Jacob Anthony: It’s time for us to unite after Brexit

For the country – just about the whole world, in fact – 2021 has begun not much better than how 2020 ended.

The next few months are looking bleak, with strict lockdown measures in place for the foreseeable future. There is, though, light at the end of the tunnel, with the vaccination rollout well and truly under way.  

Is there also a faint flicker of light for the agricultural community to be harmonious again?

See also: Jacob Anthony – farmers must trust the science

Since 2016, there has been a huge amount of animosity within the industry whenever someone mentioned Brexit. It has felt like a constant point-scoring exercise by both those who voted Remain and those who voted Leave.

On Christmas Eve, Boris delivered an early present by announcing a trade agreement had been reached with the EU, with nearly everyone, regardless of which way they voted, surely breathing a sigh of relief.

Was this the first time in four years that the majority of the industry was in agreement about a Brexit-related decision? Very likely it was, as few would have wanted the alternative.

This isn’t the silver bullet for the future of agriculture, but it needed to happen and should prove a springboard for us all to move forward together. 

As someone who has strongly believed in the long-term virtues of Brexit, I am the first to admit that it hasn’t been anywhere near as easy to get to this point as we were led to believe. Nor has everything that was proclaimed, from both sides, been entirely correct.

We are all under no illusion that the real hard work is only now starting. That said, though, there is no going back. The majority voted for it, so now we need to look to the future and at the many opportunities that can be grasped.

Now the deal has been done, regardless of the way you voted, it is surely time to stop squabbling with one another. We all want the same end goal – a viable and prosperous agricultural industry.

We must all move forward together for the benefit of everyone involved with farming.