Addressing the Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Dundee yesterday, Michael Howard took time out to make a statement on the Common Fisheries Policy. This is the text:
When I visited the fishing community of Pittenweem in December, I pledged to restore national and local control over our fisheries. The Common Fisheries Policy is emptying our seas of fish and has utterly failed our fishermen. It needs to end. And let us be clear – only a Conservative Government can and will end it. And if necessary we will legislate in Parliament to make it happen.
For if we wait much longer, there will not be a fishing industry left to sustain. My message to Scotland’s fishermen is simple: "I can deliver and I will not let you down".
According to fishermen present, Howard could not have done better. One was impressed not only by the words, but the way they were delivered. "Reading it (the speech)", he told us, "doesn't give the emphasis he put on the points he made. It has taken many years of hard work, along with encountering substantial abuse and ridicule, from within, as well as without the industry, before we have got a Conservative leader to speak in such a committed way. It has been worth it all".
And so the die is cast... we are on our way out.