With polling no more than a week away, what you might wonder are the issues for a farmer and who deserves my vote. Looking through each political party’s manifesto, there appears very little difference between the “promises and spin” of each party, except for one major item.
Labour have said that the badger cull – to stop TB spreading from badgers to cattle and ultimately to pets and humans – will cease even if it is scientifically proven to have had an effect on eradicating TB. Unofficial early figures have indicated the cull in the pilot areas has resulted in a marked decrease in the incidences of TB, so the Labour stance seems bizarre and points to more votes being gained by pleasing the animal rights voters than the livestock farmers.
In recent times, farming appears to be financially better off with a Labour government, but this normally coincides with the country going into recession, resulting in a greater export market for our farm commodities.
The Tories have always been pro-farming, but they are also the only party to promise a referendum on Europe. That vote could easily end our European membership and will no doubt bring turbulent times to agriculture and other businesses in the UK. I hate the bureaucracy that evolves out of Europe, but I also know that without better farm gate prices, we would be struggling to compete with our European neighbours without the financial support that the Common Agriculture Policy bestows on us.
So do I vote for a party that are non agriculture friendly but will make my bank balance healthier, or a party that will continue to have Great Britain’s best interest at heart and hopefully long term will build a better future for everyone that is prepared to work?
In reality my one vote won’t make much of a difference and the important events in my life will still be there regardless of who will be at Number 10. At this precise moment I would be quite happy to give my vote to any party who could get BT to restore this area’s phone and broadband service that has been out of action for nearly two months!
I think whichever way the vote goes, we have two great candidates in Amber Rudd and Sarah Owen who have the best interests of Rye at heart. So whoever wins the day on May 7, hopefully they will remember that you need a doctor, dentist, lawyer or banker on a few occasions each year, but you need a farmer for three meals every day and without that food all other problems become insignificant.
Simon Wright is a livestock farmer at East Guldeford where he and his wife Anne run holiday cottages. Visit their website here