Anger as Tory ministers dismiss food industry crisis is understandable: Brian Donnelly: Opinion

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This is a government that seems to seek to avoid scrutiny, and to refuse to answer questions which we have a right to ask and get answers.

In an era where misinformation is deadly, the current Conservative cabal didn’t have to jump on the bandwagon, they were already building their own in the shape of a large red bus with a supposed monetary benefit on the side that clearly hadn’t graced the back of a metaphorical fag packet before being foisted on the public.

Now, the doublespeak machine looks somewhat rickety.

Misguided mantras are this Tory government’s forte but they are paper thin. Who knows who they think they’re kidding when they repeatedly misquote the “once in a lifetime” Scottish Referendum reference.

Remember Time magazine recounting how “Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was criticized for misleading British voters after one of its political Twitter accounts masqueraded as a fact-checking service during an election debate” before changing it back immediately after that first televised event with the then Labour leader.

As the Brexit crisis continued to unfold this week, seafood producers protested on the streets of London and meat processors told how their produce is ending up in landfill because of cross-Europe border disruption.

 Brexit: Meat ‘thrown into landfill’ say processors as they now join protest

Westminster eventually offered support to some, while still deriding their concerns.

In his Called to Account column this week, Business Editor Ian McConnell writes: “The UK Government was warned time and again by so many experts about the impact of Brexit. It opted for a narrow deal, amid its determination to assert the ‘sovereignty’ it had in any case as part of the EU. This agreement might have been trumpeted by Boris Johnson for avoiding tariffs on goods but, by its very nature, it was always going to ensure plenty of non-tariff barriers and friction.”

Seafood processors protested outside Westminster, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was warned of Brexit consequences, James Withers said anger was ‘stoked’ by ministers. PA Wire/Getty Images.

He tells how James Withers, chief executive of industry body Scotland Food & Drink, said that “anger has been stoked by a number of UK ministers dismissing this crisis as ‘teething problems’ or, worse still, trying to make jokes about it”.

 Ian McConnell: Tory post-Brexit agenda starts to crystallise in alarming ways

Indignant denial by government ministers there may be for now, but there will be inevitable accountability for what they have done that will be there in black and white on the balance sheets.

Hope for the North Sea, Allan, Roy and Keith Campbell of Argyll Holidays, and the Perthshire site earmarked for tourism development.

Elsewhere this week, Business Correspondent Mark Williamson examines the roots of recovery in the North Sea energy industry amid claims of fresh opportunity.

Hopes are rising for the future for tourism in Scotland also, as Deputy Business Editor Scott Wright tells in his exclusive story how a holiday park owner has said that demand for staycations “shows no signs of slowing down” as it highlighted a strong pipeline of bookings.

A plan to help engineer future tourism in Perthshire is revealed by Business Correspondent Kristy Dorsey. In the proposal, locally headquartered machinery group Morris Leslie envisage a £33.8 million development centred around a four-star hotel.

The last rather sombre word this week goes to Mr Withers of SFD, who posted about a wider, and longer-term Brexit impact now emerging: “Lots reported on the export pain of UK business. But it’s being felt by our EU partners too. Here, a statement from the Fish Merchants Union in France – our customers, hurting too: ‘It seems such a shame to damage a lengthy, historic relationship for the sake of red tape.’”

Lots reported on the export pain of UK business. But its being felt by our EU partners too.

Here, a statement from the Fish Merchants Union in France – our customers, hurting too.

“It seems such a shame to damage a lengthy, historic relationship for the sake of red tape.” pic.twitter.com/26vnadBqIu
— James Withers (@scotfoodjames) January 22, 2021

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