Sir, – I believe it is essential to have a strong union that fights for us. At the recent meeting at Ernies Pie House (Ernespie House) the union was claiming a huge victory of winning a derogation of the LFA at 80% for the next three years, but it would appear there are others who claim to wear that crown.

Finlay Carson, MSP for Galloway, claimed that it was in fact a victory for the Scottish Tories. Then, the Scottish Government's communities secretary and Clydesdale MSP, Aileen Campbell, claimed it was the SNP that won the 80% derogation! However, an 80% derogation only condemns the upland farmers to a slow death rather than a sudden one.

I wonder if we could obtain more allies if the agricultural budget was cut across the board. You might think this is drastic, but with a dramatic fall in the Scottish agricultural budget they might start to feel the same pain as we farmers do. So far, it is only farmers who feel the blows from these cuts.

Maybe it is worth having a look at RPID, namely at how their budget has increased over the years with regard to the fact that they claim that they have simplified the CAP so often that their staffing budget must have fallen drastically. We do know this is not the case, however.

Farmers receive a parcel of their income from the public purse, but RPID receives 100% from the public's purse. Is it not about time they shared our pain? There is a significant difference between RPID's budget and farmers.

Farmers spend the majority of their income supporting rural industries, whereas RPID tends to take from the rural economy. It certainly looks as if the buzzards have began circling around the corpse that is upland farming if cuts continue, but who is next once the hills are bare?

I'd just like to point out the difference between a symbiotic organism and a parasitic one: in a symbiotic relationship both organisms benefit from each others characteristics/ability. In a parasitic one, the host provides for the parasite and the parasite gives nothing in return. But once the host is dead, the parasite is sure to die as well. It is certainly a lesson worth some people taking on board.

This leads me back to who has saved the upland farmers. Three bodies claim to have saved them, so two must be delusional, does this not say a lot for the people who represent us.

If you are wondering if I had any response from the NFU after my previous letter, the least they could have said was no comment but then what could they say?

Sandy McCreath


Newton Stewart.