Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Fishing: it couldn’t be clearer

On the strength of today’s Times report on Howards meeting with fishermen in Plymouth yesterday, UKIP continues to retail its standard line, this time calling in aid a Labour spokesman. He attacked Howard for “having no clear idea on exactly how to achieve his plans in practice”, particularly as Tory MEPs recently voted to strengthen the CFP.

In this case, however, the Times is a poor source, clearly having cobbled together its story from press releases, without having reported any of the events which actually took place.

On the day, had the Times cared to send a reporter – or interviewed people who were there – it could have put everyone out of their misery. Howard could not have made himself clearer. “We are determined to put Britain first”, he told the fishermen, “Parliament is still supreme and we will do whatever is necessary”.

Meanwhile, shadow fisheries spokesman Owen Paterson and his team are working up a detailed policy for national and local control, which is planned for publication in the autumn.

But, of course, Labour claims that Howard has no clear idea of how to put his plans into practice, but they would say that, wouldn’t they – especially as fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw’s idea of a fishing policy is to do whatever he is told by Brussels. Blair’s strategy unit, on the other hand, wants to scrap even more boats, without waiting to be told.

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