeant reflects that ….. if I were Theresa May ….. I would have the courage to call an early general election with a manifesto pledge to leave the EU with immediate effect. I have no doubt that she would achieve an impressive victory, if only because British people do not take kindly to bullying and threats.

The consequence of immediate withdrawal would probably be very positive for the UK given the precarious position of the EU and Euro economies (Greece is yet again on the brink – desperately trying to find an agreement with its creditors – aka the European Central Bank – aka Germany) – but Portugal, Italy, Spain and others are not much better off – even if hidden from view. In many EU countries there is massive youth unemployment rising above 30%.

On leaving the EU the UK  can immediately open negotiations with the rest of world on such free trade deals as seem beneficial (even, dare one say, deals with the EU – which as a net exporter to the UK might quickly think this is a good idea). In the meantime WTO rules and their tariffs are not as significant to exporters as fluctuations in exchange rates as James Dyson has pointed out.

But trade is not the real point – the real point is British Sovereignty. That is having control of our own destiny. As Karl Popper famously observed, the point of western democracy is not that you necessarily get the government that you want, doing what you want, but that at the next election you can get rid of them – unfortunately this is not true of the un-elected EU politburo in Brussels.

Who, for example, voted for Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission? A former Luxembourg Prime Minister who in that role and in a little known secretive EU committee vetoed any attempt to limit cross-border tax avoidance. Then you might ask why are Amazon and other multi-national companies located in the tiny principality of Luxembourg? to the benefit of guess who? Jean-Claude Juncker and Luxembourg (which has the second highest GDP per capita in the world after that other well known democracy Abu Dhabi). A position that at the very least might be considered hypocritical and at another level verging on corrupt.

But anyway and in addition to controlling our own destiny the UK would no longer be a cash cow sending money to Brussels to support a political project which is out of date and frankly, after 60 years, out of time. A political project which is now, in all but name, a German controlled European Superstate – the Holy Roman Empire revisited (which was the 1st Reich for those who know the numbering system of the 3rd Reich – NB the Weimar Republic was classified as an ‘interim Reich’ so it did not count).

And then finally Scotland –  …… if I were Theresa May ….. I would also put into the manifesto a pledge to have an immediate referendum on Independence. It would be the honourable thing to do.

A referendum would give the Scottish people a chance to review the situation and make their own decision about the future. One understands the emotional and sentimental appeal of Independence for a proud nation. A nation which it could be argued has made a disproportionately large contribution to the historic Union. Without Scottish engineers, philosophers, artists, writers and others the United Kingdom would have been a much poorer nation.

In addition there has been the contribution of Scotland to the UK military over many years and many wars. In my lifetime the ‘United Kingdom’ stood alone and thereby rescued Europe from German tyranny and genocide, but only after massive sacrifice of UK military and the civilian populations  (including my maternal grandparents killed in the London Blitz). Who can forget the Scottish piper at El Alamein, or on the beach on D-Day?

So, ……if I were Theresa May ….. ,  I would commit to a very early referendum on Independence for the Scottish people. They deserve no less. If they choose to leave the historic Union and become an independent country one would wish them all speed and so very many thanks for their massive contribution to the United Kingdom over many years of the Union. Of course, and in passing, one would hope that they would not then vote to lose the independence they chose by becoming a minor province of a dysfunctional European Superstate controlled by Berlin through Brussels – a 4th Reich in all but name.

Wild Garlic just coming into flower

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Wild Garlic (Allium Ursinium) grows in great profusion around the wooded lanes close to the Shropshire, England, home of Anthony Sargeant. In sunny spots it is already flowering but in the shade of the stone wall it is still only in leaf. It is a very useful plant for cooking (and makes excellent pesto. But best of all it is free! However if you do find some please cut in a way that ensures sustainability (you are allowed to cut the leaves – but it is illegal to dig up the bulbs). Just take a few leaves from each clump so that the bulbs can survive for next year.

The future of the Euro and the EU – Does Scotland want to join this – I sincerely hope not – if you vote for independence stay independent.

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  • Anthony Sargeant forwards this warning to all of his Scottish friends with whom he sympathises with for wanting Independence

  • Mervyn King warned that the project is doomed, is it time for the Eurozone to be broken up?

Ruth Lea, economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, says Yes.

The Eurozone was always primarily a political project, a major stepping stone to the “ever closer union of the peoples of Europe,” but one with the profoundest economic consequences. Members have no control over their interest rates, their exchange rate or, indeed, fiscal policy. And, as we have seen in recent years, many Eurozone members have paid a bitter price for their loss macroeconomic sovereignty. Under the austerity cosh and with no ability to devalue their currencies, growth has disappointed and unemployment rates remain alarmingly high in Greece, Spain (albeit partly-recovering), Italy and Portugal. Looking ahead, there is no reason to believe the policy situation will fundamentally change. Fiscal discipline is entrenched and unremitting and, contrary to speculation, there are no signs that Germany will ever agree to a fiscal transfer union in order to support the weaker countries. The Eurozone simply lacks the demos and “solidarity” to enable the currency bloc to work for all. It’s time to break it up.

Source: http://www.cityam.com/235669/as-mervyn-king-warns-that-the-project-is-doomed-is-it-time-for-the-eurozone-to-be-broken-up

Home cooked fish and chips – A favourite British meal

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The evening meal last night (4th April 2017) was fish and chips. Anthony J Sargeant used John Dory fillets which he prepared by seasoning before dusting with rice flour (it helps the batter to stick) and then coating in a simple batter (flour with a little cayenne pepper and salt, a pinch of bicarbonate of soda, all mixed together dry before adding ice cold sparkling water. Properly drained and put on kitchen towel under a low grill while the chips are being given their quick second cooking in the same oil keeps the batter crisp and light. It was served with a few peas and wild garlic pesto made a few days ago using wild garlic which grows in profusion along the wooded lanes where Tony lives in Shropshire.