Two letters from two very different people but with a single theme have appeared in today's Ely Standard. The first, in order of page layout, is from an officer of the National Trust and it says 'welcome' to Mr James Paice's recent 're-think' on the so-called 'Wicken Vision.' It speaks for itself, as follows:
"Strategy had wide vision
I refer to your article 'MP calling for re-think on Wicken Fen Vision and provision of land for food production', on March 4.
We welcome the fact that someone who has been so involved in the development of the Conservative Party's strategy for agriculture has taken an interest in this project in relation to the wider public benefits; balancing food production and the environment. It is particularly pleasing that their strategy takes a position that is based on the environmental underpinning of agriculture.
Food production is not a black and white confrontation with the environment; it is a complex global issue that will need understanding, consideration and joined up thinking.
We were fortunate to welcome Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, to Wicken Fen in February to celebrate World Wetlands Day and host a discussion with the NFU, local farmers and the Environment Agency on balancing food production and enhancement of the natural environment in the Fens.
Find out more at www.wicken.org.uk
Property Operations Manager
National Trust Wicken Fen
Mr Soans is pictured above. He is the one on the left. He and his colleague are plotting their next move.
And the second letter, in order of page layout, is from a different person taking a rather different line. It, also, speaks for itself, as follows:
"Save the farmland
I don't want to appear ungrateful or ungenerous because I am truly grateful to James Paice, MP, for his seeming generosity in shifting his position somewhat on Wicken Vision. The fact that Mr Paice believes that food production in our Fens is important is to be welcomed.
What I cannot follow, though, is Mr Paice's tortuous reasoning, for he lays the blame for his sitting on the fence and his biting of his tongue on the pressures of party politics. One of the reasons for me standing as an independent against Mr Paice, a friend for many years, is that I am totally fed up with party politics even entering the on-going debate about Wicken Vision.
Why, may I ask, is the future of several thousand acres of the country's finest food-growing farmland a party political matter? I am quite sure that Wicken Vision will not be named as such in the Conservative Party's manifesto that Mr Paice has been so pre-occupied with of late. It is not a party political matter. It is plain common sense that thousands of acres of the best farmland should not be laid waste in the way that the National Trust wants.
David Lloyd George, the former Prime Minister, deployed a splendid insult against a political opponent. He said that the gentleman had 'sat on the fence so long that the iron has entered his soul.' Fence-sitting and tongue-biting can be painful, but to different parts of the body. Mr Paice should eschew them both.
Mr David Lloyd George (1863 - 1945), otherwise known as 'The Goat,' is pictured below.