Richard North, 24/01/2005  

When confronted with mounds of paperwork that has to be read in a hurry, one of the tricks of the trade is to read the first paragraph and the last of the piece you have to review. That will often give you the sense of what you are dealing with.

Never more so is this true that a puff for trade secretary Patricia Hewitt in the Guardian today. She is sounding off about how the EU must end world poverty to win respect. The first paragraph reads:

The EU should win over critics by abandoning protectionism and taking the side of campaigners fighting to secure justice for the developing world, the trade and industry secretary has told the Guardian.
Now cut to the last paragraph, which reads:

It may be a tough battle. Last June the EU agreed to begin scrapping export subsidies as part of the Doha round. But, she admits, "we have not yet named one".
QED… hope springs eternal, maybe, but with the EU, the reality is always somewhat different. You really don't need to read the rest.

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