I have not met Mariann Fischer-Boel, the EU Commissioner for agriculture, but I really like the sound of her - straight talking and cares about farming, which is more than you can say for the UK Government. It is also a lot more than you can say for several Labour AMs - so much so that Carwyn Jones has to put on anti farming clothes to stand any chance of taking over from Rhodri Morgan as leader of the Labour Party in Wales.
Fischer-Boel is blunt in her low opinion of the UK Government. Only Westminster made a total horlicks of the new Single Payment Scheme - and they have already promised more of the same next year. There is hardly a farmer in England who would not prefer to be working with the Assembly. It is only the UK Government who want to renege on the EU Budget agreement for 2007/13, which the UK itself brokered - and they started reneging almost before the ink was dry. The only reason the UK signed in the first place was to get Blair out of a gigantic hole. It is only the UK Government who want to let farming take its chance in a world where almost every other country carries on with subsidy.
I am pleased that the DG Agriculture's head man on CAP reform has accepted my invitation to speak to the Environment, Planning and Countryside Committee's next meeting. It will be nice to here some answers direct from the Commission rather than hearing only the Assembly Government's rewriting of them.