THE deterioration of the employment market in Scotland brought about by Brexit is visiting upon us difficulty after unforeseen difficulty.

The culling of healthy animals because of the shortage of butchers is another emotive issue to emerge this week and, of course, evokes images of foot and mouth disease pyres, the limbs of burning beasts jutting skyward, discernible from a distance through the acrid smoke.

In one industry segment, Scottish pig farmers have lost £5 million so far this year, and many are able to book only a fraction of the number of animals for slaughter.
Hundreds are reportedly already culled. Asked about concerns that 100,000 pigs may have to be destroyed because the supply chain has broken down by commentator Tom Newton Dunn on Times Radio, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “that is what happens to pigs in this country”.

Asked if he doesn’t care, he proceeds to try to push the presenter on whether he had ever eaten a bacon sandwich.

The trademark flippant response from the Prime Minister is not missing the point. It’s making a point.

The culling of animals while people are worried about putting food on the table is just the reality of his great “new golden age” dystopia.

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James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Cast your mind back to the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak and you’ll recall the trauma of farmers seeing animals they’d cared for being incinerated and wasted.

“Livestock being slaughtered to feed families is a world away from them being incinerated and binned.”

Another break in the chain: it is surprising even 27 fuel lorry drivers applied for the 300 three-month visas. Few thought it seemed like a viable solution.

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Mr Withers posted: “Hope I’m wrong, but looks like the predicted start of blaming industry for a failed visa scheme. Govt told us last week ‘your credibility is on the line’. Yet, I don’t know anyone, in any industry body who thought visas of only three months would work. A scheme set up to fail?”

It makes you wonder how many of the Brexit proposals were designed to fail.
Like the world’s rising waters taking land, society diminishes further, and only those with a ticket for the last boat will survive. Maybe that’s the plan.

Wading through a swamp of issues around the abandoning of furlough in his column this week, business editor Ian McConnell points out: “One thing the Johnson government excels in – although it must be emphasised it is not a positive attribute – is big talk.

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak, in spite of dire warnings from various quarters, has carried on regardless and decided to end the furlough support scheme on September 30. It will only be in coming weeks that we find out the scale to which that will increase UK unemployment, which has already surged on the claimant-count measure since the pandemic took hold.”

Meanwhile, Scottish industry is right to be furious at a Tory “drunk on cheap labour” slur, opines deputy business editor Scott Wright in his column, and, elsewhere, Mark Williamson says Scotland’s £2 billion National Investment Bank has yet to justify its existence.

Scottish business has proven industrious, however, as one Perthshire firm set about helping tackle shortages of food-grade carbon dioxide after securing a multi-million pound package of funding, writes Kristy Dorsey.