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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Massive hypocrisy (part 188)

According to the Press Association MEPs have today voted to increase the amount of subsidies you and me pay each year to "hard-pressed" tobacco farmers. As the global credit crunch starts to bite and rising food and petrol prices hit your daily budget I'm sure you'll be as pleased as we are that more than €300 million a year of our taxes will continue to be spanked on producing a crop which killed over 500,000 people in Europe last year.

In the perverse world that is the EU, farmers are paid £5,250 a hectare to grow tobacco while wheat farmers receive £240 a hectare.

In the UK alone the NHS spends £1.5bn a year treating people with smoking related diseases and the government spends around £30m on anti-smoking education campaigns and £40m is spent helping people stop smoking. No contradictions there then...

Last year the Government claimed the EU had seen the light and that tobacco subsidies would end in 2010, but the clowns in the European Parliament have just voted to extend tobacco farmer's gravy train until at least 2012.

The issue will now go to an agriculutural ministers meeting where no doubt the UK Government will defend our interests admirably (remember that root-and-branch review of the CAP that Blair promised us in return for our rebate anybody?)

Other news just in which helps to confirm that Brussels really is on another planet: today is the launch of European Maritime Day which "will highlight the importance of the oceans and seas to Europe". This from the organisation which has admitted that its very own Common Fisheries Policy is "morally wrong" and is single handedly responsible for destroying some of the richest fishing stocks in the world?

Apparently this great day is going to be a celebrated with a "stakeholders conference" in Brussels. Hurrah! Cohibas all round...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The EU's absurd tobacco policy just confirms what should be the only policy that the UK should have towards the EU. Ie, just stop paying in any British money into the EU - until the EU reforms itself 100% to British tastes. If the EU refuses, then Britain should leave it. When? Well, now would do just nicely! Better off out, I say!