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