Fish and chips, or just chips?
By Philip Cole, retired European civil servant
For almost 50 years, the EU’s common fisheries policy has created optimal conditions for the development of fishing and the sustainable management of resources. Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, an agreement is needed to guarantee the economic vitality of the fisheries sector, preserve species, and protect biodiversity. The fisheries sector directly and indirectly represents hundreds of thousands of jobs, provides a livelihood for many coastal areas and coastal communities, contributes to safe and healthy food for millions of consumers, and promotes a strong environmental model.
But it will hurt us far more than it hurts the EU. EU fishing vessels will have no qualms about exploiting British waters. British fishermen will land smaller catches, the price of fish in the UK will rocket, and many fish and chip cafés will go out of business. And it will mean the death of many seaside towns which rely on fishing to attract tourists.
Cod moving in a mysterious way…
The EU is bending over backwards to reach an agreement with the UK, but the UK has adopted an obstructionist stance, the product of a bizarre belief in English ‘exceptionalism’. If Johnson and his gang really want to crash out with a ‘no deal Brexit’ they are going the right way about it.
Get your skates on
If you are alarmed at this prospect, write to your MP as a matter of urgency and insist on an extension of the transition period to allow the two negotiating sides enough room to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion. The clock is ticking away – it’s five minutes to midnight – and the deadline for extending the transition period is scheduled to end on 30 June. Tell your MP that the economic disaster of Covid pandemic will be followed by an even greater disaster of a no-deal Brexit if the UK government doesn’t step back from the brink. See sample letters for ideas of what to write