Sunday, October 03, 2004

Booker column

For his lead story this week, Booker revisits the story of the dolphins and porpoises, and the vain attempts of fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw to ban the bass pair trawling that is slaughtering upwards of 5,000 a year of these mammals.

The story has been well rehearsed in this Blog but Booker adds a detail that will have serious repercussions in the future.

"When, as is widely predicted," he writes. "Brussels introduces quotas for bass, based on the historic ‘track record’ of catches, it is France which, thanks to the vast recent hauls of its pair-trawlers, will be able to claim by far the greatest share." That is how the system works.

Booker also picks up on our story about Poland (which now has some rather interesting comments about Canadians) and also our story about the rise in price of sugar in Malta.

That story, readers will recall, was about the row that erupted when it was discovered that, instead of being able to buy sugar at the world price of 200 euros per ton, the islanders must now pay the protectionist EC price of 840 euros a ton.

Booker adds to this, recounting the official response which came from Malta’s EU commissioner Joe Borg. "In a bizarre outburst", Booker writes, "he claimed that the Maltese eat far too much sugar anyway. Mr Farrugia, he said, should read Professor Yudkin’s book Pure, White And Deadly, on the damaging effects of sugar on the human body. He should then advise his fellow citizens (10 percent of whom, according to commissioner Borg, are diabetics) to ‘applaud the government’ for reducing consumption of this dreadful stuff". Such are the benefits of the EU.

The column finishes with a bizarre PC story about the Welsh Development Agency, and another about Neil Herron’s dealings with the Electoral Commission which is so bizarre as to be surreal. For an enjoyable read, click here.

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