Morning 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.
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.