Why should London do anything?

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

Scottish farmers are threatening to protest over the British government’s refusal to give then £50m compensation for their losses during the Foot & Mouth outbreak.

The National Farmers Union Scotland (no, there isn’t an NFU England before you ask) says that is is “shocking to say the least”.  The deputy chief executive of NFU Scotland said “Hilary Benn is telling Scots farmers who have got their animals stuck where they are, whose animals are overcrowded, and who haven’t any money left that their problems aren’t big enough”.

Is that really what Hilary Benn is saying?  What Scottish farmers should have been told is to fuck off back to Edinburgh and tell the Scottish government to compensate them from the Scottish budget instead of expecting DEFRA to compensate them from the English budget.  Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is a devolved matter, the Scottish Executive has a budget for it and to expect the British government to compensate them using money intended for English farmers is out of order.

Unfortunately, the master race don’t just want their cake and eat it, they want our cake as well.

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  1. Aaron (72 comments) says:

    Well said!

  2. Charlie Marks (365 comments) says:

    I think the farmers are a bit pissed because the understanding (before the election was called off) was that they would recieve monies from Gordo.

  3. Richard Thomson (6 comments) says:

    DEFRA isn’t an English-only dept. Scots can be trusted to look after human health but not animal health according to Westminster, so DEFRA retains responsibility for notifiable diseases and their consequences – as in this case.

    It’s all set out in the Scotland Act and the associated ‘compacts’. RTFM, as they say.

  4. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Controlling outbreaks of notifiable diseases and handing out money in compensation are two different things. Farming and environment are devolved. DEFRA used their normal budget – money for English farmers – to compensate English farmers. If Scottish farmers want compensation then the Scottish Executive can use English money intended for Scottish famers to compensate them.

  5. Richard Thomson (6 comments) says:

    No, Wonko. Aspects of agriculture and the environment are devolved, but not the control of notifiable diseases and the compensation arising therefrom. That lies with DEFRA (which is not an English only department – is there such a thing?), as does the responsibility for compensation resulting from the movement restrictions.

    Scotland and England are in the same epidemeological zone, which means if there’s an outbreak of F&M in Surrey, identical restrictions are slapped on farmers 700 miles away in Sutherland. It’s precisely because of those restrictions (in place because of an outbreak of F&M from a UK DEFRA lab in England), which gave rise to the export ban, which meant that Scottish light lambs couldn’t be exported to Europe, which meant that they had to stay on the hillsides, which meant they were in danger of starving to death during the winter, which necessitated a welfare cull…

    For what its worth, the Scottish government is now paying for that cull out of its own budget (spare me the twaddle about English money, please!), but that still doesn’t absolve DEFRA of its responsibilities. You may not know, but DEFRA had £8.1m (of Scottish money paid into UK coffers) on the table for Scottish farmers on 5th October, which had miraculously disappeared by the time Hilary Benn gave his statement to the Commons on 8th October. The only thing that had changed was that Gordon Brown had by that stage copped out of holding an election. Labour’s need to try and bribe rural Scotland with its own money may have disappeared over that weekend, but the constitutional position remained as it had always been.

    Make the control of notifiable diseases in Scotland a matter for the Scottish Government; put Scotland in a seperate epidemiological zone to England, and then you might have a case that the Scottish block, rather than UK wide departments, should be compensating farmers for the aftermath.



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