IN April 2019, I did a wee film during the European election campaign saying that everyone in Scotland was an EU national. Back then, wrenching Scotland out of the European Union against our will and without our consent meant that all of us would lose the right to work, study, retire and live in Europe as citizens.

Now we are also losing the right to trade freely, support our farmers, protect our own welfare, environmental and safety standards and securely manage our own border.

It turns out that “taking back control” actually meant Westminster taking back control from the devolved nations, whilst abandoning our external borders controls. The UK Government’s actions risk the UK market being flooded with sub-standard products and potentially counterfeit and unsafe goods.

We know Scotland needs around 800 customs officers to manage our borders and we only have a handful. We know the UK is declaring a need to recruit and train 50,000. Unfortunately, Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, didn’t know that it takes a couple of years to train a customs officer and we now only have a couple of months.

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Gove has finally admitted that 50% of trucks won’t have the correct paperwork. Gove, of course, chose to blame UK road haulage and logistics companies for not being prepared. However, it’s impossible to prepare when the UK Government hasn’t agreed what the correct paperwork is.

We now know it’s reasonable to expect a reduction of 80% in the flow rate of trucks and a two-day delay. In preparation, the UK has broken its own planning regulations to plough up hectares of prime arable land to create massive concrete lorry parks.

We will have to endure the sight of lorries full of rotting food being parked on concreted fields which used to produce food. If ever there was a symbol for Brexit, that’s it.

But back to law breaking. We all know the UK Internal Market Bill passed by the Commons transparently breaches international law, threatens the Good Friday Agreement and jeopardises trade deals with not just the EU but also the USA. This act fundamentally damages the UK’s international reputation, credibility and standing in the world. That story understandably grabbed all the media attention.

But there are even more incendiary devices in the bill. Infrastructure investment will be stolen and controlled by Westminster. Areas of devolved competency will be raided. Westminster is seizing the power to intervene in the realms of education, culture, sport, economic development and infrastructure.

Control over what could be considered to be “trade distorting subsidies” could remove Scottish Government control over farming support. And while breaking all the rules, the UK Government is also refusing to protect any safeguards.

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THE Agriculture Bill is back at the Commons. The Lords asked MPs to consider an amendment committing the UK to maintain current standards. The Tories voted against this at the first reading and seem set to vote against it again.

The Internal Market Bill enables business, not government, to set trading, safety, quality and production standards for goods, food and services. Businesses, whether they are based in the UK or not, will be able to claim discrimination whenever they have to meet a regulatory requirement which they consider disadvantages them commercially.

In this bill, labelling produce as Scottish can be contested an additional and unnecessary cost. Trying to procure Scottish produce in preference to goods or food from another area, is prohibited.

It’s difficult to see why free tuition fees can’t be challenged as unfair. Protection from having to eat chlorinated chicken is removed. The UK won’t have the clout to ban it and the bill will make sure you won’t know how the chicken was reared or packaged. You may not even be able to verify it’s chicken.

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That’s because all the rules change on January 1. World Trade Organisation rules don’t require the same level of detail as EU rules. For example, there’s no livestock traceability in the States and even if the rules and standards were protected, there’s nobody at the port to check what’s in the container.

The Johnson-Cummings-Gove troika did indeed plan to take back control over the devolved nations. They see devolution as a mere irritation, not a democratic right.

It’s now clear that they also want to open up the whole of the UK market to deregulated trade. You just need to read the small print.

We live in lawless times, and like principles, the rule of law is more essential when it’s at risk of being usurped.

Abiding by the rule of law will protect Scotland’s future in Europe and internationally. We must maintain an internationally respected position in the midst of this madness. It will ensure we will win our legitimate independence.

Heather Anderson is a farmer, an SNP councillor in the Borders and a former MEP