(Image: Euan McCall/Ayrshire Post)
The EU threshold target is the strangely precise 95.24% of farmers to get their benefit payments before 30th June [‘EU satsumas forcing difficult numbers on Scots civil servants! PC (percentage counting) gone mad!’]. As you can see from this parliamentary question and on answer on Wednesday 3rd July, 95.4% were met overall on time and, within the scheme, some targets were met nearly in 97% of cases.
The Farmers will still moan because, just because.
The question is will the switch their vote and allegiance to the SNP and indie?
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Your opening observation brings to mind a long-dormant memory of Scottish radio news bulletins from the 1960s, which had a regular section on farming in which the kenspeckle Jamieson Clark would discuss some current aspect of Scottish farming with a farmer, who spoke in a very broad Scots accent. Whatever was current this farmer saw problems in it. For example if the berry crop was approaching harvest time, he would be bewailing the lack of rain to fatten the fruit. If, overnight, there had been a fall of rain, the farmer would be expressing fears that the fruit would rot in the damp and that what we needed was sun. The following day was bright and sunny and now the farmer was pointing out that the crop would be scorched. And so, it went on: wjatever he had wished for was granted, but immediately he was fearing it. The phrase, “every silver lining has a cloud” came to mind!
With regard to voting and independence i think the assumption that they are all Tories is far from the case. Many are, particularly the huge landowners, and some of the tenant farmers might be under some pressure to support the Conservative “interest”. As is the case with fishing the mainstream media and particularly on BBC Scotland, when a spokesperson for ‘the farming community’ is interviewed it is almost always someone serving the interests of the major farmers and landowners, in the way that the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation represents the very few big fishing boat owners.
I think that many in the rural areas of Scotland would be strong supporters of land reform.
When the SNP began its ascent following Hamilton in 1968, much of its strength was in rural areas. During these years Labour ascendancy was maintained by its huge tranche of votes in the industrial areas. When the SNP became the dominant party in Scotland and the 2014 referendum took place, the pro-independence areas were Dundee, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire – the industrial heartlands – and the rural and coastal communities voted ‘NO’. In the 2015 GE almost everywhere voted SNP apart from the Northern Isles, Dumfries and Morningside, but in 2017, the Conservative recovery (or as the media proclaimed it “the VICTORY for RUTH DAVIDSON’S (whisper it) conservative and unionist party”.) was in the rural and fishing areas.
Perhaps if the SG were to re-examine the EU payments system and ensure it is more equitably spread amongst the farming and fishing communities rather than mainly into the coffers of wealthy people, then perhaps the rural hegemony of the landowners could be weakened.
These issues are very complex and nuanced, and, I admit, I often do not fully understand the thought processes. Lest I be accused of Glaswegian intellectual arrogance, I attribute the problem to my own lack of understanding of the minutiae.
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Thanks for that perspective Alastair
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Tink farmers moan / see the negative because in their industry there are so many things that can and often do go wrong. Its a precarious employment where they survive by their knowledge of the pitfalls and their wits. Give me a 9 to 5 any day. Just not a call centre.
Will farmers shift their vote. Labour voters did. So there’s hope for the farming community. BUT (thats a big but) They might not shift till Brexit bites.