It is difficult to say anything new about the CAP Health Check proposals because they have been leaked so extensively. What they amount to is finding a patient who has a number of chronic long-term illnesses which require radical treatment, but then proposing to concentrate attention on the patient's toothache and Athlete's Foot.
The proposed capping of payments to large farms is intended to increase the popularity of the policy by reducing transfers from taxpayers to those who are already propserous. It thus would enable the Commission to portray the policy as one that primarily helps small, marginal or peripheral farmers, albeit in a very inefficient fashion. The issue of why there should be subsidies at all for commercial aspects of farming activity is thereby evaded.
The industry's protectionist subsidy seeking mindset has not actually helped it. It has diverted attention from the needs of the customer and the opportunities presented by higher value added products. A recent example is to be found in efforts to get more Government purchases of food sourced from Britain. Presumably more is not being so sourced because of price/quality problems. Why not identify and tackle those problems?
I never expected much from the Health Check. But there is a need to aim for a more radical reform of policy in the run up to 2013.