Foot and mouth disease was confirmed last night on a farm near Guildford, Surrey. My great sympathy goes out to all worried livestock farmers throughout the UK. The last outbreak in 2001, badly handled by the government, became a devastating year-long epidemic which resulted in 6.5m animals being slaughtered and thousands of farmers losing their livelihoods. I'm sure plans are now in place to control far more effectively any possible spread of this highly contagious disease. Already Gordon Brown and Defra seem in charge of the situation. All movements of cattle, sheep and pigs have been banned throughout the country. Containment is the key and what happens during the next few days will be crucial. The last occurrence also led to a huge loss of tourism revenue when footpaths were closed and access to the countryside restricted. I'm convinced things won't spiral out of control this time - if everyone stays calm and rational.