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Scottish farmers can be forgiven for remaining sceptical about Boris Johnson

The PM might appear to have a new-found fanaticism for ensuring Scottish farmers are paid what they are owed, but they can be forgiven for remaining sceptical of his motives, says Green MSP John Finnie.

There was recently some concrete progress towards resolving the saga of Scotland’s missing convergence payments.

 

Nearly six years on from the EU providing a €223m CAP uplift to the UK, based solely on the Scottish agriculture sector, the Chancellor Sajid Javid has confirmed Scotland will finally receive the payments it should have had from the start.

 

It was clear from the outset that the Conservative Government’s decision to spread the funds across the UK based on the historic allocations used for other CAP payments was unreasonable and entirely outwith the principles which underpin EU convergence funding.

 

This act of larceny from the Tories is symptomatic of their total disregard, not only for Scottish crofters and farmers, but for the concept of subsidiarity in its entirety.

 

Standing up

 

Standing up for Scotland’s crofters and farmers is the responsibility of its Government and Parliament.

 

It is a devolved matter and has been for two decades now.

 

That the Conservatives expected these institutions to simply roll over while their efforts to support agriculture were undermined is astoundingly arrogant.

 

While it’s welcome that they appear to have seen the light, for now at least, Conservative attempts to spin this injustice as in some way the fault of the EU are entirely false.

 

The blame for this scandal can only be placed at the feet of the UK Conservative Government.

 

Credit

 

The Scottish Government has, to its credit, pursued this issue consistently, and in a rare show of unanimity, it has been backed fully by the Scottish Parliament.

 

It received that firm backing because the point being made was so plain, so obviously correct, that it would take a fool to argue against it.

 

Nevertheless, Westminster Tories managed to do just that. Throughout this process they have been evasive, uncooperative and often disinterested.

 

It is therefore not unreasonable for all interested parties to remain sceptical of Boris Johnson’s new-found fanaticism for ensuring Scottish crofters and farmers get what they’re owed.

 

While this is surely the most uncertain period in many years, we are currently still set to leave the EU.

 

Different

 

The political situation changes almost hourly and the state of play as I write this could be radically different from the one you find yourself in as you read it.

 

Indeed, given the rate at which his Prime Minister is losing votes in the Commons, who knows how long the Chancellor that promised the repatriation of our money will remain in post?

 

But that uncertainty is precisely why this whole sorry episode will breed deep anxiety among Scotland’s crofters and farmers.

 

The contempt with which they have been treated throughout this process by the UK Government will not inspire confidence, in a period where confidence and certainty are valuable commodities.

 

John can be found tweeting at @JohnFinnieHI


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