ANY hopes that a new year would bring a new priority for our MP John Lamont have been dashed as he has once again continued with his obsession with indyref2. After his election to Westminster Mr Lamont promised to get on with the day job of representing the Scottish Borders – instead he has started off 2018 with reasserting that all he is thinking about is indyref2.

The reality is that the EU is one of the biggest international markets in the world, and separation from it will make separation from the rest of the UK look like a walk in the park and will be significantly more damaging to businesses north of the Border, our economy and ultimately how we fund public services.

The constant threat of Brexit, despite lower taxes in Scotland, is one of the reasons our economy is growing more slowly than it could. While he was an MSP, Mr Lamont spent countless hours debating the merits of Scottish independence and far too much time on issues that the Scottish Government had no control over, instead of issues that were a priority for most Borderers. Now he is at Westminster he has continued to attack and blame the Scottish Government over issues reserved to Westminster and over which the Scottish Government has no control.

Regardless of one’s politics, the threat to our textiles, farming, food, drink and fishing industries from Brexit is very real. Brexit also means that EU infrastructure funding due to be available to the Borders will no longer be on the table. The Tory government at Westminster seem to be preparing us for “no deal”, which was always the reality of the situation of a “best possible deal” (I am reminded of the late Kenny Everett’s catchphrase “All in the best possible taste” – which generally meant far from it!). This means delays and tariffs on anything going to EU countries, which could ruin some of our businesses. A new report from Skills Development Scotland is predicting fewer jobs in the Borders by 2027 than there are now as a consequence of leaving the EU.

David Davies, the UK Brexit Secretary, announced under questioning that no impact assessment on UK business had been done. No large business or local authority would contemplate radical changes without performing this type of assessment first; making it up as you go along is not acceptable. It appears that not having a clue about the consequences of Brexit has been turned into some kind of perverse merit at Westminster. As an example, despite being assured previously by our Tory MPs and MSPs that devolved issues such as fishing and agriculture would remain with Scotland, Westminster is now going to take control over EU regulations and decide later what, if any, will be devolved – perhaps much in the same way as millions in EU farming uplift payments intended for Scottish farmers have been retained by Westminster, or indeed the EU fishing subsidies which are largely distributed to ports in the rest of the UK, despite more than 60 per cent of the UK catch being landed in Scotland.

We have been told repeatedly that Scotland cannot remain in the single market, yet this appears to be exactly what Westminster are arranging for Northern Ireland, along with retention of their EU passports. There is a great parallel here with the Borders and Northumbria/Cumbria. Are we expected to believe that a UK Government sending representatives all over the world in a desperate attempt to get trade deals would not trade with an independent Scotland, or at least one that is still within the EU single market?

Will the Westminster dummy really be oot, along with all the toys in the pram?

Andy Anderson