BREXIT: My fears for the farmers

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Although I am not directly involved in farming, I have a great deal of sympathy for farming people, particularly with regard to the difficulties they are experiencing from extreme weather.

However, I am more concerned that should the Brexitists, including Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, a member of the European Research Group, have their way and we resign our membership of the EU, farming seems certain to be severely disadvantaged.

This would be financially and in terms of manpower, such as workers from Eastern Europe, whilst the export of meat to mainland Europe will become difficult – “impracticable”, some say.

The Government has claimed that farming grants and subsidies will be maintained after Brexit (should that ever happen). However, my understanding is that there will be no binding commitment of such support on a long-term basis.

Governments are not renowned for honouring their promises if it proves inconvenient, impractical or unrealistic so to do. This process may be subsumed under the heading ‘political expediency’.

It appears to me that British governments have been unhappy at the amount of subsidy “given” to farmers, but found it convenient to blame the EU for the situation; a common device for almost anything unpopular, I suggest.

It is also clear, and is Government policy, and is noised as the main justification for Brexit, that once Britain has “taken back control” (not that people in general would be doing any such thing), the plan is, having formally adopted EU arrangements and laws for a brief period, to give itself the power to modify each and every one as it sees fit.

It is then, I fear, that farming subsidies will be under attack, not least because it seems that any impaired British financial position simply would not allow things to continue as they were.

Jacob Rees-Mogg was quoted as saying that it would take 50 years for the “benefits” of Brexit to manifest themselves. By then, of course, it will be too late for anyone to remedy the situation.

I understand that in 2016 significant numbers of farmers in Northumberland voted to leave the EU. This may not be so, but I am puzzled as to why they would so do.

Perhaps we should be allowed to vote on whether we wish to accept any ‘deal’ regarding leaving the rest of Europe, or to choose to remain. Surely any decently democratic government would wish to give its eligible members the opportunity to express their wishes once they see what exactly is being offered.

I do not see why the British people should be railroaded into accepting any arrangement likely severely to damage their interests just because a few warring politicians either desire such an outcome or have allowed themselves to be manipulated into accepting it.

‘Deals’ are for gamblers.

It reminds me of a situation when I went to inspect a used car with a view to buying it. The salesman explained that I couldn’t try it out because he didn’t have the key for it, but asked if I wanted to buy it anyway. What would you do?

Kenneth G McDonald,