SOME weeks after the 2016 Brexit referendum I was at the Kintyre Show which is always held on the first Friday in August on the outskirts of Campbeltown.

I was with my good friend Robert MacIntyre, former SNP group leader on Argyll and Bute Council, retired farmer and an enormously weel-kent face in Scottish agricultural circles.

He introduced me to an old man who wanted to tell me, very proudly, that he had voted for Brexit.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because,” he replied “they don’t use our money, they don’t speak our language and they don’t drive on the same side of the road.”

I have no doubt he has not changed his view but many others have, as I discovered this week when I was back at the show.

Some, it has to be admitted, still think that everything is going to turn out OK. I overheard one man espousing the theory that as Norway survives just fine outside the EU, Scotland had nothing to fear, although of course the UK Tory government has specifically and defiantly rejected the type of close relationship with the EU from which Norway benefits so greatly.

But many others are now much more knowledgeable, and much more worried about where the current chaos will lead.

Kintyre is still a prosperous farming area though there is a cloud over the prospects for the diary industry now that First Milk has started to run down the creamery which takes every litre of milk produced on the peninsula and turns it into the excellent, world-renowned Mull of Kintyre cheese.

A farmers buyout of the creamery is the best – perhaps the only – remaining option and is being vigorously and effectively pursued by the Kintyre diary farmers themselves. I am willing it to succeed.

But the wider chat on Friday was, amongst the meeting of old friends, the musing on livestock prices and the admiration (or otherwise) of prize-winning beasts, often about the unknown nature of what lies ahead, and the inability to fathom why someone like Boris Johnson, who is so distant from their concerns and their lives, should now be in charge of their destiny and fortunes.

Sheep farmers, of which there are many in the area, are particularly worried about their export trade.

In Wales this week their counterparts were muttering about civil unrest if a No-Deal Brexit destroys their businesses but, whilst there is perhaps still too much of a normalcy bias in the Scottish farming community, it is dawning on many that the prospect of such a calamity must be taken very seriously.

For even Michael Gove – the most sleekit of a very sleekit Cabinet – was forced to admit when Defra Secretary of State that a No Deal could well lead to a complete collapse of the lamb market and the necessity of culling large numbers of animals.

Farming, like all businesses, needs a measure of certainty in order to plan ahead and invest in the future.

But there is no certainty at all in the present situation. The new Prime Minister simply staggers from day to day being booed in every part of the country, making facetious remarks and insulting our neighbours.

And, to add arrogant insult to careless injury, his new Secretary of State for Scotland this week airily dismissed the expert opinion sourced by both the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers on the consequences of a No Deal as just what you would expect from “Remainers”.

Many of the people at the Kintyre Show last Friday will be together again at the Islay show this coming Thursday. There will be chats to be had, new things to be discovered at the many and varied stalls (even one of mine on Islay, where I have taken to holding an on-site surgery) and no doubt, it being a whisky island, some drams to be drunk.

Shows like Campbeltown and Islay and Bunessan and Mid Argyll have a long tradition.

But in our countryside, as in every part of our national life, it is no longer business as usual. It is impossible to predict what will happen next, but the signs are far from encouraging.

And if the woeful new extremist Tory government really is pursuing a No Deal, as seems more and more likely, then it is the people gathering in the sunshine on green show fields across the Highlands and Islands to share their passion for where they live and the work they do who will suffer first – and perhaps most.

That cannot be allowed to happen.