Nigel Farage Hails Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson For Getting Farming on the National Agenda

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Agriculture is becoming part of the national political conversation for the first time in decades, Brexit leader Nigel Farage said as he praised the Clarkson’s Farm presenter for getting the country thinking about the countryside.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage addressed a rally in Cheshire, England on Thursday and said “farming has become a bigger and bigger political issue” in recent years thanks to Brexit, but also because of the sucessful British farming television show Clarkson’s Farm.

Praising its host, the veteran television presenter Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear and Grand Tour fame, Farage said: “In this country we have to thank Jeremy Clarkson, frankly, for raising the profile of farming. Well done him. Getting people thinking, talking about rural issues and laughing the fact he’s finding it so difficult, that’s what makes it good telly.”

Farming hasn’t been part of the national political discussion for decades because when Britain was a member of the European Union, agricultural policy was largely dictated from Brussels. He said: “we didn’t discuss farming policy for half a century, we didn’t need to. Our farming policy was designed in Brussels. We were a member of the Common Agricultural Policy and therefore farming was never an election issue because it wasn’t something over which the British government had, frankly, any say or any power. But farming has become a bigger and bigger political issue.”

BOURTON-ON-THE-WATER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 25: Jeremy Clarkson attends the Hawkstone lager launch on November 25, 2021 in Bourton-on-the-Water, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Hawkstone)

Mr Farage criticised the Labour and Conservative Parties for having nothing to say on agriculture, reflecting “It’s almost as if the 15 per cent who live in rural communities aren’t part of the national conversation”. Citing the Tory obsession with net-zero rewilding, he criticised the Conservatives for play-acting as friends of the countryside at election time but punishing farmers otherwise.

He told the audience in Cheshire — a major farming county — that: “I can’t think of a government that has done more to suppress food production in this country than the Conservative Party since 2019. But now there’s a General Election Rishi Sunak invites all the farmers to Downing Street for a cup of tea and a biscuit.”

Reform UK, the party that Mr Farage founded and now leads again says it wants to boost the rural economy and “help farmers to farm, not pay them to leave or retire” and that it would “scrap climate-related farming subsidies”. Mr Farage said: “My cards are on the table very clearly, I have lived all of my life in rural southern England. In fact I still live in the same village in which I was born. So I have that sense of being rooted, that sense of community. To me family, community, country are the things that matter. They are the essence of what Reform UK stands for, these are our values and principles.”

The Reform leader spoke about the rising farmer protests across Europe, noting the net-zero agenda is “driving farmers mad” on the continent. Actions by farmers have shut down cities across the European Union in the past year, and the strength of feeling against the imposition of hardline EU climate targets against the Netherlands was so great last year a new pro-farmer political party emerged and stormed national elections.

The Dutch farmer party (BBB) is now entering a coalition to govern the Netherlands.

Jeremy Clarkson hasn’t publicly backed any party in this election campaign so far, but has supported the Conservatives in the past. Responding to a viral video showing a police officer running over a cow that had escaped into a built-up area, a response that some criticised as disproportionate, Mr Clarkson said this week: “I will vote for any party which stops the police from running over cows.”


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