With Brexit now barely 14 months away, the UK’s devolved parliaments and national assemblies are making increasingly strident demands for the right to make their own bespoke agricultural policy to replace the European Union’s common agricultural policy.
But if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are to have the right to set their own farm policies it is time the South East of England was also granted permission to introduce policies to meet the region’s special farming needs.
So here, then, is the South East Agricultural Policy (SEAP) that must apply to farming in the South East no later than March 2019 when we leave the EU:
Beautiful payment scheme: the South East’s land area payment scheme, to be known as the “BPS,” will replace the EU’s basic payment scheme but will be much less bureaucratic. And rather than “basic,” our payment scheme will, to borrow from the vocabulary of President Trump, be “beautiful.” To claim a payment, all farmers will have to do is ring up DEFRA, tell them how much money they need to buy another tractor, cow or sheep, and the money will be sent by BACS payment the same day. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful;
Import tariffs: given the extreme difficulties of producing food in Britain’s most heavily populated region it is vital that any food imported from other parts of the UK, or even further abroad, should pay a 100% import levy;
Export restitutions: given the extreme difficulties of producing food in Britain’s most heavily populated region it is vital that any farmers exporting produce to other parts of the UK, or even further abroad, should receive a 100% export restitution effectively doubling the price they receive for their produce; Soft border: it is important that that there should be no formal border between the South East and the rest of the UK as the traffic queues on roads such as the M3, M4 would be intolerable. Through a last minute agreement details of how this impossibility can possibly be achieved have been fudged for now;
Cross border farms: there have been questions raised about how farms that span the divide between the South East and the rest of the UK will be treated. But this will not be a serious problem. Farmers wishing to move livestock or produce between different parts of their farms will simply have to seek an “inter regional movement licence.” This will need to be submitted in triplicate to authorities on both sides of the border who will then consult with each other about what tariffs such farmers must pay before they can move produce around their farms.
Any suggestion that the introduction of SEAP (in addition to separate farm policies for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) will reduce the UK to a state of farm policy anarchy is just typical Remoaner scaremongering.