Irish Farming and the CAP
Richard Waghorne (not, it is to be presumed, from a farming background himself) writes:
"There is no need for the state to fund agriculture. If the appearance of the countryside is the issue, hire landscapers. It would cost of fraction of the current burden."
Look, there is more to our country and our society than just being an 'economy'. The disappearance of the CAP would devastate the small farmers who form the backbone of so many communities in rural Ireland. I don't think that any decent Irish people would look on that prospect as being a good thing, and no rural TD is going to commit electoral suicide by being stupid enough to support it.
The 'Freedom Institute' and other laissez-faire advocates like to drone on about the market this and the market that, but (as Galbraith might remark) the "market" itself is most certainly a fiction in this day of large corporations wielding extraordinary economic power. Even if it were not, the Government has a duty of care for the nation as a whole, not just big business.
The only meaningful alternative to the CAP would be to force the large supermarket chains to pay a fair price for produce, to reflect the value of the goods they're buying. And that's not very likely to happen, so the CAP goes on.
UPDATE: In comments, Kevin Breathnach brings up the point - isn't the CAP an injustice to African farmers?
I'll put my neck on the line here and say no. The trade issue with Africa has mostly to do with cash crops like tea and coffee, which the EU agricultural system has nothing to do with.
UPDATE II: More on this topic from Fine Gael today. Listen here at 37:35, and read here. People really want rid of the CAP? Fine, then take action to correct the market.