JUST as it seems impossible to say anything coherent about religions, so rationality seems to elude any discussion about the British countryside.
I doubt it is possible to stand anywhere in the British countryside without ones eye lighting upon a subsidy. In the far north of Scotland, the conifers of the Forestry Commission stand proud but purposeless. In the west of Wales subsidy preserved sheep munch the hills bare. In the south of England, the prairies of wheat waving in the breeze depend on subvention. In East Anglia, the vast sugar beet acres almost mock the tropical communities that could send us sugar far more cheaply.
Yet even this description is wrong. There are rural trades that thrive without public funds. Millions of us so enjoy the countryside that the natives of pretty postcard English villages are displaced with retirees or second home urban affluents. Planners deter new construction so shortages are preserved by the cobwebs of unyielding glue called planning.
If rural economics is preposterous on these grounds, it is crazy at the higher altitude of policy-making too. Over half of the entire budget of the European Union (EU) goes on farming subsidies. The pretext is that French peasants would revolt but for their false incomes, although curre