The scandal of the slipper farmers…and the silence of the right wing lambs

The BBC’s Panorama programme revealed a shocking fact last week. They showed how wealthy investors can buy up farming subsidy entitlements, assign them to any bit of waste ground they like, and then milk subsidy cash (intended to support food production) without ever having to do any actual farming! 88| Several large wealthy (and in many cases foreign) landowners have been engaging in just this practice, as well as the pin stripped suit brigade…hardly the sorts who you’d associate with farming! And we are again talking serious cash, tens of thousands to millions per year. A return in many cases of +30% on ones initial investment, per year.

And if the treasury being milked dry by wealthy landowners weren’t bad enough it gets worse. Many smaller farmers, the sort whom the EU farm subsidy system was specifically set up to help, are having to compete with these guys for the purchase of these entitlements. So in effect money from our taxes earmarked to ensure land management and sustainable food production is instead being siphoned off by the rich to top up their swimming pools. In any other country, we’d call this corruption.

Surely the EU should do something about this, I hear you say. Indeed they are aware of the problem and have proposed some changes of the law to close the relevant loopholes (e.g. you have to be a real legitimate farmer and payments will be capped at some particular means tested rate). Why isn’t it being implemented? Because the UK government keeps objecting to such changes! Yes, the Tory’s would rather see taxpayers money wasted by the EU, than do anything to stop it. It sort of makes everything else they say bashing the EU somewhat pale in comparison…course it may have something to do with the fact that the landed gentry currently milking the EU dry happen to be the Troy parties key supporters.

Indeed it’s interesting to note the wall of silence from the right wing media over this. I wandered over to the Daily Mail and Telegraph did a quick few searches to catch their opinion of this, as well as other right wing rags. Not even a whisper. Now you would think that foreigners taking money off the British government due to a cock up by the EU would be the sort of story that would have any Daily Mail editor frothing at the mouth. But there seems to be no interest in them taking up this story. Where the right wing press do mention it, they seem more apologetic to the EU and speculators than anything. A rare sight with them…or has it something to do with the property owning habits of these rag’s owners

What these “slipper farmers” demonstrate therefore, is the hypocrisy of the right, how they will bash the EU over one thing (Human rights act), but blatantly ignore or even block its attempts to solve another problem. On this occasion, the silence of the right wing lambs is simply deafening.


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