Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville

Monday, November 22, 2004  

Are the police in league with hypermarkets?

Fascinating story coming out of the great dairy wars.

Asda declares war on producers
Asda's PR with Dairy Farmers has taken a dramatic downturn today as both co-ordinators and ordinary protesting farmers have received courier delivered letters from Eversheds solicitors in Leeds, who are acting for Asda. The protests are clearly touching nerve cords and Asda has had enough. The letter admits, "Asda is suffering significant loss." The letter lacks meat and is nothing short of bullyboy tactics. Quite how Asda can contemplate serving injunctions on hundreds of producers is mind boggling but this is their threat including one to seek to recover costs for court proceedings and losses occurred. So how have Eversheds obtained the names and addresses? Since October the police have taken numberplates of protestors but surely have not passed this information on. If what the protestors are doing is unlawful, why have there been no arrests surely everyone has the right to protest? Perhaps the outcome will be that producers will need new protestors or rely on those who have refused to take delivery of the letter. With less than a hundred letters sent and 20,000 plus dairy farmers this should keep Evershed's busy.

So the new world of Dairy UK where producers and processors are to work closer has received a major setback and Asda have upped the stakes. Two weeks ago this newsletter reported FFA's concern that farmers were not coming out to protest. Asda with one letter may have instantly solved FFA's recruitment problem.

If this story has legs, then it seems that something very funny has been going on. Could the police really be involved in something like this? Even with my favourite conspiracy hat (you know the crinkly shiny affair that used to wrap the chicken) on it doesn't seem likely.
But Laurence Robertson the MP for Tewksbury has been asked to find out so no doubt the reality of the story wil limp out sometime after the election.

posted by Eliab | 3:30 pm
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