The decision by Scottish Ministers (Minster for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse) to award the lease for hunting rights on Raasay to an absentee tenant rather than to negotiate an extension to the very successful operation run by Raasay crofters continues to make waves and led to a hopeful conversation on twitter this morning.
It is also worth recalling a commitment given by Scottish Ministers as part of the Land reform programme on 20 August 1999 to set an example of their own estates. The 7th commitment states that Ministers and officials shall “Take account of the local community perspective when considering offers for sporting rights on the Scottish Minister’s Estates.
The story broke in the West Highland Free Press, Herald & Scotsman on Thursday.
And the Free Press ran an excoriating editorial.
The BBC published an excellent report on the story.
There is already a great blues track on the topic (by Asleep at the Wheel – house)
Dave Ross of the Herald wrote an excellent blog on the topic.
Free Church Ministers on Skye have written to MSPs on the issue.
Scottish Parliament Motion S4M-05704 Raasay Crofters Association
And, this morning, ThinkScotland published an impassioned piece by Hugh Andrew.
In response to which, this morning there ocurred the following exchange on twitter
The really staggering thing is the tiny amount of money for which islanders’ interests were thrown away. I would like to see the sporting rights transferred to them at no charge in perpetuity as a small gesture of support for the local community and economy.
If we are to have governance based on indigenous wisdom traditions, here is a proverb which relates directly to the Raasay situation, and to which Susan Walker and I referred the Scottish Government’s attention in 2009:
“Fear an aite fir, ‘s e a dh’fhagas am fearann daor” [tenant in place of tenant leaves the land dear]
@Noel darlow: No, the really staggering thing is that they claim to do this on behalf of the people of Scotland. MSPs are elected to politically represent the people of Scotland. I believe they are seriously mistaken in their understanding of the wishes of the people of Scotland, in total ignorance of them or dismissive of said wishes. To act on behalf of a person or people one must take into account the wishes of those on whose behalf you claim to act.
As one of the people of Scotland, I firmly believe that all assets local to any area should be controlled by said area with all profits, if any, earned by that community, going to said community. This, I believe is necessary to not only preserve but to encourage growth of Scottish communities and so, of Scotland.
I would encourage all people of Scotland, who care about this mishandling and misrepresentation of their wishes, to write to those involved advising them of their misrepresentation, reminding them, if necessary, that they are elected by the “people of Scotland” to do a job and just what that job is: certainly NOT misrepresenting their employers.
We must demand that they correct this error and have the sporting rights handed back to those of the people of Scotland in Raasay. We must also ask that, in future, they ensure that they do know and understand the wishes of the people of Scotland before they do anything on their behalf, including those matters pertaining to local assets.
Hmm, am I correct in thinking Mr Paul Wheelhouse is an elected MSP or was this decision purely that of Civil Servants?
Should we not now start to press to generalise from the particular and end the feudalism associated with shooting and fishing rights and hand these to the communities to manage and not leave them as they are for the profit of landowners. If profit is to be made from the killing of game and fish then it should go to the community where it happens and not to some hereditary or foreign nob.
Thanks for this blog, Andy, but I do feel I should get just a wee bit of credit for my original asleep at the wheel-house tweet… https://twitter.com/BaseDrones/status/304725634071015424
On a more important note, please allow me to take the liberty of linking to my own blog on this in a comment: http://basedrones.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/giving-away-an-island-part-4-and-other-land-reform-stories/
Anyway, this is a very interesting exchange, both in Gaelic and land reform terms.
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I am astonished at all this. What is needed is a bill banning commercial blood sports, for profit, by large land owners. There are overwhelming environmental and ecological reasons for this. It would also cut the ground from under the feet of those Feudal elements and corporate interests, who have no care what so ever for the ordinary people of Scotland. Without a commercial blood sport income from the land, they might even be forced to do something useful with it, like growing food, re afforestation, soil renewal, eco-diversity, etc. This does not mean ordinary Scots would be banned from hunting. In Canada, the local fish and game departments of provinces control the hunting, and fishing, and, astonishingly, Run it for the benefit of the local inhabitants. There are also “indigenous Rights” to hunting and fishing. This also has to be linked to the rights of ordinary people who want to run small commercial fishing boats, but who have zero rights at the moment, and are simply refused fishing permits. Why?…oh, all the fish quota’s are given to large vessels, which are mainly owned by foreign commercial companies. The profits do not stay in Scotland. There should be a right of “indigenous fishing” by locals, for small boats, (less than 12 meters) which would generate about four times the jobs for the same amount of catch, and be far less damaging to the seas around Scotland. Time to link all this together, and make it clear that the natural resources of Scotland are for it’s people, not for commercial companies that have no interest in the place, except money grabbing.
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