The Big Lie

The Big Lie - or 'it's all about sovereignty, stupid!'

By Anna Damski

In the lead-up to Brexit, the Vote Leave campaign, and specifically George Eustice – now the DEFRA Minister – promised that farming would thrive if the UK left the EU.

In a new sovereign Britain no longer beholden to the EU, our UK standards, he promised, would be protected, there would be less red tape, and the government would not only take over subsidies, they would increase them.  He even produced leaflet about it.

Farmers now know their subsidies are to be phased out, and rather than less red tape, there’s now more than ever.  So what about those standards?

The 2019 Tory manifesto promised: “In all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”

Yet when the government published the Agriculture Bill in the spring of 2020, those standards were nowhere to be seen.  Neither were they in the new Trade Bill. 

Not a single, solitary mention.

Despite persistent lobbying of parliamentarians by Save British Farming and other farming-related organisations, despite the Lords adding amendments to include them on several occasions during the passage of the Agriculture Bill, despite a million strong petition by the public who in polls were over 90% in favour of keeping current standards, the governement failed to add them to the Bill, promising they would personally safeguard them.

Now we are at crunch time.  Up to this point, the government has so far merely rolled over deals we previously had via the EU.  So when it came to Australia – our first proper deal negotiated from scratch – there was a chance to show the world that sovereign Britain was a force to be reckoned with. 

The government is not just desperate to show something positive has come out of Brexit after five solid months of bad Brexit news, it wants to get the deal done and dusted before the June G7 Economic Summit the UK is hosting this year.

The barrier to getting it done quickly is – you’ve guessed it – standards.  Australia, like the US, is able to keep the price of meat low by intensive farming and the use of hormones.  Animal welfare is also a serious issue, with a high reliance on antibiotics to combat the disease associated with overcrowding at a time when UK farmers have worked incredibly hard to slash the use of antibiotics in food production.

Even though the government promised no food will be imported that doesn’t meet our standards, Boris Johnson, by all accounts, has decided that they should not be a barrier when it comes to signing off on the deal. 

It’s possible he’s been advised that when push comes to shove, we don’t have the heft of the EU to prevent it.  Ask Mexico when they tried to fend off the US.  If we say no, Australia, together with the US and Brazil and every other country that wants to import food to the UK, will take us to the cleaners at the World Trade Organisation, and the UK won’t stand a chance against their combined might.

It turns out that the promise of sovereignty was a big lie.  Apparently, bigger is better – and more powerful.  We left the EU to regain our sovereignty and now, ironically, we have less than whilst a fully paid-up member.

The victim of this sorry saga will be the UK’s farming industry which, unable to compete with low quality, low welfare produce, will be decimated. 

Liz Truss, who negotiated the Australia deal, has generously offered some help.  By phasing the deal in over 10-15 years it will, she says, “ease the pain” for farmers set to lose their livelihoods.  I’m sure they’re very grateful.

16 replies on “The Big Lie”

Write to your local M.P in parliament to highlight the plight of the Farmers!

The lies this government spouted are outrageous and British farmers must be supported and recognised for their very high standards and these must absolutely not be compromised simply because this government wants to get trade deals. Come on Conservatives, you are the party of the farmers… you betray them and they’ll abandon you and your non-existent support for such an important industry.

In order to try to find out more about ELMS I have registered for this talk:
Archie Ruggles-Brise presents “Beavers and the Future of Farming” on Wednesday 9th June 2021 at 7pm.

Please contact Heather Tarrant for the Zoom link:

British farmers helped the conservatives to deliver brexit – they reap what they sow!

I’m trying to think of a single truth that came out of the Governmental mouthpieces re Brexit and find there isn’t a one. Anyone else had any luck?

The reassurances by the government about saving good,farming practices, protecting our high animal welfare standards, protecting environmental standards, protecting farmers from cheaper imports was, protecting our food standards were lies, yes lies. The government has lied to the farmers, to the British public about protecting these important safeguards. The forthcoming trade deal between U.K. amd Australia proves that their word means nothing. Shame on you Boris Johnson and your Rag-Tag Government. You all have a forked tongue, say one thing but do,another. You talk the talk but do not walk the walk.

Of course it was a Big Lie. What else can you expect from Con men? Those who saw through it back then were jeered as remoaners. FPTP sealed Brexit with an 80 seat majority in 2019, enabling Truss & Useless to do whatever they like until 2024, and probably 2029, unless the Progressive Alliance finally emerges. The worse news will be that getting this Oz trade deal through will pave the way for a bigger one with the USA and their even ghastlier agriculture and more aggressive business practices.

That all this was a lie was amply explained by the Remain supporters. I very much regret that protections provided by the EU for the land and the animals on it have been jettisoned by those voting for Brexit but I have no sympathy for those who voted to take me and my family out of Europe. We have lost our freedom of movement, our protection, and the confraternity of the most beautiful concept born out of WW2. It should be obvious to farmers that one reaps what one sows. Sadly, I also must reap this bitter harvest.

We must keep the standards of animal husbandry that we have at the moment. We should not allow the importation of animal products where they have been fed hormones, antibiotics etc. Our farmers should not be undercut by cheap imports from countries that raise animals in standards far below that allowed in the UK. My partner is the only meat and fish eater in our household, but we will not be buying meat that is not raised in the UK.

This is only what was predicted. It is all getting very groundhog day. Operation Fear was today’s Reality.

Comments are closed.