Not only is Scotland being hauled out of the EU against our will, we are now faced with the prospect of being dragged back to the days of rationing in a no-deal Brexit, says John Finnie, Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands.
“We will look at this issue in the round and make sure that there is adequate food supplies,” was a comment from a UK Government’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, an early indication of the blasé attitude which is now de facto Government policy.
More than 62 per cent of voters in Scotland voted to remain in the EU, yet it appears that, not only are we being hauled out against our will, we are now faced with the prospect of being dragged back to the days of rationing with a ‘no-deal’ Brexit looking more likely by the minute.
A recent poll showed that the people of Scotland held farming and famers in very high regard indeed.
It showed 86 per cent believe that farming was a critical industry for the Scottish economy and 83 per cent thinking farming was in fact an essential public service.
On its website the NFU Scotland (NFUS) say ‘NFU Scotland considers it vital that the outcome of the Brexit negotiations give Scottish farmers, crofters and growers opportunities to profitably and sustainably grow their businesses so they can continue to underpin the rural economy, local communities and environmental gains.’
Unfortunately neither of these is a view that the UK Government is prepared to back.
Crashing out of the EU without a deal may appeal to Brexit cheerleaders like our newly minted Prime Minister, however, the reality is that leaving the world’s largest trading bloc to dive into the unknown is neither a sensible nor desirable outcome.
We know already from comments by the US President that ‘everything will be on the table’ in a future trade deal with ‘Brexit Britain’.
This could lead to the produce from our farmers, which is renowned for its quality and provenance, being in a market flooded with chlorinated chicken and other produce from the United States with much lower health and hygiene standards.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Trumpification of Westminster politics means that the ‘controlling our borders’, by farcically closing them to those we actually want and need to welcome, is more important than ensuring we have the right skills in our local economies.
As communities throughout the Highlands and Islands can attest, immigration enriches our population and ensures that the necessary staff are available to work in important sectors such as farming and the NHS.
There is a broad consensus in the Scottish Parliament, with four of the five parties represented, acknowledging that dragging the country out of the EU against its will is a dangerous folly which should be avoided.
The question of how to protect our place in Europe from the Tories’ pet project is now more important than ever, and Scotland taking our future into our own hands looks increasingly like the only option.
John can be found tweeting at @JohnFinnieHI