Sir, – I was deeply disappointed at the tone of SNP candidate, Jim Fairlie’s letter in last week’s edition of The Scottish Farmer.

The next Holyrood Parliament will be tasked with our recovery from the pandemic. We desperately require a period of certainty, not one of further constitutional wrangling which Jim Fairlie and his party put above all else.

Their ludicrous plans to prioritise another, perhaps illegal, independence referendum in the next year or two will not build up our rural sector, assist with the challenges following the pandemic nor support our efforts to work towards net zero, but cause disruption, division, and doubt – just at the time when we need to come together.

Jim Fairlie also tried to airbrush out Douglas Ross’ farming roots as it clearly does not suit his political agenda.

However, as someone who studied with Douglas at SAC Auchincruive, I know his links with farming run far deeper than being the son of a farm labourer. After graduating, Douglas himself was a farm worker in Moray before his election and none of this is new to people who know of his passion for the industry. It just seems it doesn’t suit the SNP’s narrative.

What I would have liked to have seen from Mr Fairlie was the desperately needed clarity from the SNP government around future farming frameworks. They have left Scottish farmers in the dark for too long.

We don’t need any more working groups and delay – we need to see decisions taken and firm action. Under this government, it feels like so much time and funding is directed to the central belt, and rural communities remain an afterthought.

They make bold claims – such as superfast broadband rollout for everyone in Scotland by 2021, yet as we approach the 2021 election this target – that has been missed by a country mile – is brushed under the carpet.

It was a manifesto commitment back in 2016 but they claim there is ‘nothing to see here’. In fact, efficient rural broadband is vital to our farming operations and any rural business, yet it feels like we are penalised for choosing to live and work in a rural location.

The SNP may try to forget the IT system payments fiasco of 2016 – but Scottish farmers most certainly have not. The devastation of such incompetence cannot be overestimated after they spent £180m of taxpayer’s cash on a system that didn’t work leading to months of delays.

The SNP talk a good game but when it comes to delivery, I’ve lost all trust.

We’ve had many challenges as a sector over the past few years and the past year has not only provided a severe shock to the economy but had many sectors on their knees.

I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that Jim Fairlie’s letter wasn’t the message we all want to hear right now. We need both the UK Government and Scottish Government to support us, and all politicians and candidates should get behind that message at this critical time.

Andrew Stewart

Carlisle Road,