Things can only get bet­ter

Country Life Every Week - - Letters To The Editor -

HAV­ING made such a muck of 2016, we still turn to 2017 with the hope that things may be bet­ter. It’s the same ba­sic op­ti­mism that en­cour­ages us to make New Year’s res­o­lu­tions, even though we re­mem­ber just how bad we were in keep­ing the last lot. Mak­ing them for other peo­ple avoids any such draw­back, so here goes with my 2017 sug­ges­tions.

After such a year of tur­moil, farm­ing needs ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship and, in the days of Lord Netherthorpe, Richard But­ler or Henry Plumb, it would have got it. So, for Meurig Ray­mond, to­day’s NFU pres­i­dent, his New Year’s res­o­lu­tion is clear: ‘This will be the year I build a coun­try­side coali­tion reach­ing far be­yond my mem­bers to make sure that Brexit doesn’t mean the end of farm sup­port and sen­si­ble tar­iffs on agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.’ He’ll need real steel to keep that res­o­lu­tion be­cause, up to now, the NFU has been con­spic­u­ous in its fail­ure to join with oth­ers to face a fu­ture out­side the EU.

That makes pretty easy my res­o­lu­tions for the pres­i­dents of the CLA, the Food and Drink Fed­er­a­tion, the In­sti­tute of Gro­cery Dis­tri­bu­tion and all the other food-and-drink bod­ies. Theirs is sim­ply to use ev­ery ef­fort to join the NFU in com­mon cause to pro­tect home food pro­duc­tion.

In achiev­ing that end, they’ll come face to face with An­drea Lead­som, who is the near­est thing we have to a Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture. For her, there­fore, my res­o­lu­tion is even sim­pler. ‘All year long, I’ll re­mem­ber I’m lucky enough, al­beit by ac­ci­dent, to be re­spon­si­ble for Bri­tain’s big­gest in­dus­try. I will, there­fore, de­fend food and farm­ing against hard Brex­its and tough Trea­suries.’

She’ll find that eas­ier if the ma­jor con­ser­va­tion bod­ies get the same mes­sage and re­solve: ‘In 2017, we’ll try to get a fur­ther shift of farm sup­port to­wards en­vi­ron­men­tal goods, but we’ll also in­sist on farm­ers be­ing able to make a liv­ing from the land they look after.’

A coun­try­side united by those res­o­lu­tions would have some chance of mak­ing 2017 a suc­cess. Mind you, there’s also a wider world and there’s need for some pretty tough res­o­lu­tions there. For Don­ald Trump, I have lit­tle hope on the res­o­lu­tion front. He ap­pears not to re­mem­ber what he said yes­ter­day, let alone what he promised. None­the­less, I won’t give up. His res­o­lu­tion should be: ‘I will be hum­ble and lis­ten to the ex­perts.’

That will also serve for all the self-opin­ion­ated bil­lion­aires and science de­niers he’s ap­pointed. In­deed, there are sev­eral com­mon res­o­lu­tions I’d like to of­fer for 2017. For Katie Hop­kins, Nigel Farage, Nigel Law­son and Boris John­son: ‘I’ve said too much in 2016, so I’ll take a year’s break from un­nec­es­sary pub­lic ut­ter­ances.’ And for Gary Lineker, John Ma­jor, Michael He­sel­tine, the Arch­bishop of Canterbury and Ruth David­son: ‘I’ve tried hard in 2016 to in­stil some sense into pub­lic de­bate and I’ll not give up in 2017.’

Which leads me to the Prime Min­is­ter, a vicar’s daugh­ter. Her res­o­lu­tion must surely be: ‘The Lord alone knows how we got into this mess and cer­tainly only He knows how we’ll get out of it, but my job for this year is to sol­dier on and do my best.’ Not ac­tu­ally a bad res­o­lu­tion for most of us, although there are two peo­ple, nei­ther of them young, who de­serve a more up­beat ver­sion: ‘I’ve done all I can in 2016 and for many years be­fore and my res­o­lu­tion for 2017 is, sim­ply, more of the same.’ For The Queen and the Pope, there is, hap­pily, no more to be said—ex­cept thank you.

‘Hav­ing made such a muck of 2016, we still turn to 2017 with the hope things may be bet­ter

Fol­low @agromenes on Twit­ter

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.