Sometimes you just don’t see things coming


by Alan Davies, FUW managing director

i WAS in the garden on the morning that Theresa may announced that she wants to call an election and it came as a bit of a surprise. The earliest warning i had was just a text message on my phone from someone saying “is she going to resign?” And when i turned my Tv on, it became clear what was going on. This of course was during that period when the media had been told that a “big announcement” was on its way, and the delivery of the message that shocked so many people when it was delivered outside 10 Downing Street. But when i look back, was it really that much of a surprise? The signals were probably there for quite some time. in fact, at a reception in Downing Street on St David’s Day i was talking to one government minister about the political challenges for the year, and he reeled off the elections in France, the elections in germany, but when i interrupted and questioned: “and an election on the UK?” his face positively lit up. “Tempting” was the word. So it should have been clear that there was an appetite. And now the election call has been made the “media experts” are telling us how obvious it was that the election makes sense for a host of reasons that they’d not thought about before. That’s what experts do – state the blindingly obvious that we all could probably see beforehand. i heard one honest commentator say that he was shocked but not surprised. He admitted the signs had been there. He acknowledged that there were no facts that he had previously not known that made the decision more, or less, sensible. He also admitted that he, like many many others, had just chosen to not process the facts and assess their possible impact. He just went with the flow, followed the crowd. He had not thought it through. There are always clues about the future and we need to be aware of them and process them correctly. For many of us now the big issue is the world we will face once the UK has left the European Union. The real facts are thin on the ground. The political structures have yet to be agreed. The transfer of powers back to the UK has not been resolved and nor has the final home for those powers been determined. But this does not, and should not, stop us realising that there are a range of outcomes that need to be considered, mulled over and their potential impact addressed. At best: we have to hope that we will be alright. That markets will exist, that trade flows and that there is continuity of funding for both the short and long term. Why would we not want that? But the worst case scenario – the so-called Hard Brexit, is without doubt a nightmare option. What could change? There might be no trade to EU countries, we could see the imposition of WTo tariffs, cheap food imports might flow from the rest of the world, and so much more. Some farming sectors will feel this pain more than others. Whilst we will do all we can to work with governments to generate the best solution for farming in Wales, everyone should listen to, hear and process the messages out there. Everything might turn out to be fine, or it might be awful, we just don’t know. There could be new opportunities or there could be severe implications, we just don’t know. But for either option, make sure you can see what’s coming.

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