Monday, March 25, 2024

Tractors Are Heading For Central London As UK Farmers Protest

25 March 2024



Scores of farm tractors from all over Britain were reported to be converging on London's government district Westminster as British farmers finally ran out of patience and pushed back against what they say is a lack of government support for British food production.

Flying Union flags and displaying signs with slogan such as 'Save British farming' and 'No farming, no food, no future' they were gathering in London, about 20 minutes' drive from Westminster and plan to arrive in central London by early evening. Convoys with horns blaring were reported in various parts of London causing traffic to become gridlocked. The groups that Organised the protest, Save British Farming and Fairness for Farmers of Kent say cheap food imports and unsupportive policies put UK food security at risk.

The government, without a hint of irony, responded by claiming it put farming "at the heart of British trade". With policies like 'net zero' and 'rewilding' impacting farmers' ability to produce food economically it is difficult to see how anybody could find this credible.

"I'm a third generation farmer. I'm here for my future," Ben Stickland, 21, from West Sussex, told a BBC News reporter, "There are multiple nails being put into this coffin built around us."

The British entry into the Europe - wide farmers' rebellion comes after months of heated demonstrations in Europe, including blockades, shitfests, (French protestors dumped manure in city centres,) and government buildings being pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables. Angry farmers in Greece, Germany, Portugal, Poland, Spain and France are still demonstrating against European Union regulations and cheap imports. In Poland a couple of weeks ago a tractor protests that was joined by truck drivers closed the border with Ukraine.

Thousands of farmers also recently joined forces in Wales to fight new farm subsidy plans launched by its government.

There have been a handful of demonstrations in England, including in Kent and Cornwall, but today's tractor rally is expected to be the largest so far.

Colin Rayner next to tractorImage source, BBC/Lucy Vladev: Farmer Colin Rayner fears this year could see his farm's last harvest because of pressures on his business

Another farmer taking part in the rally, Colin Rayner, who has 2,000 acres of arable land across east Berkshire and south Buckinghamshire told the BBC that he had "no choice" but to protest, saying that business was so bad that "this could be our last harvest".

"We have been, as most farmers have been, living in our overdraft now for the last five years.

"We can't see it getting any better - yields have plateaued, prices are dismal, our costs for raw materials are horrendous and the regulations that we have everyday are mindboggling," he explained.

Mr Rayner said the environmentalist focus of the government's farm payments scheme, a policy promoted by The Green Blob as part of the anti - civilisation agenda, and which replaced EU subsidies, comes at the expense of domestic food production while cheap imports were being introduced to our supply chain to lower standards.

"We have been farming for 500 years and the government now has a scheme where they will pay us more money to grow wildflowers than to grow food. It is insanity, they want us to rewild the countryside. I just ask how are they going to feed the people living in the towns?" he said, adding "We have got to have food from our own resources. We have got to produce healthy good food - which we can do."

In England, campaigners say government agricultural policy and its Environmental Land Management farm payments scheme, together with weak trade deals, "non-existent" import controls and misleading labelling, have all served to undermine farming businesses.

They point out that these 'green' policies threaten the country's ability to produce enough food to feed its own population, "leaving our food security in peril".




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