Tory ‘weasel words’ and broken promises

February 16 2017, 7.23pm

Sir, – In the EU referendum, the Leave campaign said Conservative farming minister, George Eustice: “told farmers at the launch of Farmers for Britain that the UK government will continue to give farmers and the environment as much support – or perhaps even more – as they get now.”

Yet, since getting that Leave vote, the spirit of those words have not been matched.

While they say support will continue to 2020, what happens after that is as clear as slurry.

At the Oxford Farming Conference in January the BBC reported that Mr Eustice had said there would be no more subsidies post 2020 for farmers.

The Government’s White Paper on Brexit doesn’t meet the spirit of Mr Eustice’s promise.

Now we’ve had the Scottish Conservative leader suggest powers over regulation will be retained by Westminster rather than devolved from Europe as promised by the Leave campaign.

Considering Theresa May is desperate for a trade deal with President Trump that could open up the UK to American produce, this has set alarm bells ringing.

Such weasel words come nowhere near the promise made to farmers and crofters, and considering Conservative governments’ habit of cutting public spending, those words hide a myriad of possibilities for a leopard that doesn’t change its spots.

The position of the UK government suggests that, just as it sold out Scottish fishermen, it will use farmers as a bargaining chip – perhaps to get the support of other EU states to ensure the banks in the City of London retain free access to the EU market.

Any votes the Conservatives get from Scotland’s farming communities in the local elections in May will be used to claim they have the endorsement of those communities to implement that weasely-worded paragraph.

Just as with so many other issues, the Tories will take it as a sign that they can do what they like to Scotland and get away with it.

James MacDonald.
Dealbhadh Croite,
Benderloch,
Oban

SNP do not care about Scotland

Sir, – The SNP government clings on to the EU issue as the only lever it has to try to demand another Scottish referendum.

It bemoans the loss to Scotland of EU trade as a result of Brexit, yet Scotland’s trade with the EU has been stagnant for years.

Scotland’s trade with the rest of the world is outstripping its trade with the EU, and by far Scotland’s largest trading partner is the rest of the UK

Scotland’s trade with the rets of the UK is worth four times its trade with the EU.

If Scotland’s economic wellbeing were really at the heart of the SNP’s concerns, we would hear no more of Scottish referendums or of Scotland leaving the UK.

Doing so would be seriously detrimental to Scotland’s economic wellbeing.

The SNP’s concern is with separating Scotland from the UK.

Its agit-prop campaigns are geared only to that.

The economic well-being of Scots and of Scotland is demonstrably not a priority for the SNP.

Jill Stephenson.
Glenlockhart Valley,
Edinburgh.

No inevitability about indyref2

Sir, – Perception management by the Scottish Government may tempt us to believe a second independence referendum is inevitable in the short- to medium-term.

I question the basis of such inevitability, not by virtue of being a unionist, but with regard to the paradox of the reported EU referendum voting patterns of those who voted for and against Independence in 2014.

Notwithstanding the twists and turns of polling data and interpretation by esteemed psephologists, there remains one supreme irony.

The UK Government has weighed the EU anchor and is setting a course to full self- sustaining sovereignty, whereas, the Scottish Government appears unwilling to break out the anchor and join the convoy.

Ron Sturrock.
Ferryden,
Montrose.

SNP using EU as a smokescreen

Sir, – I wonder how often over the coming weeks Nicola Sturgeon will peddle the “alternative fact” that she doesn’t really want a referendum – it’s Westminster’s actions that leave her little choice.

Wrong.

Even though the SNP constitution has breaking up the UK as the party’s principal objective, the SNP leader nevertheless has a choice.

Yet, since last June, rather than cooperate with Westminster, Sturgeon decided to make one unrealistic Brexit demand after another – all of which she knew were unachievable.

And all were designed to lead to the point I fear we may soon arrive at – Ms Sturgeon attempting to demand another referendum.

Granted, the timing is not ideal for the SNP leader.

Opinion polls almost consistently since September 2014 have opposed both another referendum and also separation.

Most realise Brexit is the SNP’s smokescreen for indyref2.

Ms Sturgeon admits her teenage dream of independence is what drives her above all else.

Let us hope, for the sake of the standard of living of ordinary Scots, that dream once more becomes her living nightmare.

Martin Redfern.
Royal Circus,
Edinburgh.

More disdain for Scotland

Sir, – Hardly a week goes by without another example from the Tories of the arrogant disdain they treat Scotland.

This time it is a leaked UK Government memo showing key industries will be a low priority for the UK Tory government in Brexit negotiations.

Listed are construction, water, telecoms, steel, oil and gas, environmental services and medical – some, if not all, key employers in Scotland.

Meanwhile, we often hear of how they want a special deal for the bankers in the City of London, or how the Nissan car factory in Sunderland will be protected in a secret deal – an area that voted 61% Leave to Scotland voting 62% Remain.

In the coming local government elections, voters can send a message to the Tories that they will not be treated as a low priority in their Brexit negotiations because they will claim every vote as an endorsement for their plans.

If people turn out and vote for candidates opposed to these plans they can send them the message that the Tories can’t treat Scotland’s industries as a low priority.

Graham CB Roberts.
13 Caithness Street,
Glasgow.

Dismiss those responsible

Sir, – An official report by building expert Professor John Cole, following the collapse of a school wall and the widespread closure of schools in Edinburgh, found that steel rods were not fitted properly and that there was a lack of council supervision to pick up bad practice (February 10).

Local government minister Kevin Stewart says he has written to all councils in Scotland saying: “I have underlined the importance of adhering to building regulations, technical standards and the inspection process.”

Both he and Andrew Kerr, chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council, have vowed “lessons have been learned”.

These are not the words people want to hear.

The words they want to hear are: “Those council employees who failed in their duties have been identified and been sacked without compensation.”

Clark Cross.
138 Springfield Road,
Linlithgow.

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