If as has been suggested, Mrs May’s ‘reasonableness’, which for all intense and purposes, suggested a return to the concept of a Common Market – which as Janet Daley wrote in her Sunday Telegraph column, is what most people thought they were signing up for in January 1973, it is little wonder that the Brussels negotiating team are screaming ‘foul’. They have no concept about being reasonable and believe they can bully her into submission.
The Prime Minister has tried her best. She has offered sensible solutions to ensure a fair and workable Brexit. Unfortunately her efforts have fallen on deaf ears, not unrelated to a bevy of ‘has been’ former British politicians regularly commuting to Brussels to assure Jean-Claude Junker and his mates, that they will sabotage and reverse Brexit.
Since Great Britain joined the Common Market in 1973, we have lost our economic and parliamentary sovereignty. Turned our backs on Commonwealth countries in favour of higher prices, including food, under the Common Agricultural Policy, and have remained tied to the apron strings of a diminishing economic union.
Perhaps we should have stuck with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which we joined in 1960, which was a weaker trade group but safer. It is always easy to be wise after the event.
Now that spring is back on track we view the recent bone chilling weather with respect, for it definitely sharpened us all up.
Pipes have burst where we didn’t know we had them, cellars have mysteriously flooded, and we have generally been kept on our toes.
Since the last prolonged big freeze, we have become complacent, and if it were not for those with better memories than I, identifying which stop cock turned off the water in which building, could have proved tricky.
The freezing winds turned farm yards and roads into lethal ice rinks, requiring constant attention to keep them safe.
Livestock water troughs needed blow touching and ice braking repeatedly throughout the day. And repairing frozen pipes, and sourcing oil which had become as rare as hen’s teeth, for tenant’s who had belatedly realised they were running out, was challenging.
We are fortunate to have all the right people in all the right places. Everyone went the extra mile, and fortunately we have plumbers and central heating engineers renting business units. All conveniently on hand and mercifully willing to help out.
Throughout the ‘Big Freeze’ our thoughts have been with fellow farmers who had already started lambing. Trying to keep alive new born lambs when temperatures plummeted well below freezing, and winds cut like a knife, is hard work and demanding.
On Sunday Chichester Cathedral held a ‘Shepherd Service’, with the Royal Agricultural Benevolent institution and the Farming Community Network.
Farmers from across Sussex turned out for this special and very heart-warming service. Representatives from the NFU and Chichester Young Farmers’ Club took part, and it was good to see so many young farmers amongst the congregation.
The service was enlivened by a lamb which rather stole the show alongside its very young but smartly dressed handler. Several sheep dogs kept a beady eye on them both, no doubt hoping for an opportunity to round them up.
Bishop Alan blessed all shepherds and farmers ‘whose labour feeds us, and care for the land’. Canon Tim Schofield recalled the words of Psalm 23 - ‘The Lord is My shepherd’. He said we should always recall these words, particularly when faced with adversity or loneliness. Many shepherds who battle to keep their freezing lambs alive, would certainly appreciate His shepherding skills.
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