By a Newsnet reporter
Claims that an independent Scotland would struggle to promote its food and drink on international markets have been ridiculed by Rural Affairs Minister Richard Lochhead.
Mr Lochhead dismissed remarks by UK Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson who said Scottish exporters would suffer without the "clout" of the UK government.

The Conservative MP for North Shropshire, who was visiting Scotland at the weekend, said an independent Scottish Government would struggle to lobby foreign markets without the help of UK Government.

"What I see time and again after the success of the Olympics last year, the Royal Wedding and the Jubilee, is that there's a real interest in British products.

"There's a real positive for great Scottish firms like Walkers and those in the Scotch whisky industry in using the British government." the MP told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper.

Paterson told the paper that products like whisky were protected only because the UK Government had "real clout" and that staying in the Union offered, "a clear advantage for Scottish farmers and manufacturers".

He added: "We've negotiated all sorts of advantages specifically for Scotland at the request of senior Scottish politicians to help Scottish agriculture in the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] negotiations and represented the whisky industry and food manufacturers at the very highest level."

However the claims were dismissed by Scottish Minister Richard Lochhead who pointed to the massive success of the Scottish Government’s own Food and Drink strategy launched in 2007, which Westminster was now copying.

Scotland's food exports have outperformed the UK's as a whole between 2007 and 2012, with a 54.2% increase in value from £712 million in 2007 to £1,098 million in 2012.

Mr Lochhead said: "Owen Paterson is scraping the bottom of the whisky barrel with such comments.  Scotland's worldwide reputation for high-quality produce speaks for itself.

"With the recent launch of the UK government's Food and Drink International Action Plan, they have at long last started out on a journey the Scottish food and drink industry began in 2007."

The Scottish Minister said that independence would create even more opportunities for Scottish food and drink and will offer the fiscal powers to make Scotland a more attractive place in which to do business.

He added: "With our own voice in Europe, we can stand up for our farmers, our fishermen and our food industry. 

"And in our diplomacy we'll be able to prioritise key industry needs such as the removal of red tape between Scotland and markets our food industry would like to access, such as Japan, which for too long was not regarded as a priority for the UK government despite huge demand there for Scotch beef."

The remarks by Owen Paterson come only days after new Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael warned his Tory coalition colleagues against lecturing people in Scotland.

Mr Carmichael said that when coalition colleagues come to Scotland they should " prepared to learn.  It must be more than a lecture tour."

Mr Carmichael's predecessor, Michael Moore, used an interview in the Sunday Times to lift the lid on internal splits in the Westminster Government on the Ministry of Defence's bizarre proposal to annexe Faslane in the event of a Yes vote.

The former Scottish Secretary blasted the proposal as "nonsensical" stating "It would have shifted a lot of very moderate people – even those supporting the UK – into the nationalist camp saying, 'what on earth are they thinking of?' "

Commenting on the latest scare, SNP MSP Rob Gibson said:

"Alistair Carmichael has clearly got on a fight on his hands if he hopes to stop his Westminster colleagues from using trips to Scotland to talk down to people living here.

"His message clearly hasn't gotten through to Owen Paterson, whose comments about Scotland's food and drink sector are frankly bizarre.

"Scotland has been outperforming the UK in this sector since the SNP came into office and with our own voice on the international stage we would be able to achieve even more.  The irony of Owen Paterson’s intervention is that food and drink policy is already devolved - Scotland is successfully promoting its food and drink across the world with the limited independence we already have.

"It is poorly researched outbursts like this that betray the kind of arrogance at Westminster that led to such nonsense as the MoD's call to annexe Faslane – something Michael Moore branded as 'nonsensical'.

"People in Scotland can only hope that Michael Moore's sacking was not brought about because of his opposition to these kinds of ludicrous attitudes in the Westminster Government."


# mountaincadre 2013-10-14 06:55
A more lengthy reply would be better...but idiot will suffice.
# jdman 2013-10-14 07:00
When oh when is the Scottish MSM going to man up and do its job for gods sake and hold these idiots up to the ridicule they so richly deserve?

I actually am starting to think this is a surreptitious campaign by the Tories to belittle and denigrate Scotland to the point where the people will say ENOUGH and vote en masse for an independent country, then the Tory party will (in their mind) be able to reign supreme for ever more in a right wing paradise
seriously I'm getting tired of these people reducing my country to a vassal state who would starve without the largesse of our Westminster benefactors,

while they stand in front of cameras and smile while holding up the produce being provided by foodbanks as it it were a good thing, Jesus wept
# Macart 2013-10-14 07:03
Oh please! They really are going to have to up their game a bit. The product sells itself not the UK govt. or any govt. body. People buy a thing because of its quality or desirability. Government and trade bodies grease the wheels and open a few doors. Since much of Scotland's exports are already world leading and world famous brands, I'm struggling to take Mr Paterson's guff seriously from any perspective. Is this fella really implying that a. the UK will deliberately undermine Scottish trade (oh wait now...) or that b. a Scottish government or trade body can't possibly do the job?

Frankly they can take their scare story of the day and...

Steady now. :)
# UpSpake 2013-10-14 07:22
I don't think we need another English twit to rubbish the ability of Scotland to sell its excellent products to a willing foreign marketplace. Is it not the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that charges whisky producers 3000 pounds to use what is in effect owr own Embassies abroad to market our water of life to the rest of the world ?.
Nope, think we can do quite nicely thank you being as far removed from the London set as its possible to get.
# Old Smokey 2013-10-14 07:37
This will be the UK government that charges Whisky producers to use British Embassies for promotion. That's the British Embassies that we already pay for
# clootie 2013-10-14 07:40
Project fear depend on one key principal
- "By the time cooler heads debunk the lies, the propaganda has already had its desired effect."

They don't care how stupid we consider the stories. They will drip feed stories non stop until the referendum. They hope an accumulation of fear will make people opt for the safe haven of the UK - since we are so stupid?.

This is their only hope now as they cannot find a positive case for the union. ( I discount dying together in wars and the BBC)
# call me dave 2013-10-14 07:48
Salmond has been putting Scotland's case in foreign parts for a while and the UK government is following in his footsteps as usual.

We can and will do very well in an independent Scotland.
# WRH2 2013-10-14 08:00
A fairly decided No voter said something interesting to me the other day. Until now, this person who is a fairly committed No voter is also fed up with this drip fed rubbish as, and I quote, "it makes No voters look as if they are zipped up the back". I sensed a small chink in their confidence about voting No. This guff may be starting to back fire!
# Abulhaq 2013-10-14 08:02
The conservative mp for North Shropshire visits Scotland....a pukka sahib condescends to call upon the natives and tell them what's what. They just do not get it those tory boys. We have a food industry that needs ideas, investment, promotion and development none of which UK regime is capable or even remotely interested in providing. More hubris and wind from inflated egos living off past "glories".
# flying haggis 2013-10-14 08:12
The trouble is, that some folk will believe it.

And those folk become a sizeable group when you add up the gigantic volume of scare stories that have been put out.

I think its time to play Better Together at their own game. Lets see some statements along the lines of "Westminster 'may' have to...(inset any anti-scottish statemnt you can think of)... if Scotland remains part of the Union".
# admiral 2013-10-14 08:28
Quoting flying haggis:
The trouble is, that some folk will believe it.

And those folk become a sizeable group when you add up the gigantic volume of scare stories that have been put out.

I think its time to play Better Together at their own game. Lets see some statements along the lines of "Westminster 'may' have to...(inset any anti-scottish statemnt you can think of)... if Scotland remains part of the Union".

Actually, I would phrase it as "Westminster WILL...."

1) Westminster will always fail to support Scottish priorities.
2) Westminster will always take revenue from Scottish assets to support London - Olympics/Crossrail/HS2, you name it.
3) Westminster will sacrifice Scottish lives in support of untenable geopolitical ambitions to be a "big" power.
4) Westminster will always deride and devalue the aspirations of the Scottish people.
# NorthBrit 2013-10-14 08:19
NorthBrit spent two hours on Saturday tracking down a French Label Rouge chicken in London, driven to this extremity by the poor quality of the local produce. It would have taken 5 minutes to find the same thing back in France (62% of whole chickens sold in France are Label Rouge).

But it isn't a one way street (Label Rouge salmon from Scotland gets the thumbs up in France):

I believe you can find Bovril and Spam in the ethnic cuisine section of large French supermarkets).

To suggest that Scotland continues to benefit from being associated with the country whose lax approach to food quality led to mad cow disease requires a peculiar approach to logic (too many English burgers?).
# JimW 2013-10-14 08:27
Macart's 'b' option may not be too far off the mark. In 1705 the English parliament passed the aliens act forbidding England or it's colonies from any trade with Scotland. Modern international pressures would make it extremely difficult for them to do the same again, but it won't stop them from trying. It would be a mistake to imagine that the famous notions of fair play and being good losers would make any difference. They were nasty neighbours before and will be so again.
# Macart 2013-10-14 09:37
Wasn't quite my intention Jim. I was highlighting past history to show how ridiculous such a situation developing in the present would be. Of course our companies will be competitors in some areas. In others not so much and as part of any short term currency zone or even some form of expanded council of Britain and Ireland hardly at all. Commercial interdependency is the name of the game. Where there is common ground it needs to be encouraged. What that cack handed release of Mr Paterson suggests is a deliberate ploy to suggest that losing Westminster protection or direction is a very bad thing. Kind of flies in the face though of the open border agreement his boss made with ROI recently don't you think?

Seriously, they must think nobody pays attention to the world up here. :)
# ahumscottish2 2013-10-14 08:34
Tell me is there a well known food/drink from North Shropshire excuse my ignorance in advance
# Nautilus 2013-10-14 08:50
The BT lot keep asking questions about how the country will be run if Scotland votes YES.
Most have been answered by way of FOI statistics and unbiased opinion.
Isn’t it time the BT campaign started answering questions in the event of a NO vote?
Will NO mean more of the same, i.e. more unwinnable wars, boom and bust, bank bail outs, selling out of public assets that the population supported for 70 years, young talent leaving Scotland for honeypot London, businesses selling out to rich southerners and moving south, food banks, persecution of minorities such as asylum- or job-seekers, homelessness, oil wealth being poured into useless projects and London, deterioration of our infrastructure, of our country towns becoming second-home ghost towns, a flat line economy for the next 10-20 years, the nuclear arsenal still on the Clyde, increasing national debt and trade deficit, increasing utility bills, and more legislation without representation?
Answers, please.
# bringiton 2013-10-14 10:14
And also the removal of individual protection afforded by European and Human Rights legislation.
# farrochie 2013-10-14 14:00
Isobel Fraser repeatedly asked Alistair Darling about what NO will mean to us. From the shallow nature of his answers, he clearly has never thought about it. Though he thinks devolution is not satisfactory.
# fynesider 2013-10-15 14:23
"Will NO mean more of the same,....Answers, please."

The simple answer is YES....
# proudscot 2013-10-14 08:54
Old Smokey makes a good point about the Scotch Whisky trade having to pay to use British Embassy facilities abroad to promote their product.

In addition I would ask this North Shropshire Tory MP how much "clout" will any UK trade organisation have in the European market of 500 million potential customers, if his party win their xenophobic referendum to withdraw from the EU?
# pomatiaH1 2013-10-14 08:59
We are grown up people who can think, make arrangements and decisions for ourselves.
These 'warnings' have gone beyond stupid.
# EphemeralDeception 2013-10-14 09:09
The UK is adding insult to injury here.

Firstly there is obviously a pervasive arrogance with UK ministers in that they consider UK public bodies/ Embassies and international organisations as 100% English (funded, run and owned). This is only conclusion we can have from such official comment.

Secondly Scotland has per capita much greater balance of trade and stronger brands than the rest of the UK. Also the UK has damaged exports in some areas eg. Scottish Hill farmers who could not export due to the accidental leak from DEFRA a few years ago - where English farmers were compensated centrally (As they should have been), but Scottish farmers got nothing from the UK. Excuse was that animal welfare is considered devolved Scottish Gov. has to pay. However disease control is UK reserved and they bloody caused the problem.

The UK is in fact playing down the strength of the Scottish Food and drink industry.
# Leader of the Pack 2013-10-14 09:57

"Firstly there is obviously a pervasive arrogance with UK ministers in that they consider UK public bodies/ Embassies and international organisations as 100% English (funded, run and owned)."

Exactly right. Once again we see the hidden assertion disguised beneath another bizarre ludicrous claim which reinforces the assumption that the rUK will continue to be the UK and it is this assertion we should concentrate on destroying not the continuous levels of stupidity in the meaningless claims and fairy tales they use to continually reinforce this position.
# RTP 2013-10-14 09:44
Owen Patterson in reply.
Now listen all you serfs stop your complaining as Maggie said‘We English, who are a marvellous people, are really very generous to

-- Margaret Thatcher, 1990
We at Westminster know what is best for you pesky Scots so get back in your box and if you do we might give you a few more English pounds to keep you quite

VOTE YES I say and be rid of people like Patterson.
# mealer 2013-10-14 09:50
We have a good food and drink sector DESPITE Westminster,not because of Westminster.
# BRL 2013-10-14 10:37
In the accompanying article - 'Scotland's economy....' ....the Scottish private sector has been expanding at a steady pace over the last 6 months. Maintaining last month's strong growth rate is encouraging given the slow and stuttering rate of economic recovery in the UK.

The overall rate of growth stands at 58.3. The service sector hit 59.6 in September whilst manufacturing slipped back to 53.4 from 56.7.

So this is all down to the UK's incredibly indispensable organisational vigor is it?
# Old Smokey 2013-10-14 11:25
Another aspect that should be noted is that Scottish Whisky IS a worldwide recognised brand in the same way as Cognac, Brandy and Champagne are brand that are French. The other aspect is the fact that Scotland exports billions of pounds worth. Something that Westminster is also worried about as the loss of just this single trade will put a huge dent in the trade figures of England, which currently includes Scottish exports hidden within the export figures of the English regions
# alanski 2013-10-14 12:11
What a pathetic remark - 'Scottish exporters would suffer without the "clout" of the UK government'. Another feeble and brainless attempt to scare us into voting no.
# indy2014 2013-10-14 12:17
97% of Scotch Whisky is exported, it alone accounts for 25% of the entire UK's food and drink exports. It is reputed to be the single most profitable industry in these islands.
Nothing in the history of film and TV has been product placed so effectively as Scotch (for no money). From Bogart to the latest TV series, it's so common place you won't even notice.
And we don't even celebrate it!
Why don't we have a festival like the Royal Highland Show...


or even...


Whisky, bagpipes, tartan, Scotland's other food and drink brands, plus any industry, company or person that thinks they have something to showcase to about one billion Chinese people.
# hetty 2013-10-14 12:55
Indeed some people do still refuse to look for their information other than in the msm. When I talk to anti-Independence people, I now reel off all of things that are likely with continued dependence, and more, Nautilis asks if we will have 'more of the same'? I would add to that and I tell people to expect a privatised NHS in Scotland, privatised water, very likely to have some kind of conscription for our young people and/or workhouse type of places, more crime, nuclear waste will be dumped in Scotland's countryside...and expect more! A kind of scaremongering back but with the truth! The thing is, these people are often older and have had good healthcare, bus passes, benefits, good pensions, good jobs for life, a good standard of living, it so angers me to think they will deny this to our children!
# gus1940 2013-10-14 15:30
On the subject of Nuclear Waste the following is the first 2 paras of an article on p.34 of Private Eye Issue 1349.

Funnily enough no mention of this has appeared on TV or The MSM and don't kid me that no Scottish Journalists read The Eye.

'Plans to ship nuclear fuel from Dounreay to South Carolina sparked outrage from environmental groups on both sides of the Atlantic last month.

US nuclear fuel tech firm NAC International applied to the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to "package and ship from Dounreay to the Savannah River site in Aiken, S. Carolina five special assemblies in a one-time shipment". The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) insists this isn't a change in its intentions to send its own spent fuel to Sellafield, since the assemblies in question were actually stashed in Dounreay for safekeeping by The US Military some time ago after being removed from Tbilisi during the Georgian civil war.
# Independista 2013-10-14 13:58
'The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.'
American writer H. L. Mencken
# Davy 2013-10-14 14:02
And yet again the Westminster conveyor of absolute bolloxs delivers another load of tripe, was it marked for the attention of Alistair Carmichael 'Secretary of State' Scotland.

If so I think his tory pal mis-understood the meaning of lecturing 'against' the people of Scotland. Just keep sending those knowledgeable tory MP's up here, I can't wait for their next words of wisdom.

Alba Gu Brath.
# macwomble 2013-10-14 14:19
Helping Scottish farmers? mean like the same way Tony Blair did when he turned down the French governments offer to exclude Scottish beef from the mad-cow disease saga....oh right..we can do without THAT kind of "help"...what a tosser!
# From The Suburbs 2013-10-14 16:07
There is no limit to the nonsense coming out of Project Fear. Why would any right thinking person buy French Cheese or Irish Guinness?

Among the questions asked whilst canvassing at the weekend were:

"I lost my passport in America. How would I get home as I could't use the British Embassy?


"Where would I do my shopping if supermarkets like ADSA pulled out rather than register to do business in Scotland"

The questions are endless and only by talking to voters one to one can they be answered.

However I think the YES side must get a high profile full time advocate to counter the feeling that the referendum was a vote for or against SNP / Alex Salmond.
# Leader of the Pack 2013-10-15 08:47
And once again the questions you highlighted all "PRESUME" Scotland is leaving the UK and not ending it! That is the big lie that is the "ONLY" significant point that needs to be made! If ASDA is not registered to do business in an Indy Scotland it wont be registered to do business in the NEW England Wales either! If Scots cant use their existing UK "EU" Passport then neither can the "RUK"!
Make this point with every single question and claim coming from the No campaign! Don't allow the assertion of sole inheritance to go unchallenged ever!
# Soloman 2013-10-14 17:30
Mr Cameron, Nick Clegg and their Darling New Labour allies have been telling Scotland that of course you could go it alone ( The respect agenda ) On the other hand they feel the need to tell us what is very likely to go wrong ( in their collective opinions )

So they send to Scotland Westminster politicians to remind us how succesfull our various business sectors are.

Then they tell us that without being hard wired to the London Treasury, we will short circuit and fail!!
# call me dave 2013-10-14 17:56
# hetty

Quite right!

Two more posts from Mr Bateman.
Here's one of them.
# Mad Jock McMad 2013-10-14 19:14
Paterson is also taking a kicking down south for his pro-Monsanto line ....
# willie boy 2013-10-15 05:42
This most recent scare is risible beyond belief.

Scotch whisky accounts for 25% of the UKs entire food and drink export. No one in their right mind buys Scotch because out us British. Even the name Scotch tells you that. Or what about Scottish salmon. Us it famed in China because it comes from the pee clean water of the Thames.

Ach now come tell us another . What about BSE being the best of British. The weekend will agree. Go tell that to the natives.

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