Exit Lane

Alec RossMorning everyone. Hope you’re all keeping safe.

A lot of you have responded with  understandable horror at my various communications about the lowering of food and welfare standards to accommodate a trade deal with Donald Trump’s America. Here’s a few follow-ups.

Link: In Plain Sight

Over the weekend, The Observer newspaper published details of a leaked document that appeared to suggest that food and welfare standards could be “changed” (i.e. lowered) to accommodate a US trade deal. As a lowering of standards has long been the stated prerequisite of America even coming to the table, this shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention. And, to be honest, not enough of us have been.

The article also reported that there were splits within the cabinet, with as many as eleven ministers raising concerns about allowing hormone treated beef, chlorinated chicken and ractopamine pork (which is banned pretty much everywhere because it’s so dangerous) into the UK, probably without clear labelling. Naturally, the dissenters didn’t include Alister Jack, whose job it is to represent Scotland’s interests in Westminster. This is particularly galling for me as he represents my home area, Dumfries and Galloway – a strongly rural constituency which would be disproportionately hammered by a flood of cheap imports.

A line must have agreed, however, as a few days later the Parish amendment – legislation to guarantee the standards we currently have in the event of a US trade deal – was roundly rejected. The only notable dissenter was Rushi Sunak. Every single Scottish Conservative MP voted for you to eat ractopamine pork, and our only hope is that the unelected House of Lords rejects the bill. This is not a good situation.

Link: Are Our Food Standards and Farming Industry Under Threat of a ‘Stack it high, Sell it low’ Mindset ?

It also emerged over the weekend that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is having “off the books” (private) meetings with the US Ambassador during which he is communicating to them that food and welfare standards are “no longer an issue”. Expect this week to see your taxes being used to fund the start of a communications strategy designed to persuade us of the benefits of a diet that poisons approximately sixty-six million American citizens per year. Dominic Cummings will run this campaign, which is why he wasn’t sacked for spreading Covid whilst driving to beauty spots to check his eyesight.

I’m really amazed at the lack of anger at all this. We need a lot more than a b****y petition.

Finally, for now, a few folk have asked me why Scotland can’t just set its own food and welfare standards.

Well, there was a time when we could have done. This was a legislative area devolved to Edinburgh but Brexit and the need for fresh trade deals made devolution an inconvenient obstacle, so the powers over food and welfare standards (and many others) were grabbed by Westminster as part of the 2018 EU withdrawal bill – which Scotland didn’t want.

There is only one exit lane remaining.

The only way that Scotland can legislate to keep its high food and welfare standards is by reclaiming its status as an independent nation as soon as possible and by whatever means available to us.

Keep safe everybody. I’ll meet you further on up the road.

Alec Ross

8 replies »

  1. Is “changed” like when something is said to be ‘improved’ and that usually means job cuts and a very bad service, replacing a good service? Rhetorical question!

    If even China doesn’t allow this stuff, it must be truly toxic.

    I’d say the bottom line, is for folk not to buy or eat this shit, but…….if it’s what’s there, what’s presented to them, maybe even the only option? Or, it’s packaged in a way which means that they can’t tell, anyway?
    And – this kind of thing can be the thin end of the wedge, and then, next, it’s Gentically Modified veg, too.

    It’s endless, isn’t it Alec? Just …endless. Like there isn’t enough trouble in the world.

    I’m now going to say something, which I’ve wondered about for some time ….
    What if…what if……. Scotland simply declared independence? Seriously… what if? Would he have the gall to send in the troops – following the example of his buddy across the water?

    Would he, and at a time like this? Maybe so.
    I have been wondering, for some time though – what if?
    Probably add to the chaos and difficulties, for a time. And then???

    • Aye Bernie – in the same way that “savings” is a nice word for “cuts”, and I wish folk would stop saying “benefits” – it’s a word designed to make it sound like you got money for nothing and it’s therefore undeserved. We should call it for what it is – a social security payment, a safety net. We need to use kinder words about each other.

      It’s not just beef, lamb and pork of course. It’s also things like higher allowable pesticide levels in the cereals that make your bread. So this affects everybody, whatever you eat.

      The establishment sending in the troops sounds unthinkable. But then if someone told you a year ago that the economy would effectively be in neutral because of a pandemic and that an American president would order peaceful protesters off the street so he could hold up a bible in front of a church – or that America would be seen as effectively a rogue state – you wouldn’t have believed that either.

      Anything is possible now.

      • I remember it being referred to as ‘The Social’ – as in “He’s on The Social.”
        Somewhere along the line, it changed.

  2. Depressing, but I wonder what if anything the C19 impact upon the economy will do to the Brexit process?

  3. I fear, Steve, it will do nothing at all to halt it. If anything, they are already doubling down to “achieve” the no-deal Brexit that a disaster capitalist deal with America requires.

  4. Currently reading Tim Pat Coogan on 1916 The Easter Rising. The bible-waving Establishment never moves on.

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