Like many farmers, I’m having to remind myself that this is a tough time. Hasn’t onfarm lockdown been a dream. A chance to relax that driveway-wary eye and dry the smalls in full view. Additional benefits included saving a small fortune on hair and make-up outgoings, airing a back catalogue of long-forgotten, feral clothing and not having to see Eugenie Sage on the news every night. Silver linings indeed.
Obviously, it hasn’t all been home-brew beer and skittling trees while the authorities are blinded. I don’t envy all those who home-schooled the daily ABC and spare a thought for our fellow countrymen enduring the BCD trifecta of Bovis, Covid and Drought. It is clear that farming incomes are going to suffer due to Covy, but if March and April were anything to go by, we are at a huge advantage. Buying and selling animals remains as difficult as comprehending the conversation of a Perspex-shielded mask-wearing check-out attendant but I’m otherwise convinced we rural folk have been subconscious pandemic preppers for years.
Supermarket shopping fortnightly at most? No problem. Limit social interaction to a confined few? A geographic necessity. Overseas travel? In my dreams. No idea when your income will come or go? Well doesn’t that sound familiar.
Welcome, urbanites, to the rural way of life. Now how about we come and protest on your doorstep and demand yet more life-stifling legislative change.
But pride cometh before the fall; we ourselves are not yet out of the economic woods and either way, rubbing salt will do no good. Publicly at least. I am hugely thankful for the work of Federated Farmers and take great pride knowing the mettle is there to take the right people to task behind the scenes. If farming is indeed the engine to slowly grind us out of this economic canyon then I trust the Feds’ executive to exert influence where needed.
What I am less trusting of is our own memory. It seems in the face of adversity we forget so very quickly. She hardly needed another crisis to show her exceptional leadership talents, but wasn’t Jacinda outstanding?
While cracks are most certainly starting to show, throughout March and April she held a masterclass and pity anyone who denied it.
As someone who has had three babies in the last three and a half years, memory for me is a long-forgotten concept. Thus, like so many others, I was front and centre of the socially spaced maybe-she-ain’t-so-bad-after-all queue. Surely only Bob Jones and David Seymour would fail to be charmed by those reassuringly short sentences, heart-felt pursed-lipped pauses and talk of the tooth-fairy?
Fortunately my 98-year-old grandfather was on hand to snap me out of my fangirl turncoat trance. Grandad misses the odd detail, including minor ones like our prime minister’s correct name, but he most certainly still has his marbles. “That young prime minister Judith Aturn,” he tells me, “she’s wonderful, but make no mistake, she’s still got an agenda and she’ll return to it the moment she can.”
It’s easy to forget that pre-Covid, business confidence and in fact the economy itself was starting to take a dive. Yet sure as plant-based eggs, the anti-farming legislative barrage would have continued regardless. The coalition Government may well acknowledge farming’s supreme importance now, but it wouldn’t have a few months ago and all who value a stable economy would do well to remember that. Either way Grandad thinks the days of “Judith Aturn” as prime minister are numbered.
“They loved Churchill but they turned on him the moment he won the war and they’ll turn on her too.”
While I’ve always thought of Grandad as quite the prophet, perhaps he’s been around long enough to see history repeating itself and he’s giving me all the answers in one. Maybe September will indeed see Judith getting Aturn.