Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Willy Poole Column

Article excerpt

Byline: By Willy Poole

You have all no doubt heard about all the goings on at the Rural Payments Agency and have probably hoped that the agency would take time off from fornication, drugging and line dancing (all on taxpayers' time) to do things better next year. Do not hold your breath.

By the way, I gather that all these "activities" were captured on CCTV. When, I wonder, will the tape be shown to the public?

Anyway, an email from a farmer friend: mindful of the possible failings of the RPA, when he sent in a stack of maps and forms, he took the precaution of including a SAE and a request for written confirmation of receipt of aforementioned documents. The SAE was returned with proper despatch, but with absolutely nothing in it. I told him that he was bloody lucky: the SAE might have been filled with something nasty from the RPA filing cabinet. Makes you sick does it not?

The latest bit of Government weaselling will make farmers even more nauseous. You will have heard that Brussels is going to slap a humongous fine on Blair's mob for the failure of the RPA to do its job for various reasons. What you may not have heard is that Blair is just going to pass the fine on to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Defra's going to pass it on to-- the farmers, of course.

WE went to Michel's 70th birthday lunch. This was a great honour as we were the only English there and it was a quiet family do of no more that 100 people. It was a day of brutal heat and the trestle tables were set out in the old byre, with its galvanised iron roof. Thank goodness there was a bit of breeze. Thank goodness also that I had resisted the English urge to wear a suit; everybody else was in shorts and sandals. We were asked for 12.30 and being English we turned up at 12.45. Lunch finally kicked off at 2. …

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