Exclusive – Fishermen Slam Boris for Saying He 'Got Brexit Done' Despite Being 'Sold Out'
British fishermen have reacted with fury to Boris Johnson praising himself for having “Got Brexit Done” on the two-year anniversary of Britain’s belated break with the European Union, reminding Breitbart News of how they were “sold out”.
Britain’s fishing industry was infamously sacrificed by Prime Minister Edward ‘Ted’ Heath during negotiations to join the European Economic Community (EEC), as the EU then was, in the 1970s, with the Tory leader agreeing that European fishing stocks would be shared out by Brussels as a so-called “common resource” after Britain’s entry.
The great majority of Western Europe’s fisheries were located in British territorial waters, and domestic industry was devastated as the bloc began doling out the lion’s share of stocks to foreign vessels — with the situation only getting worse as it expanded to take in countries like Spain, further eroding Britain’s quotas.
The government had known the impact on British fishermen of joining “Europe” would be catastrophic beforehand, with a Scottish Office memo made public years later revealing that officials had decided that “in the wider UK context, they must be regarded as expendable” — and taking back control of national fisheries becoming a rallying cry for eurosceptics for decades.
However, the last-minute deal Prime Minister Boris Johnson actually struck with Brussels was widely condemned as a sell-out by British fishing organisations with respect to their industry, effectively perpetuating the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the EU era.
Two years ago today, we Got Brexit Done https://t.co/CSxwBoxjJVpic.twitter.com/aSwq1RtKM8
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 31, 2022
“Brexit most certainly has not been done as far as Shetland’s fishermen are concerned – the UK has not secured control of its own waters and refuses to contemplate any change to fisheries management to which the EU might object,” said Simon Collins, Executive Officer of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association and a member of the Executive Committee of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), in comments to Breitbart News.
“Far from becoming an independent coastal state, the UK is a highly impaired coastal state that lacks the nerve or imagination to even try and depart from the management regime imposed by the Common Fisheries Policy,” he added, further referring to an article he penned earlier in January for The Scotsman, describing how both the British central government and the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have failed to defend the national interest.
“It is impossible to understate the scale of the betrayal,” Collins wrote at the time, noting that “incredibly, the [Brexit deal] left parts of the industry worse off in terms of quota availability than they had been under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).”
“It will be for historians to decide whether that staggering outcome reflected incompetence at the top of government or stemmed from a hope that fishers would be too daft to notice,” he added.
Fishermen: Boris ‘Bottled It’, Brexit Deal ‘A Defeat’ for ‘Sacrificed’ Industry https://t.co/UMLmq053aZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 28, 2020
“The dreams and aspirations of the vast majority of fishermen were shattered the moment the details of the Brexit deal became known,” noted Mike Park OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association.
“Not only did it not deliver on the promises of the Prime minister and other top Ministers, such as Michael Gove, it cast the industry adrift with regard to making significant adjustments post-transition. Our day in the political sun should have delivered far more than was achieved, once again the fishing industry of this country was sold out,” he added, accusing Johnson’s government of having “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, although the hyperbole from up high would continue to have you believe an alternative narrative”.
“This was a giveaway to the EU, practically none of what we were promised was achieved,” concurred Leslie Tait, Honorary President of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association and Vice President of the Scottish Fishing Federation, according to its website.
“At least Ted Heath did not promise anything in the big giveaway,” the retired fisherman said of Johnson’s despised 20th-century predecessor as Prime Minister and Tory leader, branding the 2019 deal a “huge letdown.”
PICTURES: Farage Flotilla Clashes With Bob Geldof Boat On River Thames https://t.co/CMuQdjtzXTpic.twitter.com/TqvHx6S5EF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 15, 2016