East Lothian Courier – 25 August 2022


Westminster’s still in recess. With the cost of living crisis and looming fuel bills there’s good reason it should’ve been recalled. In any event urgent decisions are made by Government and yet despite only being weeks away from demitting office Boris Johnson swanned off on two holidays. That’s a dereliction of duty.

Major decisions are for the incoming Prime Minister but there’s actions that could have been agreed with them and wouldn’t fetter future action. A reduction in VAT and financial aid only need a ministerial direction. Some decisions will take time to implement and time’s short. What a shameful mess.

People are struggling and fearful of what might come. That was one of the reasons I joined the RMT on the picket line. Wage increases are needed for the many, not tax cuts for the few. Strikes are going to increase driven by desperation not choice. The inflation we are facing precedes any of these wage rises showing that they’re not the reason for it. Brexit and the Tory mishandling of the economy are the main reason, not even international events.

With all those troubles other issues have largely been forgotten. However, an e mail from an agency reminded me of the dangers from the trade deal being pursued with India. There’s a rush to sign it off, as if that will make up for the damage done through the loss of trade with the EU. But most concerning are the pesticides used in India and the effect that will have on both our own farmers and the food imports that might arrive.

The Indian Government has long lobbied to reduce international regulations on pesticides. There’s a great danger that a rushed deal will see an acceptance of lower standards. That’ll undermine our farming sector with their high standards and allow in food products that would previously have been rejected.

It’s always been thought it was a trade deal with the USA and chlorinated chicken that was the worst that could happen. But this could be much worse. There must be no reduction in pesticide standards for any deal.