We've said it before, but it's worth repeating. A public punch-up between the major bacon suppliers will do nothing for consumer confidence and, in the long run, everyone will suffer. So it was encouraging, at the Danes' annual bash last weekend, to hear the accent put on diplomacy rather than retaliation as Scandinavian producers discussed the jibes and jingoistic rhetoric which have livened trade comment. Inevitably, some cynical Brits will sneer that the Danes' penchant for diplomacy is an attempt to divert attention from their failure to keep pace in the the stall and tether debate. Indeed, given the plight facing so many pig producers, it's easy to understand why the heat of debate has been turned up. But, the recently voiced notion that EU pigmeat sold in the UK should bear quasi-government warnings declaring "this product has been produced from systems which are illegal in the UK" is dangerous. It would spark instant retaliation from the continentals who would find grounds on which they could demand a similar declaration for UK pigmeat products sold in their supermarkets. So all this risks making the shopping public hostile to everyone's product. Do the Brits, Dutch and Danes really want a wide ranging public debate about pig welfare or pigmeat safety issues? The Danes' Anne Birgitte Lundholt has been pushing her diplomacy line at a very high level since she threatened to handbag her British critics at the Oxford Farming Conference. And she's got a powerful ally in the shape of Denmark's formidable new farming minister Ritt Bjerregaard who, we're warned, "makes Margaret Thatcher at her fiercest look like a pussycat." Cynics will, of course, say it's not in the Danes' interests to retaliate in this, their most important market. But if the sniping continues they might have to. However, if Lundholt is right, and a "healthy dialogue" really is starting to replace the rhetoric, diplomacy is moving the issue in the right direction. Even if it doesn't go as far as generic advertising. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}