AS VOTING goes, last week's failure to approve the Parish amendment to the Agriculture Bill to safeguard UK farming against the threat of imports from countries that do not have the same health and welfare standards as we do, was a pretty spectacular foot shooting exercise by some of the more rural Tories.

While for those south of the Border, this might have been a case of: ‘Well, memories are short, we'll still be OK by the next election’ ... it's a very different story in Scotland.

The Scottish contingent of Westminster MPs' part in all this, must have been greeted as manna from heaven by a SNP party which will contest next summer's Scottish election against what had been a resurgent second-in-the-league Tories – but will the blue rosettes remain a threat after this? There must be some of the Scots Tories in Holyrood more than a little disgruntled that as far as the rural vote is concerned, they've just been torpedoed below the water line by some deadly friendly fire.

It would appear that politicians have quickly moved on from the lip service that they have paid to UK Farming plc for playing its part in keeping the nation fed during the Covid-19 lockdown. Even the fact that UK agriculture averted what would have been a calamitous end-game had we been ultra reliant on food imports during this crisis, has been discarded into the same refuse bin that decades of building up reliable farm assurance and welfare schemes have been dumped.

To compound it all, the timing of the next Scottish election will be just about when the ramifications of this act of lifting a tempting hem up and showing a bit of leg to Donald Trump, will come home to roost. In fact, chicken legs spring to mind – and chlorinated at that.

There can be no doubt – as asserted by some of the Tories in their defence – that a lucrative trade deal with the United States could be a 'good thing.' The worry is, it prompts the question: 'But for whom' ... and we all know the answer to that.

Weather? Aye!

WEATHER is a fickle mistress. Only three months ago we were at the tail end of a spiteful, wet and dreary winter and now, the sun has shone spectacularly across almost all of Scotland.

For livestock men in particular, this has meant an easy lambing and calving, and dairy cows out early on the cheapest feed that money can buy – good grass.

For arable farmers, there's no better 'fertiliser' than the sun and while it might have been bordering on too dry, a little bit of rain this past week has almost sated the harbingers of doom.

Long may this easy-care weather continue, because farming is in need of some good fortune to see it through what has been a bumpy ride brought on by the covid pandemic.