Sunday Best: I come from a lamb Down Under

A round-up of Sunday's key stories and things you might have missed this week.

Image by RitaE from Pixabay.

G’day, how’s it going mate, and that very NSFW Aussie greeting,

The UK has agreed in principle its first major trade deal and so naturally lots of people in the UK are unhappy. Actually, not lots, just LPIs (Loud People with Influence). The agreement with Australia is good news for consumers. It makes goods cheaper and the increase in choice will encourage producers to up their game but can also open up new markets for them to target.

Yet, the deal is being characterised as an attack/undermining/betrayal (delete as appropriate) of ‘our farmers’, especially by nationalists in Scotland. Of course, there is nothing the UK Government does that isn’t called a betrayal by the nationalists (and dutifully covered as such by sections of the Scottish media). If Westminster posted gold bars to every household in Scotland, the SNP would condemn the added burden on the nation’s postmen.

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, we heard talk of the ‘Australian trade deal that threatens to flood the country with cheap imports’ and the UK Government ‘selling out Scotland’s farmers and crofters’. Noted international trade negotiator Nicola Sturgeon even demanded that Holyrood be given a vote on the treaty. (You can’t blame her for trying. Successive governments have conceded so many powers to Holyrood, it’s only natural the nationalists keep demanding more.)

Scottish opponents of the trade deal are giving the impression that Aussie farmers are going to swipe the locally-sourced lamb chops from our dinner plates and replace them with the bloody carcass of a recently slaughtered sheep from Riverina. In fact, though, Scotch lamb is one of the best arguments against this myopic way of thinking. It is already a renowned brand and one that can command a high retail price because of its quality.

Even with competition from Australian alternatives, many families will still choose Scotch lamb and where they don’t (if, say, Aussie cutlets are a little cheaper), all it will mean is that people with less money can more easily afford to feed their families good food. This isn’t a zero-sum game. That’s what’s so great about free trade: more choice benefits consumers and more competition allows farmers to compete in even more markets (on quality, price, delivery times etc).

If anti-trade nationalists think Scotch lamb (or any other Scottish product) can’t compete with its Aussie equivalent, they should come out and say it. Otherwise, they should welcome an opportunity for Scotland’s farmers and producers to show the world just how good they are.

You might call it ‘standing up for Scotland’.


The top stories from across the media.

Boris Johnson under growing Tory pressure over planning reforms

NIMBY backbenchers want to halt planning reforms that would make it easier to build houses.

Andy Burnham's anger at Manchester-Scotland travel ban

Greater Manchester’s mayor objects to lack of notice from Nicola Sturgeon.

Italy beats Wales 1-0

Another Football Thing has happened.


Stories that might have slipped your attention.

Ed Davey says Lib Dems could win ‘dozens’ of blue wall seats from Tories

Lib Dem leader predicts a revival for his party in the Tories’ disaffected heartlands.

Millions excluded from government support

Campaigners say self-employed left behind on Covid financial assistance.

John Bercow defects to Labour

It’s a wonder anyone noticed.

Battle lines

Stories to file under ‘yeah, there’s gonna be a row about this’. 

Colin Beattie returns to SNP treasurer role

Former finance chief takes up his old post following Douglas Chapman’s resignation.

Teachers are 'shielding' children from full horrors of the Holocaust (£)

Researchers find evidence that teachers are ‘sanitising’ the crimes of the Nazis in lessons.

Boris and Rishi 'on collision course'

The Mail on Sunday reports on tensions between Number 10 and Number 11 over spending. 

It’s a small world after all

News from the international scene.

Iran’s president-elect Ebrahim Raisi is hardliner linked with mass executions

Sadly, the Lib Dems didn’t win this election.

Experts divided as Japan government backs four-day workweek

Japan to begin the shift to a four-day working week, but not everyone is convinced.

A more perfect Union

President Joe Biden makes Juneteenth a national holiday in the United States, commemorating the end of slavery on June 19, 1865. 

That’s just, like, your opinion, man

Op-eds, interviews, and general stuff that makes me go ‘ooooh’.

How did Boris Johnson become the defender of working-class culture?

The Independent’s John Rentoul on how the Tories spotted a gap in the political market. 

A Clockwork jihadi

A must-read piece in the Critic by Roland Elliott Brown on what connects the London Bridge terrorist and Anthony Burgess’s most controversial novel.

The hatred behind Stop Funding Hate

Douglas Murray on the intolerance of progressives trying to starve GB News of advertisers.

Shameless plugs

Everything I wrote this week. You can see why I never get the time to write the Great American Novel.

Where you see a ‘£’, it indicates the link is behind a paywall. Never fear, though: in the case of the Spectator you can read one article free as a guest, five if you register your email, plus you can subscribe and try a month for free.  

Why the SNP is never held to account

Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t face the same level of scrutiny as Boris Johnson. I explained why in my Scottish Daily Mail column. 

The era of Bibi is over (£)

Why Benjamin Netanyahu was ousted as Israel’s prime minister and what to expect from the new government, an unlikely alliance of left, right, Jews and Arabs.

Does this SNP politician think buses are racist? (£)

SNP MSP James Dornan suggested there was something untoward in Lothian Buses’ decision to cancel evening services on St Patrick’s Day.

Why Rishi Sunak should keep the Universal Credit uplift (£)

An extra £20 a week has been a lifeline to the poorest families. The Chancellor shouldn’t take it away from them.

In woeful strains then let us sing: Avoid Australian fare 

My sketch of FMQs from the Scottish Parliament, where Nicola Sturgeon was demanding a vote on the UK’s trade deal with Australia.

The questions hanging over GB News (£)

My thoughts on GB News, what works, what doesn’t, and the Twitter boycott campaign.  

Shameless pugs

Internet celebrity Doug the Pug stops by his local coffee shop WITHOUT WEARING A MASK. REPORTED TO FAUCI.

Yeah, that’s weird 

Concerning further evidence that this timeline might not be quite right. 

I'm still standing

A memorial bench pops up in Margate, with a plaque dedicated to a man who is still alive.

I just wanna race a Lambo

Florida man hops on a scooter and chases down the alleged teenage car thief who took off in his Lamborghini.

Bear in the big blue car

A New Hampshire town is suffering a spate of ursine car break-ins.    

And finally

On this day in 1975, Steven Spielberg's Jaws was released in theatres and became the first summer blockbuster. It made almost half a billion dollars in box office receipts but called time on the New Hollywood wave of independence and creativity in movie-making.

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