SNP conference: John Swinney warns Brexit leaves UK facing 'winter of discontent'

By Torcuil Crichton

The UK is facing a “winter of discontent” with empty shelves in the supermarkets and staff shortages in key sectors of the economy because Boris Johnson pushed ahead with Brexit, John Swinney has predicted.

In what is expected to be a hard-hitting speech to the SNP’s online conference the party’s deputy leader and Scotland’s Deputy First Minister will argue the shortages show how “Westminster isn’t working”.

Swinney is set to tell SNP members that Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are attempting to “dismantle devolution” and will slam the “muscular unionism” of the UK Conservative government.

Swinney will tell online delegates to expect the UK government to “plaster the country with union flags” as well as “take every opportunity to undermine the Scottish Government”,

But Swinney will be dismissive of the Prime Minister and his colleagues who simply “do not have the brains to match the brawn”.

He will tell delegates that “there is perhaps no greater example of how the Union has failed Scotland than the sorry saga of Brexit”

Swinney will say: “Despite the warnings, against the will of the people of Scotland, and in the grips of a pandemic, the Tories pressed ahead with the hardest of breaks.

“Boris Johnson once spoke of Brexit and the ‘sunlit meadows beyond’, but the reality he has delivered is food rotting in the fields because there is no one there to pick it.

“The end of freedom of movement, and the draconian clampdown of migration from the EU has been a disaster for the economy – not just here in Scotland but the whole of the UK.

“Perhaps the most obvious example is the empty shelves in our supermarkets. But staff shortages are beginning to bite across the economy.

“Every sector will feel the chill wind brought on by Brexit. And there is no end in sight."

“The Tories are unwilling and unable to take the simple steps required to fix the problem they have created. The UK is facing a winter of discontent and Westminster isn’t working.”

The UK so-called “winter of discontent” occurred in the late 1970s, when strikes and industrial action led to the downfall of the then Labour government, with prime minister James Callaghan beaten by Conservative Margaret Thatcher in May 1979.


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