IF IT WEREN'T so ludicrous, the headline on the opposite page ('Farming's future decided by a fishtank full of lunatics', Richard Wright in Euronotebook) would be laughable. Brexit has shown up politics to be nothing other than shallow, Twitter-led short-termism with a vision that sees as far as only the next election – and it is a sad, sad thing for the nation.

It's surely inappropriate that when we are celebrating 70 years of the National Health Service – which was founded by the political nous, energy, single-mindedness and stamina of Nye Bevan – that there is a constant background crescendo of political bickering of the lowest order on Brexit, which could end in no deal at all being struck.

Would that there was a towering statesman of any persuasion with such a personality to bring stability to the current situation. It did help that Nye Bevan had a land-slide Government behind him, but he took even his own party's most vehement sceptics with him on the formation of the NHS.

As we all know, the NHS is far from perfect, but it is one of the single biggest attributes that this country has. Agriculture is another but it is one which lies at a crossroads of indecision, with Bright Future one way, Dark Ages, another and maybe Going Nowhere as a third route. Not even our most knowledgeable and optimistic agri-lobbyists will tell you with any certainty which route we will end up taking. The only certainty is that it will be a different place.

For Scotland, it is a more perilous journey than those in the south will take. Our hill farming industry is taking a pasting just now and the double whammy of weather-related issues and a severe cut in the LFASS subsidy that is supposed to offset such tragedy, will be putting a coffin lid on many marginal business. Add in a 'No Deal Brexit' and sheep, especially, will vanish like the folk in the Clearances – and let's not even entertain another Beast from the East. That really would hammer the nails home.

It is a sad thing that by the time we realise what we had, it will be too late.

New Year resolve

ABSTINENCE seems to be the theme for January in recent times. First we had to lay off the booze and now we have a vigorous campaign at the moment to go vegan.

While both have their limited merits, I suspect that like most of our well-meant New Year resolutions, for the vast majority of adherents such decisions will head down the Swannee at least by mid-month.

The only abstinence we can hope for is that certain minority factions of society will stop pushing their ideology down the throats of the vast majority. It's enough to drive you to drink.