The country-town divide continues to be evident this week as the Scottish government gallivants towards imposing more rules on the residents of our next national park. Surely, the recent protests in the Cairngorms are enough to make the SNP/Green government delay proceedings? In plenty of other areas, they are more than comfortable to throw it on the back burner.

We have council budgets getting sliced by the million and all NHS building projects put on hold, so why pour precious public funds into creating a new park that is so unpopular with locals? If they want to improve tourism, start by using their pounds to allow folks to spend a penny and fix up our rural public toilets, but perhaps that wouldn’t be the right political photo op.

Enough cash has already been squandered in Perthshire alone with a £50,000 consultation to garner only 352 results, which works out at £142 per respondent.

On one hand, the public purse is frittering away cash on things like this, whilst we are supposed to be grateful for the cut of up to 30% to direct payments in 2026 for food-producing farmers.

It is no surprise more protests are planned this weekend in Fort William against the Lochaber national park proposal, and more rallies could well be coming down the line.

One part of government does appear to have listened and conducted a hand brake u-turn. This is the decision to scrap the stupid proposal to tax double cab pick-ups like cars. Anyone who has been in the back seat of a farm truck will

know, the reams of baler tow, feed buckets, calving ropes, and soil samples scattered around the seats are proof the vehicle is used for work.

While it may have taken only a week to change the cab rules, it has been over a decade to bring about legislation to ensure dairy contracts are fair and transparent. A step in the right direction this week at the NFU conference in Birmingham, and we all hope the new rules can ensure changes to contracts are conducted with better notification and consultation.

Finally, it is great to see a new farm discussion group could be in the offing in Stirlingshire. These knowledgeable hotbeds of debate are a great chance to learn from experts and express the ideas we have been mulling over whilst working on the farm. In this day and age, it has never been more important to meet face to face and share sensible debate, even if we don’t always agree.