One of our podcasts this month was from a meeting arranged by Yes Stonehaven & Mearns. They invited Alec Ross to talk to them. Alec runs a farm supplies business based near Stranraer. And you might have read his Orkney News column.
Some of the points he touched on emerged from his own business experience:
- changes in his business stemming from Brexit and loss of free movement and goods,
- effects he sees in NI/ Ireland where some of his business is done
- effects of energy costs, supply chains problems, on farmers…
- Overton Window – how political views shift over time. What becomes accepted as shibboleths and and what becomes anathema. Eg what happened to Corbyn when he talked about policies which 30 years before had been pretty unexceptional.
- Food production in Scotland compared to England. And how support for that needs reflected in Scotgov policy. Shift in NFU policies, window has shifted there too. Speaking to local NFU members, left him feeling more positive about NFU. He had criticised NFU in past for not making the point that Scotland famers need access to single market. He thinks that NFU might now be more likely to take a strong position on EU.
- Lobbying Alaster Jack about food standards and seasonal workers needs
- he suggested there are three things to ask farmers:
- what sort of farming industry do we want to have?
- what powers do we need to deliver those things?
- who currently holds those powers? ie who speaks for Scotland?
Recently Alec was in Golspie up Ben Bhraggie at the Duke of Sutherland’s statue and he had some reflections from that:
- he had been reminded of that William Faulkner quote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
- how Brexit is hitting the Highlands. a modern day clearance, need to this about who owns the land.
- Norway Constitution gave vote to all land owners which was 46 % of population. OK they were all men.
- while in UK the Reform Act of 1882 enfrichised only 2% of population because of the concentration of land in the hands of a small number of people.
- Now we all have the vote, but half of our land is still in the hands of only few hundred people.
Conversations with undecided voters…
- if we offer a game-changing prospectus for an independent Scotland, then people will come over.
- a constitution would legally guarantee that.
- he talks to people about devolving power as far as possible so that decision-making is done close to the people who are affected by those decisions….
- if we had that in Scotland, more people would vote and things would get done, as it does in Scandinavia.