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Caithness News Bulletins February 2003

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Alan McLeod - Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party
Alan McLeod Web Site

Alan McLeod
Prospective Candidate for Scottish Parliament
Alan is a former Community Councillor and Chairman of Drug and Alcohol Forum. He is a Chartered Accountant currently running his own consultancy and spends much time writing and performing music, poetry and stage plays.

5 April 03
Watten Hustings

4 March 03
Scotland’s Fleet Must Be Saved

Alan McLeod the conservative candidate for Caithness, sutherland and East Ross today said:-
‘It it is incumbent upon all of us who can, including our local MSP and MP, to stand up for our indigenous fishing industry in the face of an European Union increasingly prostrated by federalist compromise, bureaucratic self-interest, faltering scientific hypotheses and ill-conceived socio-political ideologies.

To deny that the Tory party signed Scottish Fishermen up to the CFP in the 70s would be to obfuscate the facts. Yet, to dwell on our yesterdays would be a disservice to those beleaguered families and communities dependent today on a successful fishery. Thus, as a Conservative, I believe it is time to right the wrongs and rescue our fleet from European contrivance so that the future of Scotland’s fishing industry is vested in the hands of those who are dependent on it and best qualified to care for it.

I have confirmed to local fishermen and onshore fishery industries in Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross that I will expose the ongoing farce that is European fisheries management. This I now do below.

Firstly, ‘Europe’ has told our fishermen to stop fishing. Yet, Scotland’s fishing industry is one of the most successful in the world. Why attack the one winner rather than the many losers? We all know the answer – it is because European federalism and British socialism is perversely committed to creating level playing fields by bringing the best down rather than building the lesser up.

Secondly, Scotland’s taxpayers are footing the bill for Europe’s decision to stop Scot’s fishing. Of the £50m being made available to the industry, zero £s are coming from Europe. All £50m will be paid for by us, Scotland’s taxpayers!

Thirdly, the Labour Liberal Democrat Coalition in Scotland has decided to use the £50m to dissolve the industry once and for all so leaving our seas open to non-domiciled domination in generations to come. The Coalition ought to use all of the £50m to support the fleet until the cod returns to Scotland rather than elect to trade Scotland’s Fishing Industry for a louder voice at the European Banquet Table. That many Labour, Liberal Democrat and Scottish Nationalist politicians have a conflict of interest in this process is symptomatic of over-governance. They would balance the well-being of our Fishermen and their families against their European ideals; and as their decisions are made within the wider European pantheon, a bitter taste will be left in our country’s mouth for generations to come. If Robert Burns was alive today he would no doubt lament yet another generation of political rogues being bought and sold with foreign gold?

Fourthly, to ‘Europe’s’ credit, it has agreed to give additional assistance to the Scottish fleet; but only if Gordon Brown’s Treasury will contribute its pro rata share to that advanced by Brussels. Yet, London’s New Labour has thus far refused, thereby gifting ‘Europe’ the ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card’ it so desperately needs and condemning the industry to impoverishment and ultimate expiration.

Lastly, North Sea cod stocks are not in decline because of Scottish Fishermen. It is estimated that of the approximate 27 million tonnes of cod lost to unnatural causes last year, only 0.48% was fished out by Scotland’s fleet, being 128,000 tonnes of the 135,000 tonnes quota. To save cod is to consider the other 99.52%. To do so would require ‘Europe’ to ask very hard questions about seal culling, seabird control, whale and dolphin control, Danish sand-eel fishing, pollution and most importantly, mother nature’s own hand in the migrant cod’s fate – that of being predated upon by other fish, accounting for over 25 million tonnes. So I ask who are these elusive European scientists who really believe that by unilaterally persecuting hard working Scottish fish workers, the North Sea cod fishery is going to be saved? If we knew who they were, we could at least introduce them to that rare quality so oft obscured by the European hegemony – common-sense. In the interim, we are condemned to reason with their paymasters, the European politicians.

So let me be clear to them. Scotland’s sea and Scotland’s fish resource ought to belong to Scotland. Foreign fleets ought not to have the right to Scotland’s fish until there is more than enough to establish and maintain our own fishing industry. Then, and only then, will Scotland be able to consider allowing others to harvest our oceanic resources. Of the three great virtues, charity is the greatest. Yet, even charity begins at home, not in the hallowed corridors of Brussels.

To the European Apologists who will no doubt condemn my views as either Europhobic or inflammatory I say to them that we ought to do unto others as we ourselves would have done unto us. I would therefore never countenance Scotland ravaging the French grape crop or the Spanish orange crop. So why allow our Scottish cod crop to be ravaged whilst our fishing industry is allowed to sink into obsolescence before our eyes?

There can be no excuse. Our fishing industry ought to be not only saved but also developed and improved so that it maintains its lofty prowess of being one of the world’s most successful fisheries.’