Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Red Cliffs Of Dawlish
Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Word For World Is Data: Agriculture, Fisheries & Environment

There's a useful summary of views of the talking heads representing some of the areas of the UK in relation to Brexit in this article (picture ref/source above): What rural organisations are saying about Brexit
  • Agriculture
  • Environment
  • Wildlife (Conservation/Biodiversity)
  • Rural Businesses & Policy
Fisheries is not mentioned in the above article but it's popped up in the legacy news-media regarding: 

Summaries of opinions:-

- Meurig Raymond, NFU president thinks the news will lead to a period of “uncertainty” in vital areas of farming.
 NFU launches post-Brexit options paper and member survey

- David Caffall, Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) chief executive thinks that Vote Leave poses huge questions for Britain’s agricultural supply industry

BREXIT – Meeting with The Secretary of State, and the AIC Board’s Preliminary Thoughts

- Martin Baxter, IEMA’s, an international membership organisation, committed to global sustainability, chief policy advisor thinks the vote to leave raises questions for business businesses, professionals and the wider public on environmental protection policy.

 Environment & Sustainability Professionals Reveal Top 10 Views on “Brexit”

- Simon Gooderham, director of rural surveyor and estate agent, Cheffins, says predicting the long-term impact is difficult, but that the result could impact on farmland lettings and sales markets

- Ross Murry, president of membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales, CLA believes farmers and rural business will create opportunities outside of the EU.

- Sean Wensley, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), thinks the UK’s decision to leave the EU will have a “significant impact” on veterinary regulation, education and animal welfare.

- David Nussbaum CEO of WWF-UK thinks the vote to leave the EU brings “risks and uncertainties” for Britain’s wildlife and wild places.

WWF responds to EU referendum result

- Dr Mike Clarke, RSPB's chief executive thinks that the UK must continue to "act internationally, and look to forge comprehensive international agreements for nature conservation and the environment".

Brexit implications for wildlife friendly farming: long-term opportunity, short-term jeopardy

- The Wildlife Trusts said that following the result, the challenges faced by the UK’s wildlife are as "great as they have ever been". 

An initial response to the EU Referendum result

I've included some extra links expanding on the summaries provided for Environment, Wildlife and Agriculture. Of additional note, the Rural Policy (Joint-Up Policy) and Veterinary (Regulations specifically).

Instead of rehashing all the above information to tentatively consider:-

  • It's short-hand to put all the above policy areas into a simple question: "How much money do they get in the EU and how much, more or less, do they get out of the EU (Brexit)? Very convenient.
  • Distinguish: The data on the arguments themselves for or against Brexit and how this supports or detracts from this new position. Compared to the opinions of the people who work in these areas and deal with both: Data and Money.
  • To consider again distinctions: Each policy has it's own priority (here they merge as they're related) but each fits within the total policy vision: The democratic Brexit vote to Leave. On both counts sub and super have to fit with each other.
  • Information gaps and biases will likely have to be identified inter-distinguishing the policies above as well as their intra-distinctions. Good policy will do this and move on. Politics will temper good policy possible of course.
  • Complexity is highly apparent in these areas.
  • Ignorance in most of the public is highly apparent for these areas. This also applies to the Legacy News-Media and our professional politicians too.

There's some really good information in all the above. But as you can see in the summary considerations there's a huge tangle to contend with. It's highly confusing and complex. However applying our ever trusty context:-

If you read FLEXCIT and these chapters on these policies, you'll notice that the research considers both the policy itself as well as the surrounding politics. A major part of the policy is regulations from our EEA "members of" (as opposed to "access to" (FTA)). Secondly the common theme within FLEXCIT the work itself is the second tier of origin of this at global level of regulations and interactions between tiers (including domestic), which is mentioned in Dr. RAE North's most recent monograph series:

LEAVE ALLIANCE: Brexit Monograph 6 - Post-Brexit regulation ~ Dr. RAE North:-
"As to whether the UK would gain any relief from leaving the EU – even supposing the Government could be prevailed up on to repeal the CCA - one can compare its situation to that of a victim in a horror movie, trapped alive in a coffin. Having broken through the lid in a bid to escape, he finds to his consternation that there is another lid. This "double lid" is, on the one hand, the EU treaty obligations and, on the other, the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol. Breaking through the EU legislative layer simply reveals the second "lid"of the Kyoto Protocol."
Indeed, the Mongraph on Trade Barriers was tentatively discussed in one of the Treasury Committee Oral evidence: The UK's future economic relationship with the European Union, HC 483
"There is a distinction and, quite rightly, the point raised about agriculture is a very serious one and one that has not been properly addressed.  When it comes to the Doha Round etc.  on the negotiation of quotas and also subsidies, and subsidy caps, these are held not by individual member states but by the Commission.  Therefore, theoretically, when we leave we will not be able to subsidise our farmers unless we negotiate a settlement with the EU as to an apportionment of the subsidy cap.

Likewise, on quotas, the quota is  held by the Commission, and therefore there will be a negotiation.   One can imagine a trade-off where some of the member states will be quite anxious to offload as much quota, say beef quota, as they can on the UK as a condition for our exit.   We would find ourselves unwillingly forced to take that as a  quid pro quo for other concessions.  This is  an area that is quite possibly going to be time-consuming."
This itself is another level above the actual policy itself, the negotations framework adding complexity itself concerning Agriculture and Brexit at this level.

Familiarity built over time helps create an intellectual architecture or context without which it's likely these regulations feel horrendously alien and unfathomable. Some comparisons to graphics of data can maybe help visualize what these regulations are supposedly designed to achieve, I hope. We can use the excellent European Environment Agency website's resources:-

Here's the Interactive Data Viewer page from which the above snap-shots are merely an indication of. You can see there's vast amounts of data information gathering that in turn fuel our activities: Agricultural policy (natural variations in production and trends); social policy connection education research for people on these issues and so forth such as Biodiversity indicators or chemical pollutants in the EEA groups.

It's worth looking at Europe as a map of people additionally; from wikipedia:-

Population Density Map of Europe

The statistic given at the European Environment Agency on Agriculture (land use and budget):-
"Farming has a big influence on Europe's landscapes and the quality of its environment. With farmers managing almost half of the EU's land area, the agricultural sector is a major source of pressure on Europe's environment.

Over the past five decades, the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - accounting for around half of the EU budget.

Farmers represent only 4.7% of the European Union's (EU's) working population, yet manage nearly half of the EU's land area. Farming has a big influence on Europe's landscapes and the quality of its environment."
So there can be little mistake that Agriculture is a huge policy area that also interacts across a wide range of other related policy areas (Environment). Europe itself is a highly populated and high density continent which therefore requires high food security and high environmental impact. All of this is ripe for regulations and the use of data to construct policy. To quote FLEXCIT Chapter 12.0 Agriculture:-

Agriculture in the UK (EU/EEA)
"The second policy we look at, in this fourth phase, is agriculture. The food and farming sector is important to the UK economy, with the whole food chain contributing £85 billion per year to the economy and 3.5 million jobs. In policy terms, it is dominated by the European Union and its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Financially, this is the most important policy in the EU. It is also the most complex, made more so by the need to ensure conformity with WTO agreements." 
Agriculture In Norway & Iceland (EFTA/EEA)
"However, while the EU average total subsidy is about 18 percent of farming income, Norwegian farmers gain just short of 60 percent, only just ahead of Switzerland, while Iceland farmers are paid just short of 50 percent. In other words, those European farmers who are outside the EU benefit from much higher subsidies than those within the European Union."
Agriculture In New Zealand (neither or "global trade/WTO meme")
The "poster child "for advocates of subsidy-free farming is New Zealand, the government of which in 1984 abruptly terminated farm payments, ostensibly driven by a commitment to the free-flow of global market forces. Expected outcomes were improved economic efficiency and more effective use of land. But the changes occurred outside the framework of a coherent national policy for rural development, resulting in diverse and unexpected outcomes.
The reason to quote these comparative "pictures" directly from FLEXCIT (once again with huge gratitude) is to come back to that question of "Money" mentioned at the beginning. It seems to me whichever way the UK chooses for the Agriculture Policy, it's a policy that is particularly sensitive to subsidy or social consideration not only capitalist consideration: Namely it's multi-dimensional where money is one dimension only and not even the bottom-line: The Environment I suspect is?

For example, to briefly look at FLEXCIT: 13.0 Fisheries:-
"The starting point of the Paterson review was the recognition that, prior to UK entry to the EEC,  the British fishing industry had been a model of sustainability.  Yet, after decades of the CFP, areas of the most fertile and productive fishing grounds in the world were being threatened with closure. Others were producing yields well short of their potential capacity, whilst ever-increasing restrictions were being imposed on British fishermen."

"Therein lies the essence of the post-exit settlement.  Leaving the EU, per se, is no solution in itself.  EU policies require individual replacement, each with something better.  And fisheries provided a useful example.  Largely self-contained in policy terms, it is a test bed for policy development, and as an example of the complexity of the repatriation process."  
"One of those wider issues was the protection of the environment.  It was argued this was not incompatible with safeguarding the fishing industry.  Over-fishing and other abuses damage the marine environment and also damage the long-term economic value of a fishery.  Therefore environmental protection was regarded not as an adjunct to a fisheries policy but as an inherent part of it."
"As far as the UK is concerned, the fundamental principle on which a policy should rest is that the fish and other sea creatures within the UK EEZ are the property of the nation as a whole. Custody of that resource lies with the central and devolved governments. Fishermen have no inherent rights to the fish and other aquatic creatures in these waters and no inherent rights to the property so gained. There is, however, a distinction between inherent rights and acquired rights."

 More discussion on monitoring and collection of data: FLEXCIT 13.7 Enforcement, monitoring and sanctions

If we look at the last paragraph and look at the map of Europe above, we notice that nations are different from each other, they're also "non-uniform distribution" in people, resources and of course cultural developments. In effect they have different needs from each other as well as holding some things in common, given we're all people of a common species to be scientifically accurate. Equally concerning dealing with this historic situation of nation states, the reality of the environment or part of the world we share must be managed to everyone's benefit. It probably serves policy in a more superior way when:-
  • We use good data to understand our impact on the world
  • We take responsibility locally on our place in the world
  • We collaborate with our neighbours to meet mutually beneficial outcomes on the above.
It's interesting, given the post-Referendum reaction. Before, the various stake-holders in these policy areas, apart from Fisheries, would likely be resistant to the idea of change and reconsideration. Given the result, there's a shift in tone from these groups: They want to seize the positive opportunities and avoid the negative dangers and emphasise this combination of "vector and velocity".

The points I tentatively consider above, I think we now reach the question of information/misinformation, confusion/ignorance:-

1. On the one hand we have the groups such as Friends of the Earth below
How can we make Brexit work for the environment? ~ Craig Bennett

2. And on the other hand we have other opposite groups such as ex-leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage:-

My heart F*! bleeds for these groups (on Immigration read Scribblings From Seaham: Integration): It all fits within the idea of layers of different communication described in the previous blog as if it were a rainbow:What People Don't Want Is Not To Be Not Confused. I can't be bothered to describe the sentiments and hyper-emotionality. There's so much in FLEXCIT I would like to include and discuss in this blog but for the sake of brevity and communicating a few basic ideas (the bullet points at the beginning) and then trying to provide the research and reasoning behind those tentative considerations; it's time to finish this blog and before long move this post's content to a new website and focus even more specifically on this area, usefully in connection to Brexit.

For Friends of the Earth (money and their prebuilt political constituencies), for The Guardian likewise and for Farage/UKIP once again. But are they actually communicating anything of actual value?

By contrast the conclusion I have is that it's a positive step from the Government to signal they are carrying on with the present subsidies of money to Science and to Agriculture:-
Chancellor Philip Hammond guarantees EU funding beyond date UK leaves the EU

Finally, to look at a more specific area within "Agriculure/Environment" (DEFRA):

On the Environment, likewise a more proactive approach than whinging:
"The forestry sector contributes some £1.7 billion a year to the economy and indirectly supports 43,000 jobs. Woods and forests, particularly ancient forests, provide many environmental benefits including enhancing biodiversity and supporting a range of ecosystem services such as water management and climate control.
In addition, forests provide recreational and amenity value to society."
Even within the above policy areas and then within a sub-policy of those: Forestries we see whether or not we're asking the right question and in the right order and concerning the specifics of the policy and it's complexity (and groups' own political colours). Interestingly, if you read FLEXCIT and on 12.0 Agriculture, Forestries is a component that demonstrates the flexible and continuous properties of FLEXCIT as a plan very well:
"This did not stop the agriculture council discussing the EU's (then) new forest strategy,  which  aimed  "to  cut  through  the  mass  of  rules  governing  the protection of forests".  That strategy was announced on 20 September the day after the ECA's report, with a 17-page report calling for a new forestry "framework".  The document conceded that, in the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, there was no reference to specific provisions for an EU forest policy. 

Thus, on technical, financial and legal grounds, the UK could disengage, without prejudice to other programmes, and without any significant political implications. "

It's time to stop whinging uselessly or indeed reading the click-bait Legacy News-Media but if one considers themselves several things:-
  • A Voter
  • A Voter with an especial interest in a specific area
  • A Voter who has a set of skills, or even the time and energy alone
To then as our Prime Minister Theresa May said, "Make A Success Of It" [Brexit]:-

For example on Forestries already:-
This is far more useful if people take this upon themselves (millions who can do so than) relying on the voices of "experts" (check: Are they experts or authorities? Are they secondly the applicable experts to the problem?!) who are still bumbling around concerning the merits or perils of "Brexit Options" as perhaps more adeptly handled but still stumbling around in this discussion concerning "Least-Worst Fashionable Opinions". This has been mentioned recently over at a number of times recently... .