The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Cash Vache
Posted Sunday, 1 April 2007 at 00:28

Brussels, what an eye opener. I went with four other cross party MPs who also have rural constituencies similar to mine. My farmers didn’t ask me to go, they hardly ever complain. Given what Bedfordshire farmers have had to put up with over the last two years with the complete and utter debacle regarding the single farm payment subsidies, I would have taken any amount of grief from them willingly, however, Bedfordshire farmers have been stoic.

Just let me give you a few facts about dairy farmers; there are only twelve herds left in Mid Beds. In fact, Bedfordshire has had a dramatic decrease in dairy herds compared to other UK counties. If you are reading this and from Mid Beds, have you ever wondered where all the cows have gone?

British dairy farmers receive the lowest price per litre for milk in Europe. There is a 37% gap in the table between what the UK receives, which is at the bottom of the table, and Italy. The milk price per litre in Italy is 35.8 pence compared to the UK at 25.9.

In the UK the supermarkets are king, especially the big three. They take a large profit margin from milk, squeezing and holding the price paid at the farm gate.

The purpose of the trip to Brussels was to find out how the British farmer, dairy and arable, could get a better crack at the euro whip.

We met with Commissioner Fischer Boles. Impressive lady, her grandfather made the first Danish Blue. She understood all the complaints and points we put to her. Now this is a blog, not a paper, and I know I am in danger of becoming boring to those of you who like to read my blog for a peep into the workings of Westminster, but just bear with me a minute. Let me give you a long quote from my minutes.

Q “Commissioner, how can British farmers become more profitable given the farm gate price they receive for their milk and what can be done to at least bring their income in line with farmers in the rest of Europe. How can we break the hold the supermarkets in the UK have on our farmers”

A” You farmers need to withhold their milk from the supermarkets. At the moment half the milk produced within the UK stays as liquid milk (48% actually) and the other half is converted into value added products, yoghurt, cheese etc. If all your dairy farmers withheld their milk from the supermarkets, and put more into value added, the drop in the availability of milk would drive up the price” 

Me..” No it won’t. The supermarkets will import milk from Europe which will mean that the farmer in Europe will get an even better price and British farmer’s will still miss out”

Commissioner “Ah yes, but in the meantime they will have penetrated the value added market.”

Me “The chillier shelves in the UK are full of imported value added products from France and other countries. Each one of those producers will have established contracts with supermarkets, it would be incredibly difficult for the processors to penetrate that market, and besides, what happens in the time it takes to achieve penetration, the British farmer will simply wither on the vine - and given that the UK is the only country in Europe which doesn’t have a farming assistance programme (thanks Nick) for entry into farming that will leave farming in the UK all but dead”

Silence, a smile from the commissioner. When we had our photograph taken she said “very good, we women need to be strong yes?”

Yes, we do, but not as strong as British farmers need to be to survive.

The commissioner mentioned the internal market. This in Europe is how they think - that Europe is one big shopping mall and everything is the same price and everyone makes the same profit.

Then internal market is a distorted con. I will believe in the value of the internal market when the EU has its accounts audited.

We are being absolutely done. We pour vast millions into the EU everyday which, in terms of agriculture, appears to find its way to the farmers in Europe in order they do well whilst ours become bankrupt. Let’s not even mention the suicide rate amongst British farmers.

The UK is about to be fined by the EU, I think the figure is £380 million. Millions, billions, trillions, it means nothing in the EU, it’s just numbers.

The reason? Margaret Beckett made such a hash and a mess of administering the single farm payment subsidy in the UK that it is being fined by Europe. What is happening to that fine? Given that the people who suffered as a result of the botched mess were the British farmers wouldn’t it be fair if it was distributed amongst them?

Well it would, but it’s not. The commissioner answered very clearly “the money will go into the central EU budget – would you like me to come and give your farmers a pep talk?”

Very helpful.

I noticed in the taxis I got into in Brussels that not a single seat belt worked in any of them.  An excellent example of how we gold plate rules - whilst the rest of Europe completely ignores them.

My overwhelming feeling as I left the EU was similar to one I get when you have eaten too much, or spent twice as much as I should have on a pair of shoes. Not helped by the large packing boxes which sit outside each office of every member of the EU Parliament. The boxes are because one week in every month everyone moves to Strasbourg. That’s everyone and everything, a huge office move once a month.

That kind of waste does make me feel ill. I would love to know how much that all costs, however, the EU hasn’t had its accounts audited in seven years.

I am off to the Indian in Woburn Sands now with my brood – have a good rest of the weekend!

I haven't spell checked or read back because I am being shouted at so forgive me!!!

Irene Counsell (Fields) said:
Responded: Sunday, 1 April 2007
Hello Nadine Aunty Norma told me about your blog so I have been following it recently. I am very interested in your visit to Brussels and your comments are clear, but what are the Conservative party going to do about it? We travel a lot in Europe and see the waste and corruption at first hand.(the land grab in Valencia being very close to our hearts, but that is the mere tip of the iceberg..) We went to Oz last October and visited Norma David and Helen. Helen didn'tlook well but it's not surprising really. This is perhaps the wrong addess to send this message but it's Saturday and it's late..................... Reqards, Irene europe and see the corrption and waste ant the expense of the EU
Dave said:
Responded: Sunday, 1 April 2007
Despite the date on which you wrote this piece,it certainly is no joke.I have a farmer friend who kept a large herd of pigs.He spent tens of thousands complying with EU regulations, only to finally give up 4 years ago when it became no longer viable.That part of the farm was sold for housing which gave him just enough capital to build a couple of grain storage buildings. He produces a solely grain crop on his 400+ acres which does not justify employing anyone else.He spends an equal amount of time now doing building and landscaping work to make ends meet. His family have been farming for generations but I fear his son will be the final one.Our farmers are being milked and fleeced By the EU not their stock.
James said:
Responded: Sunday, 1 April 2007
Is there nothing Branston will stoop to get his name in the local papers prior to the elections? Now it's a stunt in Beds on Sunday and he is the butt (excuse the pun) of an April Fool's Day 'joke' involving goats. Fortunately he fools no one with either this silliness or his usual banter. I counted his mention 5 times in Friday's local paper. If no election was due that would be 0. Perhaps it's time for Mr. Branston to be put out to graze and not the goats.At least when you're in the papers Nadine it's genuine.
Andrew Turner said:
Responded: Sunday, 1 April 2007
Just goes to strenghten the argument that the EU is a big con, waste of space,time and money. It really is time that the UK said "enough is enough" and pulled out. How is it that our officials "gold-plate" everything when the others use common sense? maybe UKIP does have the right answers.............
Cllr Howard Lockey said:
Responded: Sunday, 1 April 2007
My son-in-law went out of milk production in Suffolk about 4 years ago. A beautiful large prize winning herd. At that time they were paying him 13.5 pence per litre, whilst supermarkets were retailing at over 50p per litre. He needed to replace his milking parlour which was 25 years old at a cost of nearly half a million £s. He got out. Two years ago he went into free range egg production. 75,000 eggs a week. Not doing too badly if you don't stop to worry about the recent Bernard Matthews fiasco. That's life.
Andrew from Ampthill. said:
Responded: Sunday, 1 April 2007
I got out seven yearsd ago. I went with other farmers to the eu on a NFU delegation. We knew that we were always goiung to be at a disadvantage. What is up with the peopl ewho run this country,cant they see that england is just being shafted by the rest of the eu countries. We may have won the war but they are beating us financialy now. Its a sick joke.
Glyn Davies AM said:
Responded: Sunday, 1 April 2007
You are joining the frustrated. Just one point. The 'fine' is against Defra because of its failure to introduce the Single Farm Payment efficiently in England - not the UK. A much simpler system was introduced in Wales (with all party support) and majority of payments are made on time - with no EU 'fine'. Its not going to reduce your frustration, but I thought you should know. Both of the farming unions in Wales are very supportive of devolution as a consequence.
Nadine said:
Responded: Sunday, 1 April 2007
I know Glyn, you are absolutley right.Thanks for pointing that out.
Nadine said:
Responded: Monday, 2 April 2007
Hello Irene, I do remember Charlies politics - when I was on nights at the Royal everyone talked about Charlie!If your politics are even a shade near what Charlies were, perhaps we should just chat, and keep it to family! Do you remeber playing hide and seek in Breck rd? Contact me on and I will send you back my phone number. I know Aunty Norma and Uncle Dave are reading my blog because of the amount of hits I get from Australia!
Whiffler said:
Responded: Monday, 2 April 2007
Check your monies - 37 Euros for a litre of milk ?.
Eurosceptic said:
Responded: Monday, 2 April 2007
Make sure you get to read the 'Muckspreader' column in the current edition of Private Eye. The gist is that NON-farmers are leasing land and then applying for the Single Farm Payment. They get a huge return on that 'rent' for being 'non-farmers' being paid not to farm !! Crazy politics, and the economics of the madhouse. Yet you, Nadine, represent the party that took us into this nonsense, and which backs 'market forces' despite the fact that these are screwing all the money out of farming. At least you are prepared to expose this hypocrisy for the benefit of your farming constituents. But look on the bright side - soon the inability of DEFRA and the idiot Miliband to pay out to the farmers will mean nothing - as all subsidies will have disappeared. Is this what we voted for back in 1975 ??
Europhil said:
Responded: Monday, 2 April 2007
Nadine, your arguments are very eloquent, but many Europeans will not be convinced. The EU has huge faults, but some people believe it has 'kept the peace' in Europe for 50 years. Not sure that is the case, and there has been a terrible conflict in the Balkans. But some would see the waste as being less bad than the costs of another war. Not sure you can argue it that way, as we could be a loose affiliation of free nations without the huge costs, but that is another argument. And it is little consolation for the farmers..
Nadine said:
Responded: Monday, 2 April 2007
Ooops! Thanks wiffler.Thats what you get when your blogging whilst pretending to everyone waiting downstairs that you are getting changed and can't decide what to wear - will pay more attention in future!
Anonymous said:
Responded: Monday, 2 April 2007
Anyone who thinks that the EU has prevented war must be out of their tree. The horror and bloodshed of two world wars are what has prevented war, not the EU.
Dude said:
Responded: Sunday, 28 October 2007
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at:
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

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