14 MARCH 1998, Page 30

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Sir: The choice of John Humphrys (`The CAP doesn't fit', 28 February) to discuss the CAP and other farming matters ahead of the Countryside March, was an irritating irony: Humphrys is very much the kind of person that triggers the ire of people who live and work in the country.

Starting from origins that he is happy to tell us were humble, Humphrys has made enough from his journalism to buy up £100,000 worth or so of countryside. His motivation is essentially romantic, and he brings with him a carpetbagful of urban notions about what the countryside should be like. No one expects journalism to be as it was in the 1950s: Humphrys requires rural England to be unchanged from his childhood memories. His vision is anachro- nistic, and unfair to those who make up the rural community.

Rather than offering an analysis of a complicated set of trade-offs, Humphrys is content to demonise a couple of easy tar- gets (ministry men and barley barons) and wave the organic banner; fine for a dude farmer, useless for pretty well everyone else. What is really irritating is that their view is now purveyed by Humphrys et al. as the only possible one that makes sense, and that this is accepted by a large proportion of the population. Save your money, sir, and hire someone who knows what he is talking about!

John Robinson

79A Clifton Court, London NW8