(c) arc 2020
Here’s today’s headline from BBC Scotland:
‘Delay to Scottish EU farm subsidy review’
It doesn’t sound like much for the pro-independence movement to be concerned about, does it? Kevin Keane then opens with:
‘A long-anticipated review into how EU farm subsidies are distributed between Scotland and the rest of the UK has been delayed. EU Convergence Uplift payments of £190m were triggered because of the low rate paid to hill farmers in Scotland. But the money was shared out by the Treasury across the UK farming sector.’
Then it dawns on you. Subsidies justified entirely by the particular economic circumstances of Scottish hill farmers are being paid to English (and Welsh?) hill farmers whose economic circumstances would not have triggered the EU payment in the first place. Does that headline capture the essence of the story or does it conceal it and, in so doing, does it avoid feeding the independence movement?
How many, seeing the headline, read on?
STV, the Scotsman and Herald ignored the story.
Compared to the subsidies we already pay to the British post-imperial project’s attempts to project power globally, this isn’t much, but it tells you a lot about our status in this ‘partnership’.
And, this is an old story being ignored, it seems. See this from 2013:
“I’m beyond angry at this remarkable decision”. So said Scottish MEP and member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, Alyn Smith, who was incandescent with rage over UK government’s trickery: “I had in my naivety taken it to be a foregone conclusion, especially after the very sensible cross party consensus at Holyrood united to fight Scotland’s corner,” he fumed. So what, exactly, has the UK government done?
Scottish farmers and parliamentarians have reacted angrily to the UK government’s decision to withold hundreds of millions of euros from Scottish agriculture that had been allocated specifically by the European Commission to level up Scotland’s historically low payment levels per hectare. Referred to as convergence uplift, the European Commission had allocated an additional EUR 60 million per year specifically for Scottish farming, worth a total of about EUR 230 million over the life of the coming CAP budget.