The Aims and Objectives clearly play a number of different roles:-
- As a Government tool - they might (potentially) be used in international
relations and treaties - perhaps at the World Trade Organisation
or at the European Union in Common Agricultural Policy negotiations
- Externally, they may be used to influence the press, public,
and the members of the food and farming sectors that I have surveyed
in the website
- Internally, they are perhaps used as a template for the work
of the Department, and as a device in the development of 'New
Government' and the Public Service Agreements
- Politically, they could be used in a number of ways in the Parliamentary
and electoral processes of the UK
The external effect of these Aims and Objectives is the
focus of the remainder of this work - how the press, public, and
food and farming sectors relate to them, and are influenced by them.
However, the other dimension of the report should not be forgotten:-
Internal Effects. Clearly from the Report, there is now
also a system for high-level development of Government Aims and
Objectives, and a system for enforcing them using the PSA system.
As an outsider, it is difficult to evaluate if the Aims and Objectives
have any effect on these everyday activities of Government itself,
such as the machinery for the collection of information and control
and licensing of the activities in the agricultural sector.
Political Dimensions. There is a general election every
4 or 5 years in Britain, and the winner is elected partly on the
basis of their election manifesto. In this case, the Labour Party
were re-elected in 2001, and their manifest can be found online
This manifesto had a major section on Rural Britain, with sub-headings
of Agriculture and Fishing, Economic Renewal, Rural life, Leadership
for the Future, and Rural Affairs.
In the UK system, the promises made by political parties in their
Elections Manifestos may be used to override the 'business as usual'
life of a Ministry. In the case of the last election, the Labour
Manifesto does not seem to have led to a major change of direction,
although there is an increase in rhetoric about rural issues, it
is hard to evaluate the impact of this.