I’m quite angry today as I am in that odd situation of knowing a lot more about a news story than is presented in the media coverage. The matter concerns beef. Yes, I am a vegetarian, but I have had the fun of discussing the beef ban with the French Ambassador to London, Gerard Errera, who is quite an authority on the subject.
Well, it seems that the British press has forgotten all the fights between Britain and France over beef perhaps 7 years ago. BBC 6 o’clock news heralded the “lifting of the ban on exports of British beef”. Well, yes, the export of live beef cattle and beef on the bone. Boneless beef has been OK to export for quite some time – see this better article from BBC News Online – but that point seems to be lost among the interviews with smiling farmers who can once again transport their cattle off in trucks to mainland Europe. Further, I have used the example many times in courses I teach about how France and the UK’s arguments over boneless beef exports demonstrate that the EU’s Single Market rules can work. Any one of those people who heard my explanation and saw the 6 o’clock news will now think I was just talking rubbish.