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Brexit has sent the Tories mad, and Scottish farmers are paying the price

Brexit has sent the Tories mad, with polls now showing they are willing to inflict damage on the economy to leave the EU. But it is Scottish farmers who will pay the price, says Richard Lyle, Uddingston and Bellshill MSP.

And here we are…summer 2019 already. Although, I don’t think our Scottish weather has got the message!


Nonetheless, one issue has been producing much heat, but not a lot of sunshine, since I last wrote for Farmers Guardian late last year – and that is Brexit.


Brexit – an issue which has now become a huge part of the Conservative leadership process following the resignation of the Prime Minister, Theresa May.


Of course, in Scotland, we are happy to see the back of a Prime Minister we never voted for.


Her Brexit negotiations were shambolic, failing to take account of the needs of Scotland and its communities and industries.




But the prospect of Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson in Number 10 is even worse, and shows why Scotland should protect its interests by escaping the toxic political system at



For this article, I wanted to focus on some recent polls, with one in particular which was commissioned by the Scottish Government that I found very interesting.


According to this poll, carried out on behalf of the Agricultural Champions appointed by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, 83 per cent of Scots believe farming provides an essential public service, and 86 per cent think the industry is critical to the success of the Scottish economy.


The research also indicates widespread support for more food being grown and produced locally.


I was delighted to see this, and I would wholeheartedly agree.




Against that backdrop, however, I cannot help but be angered at the arrogance and lack of care the UK Government continues to show towards farming.


A recent NFUS survey revealed ongoing uncertainty and a lack of clarity over Brexit has ‘eroded confidence levels’ in Scottish agriculture, with just 11 per cent of farmers and crofters saying a no-deal Brexit would have a positive impact on their business.


Of course it is clear why that confidence is being eroded – through a shambolic handling of Brexit and the destruction of decades of working arrangements and funding for our agricultural communities.


All of this is being torn up for the sake of flimsy promises from this UK Conservative Government.




Staying on the theme of polls, I hope readers won’t mind me highlighting one final YouGov survey from late June 2019.


This poll shockingly revealed that 61 per cent of Tories are willing to inflict significant damage on the economy to deliver Brexit, and a majority of Conservative and Unionist members (63 per cent) would be happy to see Scotland leave the UK.


Readers, the Tories have clearly gone off at the deep end, with their Brexit obsession pushing the party further towards the extremes.


Testament to that is the selection of Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt as candidates to be our next Prime Minister.


This clearly shows the Tory party is intent on pushing Scotland and the UK towards the Brexit abyss, and increases the prospect of an impending economic disaster.




The people of Scotland deserve the choice of a better future than the Brexit shambles on offer from Westminster and the Tory horror show.


As I come to a close, I want to reiterate my message from the last time I wrote for Farmers Guardian.


That is this: Scotland did not vote for this hopeless and callous UK Tory Government.


Neither did Scotland vote to leave the EU, yet we are faced with being dragged out against our will – in the worst possible way – by Boris Johnson.


Another future is possible, and I hope the people of Scotland will soon have their chance to make that choice.


Richard can be found tweeting at @RichardlyleSnp

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