12/06/2011 The Politics Show Wales


12/06/2011

Jon Sopel and Aled ap Dafydd with analysis of the political scene shaping Wales.


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Later in the programme we'll be looking into the future - farming,

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2222 seconds

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newspapers and the leader of Plaid Welcome to the Politics Show in

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Wales. In a few minutes we'll be looking at the future for

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newspapers and the farming industry, but, first, what lies ahead for

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Plaid Cymru's leader Ieuan Wyn Jones?

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He has been under fire this week for being on holiday in France. He

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missed the Queen opening the new session of the Senedd and the rest

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of the Assembly's business including First Minister's

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Questions. Earlier, I spoke to our North Wales political correspondent,

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John Stevenson, in our Bangor newsroom. I asked him about the

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damage this episode has caused to the party.

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It is an old political truism going back to the days of medieval

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warfare that every land the ticking, every Army needed general. What we

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have seen since this announcement that Lyon when Jones was standing

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down some time in the next two-and- a-half years, we have not seen that

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in this party. It seems to be lurching from one problem to the

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next. Ieuan Wyn Jones was on holidays in France, missing the

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State Opening of the assembly. He missed the first important session

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to First Minister's Questions. It is ironic that three months ago the

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party that was part of the Government that was in charge of

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Wales could get itself into such a whole. Some senior figures within

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the party have asked for him to go sooner rather than later. How

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widespread is that feeling? desire rollick that the party that

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was in government three months ago should be in this situation. Senior

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figures in the party, mostly through the press and interviews,

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suggesting that the period of 2 1/2 years just is not sustainable. We

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have seen those senior figures. I met with the parliamentary leader

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of Plaid Cymru and asked him are we seeing the vultures circling?

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vultures, as you describe them, are the people who were his greatest

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cheerleaders when he took us in on that momentous day, into government

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in the first time in our history. He was the man who did that. Let's

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not forget that he was probably one of the best strategists that Plaid

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Cymru has ever had. To start rounding on him and this way is

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unseemly. We have heard what he has said, saying that he would go in

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his own good time. I don't happen to believe it will be two years,

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but it is a matter for him. We all have to him to let him do it in his

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own time. I have no truck with these vultures. They're not doing

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anybody any good tent at the end of the day they're not doing

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themselves any good either. We have seen in the Telegraph during the

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week about the revelations about the final days of that Blair regime

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and how messy these things tend to become a. Plaid Cymru should have

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learned from their end days of the Blair government and it seems that

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they have not done that. John Stevenson talking to me

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earlier from our Bangor newsroom. The number of local newspapers has

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been in steady decline in the past few years.

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Just last month another title, the Herald of Wales, bit the dust. But

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as the source of local news disappears from the news stand, is

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the rise in online media plugging the gap? As the latest media

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barometer suggests not, we sent our reporter Charlotte Dubenskij to

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investigate. We live in a digital world. No

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longer are we tied waiting for the latest edition of the newspaper.

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Instead a few taps on my phone and I can find a what is happening in

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the world were ever I am. Yet according to the latest survey I am

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not in the majority. 70 per cent of those questioned in will said there

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were more likely to be a fair and newspaper to online media. Despite

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that approval for the printed press, newspaper's circulation across the

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country is dwindling. But the end of the last century are only

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national newspaper had a circulation of 55,000. 11 years

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later in 2010 the paper's circulation dipped below 30,000. So

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if national newspapers are struggling, how our local paper

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surviving? I think the city newspapers, they have the big

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stories, the murders and the scandals, that sort of thing, which

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you can get easily on the Internet. With the weekly newspaper we offer

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things you can get so easily on the Internet. For example a community

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newspapers - community news pages are probably our most popular pages.

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We say what if - what is going on. This paper relies on its local

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following and in return they expect content that is unique to the area.

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High is that information reported when a local paper like this shut

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up shop? For more than 80 years the Guardian served its local area, but

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in 2009 the editions were scrapped. Media will says that's as part of

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its review a close the loss-making week lease to streamline its

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multimedia news operation. Rachel has been studying the effect that

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has had on the people of Port Talbot. The people say that they

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missed it and it is much harder to publicise things. They are grateful

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to have things online because something is better than nothing,

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but it is not doing the job used to do and it is not appealing the

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people it used to attract. There is still a significant element of

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people who are left out of this picture. 2009 was the worst year

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for closures with the 60 titles across the UK going to the press

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for the last time, five per cent of the overall number. Since then even

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more have become defunct, though it says this has been balanced out by

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new lunchers. Concern is being raised over the future of media in

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Wilts. Local papers are vital. It is the way that local people can

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hold their local council accountable and also to be able to

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talk to each other about local issues. When it is put in the wider

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picture of that decline of the print media generally and the

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tightening budgets and restrictions around the BBC and ITV you have a

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serious situation facing the media in Wales. These are difficult times

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for many newspapers, so what does this solution? When newspapers were

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really locally owned and not owned by one of the Big Four News

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conglomerates, the profits were consistently quite high, but big

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part of those problems were reinvested back into the news

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product. It was a more sustainable news model. We also have to look at

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other business models. We should be looking at not-for-profit models,

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even looking at different ways of publicly subsidising the news.

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future of local newspapers is by no means certain, but whether we like

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it or not the availability of online media is there to plug the

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gaps any closures leave behind. Just how important is the Welsh

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farming industry? And what are the key challenges it faces? In a

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moment I'll be talking to the outgoing President of the Farmers'

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Union of Wales and the new Deputy Minister for Agriculture. But first,

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here's our correspondent, Iolo ap Dafydd, with his take on the state

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of farming in Wales. During the past few years the

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farming sector has not been hit as badly as other industries. There

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are concerns, the dry spring, lack of rainfall, escalating fuel prices,

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securing a fair price for produce, and diseases like bovine

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tuberculosis. The new Welsh government run by Labour says that

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many of the rural policies from the previous government will be carried

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on, but the rural affairs the pub has disappeared with no ministerial

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post solely in charge of agriculture. Labour would now argue

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it has to ministers overseeing farming, the Environment Minister

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will be in charge of many aspects of rural Wales and animal health.

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He will announce if the existing policy on bovine tuberculosis will

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continue or change. He and the First Minister voted for a badger

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cull in the past. According to last week's opinion poll it is unpopular

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with two-thirds of the public. Responsibility for other divisive

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topics in farming will sit with Alan Davies - Alun Davies. So an

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industry... farmers and their two vocal unions favour food production

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has been their primary duty. The tide with in that the European

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Union is to pursue an increasingly environment agenda with climate

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change is seen to be crucial. Alan Davies will represent Wales in

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Brussels as long as he is allowed to because it is to UK not wills

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that is a member state. The CAP is being discussed - discussed now.

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The impact of those talks will impact many thousands of farms

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across Wales. How will farms cope with having less support and more

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regulation? Gareth Vaughan stands down as the

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President of the Farmers' Union of Wales at their Annual General

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Meeting next Friday, this morning he's in our Aberystwyth studio. As

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you prepare to hand over the reins, what would you say are the main

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challenges facing the farming sector? They have been outlined

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very well there. The CAP reform is that the greatest concern. We are

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or a little concerned about what we hear that are 1300 amendments

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tabled, someone who has got to spend a lot of time sifting through

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these amendments, we are concerned about comments made by the

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government in Westminster. paint a worrying picture of the

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payments that could come down to Welsh farmers. How could that

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adversely affect her the lives of farmers in Wales? It is our income.

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It is a payment made to farmers for producing food. If the payments go,

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a housewife will have to make up that deficit because farmers can

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produce for less. We have a very high cost base in this country and

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we must meet those costs in order to produce food. Our duty is to

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produce food primarily. Hand in hand with looking after the

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environment, which is what we have done. I think our priority must be

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to encourage to be just farmers to produce food. It is said to one of

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the possibilities for the future will be payments will be more

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directed toward those who care for the environment rather than produce

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food. Surely that is the right thing when climate change is such a

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major concern worldwide. I except that it is vitally important. My

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argument would be if you look at the environment through your window

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today in Wales, it is doing very well. I think farmers have cared

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very well for the Environment, hand in hand with producing food. That

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is the emphasis we must have going forward. You must continue to

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produce food. We have an increasing population throughout the world,

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large areas of the world drying out. We have got to produce food in

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Wales in the wetter west and we - where we have adequate rainfall and

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we can produce a very well. Let's talk about the proposed badger cull.

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There is a new government now, a Labour administration. What would

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your message be to them in terms of dealing with tuberculosis? We would

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hope that we can deal with it wisely. We are aware that trials in

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the past where badgers have been culled have had a dramatic effect

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on tuberculosis in those areas. We think it is vital that the cull

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goes forward, for the benefit of the cattle and the remaining badger

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population. There are large areas of Wales that have no tuberculosis.

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The badgers there as well as the cattle must be protected. I think a

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cull of diseased badgers in infected sets is vital. We will be

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talking to the deputy minister shortly. He is not a member of the

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cabinets. Is that this was a disappointment? It is a

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disappointment. On the other hand, having worked closely with Alan

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Davies in the past he has shown to have a knowledge of agricultural

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issues and the countryside. He was chairman of the Rural Committee in

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the previous assembly and did a very good job and work closely with

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the industry at that time. We thank him for that and look forward to

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working with him closely in the future. Thank you very much indeed.

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Joining me in studio is the new Deputy Minister for Agriculture,

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Alun Davies. Congratulations on your appointment. Becoming a deputy

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minister does not what have the same ring to it as becoming a

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minister. That must be a disappointment to you. I was

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pleased to be appointed. Agriculture and these matters need

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to have a voice in government. There are only 11 ministers in the

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Government's - governments. I'll be in London tomorrow speaking to

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DEFRA, I'll be in Brussels next week representing the industry,

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speaking up for the industry. I don't worry about job titles.

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people in this industry to worry because we have just heard from -

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heard from the Farmers' Union who has said it is a disappointment

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that there is no room in the Cabinet to represent their sector.

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He also set about the agenda facing farmers and the need to insure that

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we have a strong voice representing Wales were ever decisions are taken.

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The key issue here is having a minister with the a authority, the

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ability to stand up for the industry in Wales and so take that

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message to whenever it needs to be taken. Tomorrow Albion London, next

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week Brussels. I will fight hard for this industry. The comments

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that Gareth made about future challenges are central to what I'll

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be doing in the next few years. Let's talk about CAP payments. Your

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predecessor in January described the Welsh farming sector as none of

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viable without CAP payments. Do you share her opinion on the importance

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of these payments? Absolutely. It is important that we use CAP to

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create an prosperous industry in Wales. But we used the opportunity

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we have now a in these negotiations to insure that the payments that

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are made to farmers helped sustain the industry, helped make the

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industry profitable and enable us to produce food. I am bewildered

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sometimes when we hear it this contradiction created between plant

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management and then food production. I don't see any contradiction there.

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Farmers have always been custodians of our environment and have done a

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great job. If the emphasis went from bomb macro the key issue is

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food production. We need farmers to produce food. Garrett was right

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about the challenges facing the sector, and the whole world. I can

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see any reason why we would not want to continue to produce the

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fabulous figure we produce. They are against a switch in emphasis,

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you're not? I don't see it contradiction between the two

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objectives. We produce fabulous food in Wales and I want us to see

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us continuing doing that. industry is what not 0.5 per cent

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of GDP to the Welsh economy. It comes under the remit of the Edwina

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Hart. She is not really going to think that this industry is the

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make or break for the wealth of the station, is she? Myself and have we

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met spent most of Friday discussing this issue. It wean there is

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absolutely committed to the agenda that Gareth outlined earlier. The

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food industry in Wales underpins rural communities. It underpins an

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industry that is enormously important, not just simply in terms

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of wealth generation but as an emblematic industry that is part of

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our identity as a nation. It is hugely important to us and it won't

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be let down by this government. Thank you very much indeed. And

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