Britain’s biggest Brexit blowhards love to get their hooks into taxpayers money but are not so keen to fight for the cause of the UK’s fisherfolk.
This week the European Parliament adopted a report which seeks to bind the EU27 into a policy of effectively continuing the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) long after Brexit – but seven of the British MEPs most likely to seen on our TV screens decrying what they say is the CFP’s damaging impact on British fishing were nowhere to be seen when the votes were cast.
Fishing makes up a tiny proportion of the UK’s economy – the value of fish landed in the UK is roughly 0.05% GDP – but has a huge emotional appeal, as was seen in the referendum campaign when UKIP and their cronies sailed their supposed armada up the Thames. The CFP too has an extremely poor reputation but that is largely based on its historical status: in recent years it has proved to be an effective means of managing fishing stocks in Europe’s offshore waters.
But managing fishing stocks generally means bearing down hard on overfishing and that is why so many fishermen hate it – especially as the last 50 years has seen the collapse of fish stocks off North America and the exclusion of British boats from Iceland’s waters.
During last year’s general election, UKIP’s Fishing spokesperson said, “only Ukip” was “fully committed to supporting our fishing industry and reclaiming our 200-mile exclusive economic zone” after Brexit.
Last month, Nigel Farage bemoaned the “betrayal of fishing” by the Government, saying “We have nobody at the table to fight for our interests.”
Yesterday the European Parliament voted by 590 to 52 (with 41 recorded abstentions) for a resolution that “”Calls on the Commission, when drafting a post-Brexit agreement, to make the UK’s access to the EU market for fishery and aquaculture products dependent on EU vessels’ access to British waters and on the application of the CFP.”
— PECH Committee Press (@EP_Fisheries) May 30, 2018
Missing from any of the columns were:
Now, we can’t be sure why any of them missed the vote. Perhaps they had very good reasons, though it should be noted votes often occur at the end of the day in the European parliament while collecting the per diem allowance merely requires presence at any time.
Again, though, there is no suggestion anyone behaved improperly if they did sign in and left before the vote – no rules have been broken either.
One truly bizarre occurrence was that arch Tory Brexiter, and former UKIP deputy leader David Campbell Bannerman voted for the resolution and the eternal application of the CFP. Bet that will go down well next time he dares show his face in Great Yarmouth.