Confirmation that it cost the Competition Commission £3.75m to convince itself that the multiples are not overcharging consumers ought to have been the final act in the pathetic, time-wasting Rip-off in Grocery saga. Yet, I suspect it won't be. For, as the terms of reference of the independent commission into farming and food production loom, we are being treated to a barrage of potentially sinister rhetoric from an ever expanding group of politicians, loony self-styled ginger groups and motley rural lobbyists. And before "disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" again reaches for his pen to brand me as a "countryside hater", let me add that I believe there are many serious rural issues that the commission should tackle. I only have a problem when the official agenda is hijacked and rebranded as a Competition Commission Inquiry Mk Two. True, the word out of Whitehall still insists that the commission will not be diverted from its real task by environmental freaks with daft rural agendas. But it's not only this writer who suspects the probe will spawn a series of sub-inquiries which could, yet again, turn a stronger than necessary competition spotlight onto the food chain, and the five top multiples in particular. Sainsbury chief Sir Peter Davis puts it succinctly when he suggests there is insufficient understanding of the processes and cost structure of the supply chain by many of its participants. And there certainly should be a review in order to satisfy everyone ­ from consumers through to food producers and farmers. However, what is surely more dangerous is the obvious lack of understanding by politicians, or, more accurately, those who place "official viewpoints" into their heads, about the workings of the chain. Behind the scenes, some serious thinkers along the food chain are putting their heads together before attempting to put a balanced view to the commission of the real commercial scenarios, and the way they interact with the rural scene. They must be given a fair hearing. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}