I am slightly concerned that as the week progresses I shall receive through my letterbox an avalanche of smart glossy brochures, and telephone calls from sales reps for Massey Ferguson tractors with auto-steer GPS technology navigation systems, or a variety of 36-metre tri-fold boom self-propelled sprayers, a selection of swanky new precision drills, which will drill in excess of 100 acres a day, and cultivators which turn a stubble field into a seed bed in one pass.
I am already exhausted having woken at night my heart pounding with alarm and anxiety, having dreamt that a huge £250,000 Claas combine harvester followed by a Scaip Warrior Track Marshall had arrived at the farm and the drivers was pounding at the door demanding immediate payment.
The cause of my concerns and sleepless nights is that John and Jerry decided to have an ‘away day’ and travel to the East of England Showground near Peterborough last Thursday to visit LAMMA 2015. This agricultural event showcases over 1,000 high-tech companies displaying the latest innovations and cutting edge precision farm machinery.
Do we need a brand new MF 7700 series tractor with its 7.4-litre Sisu engine which can churn out up to 255hp? Most certainly not, but that was not necessarily going to stop John chatting up the salesman and at the very least requesting an ‘on farm’ demonstration.
Having spent the day looking around this shop window filled with big boy’s toys, I am nervous that they may have got carried away and decided we really did need some brand new over powered, over-sized and over-priced labour saving gadgets. They are probably right but certainly until the grain, beef and rental prices double, and all outstanding debts are recovered, we can’t afford them.
So we shall have to make do for another year, and somehow erase from John and Jerry the memory of gleaming tractors with rear wheels as high as house and the rest, following their away day to LAMMA!
I feel the writing is on the wall and before long EU unelected bureaucrats will insist our road signs go metric and be transformed into kilometres and metres. The Mail on Sunday has seen an official report stating that Britain’s rail network is in the process of going metric. Trackside mile markers will be replaced by kilometre signs and staff rule books and training manuals will be rewritten following directives from the European Railway Agency, based in France.
This follows a decision to introduce the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in EU countries. Despite a series of problems, including trains passing red signals, during test runs in West Wales, due to introducing metric measurements on a route originally designed in miles, Network Rail has already started rolling out the new signalling system across the country.
I don’t recall having been asked if I want this major transformation of our railways to take place. And I am dashed if I shall be happy to see all our road signs being changed in a similar manner. This is Euro-creep at its worst; we have not been consulted and by all accounts the shambles that will result on the railways when train drivers have to operate in metric one day and imperial another, could well be the cause of a potential major catastrophe.
If the polls are correct, it is likely that a majority of the UK population are reluctant to be further sucked into EU federalisation and bureaucracy.
It would surely, at the very least, have been polite to hold back on such decisions until after the referendum due to take place in 2017. We are in danger of finding major irreversible decisions have been taken without consultation and the approval of the nation. I am not even aware that this has been discussed or approved by our elected representatives in Parliament.
I am not suggesting we should be throwing ourselves in front of speeding trains to make a stand, but perhaps this is yet another subject which should be addressed when candidates of all parties are seeking our support in May.
While on the subject of road sign, it seems that a sign which has been used for decades warning motorists that they are entering an area frequented by the elderly, depicting a stooped couple using walking sticks, is now considered offensive. Why, because this image may make employers think older people are “frail and disabled”. An advocate for pensioners, said the signs, inform drivers to slow down for the elderly crossing the road, present the new middle aged who are in their sixties and seventies, as “stooped and needing a walking stick” when the vast majority are today fit and healthy. Dr Altman wants these signs banned because she wants to encourage over – 50s back into work.
So what happens to the elderly 80 plus who should be able to cross the road safely while holding a walking stick, do they have to take their life in their hands just so the middle aged are not offended?
Carola Godman Irvine