Just as the fishing industry has been sacrificed on the altar of Brexit we now have the farming industry sacrificed on the altar of ‘Global Britain’ and what is, in effect, a publicity stunt for the G7 meeting next month.
The proposed trade deal with Australia will give tariff-free access for their farming produce to the British market, phased in over a 15-year period. The negotiation is undergoing what is described as a ‘sprint’ in order that the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, can sign the deal at the G7 in Cornwall next month.
Last year the Government rejected amendments to the Trade and to the Agriculture Bills aimed at safeguarding both food standards and our own farming industry. One of these was proposed and supported by 33 Tory MPs, who obviously did not trust their own Government. As a concession, it was agreed that the Agriculture Bill would include a new Trade and Agriculture Commission, to be set up in order to scrutinise trade deals and report back to Parliament three weeks before any deal is signed.
The G7 meeting is between June 11-13, and the Trade and Agriculture Commission has yet to be set up. A recent opinion poll showed that the vast majority of the British public want to support our farmers by preventing food produced to standards not allowed in the UK from entering the country. Australian beef is injected with antibiotics and hormones at present banned in this country. One of these hormones is believed to be carcinogenic.
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We are therefore to have a deal rushed through, without the promised scrutiny, which will irreparably damage our farming industry and will allow access for food which is detrimental to our health. So, this is what ‘Global Britain’ is all about?
Brexit failings keep piling up
The ongoing farce of ‘Brexit’ has understandably been pushed off the front pages by the pandemic, but the failings keep piling up to show what a huge mistake it has all been.
Our fishing communities are worse off than before, facing masses of paperwork to get their produce over to the markets that buy it.
All they have to show for ‘Brexit’ are promises of some meagre gains in what they can catch years from now.
The hospitality industry, already struggling because of the pandemic, is being hit by labour shortages as many EU citizens have left the country.
British migrants living in the EU face uncertainty due to changed residency rules which may wreck plans to work, or retire, abroad, whilst EU citizens here live ‘in limbo’ with an uncertain future. Shamefully some EU citizens arriving in the UK have even been locked-up and then deported!
Meanwhile the Government is making the UK the ‘desperate man’ of the world stage begging the EU to reopen the trade deal agreed in December.
No wonder – imports from the UK to the EU in the first quarter of 2021 are down by over a third whilst EU exports to the UK fell by only 14 per cent, meaning the EU’s trade surplus with the UK increased to €35.8bn.
Other countries see this and have the UK over a barrel when negotiating.
Take the Australia Trade Deal, which even some former ‘Brexiteers’ are now against. Farmers warn it could damage our agriculture and countryside.
Taken all together it is little wonder that Lord Frost, the Government’s Brexit negotiator, says they are looking to recruit an “external adviser to identify post-Brexit opportunities”.
An unelected government official looking to appoint yet another unelected bureaucrat, paid for out of our taxes, to tell us why Brexit is so great.
Too expensive to go electric
There is an ad on television at the moment for a Renault electric car (I think) and the small print, which you need to be quick to read before it disappears, states an initial deposit of £7,000 plus 36 monthly payments of £199 and a completion payment of £15,000.
Maths is not my best subject but I make that around £30,000.
How can ordinary folk afford amounts like this to go electric?
What will Harry’s children think?
As I watch the increasing mental deterioration of Prince Harry through each painful episode being broadcast by the American media, I wonder what his own children will have to say in 20 years’ time both about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and the celebrity friends, who encouraged Harry along this public path.
M J Dickinson
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