We are told that the upcoming election will help shape Britain for a generation. True, it will influence the tone and context of the Brexit negotiations, as we choose which ‘team’ we wish to lead them. However, when it comes to the future of the country it will not be one single government but several that will shape our direction over time.
Reading Farmers Weekly this morning, Johann Tasker suggests that ‘farmers face waiting the best part of a decade before a post-Brexit support system to replace the Common Agricultural Policy is fully introduced’. I am currently working on a future proofing plan for our own farm business and I cannot tell you how difficult this is when you are trying to second guess the context that we will be working within. This goes for so many businesses, rural or urban, large or small. When it comes to agriculture we know that we will stick with the same ‘EU style’ system of policy for the ‘initial’ years, but how things might change after this we have no idea. What’s more, if it takes over ten years, it won’t be the new government post June that will be shaping it, but a government after this, the make up of which we have no idea. Oh to have a crystal ball!
There are benefits to slower change. Look at what happened when the New Zealand government wiped out subsidies practically overnight, transforming the farming industry, but at great cost for many businesses and even the lives of some farmers. More gradual change allows businesses to adapt, but it will also mean that the bureaucracy that many farmers wanted to get rid of (hence why they voted to leave in the first place) will stay.
I am not yet certain which box I will be ticking when I enter the polling booth on 8th June. Each manifesto has its plus sides and negative sides. There isn’t really a ‘business as usual’ option, given the current international context and the behemoth of Brexit, looming large over us. Time will tell. In the mean time, we can all but put our heads down and get on with our lives.