• IN AN era of UK devolution, the minister at Defra is less important than when all policy was set by London.

  • When it comes to agricultural products every boom has in it the seeds of a slump.

  • The Boulevard of Broken Dreams is a famous poster of disillusioned movie stars in a late night Hollywood diner - and for many that must be how the first session of the new European parliament this week in Strasbourg felt.

  • THE BATTLE over who will be the next European Commission president is an interesting one.

  • WE ALL accused the farm commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, of dragging his feet over CAP reform.

  • WHAT MAKES agricultural markets different is that they are global, but at the same time what happens is the product of hundreds of thousands of individual decisions by farm businesses.

  • IN THE UK, the European election is now over - but if you are reading this on Saturday, voting is about to take place in most EU member states, where Sunday voting is the norm.

  • PROGRESS IN in the air this week, and time will tell whether it yields dividends.

  • INFORMAL FARM councils are always relaxed events, particularly when European elections mean there is no real work to be done, and they are the last hurrah for a departing commissioner.

  • NOW IS when politicians wanting to be elected or returned to the European parliament are at their most receptive in making commitments.