IN recent times readers of The National have suggested that falsehoods, half-truths or misleading comments from the likes of Tory ministers and their official spokespersons must be called out and robustly challenged in the media by the SNP and others beyond the pages of The National’s readership. No opportunity to expose Tory ineptitude, misrepresentations, or sleekit behaviour must be missed.

This week Tory spokesmen have said they are now working together around the table with senior members of the Scottish Government and others as part of a taskforce to resolve what Tories euphemistically call the “teething issues” that our seafood industry is experiencing in the new Brexit era.

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The truth is that the Tories made a catastrophic careless mess in their Brexit negotiations with the EU for commercial fishing and they well know that we are also learning how they screwed up in the negotiations for other producers from the food and drink sectors. The Tories failed to see that the inshore fisherman and their interests were even included in the deal Boris Johnson signed up to.

They have behaved irresponsibly and incompetently and their inept conduct in these matters is a disgrace to them and a testament to the lack of regard they have shown our elected representatives, members of the fishing industry and many folks of good faith who just wanted to help.

As regards claims that the Tories are now sitting down and sincerely working together with members of the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments and the Scottish Fishing Federation to find a way forward to deal with the problems of the seafood industry, why only now do they stir their stumps?

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The Tories have created more problems than existed before Brexit and they have even added to them.

Forcefully and dismissively the Tories refused to engage in in a timely manner with those from the UK who knew what they were talking about in the sphere of fishing matters whilst the Brexit negotiations were in progress. Instead the Tories reduced perceptions of the UK in the eyes of many Europeans. (Hopefully the First Minister, Alyn Smith and others have done a little to disassociate Scotland from Boris’s antics.)

Much of what’s gone wrong since January 1 was anticipated by those who understood the trading and logistics issues of the seafood sector. However, the Tories dipped and dived to avoid genuinely discussing and appropriately making plans before the end of the transition period. As to what’s happening now, the Tories’ taskforce, with David Duguid MP acting as lynchpin, is nothing short of tardy.

Boris Johnson’s strategy of taking the Brexit negotiations to the wire was foolish and no good has come of it. He signed a poor deal for the UK with the EU and as he exhausted the patience and goodwill of many folks from the EU it looks like the UK is stuck with his ropey deal for at least the short term.

Time and again during the long run-up to Brexit the Tories ignored and/or rejected invitations and suggestions from Scotland’s elected representatives to work together with interested parties. Time and time again this Tory government demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to work in the best interests of Scotland.

The Tories’ lack of honest appropriate open working together practices is a loss to Scotland and other parts of the UK. When the Tories euphemistically talk of our seafood industry experiencing “teething issues” as a result of Brexit, they exhibit ignorance and indifference towards those so sadly affected by their incompetence.

Anne Thomson