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The best future for Scottish farmers will be achieved by pursuing independence

The best future for Scottish farmers will be achieved by pursuing independence from the dysfunctional UK, says John Finnie, Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands.

At the time of writing, we still do not know what the future trading relationship between the EU and the UK will be.

 

The recent chaotic scenes in Kent, after the French authorities closed their borders to the UK, were a sorry way to end 2020, but painted a vivid picture of what the future might hold for hauliers.

 

I am not suggesting the French decision to shut their ports had anything to do with Brexit.

 

It was an entirely justified decision made in the face of a serious public health emergency.

 

Fragility

 

However, it also underlined the fragility of the UK’s position outside the EU and the speed at which things can go badly wrong.

 

Much of the media coverage has focused on shortages of incoming goods; but not enough attention has been given to the perishable goods rotting in the backs of lorries stranded in Folkestone.

 

The actions of the Tory Government this year amount to nothing less than a sustained assault on the UK’s reputation abroad.

 

The pandemic been woefully mismanaged by Boris Johnson and friends from the start, while the bloody-minded insistence on pressing ahead with our full withdrawal from the EU in such a context is obviously reckless.

 

Won

 

Scotland’s reputation for high-quality produce has been hard won by farmers and crofters.

 

The fruits of their labour are rightly prized abroad because customers know they can expect the highest quality.

 

But make no mistake, when traffic delays the arrival of Scottish produce at markets in the EU, if the quality begins to slip because lorries were waylaid in a Kent car park, then regular customers will begin to abandon Scottish produce and it will take an almighty effort to win them back.

 

The damage to Scottish agriculture could prove to be enormous.

 

Rational

 

Ultimately, many in the EU will look at the chaos in the UK and come to the perfectly rational conclusion that doing business here is simply not worth it.

 

This naturally has consequences for getting Scottish produce to foreign markets as haulage firms rely on making round trips to turn a profit.

 

If the flow of goods stops in one direction, the price to send them the other way balloons.

 

Of course, the Tories know this.

 

Even before the new strain of the coronavirus led to delays in the run-up to Christmas it was clear that their determination to pursue the hardest of Brexits would have dire consequences for farmers and crofters in Scotland.

 

Care

 

They simply don’t care.

 

Brexit was never about securing a better deal for farmers and crofters, or indeed anyone besides hedge fund managers and friends of Cabinet Ministers.

 

An increasing number of people in Scotland are tired of suffering the consequences of Tory incompetence and neglect.

 

Our best hope for future lies as an independent country working with our friends in the EU, not merely a disregarded nation within a dysfunctional UK.

 

John can be found tweeting at @JohnFinnieHI

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