What The Papers Say: Labour’s swift action gives plenty to beef about

The decision to ban beef on the bone put Whitehall on the horns of a dilemma. Leader writers and commentators showed consistent sympathy for the financial ruin facing farmers and condemnation for the rush to implement a ban. Broadsheets and tabloids united against agriculture minister Jack Cunningham for his decision-making on the hoof. By an act of gross mis-timing, the issue clashed with farmers’ protests against foreign beef imports, forcing the Government ’off message’. Some saw it as a further turn of the screw by metropolitan New Labour against rural Olde England.

The decision to ban beef on the bone put Whitehall on the horns of

a dilemma. Leader writers and commentators showed consistent sympathy

for the financial ruin facing farmers and condemnation for the rush to

implement a ban. Broadsheets and tabloids united against agriculture

minister Jack Cunningham for his decision-making on the hoof. By an act

of gross mis-timing, the issue clashed with farmers’ protests against

foreign beef imports, forcing the Government ’off message’. Some saw it

as a further turn of the screw by metropolitan New Labour against rural

Olde England.



The need for the Government to take a more proactive stand on risk

assessment was not shared by all. That it was right to act quickly had a

fair showing but few writers chose to see it as purely exercising its

duty to protect the public. Matthew d’Ancona (Sunday Telegraph, 7

December) put the ban in the context of European politics; pointing out

that it relieves immediate pressure on the Government to put British

beef back on the tables of Euro-gastronauts.



Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Cuttings supplied by The

Broadcast Monitoring Company. ’What The Papers Say’ can be found at:

www.carma.com



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