IMAGINE POOR Theresa May, tramping the Welsh hills in torment: “Dammit, Get Brexit Done, that was the one, not Brexit means Brexit!”

In the end it all boiled down to coining the right strap line and repeating it endlessly. Apart from moving the Irish border slightly, nothing else has changed. Congratulations to the Conservatives and the SNP with their thumping great majorities.

Commiserations to the Greens, Brexit party and the Lib Dems, in particular, as they didn’t do as badly as it looked – the Greens needed almost 860,000 votes to win their single seat, the Brexit Party had no seat for its 640,000 votes and the Lib Dems’ 11 seats cost 330,000 votes each. In stark contrast, the SNP only needed 26,000 votes for each of their 48 seats and the Conservative seats ‘costed’ at 38,000 votes each.

It’s no use changing the rules of the game at the end of the match, but if there is a democratic deficit, that’s it right there. Wise and benevolent winners will factor into their future policy-making that a slim majority of people in the UK voted for Remain parties, and a majority of people in Scotland voted for Unionist ones.

One thing is for certain, we are going to see an unfettered and untamed Mr Johnson for the first time, because he now has the freedom afforded by his unassailable majority to show us what he really believes in. Let’s hope it is the conciliatory, One Nation Good Boris alluded to in his victory speeches over the past few days, and not the Bad Boris we witnessed during the election, talking about EU migrants being able to ‘treat the UK as if it’s part of their own country for too long’.

That sort of unseemly chat wilfully ignores the huge contribution to the economy that EU migrants have made over the past couple of decades – they have paid more in income tax and NI than the average UK-born resident, and they have used the NHS and other social infrastructure less.

More to the point in a farming paper, almost every single piece of UK-grown fruit and veg has been picked and packed by someone not born in the UK. If it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be a soft fruit and veg industry in the UK, and they should be celebrated and praised, not marginalised or demonised.

Proposed plans under the new migration rules seem to suggest that whereas ‘skilled’ workers will be allowed to bring their families over and settle in the UK, manually skilled migrants will not.

This might please Mr Johnson’s new friends in Sedgefield and Sunderland, but Scotland’s demographics are different, we have an ageing population, and need a different approach.

It is not acceptable to call them unskilled and treat them like second class citizens. British agriculture needs them, not just in seasonal roles, but also full-time ones, and it is simply uncivilised to expect full time workers to come and work in the UK for long periods without their family. Any new immigration system worth its salt will recognise that fact.

In the meantime, the trial seasonal worker scheme urgently needs to be expanded. The Conservatives announced an increase to 10,000 for 2020 during the election. Everybody in the industry knows that is not enough.

In addition, limiting the scheme to two agencies is doing nothing to keep the cost down. Licenses need to be issued to more recruitment agencies and larger scale growers, including at least one in Scotland in the mix as well. NFUS will be engaging with Defra and the Home Office early in the New Year to make the case.

Mr Johnson also has complete freedom to show his true colours on trade. Will it be Bad Boris, who will open the floodgates to cheap food imports, often produced to lower standards, in order to keep the cost of food down? There is a strong school of thought in the Conservative party that favours that approach, and I’m not convinced that Workington man would disagree.

Labour costs in developing countries are often much lower than in the UK, and imported fruit and veg particularly is often very competitive on price. Good Boris, however, wants to ensure food security – he wants to support farming in dealing with climate change; he wants to support the UK economy and have fresh British fruit and veg in season. Which Boris is it going to be?

On a more personal note, I want to bid farewell to our local Angus MP and welcome her replacement. Conservative Kirstene Hair lost to SNP’s Dave Doogan, who is an aircraft engineer to trade, so clearly no fool. Although I haven’t met him yet, I hear that he is able and engaging, and keen to get up to speed on the issues facing agriculture at the moment.

Regardless of your political persuasion, Kirstene has worked incredibly hard for her constituents over the past 2½ years. There are talkers and there are doers, and Kirstene is definitely in the latter camp.

A farmer’s daughter, she was well aware of the issues faced by agriculture and a big supporter of farming. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there might be no seasonal worker scheme at all had it not been for her support.

Best of luck to her and her team (it’s worth remembering that they are all out of a job as well) in whatever they choose to do next. Whatever it is, it’s bound to be less stressful.

And so we bid farewell to the ‘teen’ decade. The century is about to reach maturity, and as we enter our 20s, let’s hope for a bit less angst and instability in politics, a stable, fulfilling job, and a bit more cash in our back pocket. Happy Christmas everyone.