"Defra is a byword for immobilism, incompetence and ineptness."

Putting our farmers first would be good start
Country people might be forgiven for thinking that there is something almost Biblical in the way they are being repeatedly tested. "Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field," says the Book of Exodus. "There shall be a very grievous murrain." But this murrain might turn out to have been spread by human agency.

It is still too early to know exactly what caused the infection but, should it emerge that the virus came from a government facility, the episode might stand as a neat metaphor for the way in which our rural communities have been treated by Defra and, more widely, by the first British government whose Cabinet had not a single MP from an agrarian constituency. It is true, as Janet Daley says

My stepson, Harry, had a brief experience of Defra this year. After Cambridge and a PhD at Bristol he decided not to pursue a reseach post and instead joined the civil service fast-track working at Defra as a statistician. To cut a long story short he ended up handing in his notice (unheard of for a fast-tracker) and telling his boss he would rather wash dishes for a living than spend another day working for Defra.** Incompetence and ineptness? You don't know the half of it.

(**He's now back in a university department, heading up a research project. He walks to work, earns more money and is much happier. And he's no longer surrounded by twats.)