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The MPs who have ditched Labour and the Tories to fight Brexit are courageous

The MPs who have left Labour and the Conservatives to fight Brexit are courageous, says Cheshire dairy farmer Phil Latham.

Oh dear, oh dear what a shambles.

 

When I asked Twitter what the upside of Brexit would be for farmers, I got a mixed response, mostly negative.

 

There will be winners and losers about summed it up.

 

I’m sure profitable farming will continue, but I do expect there to be significant changes. Perhaps our greatest mistake was assuming this benign period in which we have lived would go on forever.

 

While I was at one of my last NFU council meetings hearing about the fate of farming, 30 members of my family were at a cemetery in France for a memorial service, 100 years to the day, for my grandad’s brother, Herbert Stanley Latham, whose fate was to die of wounds suffered in the Battle of the Somme.

 

Peace

 

His uncle died there too, and I wonder whether we have forgotten what the enormous price was for the peace we have enjoyed and if we have become so used to the benefits of post-war cooperation, we can no longer remember what the alternatives are.

 

One only has to look over the EU’s fence to see every neighbour has an area with a Foreign Office travel warning.

 

With less than a month to go to the deadline for the end of negotiations on our withdrawal from the EU, we are still wondering what on earth the country has signed up to.

 

At the recent NFU conference, Defra Secretary Michael Gove finally admitted we may lose our food export markets in a no-deal scenario, at least for a time.

 

Our MPs are playing a game of brinkmanship and we’ll soon see if the no-deal bravado has been a bluff and what the consequences of such a scenario are, that is of course if there isn’t an Article 50 extension.

 

Blame

 

I have no doubt now that we will see a blame game emerge. Threats to renege on financial commitments and a ‘we’ll teach them’ attitude hardly make for a cordial post-exit conversation about future trade partnerships.

 

It appears that the country is going through a period of bad luck. It is bad luck our political leaders are, quite frankly, incompetent.

 

The Leader of the Opposition, though popular with students and those who welcome wealth redistribution, is performing staggeringly badly in the polls, even though he’s up against a weakened Prime Minister of a minority Government whose party is riven by division and who seems to be fixated on reducing immigration, perhaps trying to complete the task she miserably failed to do at the Home Office.

 

Having met a Home Office official responsible for rules for workers post-Brexit, I think there really should be some alarm in agriculture and food processing about who will do the work migrants have gladly undertaken.

 

Dream

 

The dream of automation to me is a simple nonsense unless the price for it changes or the market starts to reward producers sufficiently to cover the costs of depreciation.

 

The highlight for me in this recent period is that finally some courageous MPs have had enough of the nonsense and are no longer able to peddle the party myths they’ve been asked to push.

 

The European Research Group’s hold on one end of the political spectrum and Momentum’s on the other have been challenged by the new Independent Group.

 

How long it will last, no-one knows, but it does seem to have brought Labour around finally towards support for a vote on ratification of the deal.

 

Unlucky

 

Our car industry appears to be unlucky too. Whether it is Nissan, Honda or Jaguar Landrover, there seems to be a growing list of car manufacturers who are changing their business model.

 

Nothing to see here, and nothing to do with Brexit of course, but the trend appears to be one of contraction and job losses.

 

Professor Patrick Minford, the only economist touted by Leave campaigners who supported Brexit, suggested car manufacturing might go the way of coal and steel after we leave the EU.

 

Worryingly, he wrote agriculture off too.

 

Phil can be found tweeting @PhilLatham


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