From the editor: Is a cunning plan the next step in Brexit comedy?


Brexit hyperbole, or ’claptrap’ as Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron branded it, officially went in to overdrive this week.


Firstly, Prime Minister Theresa May was at it with talk of a ’red, white and blue’ plan for Brexit, which, while patriotic in its symbolism, seemed to add little of substance to the overall debate about Britain outside of the EU.


Then there was Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom reportedly reducing members of the CLA business conference this week to roars of laughter as she told them she could not discuss specific negotiations regarding Brexit and farming. Laughter is sometimes what you want at the conference lecturn, but maybe not on this occassion.


Finally, there was talk of Plans A, B and C for Brexit raised by Mrs Leadsom, and ongoing chatter from Government over whether we were heading for a hard, soft or even grey departure from Europe.


The next step, surely, is for some Government Minister to reveal they have ’a cunning plan’ in the vein of Blackadder’s TV sidekick Baldrick (pictured). Known for his cunning, or lack of it, this would, appropriately, add an extra dimension of farce to the ongoing Brexit satire.


And all the while we have no detailed plan for agriculture, non-farming commentators sharpen their knives and ready themselves to put farming at the bottom of the heap when it comes to the years of negotiations the country faces once Article 50 is triggered.


Read the national daily press this week and you will see many seeking to deride agriculture and make the point it is okay, from their perspective, if farming is used as a bargaining chip or sacrificial lamb in wider trade negotations.


For farming the stakes could not be higher, especially when it is this industry which not only produces employment and wealth for those in rural areas, but is so central to the environmental upkeep of our nation.


While many will understand plans for farming post-Brexit cannot be fully divulged, an inkling of the direction of travel would appease many of those concerned there is no plan at all.


And finally...

The ability of communities to rebuild after the flooding of last year is remarkable (page 4). Let us just hope Christmas 2016 is much drier than 12 months ago.

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