THE accession of the ten new member nations of the European Union seems remote and a little abstract. Yet I think it will prove to have unexpected results that touch our daily lives. Some will be benign. Other prospects must alarm.
One effect of sharing a common market with the vast agricultural power of Poland and its neighbours is the potential collapse of the monstrous common agricultural policy.
One half of the commissionâs current budget disappears in subsidies to farmers. In some cases these farms actually exist. So do their sheep and cattle. In a great many cases they are only farms on paper with no actual olive groves, herds or oilseed rape acres. The EUâs own auditors admit that half are fraudulent. Another word might be criminal. The fingerprints of the Mafia and like groups are everywhere.
The absurdity of the CAP is well rehearsed. Its latest evolution into paying farmers not to breed turkeys or plant carrots, called "set aside", has strained the credulity of even the most loyal of EU supporters.
What interests me is the arrival of the ten new agriculturally driven nations who are being locked out of most of the CAP. I believe a powerful, and eventually unstoppable, force will emerge to dissolve the iniquity and corruption of the CAP regime.
Still a bit remote and technical? It means the prospective transformation of the British countryside. Take away the subsidies for their familiar wooly balls of mutton and Scotlandâs hill country will cease to be the current sheep range, grazed bare. Slowly at first, but quickly after a few seasons, the natural flora will return.
It is my prediction that