Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Foot and Mouth

Since it has been established that the recent foot and mouth outbreak was caused by negligence at a Government-run laboratory - a laboratory moreover that had repeatedly flagged poor maintenance as a matter of concern - how much political damage will be caused by today's news?
I suspect that, since nobody in Government seems to care very much about agriculture and rural affairs generally, that it won't have the same sort of impact that, say, BSE had in the 1990s. A problem for the Government then was that they were trying to placate the farmers and the EU simultaneously - this Government doesn't give much of a stuff about the farmers.
Still, a test for Hillary Benn. I suspect he'll find it a lot harder at DEFRA, where his job is to be shouted at by farmers and defend the CAP, than he did at DfID, where his job was to dole out spondulicks in great profusion in exotic locations - a conscience and a sun tan at the same time.



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