Carola Godman Irvine. Farmer, Campaigner & Columnist. 03-03-21

  • Written by Carola Godman Irvine
  • Posted on Mar 03, 2021
  • Articles

Lady Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most frightening characters. She is stronger, more ruthless and ambitious than her husband, and is generally depicted as the epitome of evil.

When we first see her she is already plotting King Duncan’s murder and at one point is wishing she were not a woman so she could do it herself.

Throughout the ‘Scottish play’, she is depicted as a strong, tough woman and, in her drive to induce Macbeth to murder Duncan, she appears to be that. But, having succeeded, it doesn’t take long for her to crumble and break down. Destroyed by guilt, she ends up committing suicide.

The drama playing out in Scotland between Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon is equally riveting. I am sure I am not the only one perched on the edge of my seat watching in fascination as each scene plays out, keeping us all in suspense.

As is said, truth is stranger than fiction, and some of what we now know has been going on behind the scenes, is what the best stories are made of.

I have little doubt that someone is already scribbling away at the screen play for Netflix or other multimedia forums. They, like all of us are just waiting for the drama to play out and reach a conclusion. Who will be the winners and losers? The big fish, little fish or the Union – time will tell!

As Lady Macbeth said, “What’s done cannot be undone.”

Scottish farm incomes fell by 75 per cent over the past five years, leaving farming families a return of just £12,600, according to NFU Scotland.

In their discussion document relating to ‘life after Brexit’, NFU Scotland is very upbeat about the opportunities farmers and crofters can look forward to. As the paper said, ‘Family farms must continue to be the bedrock of Scottish agriculture, and those involved must be properly rewarded.’

It goes on to say how important it is that there is a ready and able workforce that has the skills required to work in the industry. They recognise that growing their domestic food production provides jobs, adding further value to UK GDP and will continue to provide safe, quality and affordable food. Also the importance of investing in new and existing talent to make farming and crofting a rewarding destination of choice for young people.

NFU Scotland also recommends creating and implementing a controlled fixed-term work permit scheme for agriculture and horticulture available for non-UK workers. Provide investment for innovation and productive technologies, working with land-based colleges to promote and deliver industry-led, relevant technical skills needed now and in the future.

It is notable that NFU Scotland recognises that a regulatory framework must be made available that moves agriculture businesses from farming for compliance to farming for the market.

Scottish agriculture supports 75,000 businesses in the food and drink industry and 360,000 jobs. Farmers, crofters and growers create 65,000 jobs directly, and generate output value of £3billion to the economy. For every £1 of public investment, Scottish agriculture returns £5.30.

Interestingly the Scottish food and drink industry turnover is now bigger than the oil and gas industry combined, and its exports are worth £5.5 Billion to the economy.

NFU Scotland recognises the huge opportunities that farmers have to target markets outside the EU. Their rhetoric is optimistic and it is refreshing that their main aim is for their members to produce food and drink, not like in other regions of the UK, leaning heavily towards encouraging farmers and landowners to cease food production, plant trees, hedges and flowers, (commendable of course) whilst spending more time with their families, and no doubt allowing plenty of time to watch ‘Test match Special’!

To read Carola’s columns in full, go to: www.carolagodmanirvine.com