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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.