No-one should be surprised to discover that Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement prepares the ground for betrayal of our fishing interests. Just as the Tories deemed Scottish fishing to be “expendable” in negotiations on the way in, they are now betraying the industry on the way out of the EU. The current Scottish Tories promised the moon, and now they look set to sell out fishing all over again. As I have often said – the greatest predictor of the future is the past.
Theresa May has insisted that the “fisheries agreement is not something we will be trading off against any other priorities” but this is odds with the 26 page political declaration that makes a clear link between European access to British waters and terms of a wider economic deal.
Paragraph 75 of the political declaration states that “within the context of the overall economic partnership the Parties should establish a new fisheries agreement on, inter alia, access to waters and quota shares”. The Scottish Fishing industry is essentially being used as a bargaining chip in wider trade talks.
Fishing communities understandably feel let down by this deal – it clearly does not deliver on the promises that what were made.
David Mundell has of course forfeited any last remaining scrap of principle or credibility he had by not resigning. His refusal to resign comes after he wrote to Theresa May threatening to resign if the UK does not leave the CFP by December 2020 – something that is not guaranteed by the withdrawal agreement or political declaration.
In general, this Brexit deal is a bad deal for Scotland. It is against our wishes and our interests. We have made it clear that we want to secure continued EU membership or access to the single market and customs union. Failing that, we will support a people’s vote or an election. We will do all this while building on the undeniable case for independence.
I had a welcome distraction from the Brexit Bùrach on Saturday, when I made it on the pitch at Murrayfield! At half time during the Scotland V Argentina match, I ran a dailymile with Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, and schoolchildren from Leith, Roseburn and St Joseph’s primary school. I also met the inspirational founder, head teacher Elaine Wyllie. It was a fantastic experience and the children in particular enjoyed the crowd cheering us on.
I have been running a daily mile since Easter and I am amazed at how easy it is to fit in every day. It takes hardly any time at all and you can do it anywhere – round the Peedie Sea in Kirkwall is a favourite. An unexpected pleasure for me has been watching the seasons change and feeling a strong connection with nature. By saying hello to fellow runners and walkers, there is a bit of friendly social contact too. All that and I’m much fitter and healthier too. The daily mile is all gain and no pain –what is not to like?
This is a fortnightly column by local MSP Maree Todd, SNP. All Highlands and Islands List MSPs were offered a column in The Orkney News