My Grandfather Sir John, a hardline socialist would spin in his grave as Remoaner Polly Toynbee demands more cash for farmers

Tom Winnifrith Wednesday 2 August 2017


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In her Guardian column today arch remoaner Polly Toynbee took time out from tending to her Tuscan castle to bash Brexit because it will hit British farmers so badly as they lose subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy. Natch, the BBC took time out from the month long LGBT-fest to make way to report this breaking news from its sister publication and thus Toynbee opined on Radio 4's Today Programme. It was classic Toynbee and I am so glad my late grandfather Sir John Winnifrith, a true socialist and friend of Tony Benn and a campaigner for No! in 1975 was not around to hear it. He would be incandescent as he really did believe in "for the many not the few."

As ever, Toynbee started off by patronising we ignorant Brexiteers by telling us why we voted as we did. Apparently we voted for Brexit to preserve the British Countryside. Jeepers. And there was I thinking we voted for Brexit because we were all racists or just plain stupid. It is so good of Polly to let me know why I really voted as I did.

Toynbee went on to say that the end of CAP subsidies will see many British farmers go bust. Of course we put more into the EU than we take out so it would be very simple for the UK to carry on subsidising our farmers but just not have to pay to subsidise those in France, Germany, Italy etc. No British subsidies for Tuscany but more for the can see why Toynbee's neighbours are so angry about it all.

But then Toynbee played her trump card saying that Liam Fox and the wicked Tories were trying to open up the UK to new markets which would allow more cheap food to enter Britain from outside the EU. Food prices would go down so some British farmers would go bust.

Now what was that that Mr Corbyn said about for the many not the few? The Mrs said "but is it not good for us to have locally produced food?" Of course for folks like this household and Ms Toynbee, when she is in genteel leafy North London as opposed to Tuscany, paying more for your food is not really an issue. We can afford it. But we are the few. So too are the farmers. The many are those who are struggling to make ends meet  and for whom cheaper food would be great news.

That was what concerned my Grandfather in 1975. No longer being the senior Civil Servant (at MAFF) he could speak out. He warned that being in the EU meant external tariffs on non European food which would increase the cost of food. That was a bad thing. Though my grandfather had, via scholarship, gone to Westminster and Oxford he was all too aware that his father was a country vicar descended from blacksmiths and labourers. His mother was illegitimate, her mother a servant. My grandfather, though wrong on most things, cared deeply about those Toynbee pretends to care about, the poor and the working classes. But Toynbee never actually meets such folk and her outburst today shows that she really does not care at all.

As an evil right winger I believe in no subsidies. If British farming cannot compete with cheap food from abroad then so be it. Turn the countryside into theme parks for foreign tourists. Create real jobs and give our citizens cheap food. Do not expect profitable industries to be throttled by taxes needed to support the unviable. That is in no-one's interest. I would not expect La Toynbee to agree with that analysis, nor would my grandfather have supported it. But my solution offers a lower tax burden ( so helping the poor), real sustainable jobs not bought unsustainable jobs (so helping the poor) and cheaper food. What is so dreadful about that grandpa?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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