Author Cameron McNeish criticises SNP’s slow progress on raptor persecution, grouse moors & land reform

Award-winning author, mountaineer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish has quit the Scottish National Party after ten years of membership, claiming the party has done ‘zilch’ on environmental issues and land reform. He specifically spoke out about raptor persecution and grouse moors.

Mr McNeish told The Times:

It’s been coming for a while. The party has done absolutely zilch on land reform and the environment since Nicola Sturgeon came to power, and I have had a deep frustration over issues like raptor persecution, grouse moors all over Scotland, and what muirburning is doing to the environment.” 

He also described progress on land reform as being “glacier slow” and argued that the previous environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham’s efforts in that area had been frustrated.

He said: “There is no real interest in the SNP on these issues.”

The story was first reported in the Sunday Times and has since been picked up and published elsewhere (e.g. Press & Journal, Herald, National).

26 thoughts on “Author Cameron McNeish criticises SNP’s slow progress on raptor persecution, grouse moors & land reform”

  1. Well done, Cameron. You’ve expressed the views of many people in Scotland, on both sides of the independence issue. “Glacier” does express peoples’ perception of the way the Party machine operates.

  2. And so say all of us. It’s all very well talking a good story, introducing licensing and vicarious liability, sounds great doesn’t it, but it’s been bugger all use so far. So much hot air!

  3. He’s quite right. The SNP in government has only dragged its feet and defers always at the so called field sports lobby when legislation is under discussion.

  4. Not the only author to have voiced concerns recently. Raptor persecution was flagged up on this week’s Desert Island Discs by Robert Macfarlane who writes about landscape – he had some cool music choices too …

  5. Well done Cameron, your thoughts and decision is very much in line with the rest of us who love the Scottish countryside. The SNP government words are all waffle with no real decisions activated to address the issues at hand.

  6. The SNP are not doing anything that could risk their voting block in certain areas (That’s not party political as I don’t support any party)

  7. Right now the SNP are in an unassailable position and they know it. Only a chance of them being turfed out on the street with get their noses out of the trough. The earliest opportunity will be the council elections next year. Not exactly a platform that can change policy on a national basis but it is certainly an opportunity to send a few shots across their bows.

    The real problem is waiting for a party to do something when they’re not much inclined to do so. It’s a similar story with independence. Only when the issue is taken back from the politicians and instead it’s the people who are pushing for change will their be any action.

    Disclaimer: Alba Party member (since day 1).

  8. I’ve the utmost respect for the man and he quite right to see through the SNP decision makes. They’ve never had any intention of changing the status quo with regard to land management and environmental issues. Rampant raptor persecution as even become increasing blatant during their tenure. Cameron is now saddled with a Cairngorm Concilor ( vicivourosly supporting the SNP previously) earlier this month was advocating culling pine martens.

  9. Much as I admire Cameron I feel he would be better staying inside the tent on these issues..the SNP have recently shown willing in getting rid of the gamekeeper and landowners pal Fergus Ewing..let’s congratulate them on that. Do we really think Nicola and colleagues don’t want independence asap?..come on!

    1. I don’t want to start a political argument, but I feel there has been a sizeable proportion of party supporters who left because of the absence of any progress on independence. Include me in this. Actual membership numbers will be revealing when they are released.

      The current legal stramash about the Cown Office / Procurator Fiscal Service will be interesting when judgement emerges. See also the ‘Ring-Fenced Fund’, currently under investigation by ScotPol. The SNP’sGender Rights stance risks upsetting the female half of the voting population. We live in Interesting Times, and I perceive a backlash.

  10. Cameron is 100% correct in what he said about the SNP.

    An assortment of charlatans who want nothing other than power and will use any guise to get it.

    1. At last people are realising what the SNP have become, promulgating their petty anti-English xenophobia as a means to and end rather than tackling the real issues in Scotland. They have become no better than The old UKIP (but with a more left learning politic, to be able to gaslight the more left leaning Scottish electorate)

  11. Cameron is brilliant, he’s very much like Jim Crumley he’ll just come straight out and say how utterly crap many estates and their keepers are. A bloody rare breath of fresh air as he’s just underlined with this latest action. I think more than a few of the SNP’s rank and file membership will take note of this, I doubt many of them will be in line with their party’s inaction.

  12. Good for you Cameron it’s easy to see how you are frustrated by the party. I’ll never understand why Roseanne promoted the farcical Cairngorm Special Constables (I guess it was forced on her) but she certainly was genuinely up for tackling raptor persecution, but prevented from doing so by her party. She was the best First Minister we never had. I was surprised how many folk in th May election who support independence & I know have grave concerns for the environment voted SNP instead of Green. Cameron please do all you can to keep environmental issues to the fore.

  13. Well done Greens for getting SNP to get rid of Fergus Ewing and no loss with Rosanna going either.

    I have big hopes for the two Mairi,s.

    Time for SNP to put Scotland first and do whats best for our precious environment.

  14. It’s taken him ten years to realise……………the ‘phrase none so blind as those that don’t want to see’ springs to mind. Just maybe it might cause some other SNP supports to develop critical thought…..

    1. The exodus has been extended, as the causes accumulated. Perhaps some stayed, hoping to use their inflence to effect change. No-one wants to leave a cause to which they’ve given time, energy and money. Events within the NEC may have been a last straw.

  15. If the SNP had won an outright majority then any change would be unlikely. The movement in the SNP has been brought about through the leverage exerted by the Greens. The problem is that the Greens cant win on every argument. With COP26 on the horrizon, the greens are going to be pushing for more “big picture” impacts rather than small scale licensing issues (even thought it is low hanging fruit).
    The SNP will launch the licensing consultation and settle on some sort of self-regulating, light touch, least-controvertial approach. They can say that they have delivered on a promise and will proceed to monitor effectivness for the next ten years of death, destruction and “no-real change”.

    We need more Greens and we need their focus to be on Scottish biodiversity.

    1. I hold little hope for the current crop of Greens. If the SNP implodes with potential revelations of behaviour as the inevitable skeletons get aired (power corrupts and all that) the Greens will most likely be seen as enabling accomplices, and be consumed in the fall out. They are also much intellectually diminished with the departure of Andy Wightman.

      I’m not hopeful of any significant change in the course of this parliament, should the current SNP cohort remain incumbents, the administration will continue ‘pre-Indy Limbo’ politics, any coup will likely come from hard line Indy supporters and we end up stuck in the constitutional debate. The opposition continues to be feeble lacking cohesion and a political vision. The chance of getting a government that wants, is capable of, and governs for the day to day benefit of Scotland and tackles the obvious challenges using the considerable powers Holyrood holds seams currently slim.

      We may get small victories with Lobbying by the likes of RaptorPersecution but they will be hard fought and most likely ‘qualified’ e.g. by licence terms.

      It’s noticeable that Cameron McNeish was prepared to ignore the environmental issues all the while he thought Indy might be possible via the SNP…..

    2. Totally agree. Unfortunately like a lot of the environmental movement the Greens focus almost exclusively on carbon emissions/ending fossil fuels. The destruction that’s happening for real, right now hardly gets a look in even though it also produces the CO2 which might contribute to the (literally) secondary issue of Climate Change. I speak from experience I’ve tried to get fighting against traditional ‘sporting’ estates put on the agenda at the SGP annual conference – total waste of time. A similar thing has happened, to a lesser degree as yet, on the social politics side. Compare how much attention Transgenderism gets in the Scottish Green Party against fighting fuel poverty or ending female genital mutilation – obscenities there’s absolutely no need for in the 21st century.

      Environmental/Social debate and politics are becoming incredibly two dimensional which is severely affecting everything aside from the ‘brand’ issues and that includes rural Scotland and the raptor persecution that goes on in it. I know individual Green MSPs have done sterling work at times, but others have done literally nothing when Scotland has almost certainly suffered more ecological degradation from recreational shooting in the form of open hill deer stalking and grouse moors than anywhere else in the world. If anyone knows of another country which has such a large proportion of its land surface so utterly wrecked because of how some people like to shoot things I’m all ears – from any perspective it’s a bloody enormous issue. You wouldn’t know that though from any of our political parties. The SGP, it’s the best of a bad lot, but it’s not good, not good enough – and if we don’t recognise that things aren’t going to change.

      1. Correct. The SNP has deliberately made Holyrood moribund and by pressing Indy post referendum has turned/turning Scotland into Lilliputian Big-Endians (SNP) and little-endians (Tories), and policies and performance be dammed). Which is an interesting but dire symbiotic relationship. The Tories are happy as it forces anti-Indy voters to them rejuvenating their political fortunes in Scotland, prevents Labour or Lib Dem resurgence and returns MP/MSPs where they would have none. The SNP are laughing as it gives them the historic nemesis they need and in turn with increasing Tory presence, forces all those whom are fearful of Tory Policies and public spending cuts (Scotland has proportionally a huge public sector) towards the SNP.

        This results essentially at the moment a two party state where it doesn’t matter how bad the SNP are, how much they neglect core services, they still with green support are almost ensured of being returned, so long as they don’t rock the boat by actually governing and risking a backlash, as policies have the habit of having unintended consequences and ‘losers’.

        What has happened to the nations dreams for Holyrood when it was formed, and to it being different from Westminster…..

        The likes of Cameron whom were happy for this degradation of the political ecosystem, and vocally supported this SNP approach for years need to hang their heads in shame. A bit of self publicity and ‘look I’ve left the SNP’ (because Indy is slipping away) doesn’t cut it.

        1. You get the prize for the most tortured and far fetched conspiracy theory to come out of the Union madhouse this year. SNP, Greens,Tories and bumbling ol’ Cameron, all in it together, degrading the political system . A ‘historic nemesis’ right enough and so deserved for a country with such a ‘huge public sector with a ‘two party system’ no less. Hang your heads in shame.

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