Nick Groom is launched into a tragic reverie by the brand names of herbicides:
Such herbicides have now been acculturated, and the chilling compounds of scientific names and numbers have been replaced by branded lines such as "Artist", "Regatta" and Lewis Stempel's favourite, "Othello". I prefer the more melancholy guise of the "Hamlet" herbicide, available from the Bayer Crop Science UK website. "Hamlet is the latest post-emergence herbicide from Bayer to control black-grass in winter wheat crops" – black-grass being slender meadow foxtail, a rush that was used as a staple of floor covering and on theatre stages in Shakespeare's time; it was one of the everyday smells of Merry England. Today, the exploitation of the land in increasing crop yields means that, as Lewis-Stempel puts it, "every time one buys the lie of cheap food a flower or a bird dies".In America, we tend to think that anti-agribusiness activists will come from the left. But these men are Tories. Like Prince Charles, who was once the biggest organic farmer in Europe, they see modern farming as a threat to what they hold most dear: a world that is old, familiar, small, and thoroughly English. Surely they all voted to leave the EU.