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Friday, May 04, 2007

Down on the farm

I've always loved Molly Dineen's documentaries and now, having seen this short interview, I think I've got a crush on her as well. Last night's "The Lie Of The Land" was about hard pressed farmers in the West Country trying to make a living while up to their welly tops in mud, blood, carcasses and shot gun shells. We saw calves being shot because they weren't worth the money it would cost to raise them, sick horses being despatched as other, understandably worried horses looked on, a whole skin pulled off a calf with one tug of a Land Rover tow rope and a couple of terriers gleefully ripping a rat to pieces. And yet this wasn't a cheap appeal to sentiment or outrage. It was, like all her films, a massive issue reduced to a memorable story. This is the cost of what government is doing to the countryside. And behind the government is the electorate – that would be us – who frankly don't wish to think about the fact that Britain is no longer food secure but do want to whinge about the scandalous price of our weekly shop. In the 70s we spent a third of our income on food. Today we spend less than a tenth. In the ad breaks we had another much loved national celebrity, Victoria Wood, trying to make us feel warm about ASDA.


  1. Have to agree. That was an excellent documentary. Great characters with good stories which made you completely rethink your ideas about farming and food policies. Also made the whole foxhunting debate seem ridiculous in the context of what else goes on, and a completely political decision.

  2. What came through for me was that the Blair Government doesn't give a stuff for what's happening to the countryside and those who live in it - probably because those people are historically unlikely to be voting them back into power.

  3. As you can imagine this is causing plenty of discussion among Farmers Weekly readers. thought you might be interested in this:

  4. Grew up on a farm so I couldn't watch it. Luckily my folks sold up back when the going was good and buggered off abroad. Farming in England today, you might as well put the gun to your head and get it over with.

  5. Ross Herbert8:39 am

    This documentary has created a lot of comment which seems to range from most farmers saying;
    "This is the way it's going, get used to the fact that farms are being forced out of business."
    The uninformed; "Why can't the unwanted calves be sent to a sanctuary rather than shot?" and "Let the farmers go out off business, why should my taxes subsidise them? The land will return to nature, we can buy our food abroad cheaper anyway. If there ever in a problem we just dig up the forests and start farming again."
    Bringing things back to a music connection, listen to 'Show of Hands' track 'Country Life' (it's on a YouTube video) This says more about the plight of the countryside than any number of Farmers Weekly editorials