MUCH AS the word 'Brexit' is now generally held as a no go area these days, it's hard to ignore the muddle it has become.

And, as much as we hear the statement 'Let's get out of it ... and get on with things', things are not as simple as that. There is a lot at stake here, not the least of which is that Scotland's farmers seem to be yet again the poor relation with regard to the so-called convergence money, which was given by the EC to the UK to go some way towards squaring up the anomaly of Scottish farmers being at a disadvantage to every other part of the UK.

It remains an area where we would hope the politicians north of the Border will do a different kind of 'squaring up' to Westminster to ensure that the sentiment of convergence remains firmly on the table. It would seem that, for once, the collective political might at Holyrood – Mesdames Sturgeon and Davidson – might actually be taking the same general aim on this and there is talk of Ms Davidson and fellow Tory, David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, actually resigning if some of their views are not taken into account during the Brexit horse-trading regarding the Northern Ireland border.

What must not happen is for agriculture to be used as a bargaining tool in the same way that it would appear the Scotch whisky brand has become (see pages 12 and 13). We must not be sold down the river to save, for instance, a Nissan plant in Sunderland or a Jaguar/Land Rover operation in Solihull. Agriculture dwarfs those industries, yet appears to have a fraction of the political clout.

With the GDP of Scotland more heavily weighted to farming than it is in England, we would hope that our Holyrood politicians – as one – will stand up and be counted for the good of one of our biggest industries. If the Tories in Scotland can stand up for the Ulstermen, then surely they should do the same for their own countrymen and women?

Booming beavers

AT LEAST one area of Scottish agriculture is booming – and that is the damage caused by the illegally-released beavers in Tayside and in an increasing circle around it.

Farmers will welcome the 'mitigation scheme' launched recently (page 6), but I can't help feeling that the beaver, like the proverbial horse, has bolted. Maybe they should have been shot while we still could and I can't help feeling that there is a big fat rat to be smelled with how and when they were released?

If we are going to have them – and it would appear that they have, indeed, gone native – then this is surely the time to put in place some stringent conditions which would allow sensible culling and control. That remains still within our gift.