Smith Hails "Ask Me, Tell Me, Chin Me" NFU Surgery Tour

09 March 2009
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today hailed the conclusion of his nationwide farming surgery tour, provocatively entitled the "Ask me, tell me, chin me" tour.

His last surgery was on Friday in Ardrishaig. Each NFU region has had a surgery, with an elegantly simple format: Smith versus the room, no agenda, no subject off limits, with Smith challenging the room to: ask him what is going on; tell him where things need fixed; and chin him if he himself is going wrong.

Smith said:

"I'm grateful to NFU Scotland for helping to arrange the surgeries, they took no small amount of organising - fitting with my diary is no easy feat!

"We deliberately called the tour the "Ask me, tell me, chin me" tour because if I do not know my brief by now I should not be doing this, and if I'm to serve Scotland's farmers I need to know what is going on. I'm happy to report that after meetings covering Dumfries to Kirkwall, Ardrishaig to Anstruther there has been plenty of asking and telling but no chinning!

"It has been hugely useful for me to pick up issues and take farming's temperature nationwide, and I hope that those who attended left knowing that I'm working for them. It was interesting especially the extent to which people raised issues which were not actually really EU issues at all, but domestic policy and the work of the government here in Scotland. I'm glad that I'm able to have such a close relationship with Richard Lochhead and Roseanna Cunningham, and I think the teamwork shows through. We might not agree on everything, but I'll do everything I can for Scottish Agriculture, and get real results.

"The tour was hugely useful, and I'll certainly plan to do it again should I be returned after the European election in June."

The subjects raised nationwide were:

Pesticides Reform

GM

FWAG Scotland

SNP government's forestry policy

Animal By Products

"Splitting" sheep at abattoirs

Individual ID of sheep

Working Time Directive

Brazilian Beef

The complexity of the SRDP

Renewable Energy use on farms

Flooding in the upper reaches of the River Teviot