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From the editor: Has Westminster ever really wanted Brexit to succeed?

The scale of defeat inflicted on Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement only heightens the threat to farming and the chances of crashing out of the EU without a deal on March 29.

Sheep farmers, in particular, will be watching events with real concern, because of what World Trade Organisation tariffs would potentially mean to their sector.

 

There are, reportedly, already ongoing discussions within Government about contingency planning for rural areas and farm businesses should they struggle with the Brexit transition. And that is in the event of a deal and orderly exit from the EU, let alone what we currently face.

 

The scenario now, however, is a further lurch in to the unknown as the EU exit date draws near, and it is one which will only further erode people’s belief in our political system. Whether you are Leave or Remain, there is no way either can be happy with the shambolic handling of the entire process.

 

Many observers, be they farmers or members of the public, are now switching off to the entire Brexit saga and are bored by the ongoing machinations on the issue. The world has not stopped turning for agriculture, even if it has for those in the political bubble of Westminster.


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When all is said and done and wherever this saga ends, the damage to Parliamentary democracy might be the lasting epitaph of Brexit.

 

You could argue the referendum result was fuelled by the growing detachment between MPs and their people, and the shoddy infighting and political point scoring which has defined the Brexit process will have done little to bridge that gap.

 

Farming continues to assess the impact of no-deal and while the UK Farming Roundtable is making the right noises, it is hardly a revolutionary intervention the NFU et al, already opposed to Brexit, let alone no deal, have again reasserted their position.

 

The Brexit debacle goes way beyond farming, of course, and what the whole country needs now is resolution to what has become, frankly, a national embarrassment.

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