Scottish Gamekeepers Association sponsors adverts against Scottish Greens during election campaign

Ahead of the election on Thursday the polls are showing that the Scottish Greens are expected to do well again, which could lead to a further coalition with the SNP if the SNP fails to reach a majority, according to the Scotsman yesterday.

As you’d expect, the Scottish Greens are big on animal welfare, wildlife conservation and tackling driven grouse shooting and wildlife crime. Alison Johnstone MSP had an opinion piece published today in the Edinburgh Evening News and here is an excerpt:

However, nature reserves alone are not enough when so much of Scotland’s uplands are intensively managed so that a few people can shoot wildlife.

And it isn’t just the grouse that are killed. This year I won protection for mountain hares which are killed in huge numbers because landowners think it will boost grouse populations. There is no evidence this works.

And of course, there is the appalling legacy of raptor persecution, which sees birds of prey continue to disappear near these moors, or found killed. It is a stain on Scotland’s reputation.

NatureScot, the agency which is supposed to be protecting Scotland’s nature, is far too quick to hand out licences to kill.

Within a year of beavers being declared a protected species, a fifth of the population was killed under licence. It’s time to address the nature emergency and deliver real protections for Scotland’s native species, before it’s too late.

The Scottish Greens manifesto pledges to review the priorities of NatureScot and other agencies, strengthen licensing, end bloodsports, ban cruel traps like snares and deliver a fully-resourced Wildlife Crime Investigations Unit in Police Scotland’.

For the full article please click here

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) is terrified of the Scottish Greens. We saw this in March when the SGA refused to invite the Greens to its political hustings (see here) and in April when the SGA said, in a moment of hilarious irony, it was going to complain to the Electoral Commission about the Greens’ election campaign material which the SGA claimed was ‘misleading’. My analysis suggested it wasn’t the Greens who were the ones publishing misleading information (see here).

Interestingly, the SGA is now paying for sponsored adverts on social media, targeting the Scottish Greens. You might think, if they are paying to get their material under the noses of people who would otherwise be beyond their reach, the SGA might pay for a decent graphic designer as well as check the facts given in the ad, but apparently not. Here’s one of the dodgy ads doing the rounds on Facebook:

You’ll notice that the accompanying text doesn’t match the text in the ad – one says that 13,000 rural jobs will be lost, the other says 10,000+.

Whether the claim is 13,000 or 10,000 jobs, the number(s) appear to be unsubstantiated. Further, should the SGA chose to actually read the Scottish Greens’ manifesto instead of reverting to immediate hyperbole and hysteria, they’d see that the Greens focus on actually creating jobs in the countryside, promising ‘at least £895M over the next five years in restoring nature whilst investing in rural communities, creating over 6,000 green jobs’. The Greens are also committed to ensuring that the licencing of grouse moors ‘is properly resourced and well enforced’ – how does that equate to rural job losses if grouse moor managers are abiding by the law?

It has been pointed out to me by one blog reader that the SGA may be breaking the rules by actively campaigning against a political party during an election campaign. This sort of behaviour is not permitted by organisations holding charitable status. On its website, the SGA has been at pains to claim that its election material has been put out under its status as a Limited Company, rather than as its Charitable Trust status. I’m told that a complaint has been made to OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator with a request to investigate.

18 thoughts on “Scottish Gamekeepers Association sponsors adverts against Scottish Greens during election campaign”

  1. Doh!! The rules or laws don’t apply to those involved in driven grouse shooting, you know that as well as I do.

  2. Says it all really.
    My main problem now is whether to vote for the Greens or Andy Wightman on the list vote.
    Still, it’s good to have that choice thanks to proportional representation!
    What about Fergus Ewing though , can I vote for a party with him in??

  3. I’ve given a (postal) vote to the Greens. I hope they’ll spur on the SNP to do even more for wildlfe and create better jobs for Gamekeepers to do.

  4. It would be delicious if they lost their charitable status. As one of the most uncharitable organisations out there, how the heck have they ever been given that status in the first place?

    I didn’t realise killing wildlife and having criminals amongst their membership were compatible with a charitable status! What next: the Scottish Burglars Association?

  5. You need to be really sure what you are voting for if you plan to vote for the Scottish Green Party. Sure their stance of environmental issues is more laudable than the others but when you’re not in a position to deliver virtue has no cost.

    The party has been in a de-facto alliance with the SNP for a number of years now. What do you think is going to change come Thursday that will suddenly end years of foot dragging, prevarication and in some cases outright xxxxx from the like of Pete ‘Tweed” Wishart and Fergus “burn it now’ Ewing.

    The party that used to have flagship policies on the environment is now more consumed with issues such as gender identity and the elimination of women’s rights. The Green Party you used to know no longer exists – just ask Andy Wightman.

    1. “You need to be really sure what you are voting for if you plan to vote for the Scottish Green Party. Sure their stance of environmental issues is more laudable than the others but when you’re not in a position to deliver virtue has no cost.

      The party has been in a de-facto alliance with the SNP for a number of years now. What do you think is going to change come Thursday that will suddenly end years of foot dragging, prevarication ……. etc.”

      Absolutely correct, Stuart.

      The Greens will sell their soul to the devil for the sake of a few worthless crumbs that the Sc. N. Party flick off the table.

    2. As a SGP member I have to agree that the environment and conservation are nowhere near as prominent as they should be in a green party. The ‘environment’ means spouting off about carbon emissions and climate justice then job’s done for too many members and reps. Once they did have really good policies about rural land use, but now you’re infinitely more likely to hear discussions on public toilet designations for the transgender than the state of the land. None the less there are some in the SGP with a genuine interest in wildlife, enough to be a force for change if they obtain significant influence. However, there are some SGP MSPs that haven’t spoken up much as yet and they really need to start realising that ecological health isn’t an optional extra for a green party. Great news that they’ve seriously rattled the SGA though and the way it’s done that advert it’s not clear that they’re NOT pushing it as a charity. I expect and hope they get an utter bollocking for that.

    3. Yup, they have too many other polices that i don’t agree with for me to consider giving them my vote, in spite of their environmental credentials.

  6. So how are the general public to know that the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association was taking out these adverts through its Limited Company and not under its charitable status? Is this stated anywhere in the publicity material?

    Great publicity for the Greens though.

    1. Exactly that distinction, pathetic though it is, isn’t apparent in the advert. Potentially that’s something that could be very, very serious. I’m sure there was some heavy regulation brought in a few years ago to limit how charities involve themselves in political issues. Ironically, I think it was pretty much driven by the political right to suppress criticism on social and environmental issues. Looks like this time it’s backfired.

  7. Looks like the Hogg-roaster and his chums are still struggling with that new-fangled personal computer thingy, not to mention their sums. Perhaps they should just stick to moaning about the drink-drive limit for those poor, oppressed (and yet, curiously, massively subsidised) ‘rural workers’? Anyone who rattles the SGA gets my vote.

  8. I lived in midlothian for a few yrs (Bonnyrigg) & the amount of animal abuse around that area was appalling. Illegal dog racing, badger baiting, dog fights, illegal shooting of stags, greyhound dumping & god knows what else.

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