EUROPE: Business as usual for farms

As regards the question if leaving the EU would render Northumberland's farms unviable, surely the clear and decisive answer is no.

Friday, 15th April 2016, 5:00 am

Why? For two reasons.

One, because however the pro-EU establishment argues about the precise figures concerning our enormous net contribution to the Brussels budget, the savings if we become independent would undeniably be enough for the UK Government to pay all regional grants and all agricultural subsidies as at present, and still leave billions for other priorities in the UK.

Secondly, there is absolutely no evidence that a future UK Government would discontinue farm subsidies any more than it did before the EU invented itself.

Why would it ruin one of our vital industries, incur political odium and lose votes when it had the additional funds to do otherwise?

As the Farming Minister has recently confirmed: “The UK Government will continue to give farmers and the environment as much support — or perhaps even more — than they get now. The Prime Minister has made that clear.”

Farming is safe if we leave the EU.

Safer than it would be if we remain, since payments would then no longer depend upon the varying and precarious value of the Euro.

A referendum is a vote of the people, not (for once) a decision by the well placed about what is good for everyone else.

Farming apart, it is clear that the two big issues are our laws and our population.

Concerning laws, our own parliamentary representative no longer agrees to, or even considers, half of the regulations, laws and directives that bind us all. They are decided by an entirely unelected bureaucracy that ‘knows what it has to do’ and will not be diverted by votes, or people, or national parliaments.

Is that the form of democracy we would endorse for the future super state of Europe?

Concerning population, the matter is even more serious.

In 2015 the net addition to our population was at least 327,000 — by far the largest part from the EU. This, in one year only, far exceeds the entire population of Northumberland outside the Newcastle conurbation.

All these people rightly need places in houses, schools, hospitals and prisons.

This potentially gigantic flow of people cannot be halted as EU law now exists. Mr Cameron tried and failed.

Everything will not be solved at once if we leave, but could it get worse than this?

John Gaskin

Crook Crossing