Shift to the right for rural Hungary
ETYEK, HUNGARY - Farmers in this remote corner of Europe seem to have the same gripes you could hear in Wiltshire or West Lothian.
Imre Hegedus wants more rain, and he worries about the health of his herd of 1,700 dairy cattle, but the thing that really drives him to distraction is the buying power of the big supermarkets.
Names familiar from British high streets dot the landscape between Budapest and this village about 50 miles (80km) to the south west.
Complaints against the likes of Tesco, Spar or Lidl are widely heard in Hungary these days, where the power of the "multi-nationals" and its perceived effects on traditional rural life, are a hot election issue.
Mr Hegedus tells me that he is losing 8 cents (just under 8p) on ever litre of milk his farm produces - and that adds up to around 2,000 euros each day.
The dairy farmer is currently expanding his farm with a European Union (EU) grant. He is trying to achieve the economies of scale and production methods needed to compete with the Slovak and Polish dairy producers who also sell milk to the foreign owned supermarkets in Hungary.
Like many Hungarians, Mr Hegedus will vote for nationalists in the European elections - it is just a case of how far to the right he feels like going.
The Fidesz party is expected to poll around 60% of the vote. Jobbik, a newly established group to the right of Fidesz hopes for more than 5%. This would give Fidesz around 14 of the country's 22 European parliamentary seats and Jobbik one.
In recent weeks Jobbik has received much press attention. The party has a uniformed wing, the Magyar Guard, which it says stands ready to combat crime by the country's Roma minority.
Having attended one of its election meetings, the echoes of the 1930s are clear.
Mr Hegedus says that he has not yet decided whether Jobbik is a serious party worthy of his vote.
Many of its slogans, for example about combating the power of the multinationals or protecting Hungarian rural land ownership appear to address the diary farmer's concerns directly.
But he is sceptical about whether these policies could be delivered while the country remains subject to EU rules and regulations.
Neither Jobbik nor Fidesz proposes leaving the EU or even re-negotiating Hungary's membership.
Given the limits that staying within the Union would place on any policies that might be challenged as uncompetitive or discriminatory, the answer might lie with Mr Hegedus making common cause with dairy producers in surrounding countries.
But while he has led protests by local dairy producers against Tesco, he has not yet investigated that possibility.
I couldn't help wondering as I left the farm whether they might not challenge the supermarkets more effectively and make the EU work for their interests rather than against them if they organised in Hungary and its surrounding countries.
UPDATE - 16 JUNE 2009
fabsoursweet - well I hope the functioning or otherwise of the EU and its role as a moderator of political extremism has got something to do with the maintenance of peace. Actually reading the insights of those who commented above I'm really glad that I blogged on this subject. I must get down to the farm more often...
One reader contacted me offline to tell me that Etyek was not remote and was as close to the capital as Surbiton is to London. I'm kicking myself both because I didn't check out the distance I'd been given but also because, if I'd realised how close it was, I would have headlined the blog "The Suburbia of Buda".