SCOTLAND has lost out since it was forced from the European Union and its biggest free trade deal. Our exports to the EU have slid by £2.2 billion since Brexit.

So, why wouldn’t we whoop with joy when the trade deal with Gulf countries including Qatar that the UK Government said would bring Scotland £270 million was launched with zero mention of human rights?

Perhaps it is that in Qatar, love, sweet love, is thought a crime. Perhaps it is that in Qatar, the male guardianship laws dictate that women must seek permission from a brother, husband, or father to work, study or travel.

Perhaps it is that in Qatar 6,500 migrant workers - a figure disputed by the regime - are reported to have lost their lives building this World Cup’s infrastructure.

Westminster, still scratching around for elusive pork markets, said the free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, is worth £1.6 billion a year to the UK economy, with a skin for Scotland too.

But at what cost?

“This trade deal has the potential to support jobs from Dumfries to Doha, growing our economy at home, building vital green industries and supplying innovative services to the Gulf,” the UK says.

HeraldScotland: The World Cup has been surrounded by controversy over human rightsThe World Cup has been surrounded by controversy over human rights (Image: Getty)

Lord Malcolm Offord, the unelected Tory donor now a peer and parliamentary under secretary of state to the Scotland Office, points to beef markets: “A free trade deal with the Gulf nations offers massive potential for Scotland’s farmers, as the region imports 90% of the beef and lamb it consumes.”

Downing Street didn’t mention anything of the new relationship the UK is seeking with Qatar that skirts the issue of human rights when it stood up to express its “frustration” over the Fifa Qatar World Cup ban on rainbow armbands this week.

Does trying to take a message of hope to places like Qatar to help those people who are oppressed pave the way for a better future for them, or does it help authorities claim their policies are legitimate?

So far in the new Gulf deal, technical discussions have been held across 29 policy areas over 33 sessions with 100 UK negotiators.

Still no mention of human rights.

It was the fourth free trade agreement launched by the UK this year and came in the wake of the now stalled Indian deal by Diwali, Canada in March, and the launch of negotiations with Mexico.

This all came after the Australia debacle. Business editor Ian McConnell highlights this week Tory MP George Eustice’s remarkable comments on the Australia trade deal done by the Conservative Government, and agreed when he was a member of the Cabinet.

Mr Eustice told the House of Commons: “The first step is to recognise that the Australia trade deal is not actually a very good deal for the UK, which was not for lack of trying on my part.”

Also this week, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey reports 19 business groups from retail, financial, property, whisky, wholesale, manufacturing and engineering are urging the Scottish Government to follow the UK’s lead on business rates.

Elsewhere, deputy business editor Scott Wright reveals that some hospitality businesses are showing their caring side in the face of financial adversity by capping prices.

Manorview brought some cheer with this news and also that is to increase the pay of its employees, and promises a share of the profits.