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Monday, January 13, 2003

Yesterday, Clare Short the UK's Secretary of State for International Development (see also the Department for International Development) was interviewed on Jonathan Dimbleby's "Dimbleby" TV show.

The first half of the programme concentrated on fair trade + agricultural subsidy issues while the second half covered the need for a peaceful settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and the expected War with Iraq.

I was in the audience and managed to say the following during the first half of the show...

"At the moment 45% of the European Union's entire budget is spent on the Common Agriculture Policy.

This money disconnects farmers from market forces (and still allows many farms to go broke each year)...

Encourages intensive agriculture, which can harm the environment ...

and helps to exclude developing countries from our markets...

Do you not think it is hypocritical of us to ask other countries to liberalise, while we continue to subsidise?"

Clare Short agreed the present situation was wrong, but sadly wasn't able to convince me the UK was going to be able to do much about it... especially in the face of determined French resistance (and threats to the UK's £2bn a year rebate from the EU...)

See Wyn Grant's CAP page, Sir Donald Curry's Report on the Future of Farming and Food and Prof. Norman Myers' Perverse Subsidies (online executive summary) for more details.