Hysteria from Scottish gamekeepers as SNP and Greens formalise talks to cooperate

Earlier this week it was announced that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was in formal talks with the Scottish Greens over a ‘co-operation agreement’ designed to seal a pro-independence majority at Holyrood. Falling short of a formal coalition, the agreement could in future lead to Green MSPs becoming Ministers as part of the current Scottish Government (see Scottish Greens statement here, BBC news article here and an analysis from the Guardian’s Scotland Editor Sev Carrell here).

This proposed agreement is of huge interest to many environmentalists and although the specific policy areas of potential cooperation have not yet been agreed (see here), tackling the climate emergency (and by default, surely, the nature emergency) should be a prominent feature.

The news of these talks has triggered the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) to publish a typically over-the-top scaremongering response about perceived job losses, presumably as a ploy to keep its less well-informed members ready to join a protest at short notice: [Update 16.30hrs – see foot of blog!]

Job losses are of concern to everyone, of course, but as I’ve written previously, the SGA is once again accusing the Scottish Greens of doing something they haven’t done.

The Scottish Greens have made it an aspiration to abolish our members’ jobs‘, says the SGA.

Actually, the Greens have done no such thing. In fact in their election manifesto the Scottish Greens have committed to 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?

A spokesperson from the Scottish Greens is cited today in another article about the proposed cooperative agreement amid concerns from fish farmers and National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS):

A spokesman for Scottish Green MSPs responded that it was too early to say which issues would arise in talks with the SNP.

He said that environmental harm and fish welfare was a higher priority than phasing out caged fish farms altogether.

He explained that the party’s intention was to support industries in finding alternatives to harmful and polluting activities, and not to force sudden change‘.

Perhaps if the SGA had spent less time and money sponsoring adverts against the Scottish Greens (that went well – great use of members’ funds, not), less time complaining to the electoral commission (how did that go?) and more time reading and engaging with the Greens instead of excluding them from hustings, they’d have a better grasp of what was going on and be in a stronger position to contribute to discussions instead of constantly throwing their toys out of the pram and howling, ‘It’s so unfair’.

Actually, if they’d got any sense at all they’d realise that these talks are not their greatest immediate threat – it’s the continued illegal killing of birds of prey on land managed for gamebird shooting that’s pushing them further and further in to the corner and away from public support.

That poisoned golden eagle, found dead next to a poisoned bait on Invercauld Estate, sent shockwaves through the public, many of whom had no idea this sort of barbarity still goes on.

The SGA’s response? Well I can’t see any statement of condemnation on their website, can you?

[The poisoned golden eagle found lying on a grouse moor next to a poisoned bait on Invercauld Estate. Photo by RSPB Scotland]

UPDATE 16.30hrs:

Right on cue, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association has just published this:

15 thoughts on “Hysteria from Scottish gamekeepers as SNP and Greens formalise talks to cooperate”

  1. Through their intransigence and constant use of vitriol and insult, the SGA and their members have dug themselves into a deep hole. They have no friends to help them out.

    I think the greens may need to give some ground on fish farms but driven grouse shooting and fox hunting are vote winning, low hanging fruit.
    It may also be possible for them to put some backbone back into SEPA and give NaturistScot their clothes back.

  2. Getting changes to the law in Holyrood will be the easy part as it will involve mainly townies. Getting real change in the country – where it matters – will be much more difficult and will involve a big stick and an even bigger carrot – for lifestyle change on the estates – and who is going to pay for that?

    1. “…who is going to pay for that?”

      I’d imagine that most taxpayers would regard any spending upholding the rule of popular laws to be very well worth it:-)

  3. I suppose the Garmekeepers could come out on strike; it would be one i would support.

  4. Presume you have seen the May 26 issue of Country Life Magazine and the piece by Ian Coghill on page 76? A whole page defending the Grouse Moor Mafiosi “arguing the case for leaving those who have managed our moorlands for centuries to get on with it” – without ever mentioning the illegal killing of hen harriers and other raptors – the very reason Coghill’s chums are now squirming under the spotlight of unwelcome publicity!

    Keep up the pressure!

    Brian J.

  5. Today I received an email from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland with some advice when wild camping.

    It said, inter alia, “do not disturb wildlife”. That has always been recognised as the right thing to do, but (this is tongue in cheek, of course) if it is not disturbed it is left to be killed by some nutter with a gun.

  6. An alternative headline could be “The Greens create a raft of new rural jobs through abandoning an archaic land use which depended on killing birds of prey and delivered a few very poorly paid jobs to one which promoted biodiversity and created many more well paid jobs. “

  7. I have an image in my mind of xxxxxxx xxxxxxx donning his stetson and assuming the gait of a rickety John Wayne. ‘Out of my way ladies’, he says on his way out back to saddle up his horse, ‘I’m-a-riding in to town to settle this here thing…’

  8. So they are delivering conservation for the British public by ‘preserving moorland habitats’. That’s habitats reduced towards a minimum of heather and grouse by their elimination of anything else.

    They don’t mention burning the heather.

  9. Events over the past few weeks indicate to me that the deal has been done. Those that have to know, do, as the PR and bureaucratic machinery cranks into action. The rest of us will have to wait. What we are seeing from the Gamekeepers are the writhings of a wounded beast.
    It won’t be the last of them though, but their position, at least on historical issues, is now untenable.

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