Does Rt Hon Pa have a plan?

Writers Posted 02/05/19
Sadly, family breakfasts have been like this for nearly three years now …

Madam life partner (wearing wig and gown) shouts out: “The Rt Hon eldest daughter”…

The Rt Hon eldest daughter: “To propose the motion – does my Rt Hon Pa have a plan for this farm in the event of a no-deal Brexit?”

Me: “I thank my Rt Hon daughter but would refer her to the answer I have been giving her to this question for nearly three years now. How can I possibly plan for a no-deal Brexit when we have no idea what subsidies there will be, or what food trade tariffs will be, or even what countries the UK will be trading with?”

Madam life partner: “Rt Hon Eldest Daughter (after you’ve cleared your plate into the dishwasher)”…

Eldest daughter: “Thank you, Madam Ma. I am sorry but this is typical; just putting his head in the Brexit sand. It is vitally important that we cater for every possible Brexit eventuality and continue to invest in our farm for the future. The BPS will be phased out by 2027 whatever sort of Brexit we end up with. So what farm enterprises or diversification enterprises is he developing to counteract the drop in farm income that the loss of the BPS will cause?”

Me: “I remain confident that our farm economy is sufficiently robust to survive any Brexit outcome.” (Loud barracking including cries of ‘resign!’). “I give way to my Rt Hon youngest daughter.”

Youngest daughter: “If my Rt Hon Pa is so confident about our farm’s post Brexit economy why does he persist with austerity to the point where I’m still stuck with an iPhone 5c with a dodgy battery and a cracked screen (cries of ‘hear hear’ and ‘time to hand over the reins, old man!’ from every side).

Madam life partner: “OR-DER! OR-DER! Will those on the benches on all sides of this breakfast table please restrain themselves! My Rt Hon life partner WILL be heard in this house.”

Me: “Thank you. If I might be permitted to point out to my Rt Hon youngest daughter – before she has to catch the school bus – any sort of mobile phone should be considered a luxury by a fourteen year old! When I was your age…”

Madam life partner: “Rt Hon middle daughter”…

Middle Daughter: “Thank you, Madam Ma. In the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’, existing EU levels of sheep meat import tariffs will be maintained and high levels of beef import tariffs will also be levied. But with grain import tariffs to be abolished, and therefore a precipitous drop in UK grain prices likely, does the Secretary for Farming foresee a period of ‘up horn down corn’ on this farm?’

Me: “I have to say to my Rt Hon middle daughter that this is a typically pertinent question. But, at great risk of repeating myself, I have to say that it is very difficult to predict how any likely changes in subsidies and tariffs will affect the relative profitability of our current enterprises… (a rising volume of heckling finally drowns me out and I slump, defeated, in my chair).

Madam life partner: “In answer to the motion: ‘Does your Pa have a plan for this farm in the event of a hard Brexit?’ The Noes have it! The Noes have it! Unlock, the front door someone, or we’ll miss the school bus again.”


Tweets from @southeastfarmer