LibLink: Alistair Carmichael Scotland’s fishermen have been used by opportunists

In a hard-hitting and justifiably furious article in the Sunday Herald, Alistair Carmichael highlights the betrayal of those working in the seafood industry whose livelihood has been ruined by Brexit enhnced by the incompetence of UK Government ministers.

He sets out what is wrong with the deal:

Having made a great pantomime of holding out to get the best deal for fishermen, Johnson folded. Instead we found a deal that the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation described this week as “desperately poor” and “the worst of both worlds”.

On close scrutiny the deal leaves our fishermen able to catch fewer fish in most key species, “wins” us shoals of “paper fish” (which we have no economic interest in catching) and leaves us locked into a deal that we barely control and will only be able to leave in 2026 if we are prepared to pay a heavy political and economic price.

It’s already having a devastating impact:

Traditionally, the first week of the new year is a bumper one for exports before trade quietens down for a couple of months.

This year, red-faced Scottish traders were unable to meet their orders as the lorries carrying their slowly deteriorating stock sat idling in Larkhall – unable to penetrate the new fog of bureaucracy in Johnson’s deal.

Eventually things got so bad that desperate executives from logistics companies were forced to ask traders to stop sending fish. The traders, in turn, had to tell fishing boats to stay in harbour.

And who is to blame for his mess?

Our fishermen have been used by opportunists like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, who saw them as a great lever to get Britain out of the European Union.

Now that we are out they have no further use for those left behind. They will be left to sink or swim while wrapped up in red tape. As sell-outs go this outstrips even that of the 1970s when the government of Edward Heath deemed fishing “dispensable”.

The promises – not “dreams” – of Brexiters to our fishing communities were always going to take massive political capital to deliver. That was why I always feared this day would come and I am angry that it has.

You can read the whole article here.

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5 Comments

  • @Martin, we should be campaigning so that the whole of the UK gets the same deal with the EU that Northern Ireland does.

    The very obvious problem with Scotland, but not England and Wales, getting the same deal at Northern Ireland is that it would mean border controls on the land border between Scotland and England. It’s already causing predicted problems for deliveries between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, but having such a border in the sea is less disruptive than having it in the middle of a farmer’s field.

    Remember, this system is designed to prevent the need for border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and to honour the Good Friday Agreement. It’s all very complicated, and I’m not convinced many people understand it, including myself. I’d say it’s been poorly explained by the media, but the fact the ‘deal’ kept on changing and wasn’t understood by politicians who are supposed to understand it either.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-55525086 for a little bit of an explanation of some of the problems people are currently experiencing with the new arrangements for the new Irish Sea trade border process.

  • John Marriott 17th Jan '21 - 1:03pm

    If I were a cod in the North Sea, I would be laughing all the way to the spawning grounds! Let’s face it, if tomorrow all foreign fishing boats were banned from our territorial waters, there are no where near enough British boats to catch the fish and, given the paperwork required, not enough time or places to land them.

    To all those fishers (it would appear that the word ‘fisherman’ is no longer acceptable in our brave new PC world) who reckon they have been betrayed, I would say; “It’s not just governments that should carry the can. Some of your predecessors and their employers share some of the blame as well.”

  • Peter Hirst 19th Jan '21 - 2:26pm

    Let’s think of the caught fish. They have no market and presumably die slowly in containers and then hopefully are used for animal feed. We have got so used to jobs being sacrificed that we hardly blink an eye lid. For fish to suffer unnecessarily is sufficient to cause an outcry.

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