it all boils down to choice - do you want to produce your own coal (miners), do you want to pay £3 for a decent piece of humanely reared chicken breast or are you happy to pay £1 for somthing that has been pumped full of water and hormones, do you want a countryside that is subsidised and 'pretty' or are you going for the Barratt 'cul-de-sac' option.
Yes, there is a contradiction but I choose to protect farmers from 'market forces' so I can have a bit of conservation and a bit of local culture. As the French argue so well, you can't have culture and market forces because culture usually costs you money.
It's a very difficult issue and that's why there's a huge debate going on. Nothing is black and white.
What is sad is that we're got the double wammy in the countryside of increasing 'market forces' and a deliberate attempt by New Labour to get rid of blood sport, the one thing that still that brings them together and serves a practical purpose.
I'm a big believer in Market Forces... Someone will make money by selling chickens at twice the price paid for in the supermarket, but then they do have their own loyal following of consumers for whatever reason.
I'm not too sure though that Britain has done so much better then France and Germany or even Japan... Margaret Thatcher certainly has achieved many worthwhile things whilst in power. But the raping of the NHS and the transport system, not to mention education, may have been a price too much to pay. Unfortunately Labour are in the unenviable position of having to put right some of those wrongs... at the cost of the tax-payer.
Just to respond to a couple of points that have come up whilst I've been away (hunting):
1. Hunting through the city for urban foxes is all very well but firstly the traffic would make it rather dangerous, and secondly hounds rely on scent to hunt their quarry. Any huntsman will tell you that roads don't hold scent the way a good damp, grassy field does. In fact, running down a road is one of the most efficient ways for a hunted animal to escape.
2. Jane Lane: hounds are perfectly friendly animals. They spend their puppyhood living away from kennels, being 'walked' usually with a farming family, although I have known beagle puppies walked in Wapping. They are therefore used to people, pets etc., and are therefore friendly to them. No hunt could risk the PR disaster of the 'hound bites child' sort - quite apart from the PR, hunting is very popular with children, therefore hounds have to be child friendly.
Finally, Paul T, yes there was more tahn one issue at the march, but (as discussed above) anybody not pro-hunt was not welcome on the march. I'm afraid that 407 thousand people will not turn out for the closure of a rural post office!
I hope we helped to contribute to London's car free day by closing plenty of roads.