It should be no surprise on either side of the Channel that Britain's beleaguered farmers are again turning up the heat under France's illegal ban on British beef imports. For, despite the political comings and goings, on July 1 we'll be treated to an absurd Euro farce as the Paris administration, although still legally at odds with Brussels on the issue, assumes the EU presidency. Small wonder the NFU's Ben Gill and Co are setting off on a high level lobbying trail to persuade Chirac, Glavany and Co to see the error of their ways. The beef issue has been off the media's menu for weeks. But now, with the French presidency imminent, our producers are understandably determined to bring it back into the public spotlight. And while this magazine has consistently supported the Blair line that a tit-for-tat trade war would be damaging for French and English industries, costing hundreds of jobs on both sides, our patience, like that of our farmers, is running out. For, like the NFU, we were amazed this week to see UK councils display astonishing insensitivity, where their local food and drink producers are concerned, by promoting local French markets. It's sickening to see local councillors, some having fallen over themselves to back the "Buy Local" exhortations from Nick Brown and Prince Charles, now openly sucking up to commercial groups from France and encouraging them to cross the Channel and flog their wares. As Gill puts it: "That's indefensible given France's continued illegal ban on our beef." Encouragingly, several councils in the south, in support of their farmers, have withdrawn their invitations to the French. And while not wanting to jump on to a boycott bandwagon, we hope others will follow suit. There's been much talk about hooliganism on the football front this week, with the Brits undeniably among the Euro leaders. But when it comes to hooliganism in European politics, the smug French government is light years ahead of ours. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}