Scottish Government to respond to Werritty Review on Thursday 26th November

In a bit of a surprise move, the Scottish Government intends to issue a long-awaited formal statement on the Werritty Review of grouse moor management this Thursday (26 November 2020).

It will come in the form of a Ministerial statement during Portfolio Questions, probably around 3pm.

The timing of this is really very interesting. Could it be an indication of ‘good news’? The “decisive action” promised by Environment Cab Sec Roseanna Cunningham back in August (here) in response to the volume of letters she received from the public following the appalling news that an iconic white-tailed eagle had been found illegally poisoned with a banned toxin on a grouse moor inside the Cairngorms National Park?

If it was going to be ‘bad news’ (e.g. the Government has decided to do absolutely nothing of any significance in response to the Werritty Review except kick the can a bit further down an already very long road), I’d have expected them to put something out with little fanfare at 5pm on 23rd December when everyone’s focus will be elsewhere.

Or could this impending statement be timed to offset a potential rebellion from grassroots members at the SNP’s annual conference at the end of this month? There has been a lot of upset after a motion to ban driven grouse shooting, endorsed by 25 regional groups, was ‘watered down’ by the Government earlier this month (see here). A statement of strong intent to actually do something, now, would probably soothe some rising voices.

It’s also quite telling that a senior civil servant has been making direct contact with some of us, quite openly, to give us the heads up that this announcement will be made on Thursday. In the ten years I’ve been writing this blog I’ve never once been given ‘official’ notice of an impending Ministerial statement. It’s clear the Scottish Government wants us to be watching and I see that as a good indication of what might be coming. Otherwise, why bother telling us in advance?

To be clear, I don’t know what the Minister will say and nor does anybody else I’ve spoken to in recent days, or if they do, they’re not saying. Whichever way this goes, it’s going to be massive.

All eyes on the Scottish Parliament on Thursday. You can watch it live from the Chamber here and I’d guess that there’s a good chance an accompanying written statement will be posted on the Scottish Government website around 3pm.

20 thoughts on “Scottish Government to respond to Werritty Review on Thursday 26th November”

  1. My bet is licensing to be introduced after a consultation period of 5 years (with an option for a further 5 years if required ), the consultation panel will consist of SLE, the SGA, gift of grouse and chaired by Lord Beefy of foot Spa.

    Let’s see if this is anywhere near what is to be announced, I hope no

  2. If past performance is the predictor of future behaviour, odds on are a continuation of smoke and mirrors to keep the party faithful. Large grass roots support, means large high profile announcement, that does not equate to large change. Hill-tracks big announcement but little practical difficulty for land owners, same for the re-introduction of Sporting rates, Beavers ditto and land reform fund diminished to the point it is good for the occasional iconic purchase to keep the flag wavers happy but no actual political motivation to disrupt the status quo. Caged salmon farming report fudged. More likely it will sound good, it will have a lead time, SLE, estate owners and Conservative politicians will winge dutifully, further giving the impression to the masses that the legislation has hit home, and then the real business of ensuring continuation will quietly take place behind the scenes. The SNP government has spent its years in office trying to govern without governing to avoid losing any voters and potentially making potent enemies, pre-independence limbo. The only way this will be significant is if they need to draw attention away from bad news elsewhere………….but maybe this time the grass roots will see through it, just maybe.

    1. The grass roots see through it perfectly well. Their priority is to end the Union and the permanent limbo of Anglo British failure. So they have been mostly willing to accept pre independence policy limbo across many issues to maintain their broad base. Polls and elections suggest that they may be right. There is a lot wrong with that approach, as you point out, and also electorally as the British collapse develops, but mocking the ‘flag wavers’ is just too colonial to move anyone.

  3. I have long felt that if someone in government wishes to release information, then they should put their name to it. This may proceed smoothly or not, and the ‘good day to cover bad news’ may apply. If so, we will know who to distrust another time.

    There are a number of contentious issues already affecting support for the SNP.

  4. Whatever is announced the SG must fully realise that every detail will be scrutinised.

    The SG’s long record of dodging the issue and failing to address the problem will cause many people to be alert to more prevarication. To be blunt, we have long been in a position where the SG’s words cannot be trusted.

    Rapid action to stop the crime and land abuse is all that matters. Anything that comes up short of that requirement will be another sell out.

  5. Gosh, does this mean Santa is coming early to the grouse moors. Like others I will wait with baited breath to see what is announced.

  6. Intention and action are two very different things.
    Political statements are frequently full of intentions, but without action… are simply words.
    The wildlife struggling to survive on grouse moors deserves much more than words!!

  7. Well I hope no one expecting justice is holding their breath because they will not get any from these people who seem completely unfazed by the sad loss of so many iconic species so that these dummies can carry on shooting little birds with big guns its a sad thing that so much destruction is allowed by the same government that rants about what happens overseas.

  8. Whilst not disagreeing with most of the comments on here about lack of action from the SNP government, I’d like to just shine a light on the alternative. The second highest number of seats is held by the Tories (a branch of the English Tory party) followed fairly closely by Labour (a branch of the English Labour party). Neither of these parties have, overall, Scottish interests at heart. Galvanising the current government, either directly or through it’s members is the best hope for change, in my opinion.

    1. An odd view. Scottish tories elected in Scotland by Scots – ditto Labour and others but they don’t have Scottish interests at heart? Are they all closet English and a parcel of rogues and traitors as it were?

      1. Pip, perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. Tories and Labour in Scotland are not independent political parties, but branches of their main parties in England and thus beholden to them. I wouldn’t want either party governing Scotland for that reason – although not the only one!

  9. For once in this awful catalogue of habitat destruction and the countless lives of legally protected raptors lost it might just on this occasion holding ones breath as it were. I truly, truly hope that the likes of Baynes, Hogg amongst a host of other TITS are going to be very downcast tomorrow.

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