Scotland voted against leaving the EU and against Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit deal. Our views were ignored and now our fishing industry is facing disaster.
Scotland tried at every turn to prevent the catastrophe that Brexit inevitably became but its views were continually ignored by a Westminster government determined to inflict the worst possible departure from Europe on the nations of the UK.
Scots voted by 62% to 38% to remain in Europe. Every single one of its 32 council areas backed Remain. Yet the Scottish government’s request that our views be taken into account in the Brexit process were dismissed out of hand by Boris Johnson and his government.
A Brexit impact analysis by the Scottish government argued that the best way to protect Scotland’s economy post-Brexit would be for the country to remain in the single market and the customs union. But when Scottish MPs argued for that course of action at Westminster they were ridiculed.
Yet under the Northern Ireland protocol, Northern Ireland has effectively remained in the EU single market to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
The Scottish parliament voted to refuse consent for the hard Brexit deal cobbled together at the last minute by Boris Johnson, but its views were once again ignored and the deal was adopted regardless.
The result? Queues of lorries unable to get fresh produce to European markets in time to sell it. Red tape and mountains of new paperwork needing to be filled in at the border. Some companies forced to stop exporting to Europe altogether because extra costs outweigh the financial benefits.
And, ironically given Holyrood’s opposition to the deal, it is the Scottish fishing industry which has been hardest hit by the problems. Truckloads of fish have been stopped from reaching markets in Europe. It has been disastrous for exports of langoustines, for example, which have to be on sale at European markets within 24 hours. Any longer and they will die.
The cost to the fishing industry has been estimated to be as high as £1m a day. That’s enough to drive some firms to the brink of bankruptcy but Boris Johnson believes it’s a price worth paying for the ideology of getting Brexit done.
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