Your report on Michael Gove’s policy speech concerns especially the image portrayed of the farming industry and the hapless position it finds itself in.
I still have an interest in our family farm, small as it is, even though it is possibly 72 years since I first milked a cow disastrously, and possibly even more years since I first drove a tractor cultivating a fallow field.
That was at the same time as we had food rationing. I went on to get a fairly good agricultural training and saw the development of the 1947 Agriculture Act which provided the basis for Government investment in to the industry as we know it today.
I also worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, administering some of that money in to agriculture so I can claim to have seen both sides of the question.
Possibly the biggest mistake for the industry was as part of the so-called reform of the CAP, the change of support from production related payments to a blanket payment based on acreage. This has led to a distortion of the industry, and it is hardly surprising the stigma of huge payments to large landowners who did not need them anyway due to economies of scale, has led to the present castigation of the industry.
Removal of those payments, which many farmers would agree with, is going to lead to the same situation as my youth, when farming has to compete presumably with European farmers who will continue to receive the payments. I was in favour of Brexit but I am not in favour of unrealistic moves by environmental groups to destroy this great industry.
Retirement is not a privilege
From: Bill Adams, Regional Secretary, TUC Yorkshire & the Humber.
Your article on the plight of Women Against State Pension Inequality campaigners (The Yorkshire Post, July 21) should soften the hardest of hearts. Hiking the state pension age risks creating second-class citizens.
In many parts of Yorkshire, the state pension age will be higher than healthy life expectancy. And low-paid workers at risk of insecurity in their working lives will now face greater insecurity in old age too.
A decent retirement is a right for us all, not a privilege for the few. Rather than hiking the pension age, the government must do more for older workers who want to keep working and paying taxes. Workplaces and working patterns need to adapt to their needs. And the government must follow the independent review’s recommendation to give more help to those unable to stay in work until retirement age.
Party chooses a dud leader
From: D Wood, Howden.
After a string of dud leaders, such as Paddy Ashdown, Nick Clegg and Tim Farron, the Lib Dems never seem to learn, and have now picked another proven dud in Vince Cable.
This is the man who as business secretary sold off the Royal Mail for a quarter of its true value and then had the nerve to tell us that it was a good deal. He went on to brag to two women that he had declared war on Rupert Murdoch and had that power removed from his remit by David Cameron. Anyone with an ounce of sense would have done it first and talked about it after! Even now as leader of the Lib Dems he is still banging on about a second referendum and cancelling Brexit.
When are the Lib Dems going to realise that it is this policy that is causing their demise? They were all but wiped out in the 2015 General Election and their share of the vote reduced even further in this year’s election. The majority voted in the referendum to leave the EU; the Lib Dems need to accept this and get some real policies or they will disappear completely, and with Vince as leader the Lib Dems disappearing is a distinct possibility.
Hiding the bad news...
From: Roger Backhouse, Upper Poppleton, York.
Am I just a twisted old cynic or was it pure coincidence that the Government announced major changes to pension age on the same day as the BBC revealed the pay of top presenters?
High BBC pay will always attract great media and public attention. What better way to obscure a damaging change to the lives of millions who by a Government dictat have been robbed of thousands of pounds each? Clearly the Government needs no lessons in media manipulation.
From: GA Smith, Boston Spa.
The salaries of the female BBC employees already sound good to me, so why not just drop the men’s pay to bring it in line with the women’s, thus demonstrating commitment to equality and saving public money?
Dangers of a foreign jaunt
From: Max Nottingham, Lincoln.
Does Theresa May remember what happened to Gorbachev when he took a Russian holiday? Seriously, I think she will survive this foreign holiday. But I don’t think she will risk taking one next year.