No reason for subsidies
Sir: For believers in free enterprise like me, it was hugely disappointing to read that Sir James Dyson, probably its most impressive UK exponent, has become a champion for taxpayer-funded subsidies for the farming industry (‘I like making things’, 29 July). He argues that they are necessary due to the cost of regulations and because other countries have them.
In any global market that UK companies operate in, such excuses for subsidies exist. As Dyson has the biggest farm operation in the UK, his leading the call for the continuation of subsidies to match EU levels should probably not be surprising, but it is still not very inspiring.
The value of farmland is now two and a half times what it was ten years ago. This increase is more than the FTSE 100’s and more than that of prime central London property. This is even with a correction since Brexit.
A plan to eliminate subsidies gradually would lead to necessary adjustments to business plans for the farming industry. Farming would survive. The government could assist by encouraging more diversification. Allowing more farmland to be used for residential development would not only help farmers but address the housing shortage and the huge intergenerational inequality that has resulted from it.
OK for Dyson
Sir: On reading Will Heaven’s interview with Sir James Dyson, I couldn’t help but question Dyson’s integrity. His relaxed attitude to relying on WTO rules in the event of a ‘no deal’ seems to be founded on the idea that it would result in a 3 per cent tariff for his products — never mind the adverse effects on anyone else. Dyson goes on to say that we can ‘pay for’ this by lowering corporation tax. So that’s ok then.
Never too much cricket
Sir: I rather fear Kate Chisholm is on something of a sticky wicket in suggesting that it’s ‘an indictment of the game itself’ that cricket fans watching live matches also spend the day listening to BBC Radio’s Test Match Special, presumably in order to be entertained (Radio, 29 July). Quite the reverse. That’s like my wife suggesting that my weekend consumption of The Spectator is an ‘indictment’ of how bored I must be at home. TMS enriches the proceedings, enlightens during the regular pauses in the action, and dulls the cacophony of everyone in the vicinity. And even when they are at their most annoying and deluded, the contributors nearly always make me smile.
Sir: If Lara Prendergast would like support for her position of not needing an opinion on everything (‘Why must I have a view on everything?’ 29 July), may I direct her to the Bible? ‘A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion’ (Proverbs 18:2). That sage advice was written 3,000 years before Twitter.
I just don’t know
Sir: I am much heartened by Lara Prendergast’s article on ‘views’. I constantly have to put up with referendum bores droning on and getting cross when one doesn’t have a view on the current situation. Ditto Trump. Thank you, Lara. I now feel much better about saying: ‘I don’t know.’
Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire
Chlorination means cruelty
Sir: The issue of chlorinated chicken, to which you refer in your editorial on free trade, is not one of human safety (‘Playing chicken’, 29 July). Chlorinated chicken is safe to eat. The objection to it is that the chlorination is to disinfect carcases which should not, in life, have been allowed to become germ-laden. It’s an animal welfare issue. I don’t want us to import chlorinated chicken for the same reason I wouldn’t want us to have crate-reared veal — it’s the result of a cruel way of rearing animals,
Raised in Britain
Sir: In response to Simon Barnes, Evan Byrne (Letters, 22 July) sees fit to class Marland Yarde, Manu Tuilagi and the Vunipola brothers with Nathan Hughes, Denny Solomona and Ben Te’o as not really English. This is unfair. Hughes, Solomona and Te’o all made the choice to come to England as professional sportsmen: Hughes ignored the call of Fiji to opt for higher remuneration; Solomona once said ‘my heart is for New Zealand and Samoa’; and Te’o wore an Ireland shirt during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
In contrast, the first four mentioned all moved to Britain as children with their families and so have lived here for most of their lives. Can we begrudge them that? As a Welshman, my only sorrow is about Billy Vunipola, who said to his junior rugby coach in South Wales: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll never play for England.’
Elgan Evan Alderman
Sir: Lloyd Evans dismisses the Edinburgh International Festival without even mentioning the classical music which has always been its backbone (‘Show up and show off’, 29 July). Ticket for ticket and pound for pound, it gives much better value than the average punt on a Fringe show.