21
Nov
14

Cabinet reshuffle: new Environment Minister in post

Wheelhouse RACCEWell this is disappointing.

We’ve been waiting on tenterhooks all day to find out who the new First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would bring in to her Cabinet. We saw that she’d kept on Richard Lochhead as Cabinet Secretary (Rural Affairs & Environment) and so we’d had high hopes that Paul Wheelhouse would be retained in his junior ministerial position as Environment Minister. It wasn’t to be.

It’s just been announced that Wheelhouse has been shuffled off to Community Safety and Legal Affairs and there’s a new Environment Minister in town: Aileen McLeod MSP.

This is a great shame. Yes, we’ve criticised Wheelhouse during his two-year tenure for not doing as much as we would like, and for not doing it quickly enough. However, of all the Environment Ministers we’ve had, he has done far more than any of them to push raptor persecution up the political agenda and he’s recently gained considerable momentum in this regard. Ironically, that’s perhaps why he’s been moved along. The raptor-killing criminals are being squeezed like never before, and they’re definitely feeling the pressure. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that certain organisations have been doing some background lobbying to get rid of him.

It’s to be hoped that Wheelhouse will continue his personal interest and commitment to this issue, in his capacity as an MSP. And who knows, perhaps his latest ministerial post will also link in – community safety (banned poisons being put out in the countryside at great risk to local communities).

Thanks for your efforts, Paul – it may not have seemed like it at times but your purpose and commitment has been appreciated.

So, who’s Aileen McLeod and how long will it take her to get up to speed? We don’t know much about her environmental interests/credentials- read her bio here – but we do know she’ll be advised by the same wildlife crime policy team at Holyrood, and they are a pretty well-informed bunch. No doubt we’ll find out soon enough just how committed she is. Hope she’s been warned about the heavy influx of emails she’s likely to receive from RPS blog readers!

Advertisements

20 Responses to “Cabinet reshuffle: new Environment Minister in post”


  1. 1 nirofo
    November 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    It was to be predicted I suppose! Let’s just hope we can go further towards bringing an end to the uncontrolled wildlife persecution and environmental damage with this new Environment Minister; that’s if she hasn’t already been got at by the powerfull shooting fraternity and their friends in high places !!!

  2. November 21, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    My personal view: Gawd help us! I hope she proves me wrong… >

  3. 3 Pip
    November 21, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Same old, same old. Goodbye to the accountant, and hello to the – well – professional public servant of anything I suppose. What real difference did Mr Wheelhouse make? and what real difference will Ms McLeod make either? Time will tell – 2 years ago I was prepared to be disappointed with Mr Wheelhouse’s appointment and once again I’m of the same mind. We tend to think that our elected representatives whilst in posts such as these will have some real influence institute some real changes – and then we have a reality check. I think we all know the sorts of people and organisations who have the real power and influence in the country and it ain’t our elected functionaries………….
    Pip

  4. 4 Marco McGinty
    November 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    I concur, that although I provided some heavy criticism of Paul Wheelhouse, he did achieve more than any unionist politician has managed, and although there is far more work required, the SNP government has shown more progress in their relatively short time in office, than the combined efforts of all of the unionist parties in more than a century.

    • 5 The voice of Reason
      November 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      More progress in the last few years than in more than a century?? That is a particularly bizarre comment, which frankly seems more intended as a wee bit of sly political propaganda than a factual comment on the current status of raptors when compared to the start of the 20th century.

      I guess it’s easy to forget what has been achieved when there are clearly still problems to be solved, but in your haste to big up the SNP’s ‘achievements’ you clearly have whitewashed over a number of marked improvements.
      Rewind back to the dark old days of the early twentieth century, and consider how far the law and the raptor populations of the UK have come from those historic low points: with relevance to birds:

      The 1912 Protection of Animals Act
      1954 Protection of Birds Act
      1979 Agreement of the Birds Directive (and its 2009 ‘update’)
      1981 wildlife and countryside act, and its various and numerous amendments

      The White-tailed eagle was extinct at the turn of the century, today it is firmly re-established in at least part of its former range.
      The Osprey population also extinct around 100 years ago now a healthy and expanding population of nearly 300 pairs today.
      Hen harriers could only be found on Orkney 100 years ago, today they are found across Scotland and number 400+ breeding pairs.
      100 years ago a handful of red kite pairs were left in Wales, these days we must be approaching 1000 pairs in the UK
      The buzzard population has massively increased since early 20th century and has re-colonised large areas of the country from which it was virtually absent.

      Contrary to how it sometimes appears if you read the list of crimes on this website we really have come a long way, and it is true that for some species and some humans there is still a fair way still to go, To try and dismiss the real and obvious improvements made over the last hundred years to score a cheap political shot is to denigrate the many hundreds of public servants over the years whether they be in government, in parliament or working in all manner of agencies that have supported legislation to protect birds and a range of activities to restore and protect birds and, raptors in particular

      The fact that there is still room for massive improvements in raptor protection, does not mean that there hasn’t already been massive improvements.
      I’m not sure what you think the SNP have achieved that puts the above list in the shade, but I suspect it’s mostly imaginary.

      Let’s keep a sense of perspective shall we?

      • 6 Marco McGinty
        November 25, 2014 at 12:29 am

        Right, to put things straight, I should have stated that the SNP Governments achievements were proportional when compared to the 100+ years of unionist governments.

        However, it’s all very well creating a number of acts that purport to be wildlife friendly, but how often was the law enforced in those times, and how often is it enforced today? I find it absurd that you have quoted these acts as defining moments, yet here we are, more than a century on from the introduction of the first one, and we are still dealing with very similar issues. Actions speak louder than words.

        Despite many failings throughout its short tenure, at least the Scottish Government has been prepared to tackle the issue, take steps against landowners in an attempt to eradicate the problem, try to introduce a supplementary investigative source, and threaten to introduce a licencing system (which partly answers your penultimate statement), whereas the unionist politician would rather place raptors on a legalised hit list. Remember Buzzardgate? Remember the Hen Harrier quota system? You also have to ask why the unionist political elite has refused to introduce Vicarious Liability, and why the same regime has refused to make possession of carbofuran, and other similar substances, a criminal offence?

        I am also intrigued as to why you would include the current status of some raptor species. Are you trying to tell me that the reintroductions of the White-tailed Eagle and the Red Kite was all down to unionist politicians, and had nothing to do with committed individuals and conservation groups, their campaigning attempts, and the vast time and resources invested in these projects? Or it had nothing to do with groups and individuals recognising the importance of these species as vital to a fully-functioning ecosystem, as well as being important to local economies, and the health and wellbeing of people? Are you trying to tell me that the entirely natural re-colonisation of Ospreys, and the entirely natural range expansion of the Hen Harrier, were both as a result of the environmental policies and green credentials of successive unionist governments, and are you also trying to tell me that the rise in Buzzard numbers is a UK Government success story?

        You do realise that the tragic past histories of the species you mention was as a result of persecution and habitat loss, with the UK government complicit in all of this. Indeed, the White-tailed Eagle became extinct in the UK after the Persecution of Animals (Scotland) Act. As I’ve mentioned, there doesn’t seem to be much point in creating legislation, only to ignore it, and in that respect, the UK government hasn’t achieved very much. You just have to look at the dire situation of the Hen Harrier in England to realise that all of the “protection” legislation hasn’t done much for the species. In fact, the only difference between now and the introduction of the Protection of Birds Act, is that there are more species for the landowners and shooters to kill.

        And just to clarify the situation, I am not a member of the SNP, and have no desire in joining them, not in the near or distant future. My support for them in this respect is that they are the only hope we have in combatting persecution.

        • 7 The voice of Reason
          November 25, 2014 at 10:56 pm

          So let me get this straight… You dismiss the various acts of parliament and the many legilative amendments over the past 100 years as “purport(ing) to be wildlife friendly” (i.e.giving a strong impression that you think they aren’t), yet after slagging off “unionist” politicians (well you use some emotive term about elite’s’, but same’s same) for creating legislation that you appear to think has done nothing you then heap praise on the current Scottish Government because they’ve er… created some legislation, which also hasn’t actually had any significant impact on wildlife crime or protected species populations yet. You appear to be jumping the gun, for example vicarious liability is” all very well” (to use your dismissive phrase) but let’s see how it stands up when a landowner/estate appeals against what they’ll claim is unjust victimisation…. it may be as ‘useless’ as you imply all the legislation of the last 100 years is.

          And then you bang on about lack of enforcement… You do realise It’s not a politician’s role to ‘enforce’ that’s the police and judiciary, so I fail to see how a lack of enforcement is strictly the fault of politicians. Politician’s produce the legislation and shape the infrastructure, they don’t catch criminals and prosecute them, nor do they sentence them, these are the areas where there are weakness with regard to wildlife crime.

          The success of the previously mentioned introductions was of course due to the work of many dedicated individuals and also the efforts of several conservation groups. However you seem to have conveniently airbrushed out the important roles played by the NCC, ITE and later SNH and English Nature in helping to create, fund and support these programs. Many of those dedicated individuals you refer to had, (and many still have) their wages paid by successive UK governments. People like Derek Ratcliffe, Ian Newton and John Love to name but a few key figures who helped to kickstart off the return of the WT eagle: all of whom were paid and resourced by government funding under any number of environment secretaries.
          It is also highly likely that without the 1954 protection of birds act ospreys would have faced a much steeper, if not impossible task to re-establish when they returned around the same time. Egg collecting nearly did for them several times despite having been made illegal, how much easier would the egg collectors found it to plunder nests if the Act wasn’t in place?
          it’s worth considering that few laws manage to be 100% successful at stamping out undesirable activity, we haven’t eradicated theft, assault and murder despite a 1000+ years of trying via law making, but only a deluded person would think that laws prohibiting such acts were a waste of time. So it is with wildlife legislation, it’s far from perfect, but the situation has improved massively since the early 1900’s, regardless of whether you wish to pretend otherwise.

          Neither the re-colonisation of the osprey, harrier or buzzard are entirely due to government policy and I never said they were, however these things happen in both the natural and cultural environment we create. Government legislation has shaped what people can and can’t do with respect to those species and in part has assisted their various degrees of recovery. I’m not trying to tell you that the rise in buzzard numbers is a “UK government success story” but if the legislation I mentioned (and which you are so dismissive of) did not exist it is debatable whether the recovery (compared to early 20th century numbers) would be anywhere near as impressive, if indeed it occurred at all.

          You seem keen to pin all woes on politicians you brand as ‘unionist’, however I would suggest you would do well to widen your cynicism to all politicians not just those who hold a particular view on the status of the UK and Scotland that you might disagree with (or not). For example, remember Michael Russell’s (Currently a senior Scottish Government minister) great Sparrowhawk trapping debacle? No? Let me remind you:

          http://www.robedwards.com/2008/08/official-warning-over-disputed-sparrowhawk-plan.html
           
          http://www.robedwards.com/2008/03/disputed-hawk-t.html
           
          http://www.robedwards.com/2010/01/bid-to-protect-pigeons-from-hawks-ends-in-fiasco.html

          You’ll probably also not recall the enthusiastic support that the above bizarre sparrowhawk plan got from Alex Neil (also currently a senior Scottish Government minister). If you want an insight into Mr Neil’s views have a read of this chestnut he regurgitated during the progress of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) bill back in 2004: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/sp/?id=2004-05-05.8071.3
          Change ‘pigeon fancier’ to ‘gamekeeper’: ‘sparrowhawk’ for buzzard or harrier and swap ‘pigeon’ for pheasant or grouse and you could be reading an SGA press release.

          Mind you it’s not just Mr Neilwho sounds like he’s got some questionable attitudes to wildlife. Check out what the Ewings (Margaret and Fergus, the SNP MSP’s) had to say during the same debate ( http://www.theyworkforyou.com/sp/?id=2004-05-05.8057.5 ). Margaret regales us of those happy childhood days spent snaring rabbits and eulogises about “guardians of our countryside” (straight from the SLE/SGA phrasebook ) while her brother tells us how wonderful Gamekeepers are, in case you can’t be bothered to go read it here’s a direct quote:
          “Instead of attacking gamekeepers, as the Scottish Socialist Party and the Greens have done by proposing a ban, we should value the contribution that they make as the real custodians of the countryside, because, unlike us, they are not talking about looking after wildlife; they do it day in, day out and year in, year out. Gamekeepers manage wildlife, and they know what they are doing. We must be very careful about assuming that we know better than they do. Instead of taking that approach, we should value the work that they do.”

          I wonder if he shares speech writers with Alex Hogg and Doug McAdam!

          Margaret is no longer with us, but the other three are helping run the Scottish Government, and you think that lot are our best hope to end raptor persecution? Tell me you’re joking, please, tell me you’re joking!

          This has got nothing to do with unionists or nationalists and shame on you for insinuating otherwise.

          • 8 Marco McGinty
            November 26, 2014 at 2:48 am

            There is nothing wrong with the acts themselves, it is the lack of enforcement by the establishment, simply because the establishment has a vested interest in the shooting industry. Yes, any given individual politician does not enforce the law, but as a collective body in government, they are responsible for overseeing policing and judicial matters. Governments can demand stronger action from the police, if they choose to, likewise with the judicial system. If you think otherwise, you are living in cloud cuckoo land. Here’s a wee taster of the police in action in Parliament Square (you just need to watch the first 25-30 minutes, or even parts of it, to get an idea of state-sponsored anti-democratic policing in action)

            Do you honestly believe that the police are acting here in response to severe criminal activity, or as a result of a terrorist threat? No, they are acting on behalf of a unionist government that is determined to eradicate democracy. Do you think the government would allow the police to act in a similar manner if it was an establishment figure, or a wealthy landowner being accused of criminal activity? Hmm, let’s compare the severity of the crimes in the peaceful protest linked to above, to the paedophile cover up that’s been headline news for a year or two now, or of any number of wildlife crimes carried out on the estates of the landed gentry. So yes, enforcement of the law is a responsibility of government, whether you choose to believe it or not.

            As for the Scottish Government’s legislation, you have to give it time to work. I have been openly critical of its failings, and the first prosecution under VL was long overdue, but at least the Scottish Government is prepared to try further measures. And yet again, just today, we learn of the UK establishment capitulating to their friends in the game-shooting lobby. The UK system will never change.

            As for your accusation that I “airbrushed out” many groups and individuals with regards to the various re-introduction programmes, if you choose to re-examine my post, you will soon realise that I did mention groups and individuals on two occasions. Obviously, some of this money would have came from government funding, which would have been paltry in comparison to other projects (WMDs for example), but the sole reason that these species found themselves in such predicaments was down to decades-long government inaction. Preventing the losses and extinctions in the first place would have been a far better approach, but that would have meant taking action against their establishment buddies.

            I disagree with your assertion that the Protection of Birds Act provided a major contributing factor to the success of the Osprey. Nest protection and monitoring, coupled with the necessary levels of secrecy required to protect the species, were the major factors in the upturn of the species. However it is interesting that you have mentioned egg collecting. As you will know, egg collecting in general, is carried out by the lower classes, yet being a lesser crime in comparison to the killing of protected species, egg collectors are usually found guilty, with prison sentences regularly handed down as punishment.

            I never suggested that any law will be 100% effective, and I am quite aware that crimes such as theft and murder still occur on a regular basis, but despite all of the legislation in place, conviction rates for crimes against raptors are woeful, and much of this is as a result of establishment/governmental corruption. Once again, I did not mention that the laws were a waste of time – my gripe is that they are not enforced. Only you will know why you have deliberately twisted and manipulated this to suit your own agenda. But getting back to your point that “the situation has improved massively since the early 1900s”, I will ask you of your take on the success of the English Hen Harrier population in that time. Yes, some species have increased in number since that time, but many remain at lower than expected populations, so in that respect, the various laws have not done as much good as you believe. Unless you consider unacceptably low populations as a mark of conservation success?

            I am well aware that the SNP-led government has made some serious, monumental errors – that will be why I had my own legal battle against them, a lengthy affair which lasted for more than four-years. I do not need to be reminded that their policies or actions, at times, are plain wrong. However, that is where we appear to differ – I am able to criticise any party, including the SNP, whereas you don’t appear to be capable of seeing anything wrong with the union and its escalating problems.

            I have placed the blame on the unionist politician, because that is where the majority of the blame lies. As mentioned here, and on another post elsewhere on this site, the Tory Party and their friends have a vested interest in the shooting industry, and will do nothing to combat raptor persecution, the Labour Party (and their Scottish branch) are only interested in the Westminster gravy train, and the LibDems are a complete waste of space. The Green Party simply do not have the numbers to be effective, leaving the SNP as the only party that we can have any hope in. Unless you’re trying to tell us all that UKIP will be the saviours of our environment?

            If we don’t have hope, then we would be as well chucking it all in now, but I can only believe that things will improve, and I’ve stated my case on which party I have placed my hope in. I cannot see any of the other mainstream political parties offering any positive transformation, therefore, considering all of those parties are in favour of the corrupt and dysfunctional union, then it is entirely appropriate that I differentiate between unionist and non-unionist politicians in this debate. So come on then, you clearly don’t have any faith in the SNP, so which party do you believe will provide us with the answers and actions we are desperately seeking? Tory, Labour, LibDem or UKIP?

            The main difference being that we will have the ability to oust the SNP if they fail to deliver, whereas we will be shackled to UK governments, many of which Scotland as a country will not have voted for. This is likely to happen again next year, when we will be forced into Tory rule again, either acting on their own, or in a Tory/UKIP coalition.

            Oh aye, just for your benefit, Margaret and Fergus were married, and not sister/brother as you believe.

            • 9 The voice of Reason
              November 26, 2014 at 11:00 pm

              Your posts above are littered with pro-independence propaganda often with no relevance to raptors and wildlife and this blog is really not the place for it, You’ve done it before and other contributors have asked you not to: (https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/ceh-scientist-claims-gamekeepers-protect-hen-harriers-_mountain-hares/), clearly you’ve chosen to ignore such requests and foist your political agenda on us yet again. There are websites where such views will be readily lapped up, but you know this as you frequently post on them: ( http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en-GB&as_q=&as_epq=marco+mcginty&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=wingsoverscotland.com&as_occt=&safe=images&as_filetype=&as_rights=not+filtered+by+licence ), can I suggest you keep your unfounded and clearly biased agenda laden views on unionists to those sites please?

              You appear to wish to make out that I’m suggesting “unionist” politicians are somehow better than pro-independence ones, or that the SNP are in some way worse. On the contrary, I do not; such a binary (“you’re either with us or against us”) view of the world is what you appear to be promoting albeit in reverse. The point I clearly made was that you might be better served to view all politicians with scepticism, and I even provided you with some examples of why putting too much faith in that one specific group over the other may be misplaced. A politician is a politician, and with few exceptions they say or do what gets them elected, pleases the the most voters or upsets the least. Despite the obvious passion expressed here on this blog I’m afraid the vast majority of voters don’t have dealing with raptor persecution high on their list of wants when they visit the polling booth, and politicians (of all persuasions) know this. In this respect I doubt there is any political quick solution to fix wildlife crimes issues, I just expect a slow progress as politicians are slowly persuaded to do the right thing by science, lobby groups, dedicated individuals, and their own policy failures, exactly what has happened over the last 100 years in fact, I don’t see that changing anytime soon regardless of who is in power. Sometimes things move forwards, occasionally they fall back a little or stagnate.

              Forgive my mixing up of Mr Ewing’s late wife with his sister (also an MSP), the level of nepotism can be quite confusing, some might argue it’s just another indicator of a party that is no different in it’s self serving creation of political elites… four MSP’s from just one family (including his mum of course)…..one really has to wonder!

              I won’t entertain you any further in this discussion, seems it just encourages you to post yet more divisive anti unionist rhetoric, you now appear to have dragged paedophiles and WMD’s into this discussion, goodness knows what cybernat cliché’s will follow if you continue. But I’ll ask you again, save such posts for elsewhere.

              Goodnight.

              [Ed: a quick note – please don’t presume to take editorial control of this blog. Marco’s points are as valid as yours and are still on topic. If his, yours, or anyone else’s veer off, we’re perfectly capable of editing. Thanks]

              • 10 Marco McGinty
                November 28, 2014 at 3:17 am

                I will respond to some of the points you have raised;

                “Your posts above are littered with pro-independence propaganda often with no relevance to raptors and wildlife and this blog is really not the place for it…”

                Where? Please point me (and everyone else) to all of these pro-independence propagandist statements. Until this sentence, I have not used the word “independence”, so how can you possibly accuse me of using pro-independence propaganda? I’m guessing that your deep love of the union has blurred your mind somewhat, and you are now incapable of differentiating between anti-Westminster/anti-establishment thinking, with that containing a pro-independence slant. The fact of the matter that the UK has failed its people, not just in Scotland, but also in Wales, Northern Ireland, and many of the regions of England.

                “You’ve done it before and other contributors have asked you not to: clearly you’ve chosen to ignore such requests and foist your political agenda on us yet again. There are websites where such views will be readily lapped up, but you know this as you frequently post on them: ( http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en-GB&as_q=&as_epq=marco+mcginty&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&lr=&cr=&as_qdr=all&as_sitesearch=wingsoverscotland.com&as_occt=&safe=images&as_filetype=&as_rights=not+filtered+by+licence ), can I suggest you keep your unfounded and clearly biased agenda laden views on unionists to those sites please?”

                And there were others that supported my comments, mainly because my points were centred on the corruption and bias of the UK media, especially the BBC. Some No voters grasped the wrong end of the stick, just like you have, and suggested it was a pro-independence tirade. It was not, and if you had bothered to read the comment (and its follow up), instead of foisting your oppressive beliefs that no-one should be allowed to mention independence, you would have realised that. Indeed, alongside the brief mention of anti-independence bias by the BBC, the very comment in question merely mentioned that independence supporters had to get their information from a variety of websites, as the UK media are controlled by the establishment, and as a result pro-independence supporters had stopped paying their TV licence fees. That was the sum and total of the independence comments that caused so much anguish to some No voters. There was nothing that stated that people should have voted for independence, there was nothing that stated that they should consider doing so in the future, and there was nothing critical remarks against any No voters whatsoever, yet it was deemed as a shocking, over-the-top, out-and-out attack by a disrespectful pro-indy supporter. Go back and read the bloody thing again.

                So I have posted on a pro-independence website. So what? I don’t know what I find funniest – the fact that you were prepared to do a complete web search on me, or the fact that you went through with it! It’s quite obvious that I have nothing to hide (unlike some), and I am quite happy to use my real name, however did you find anything truly controversial on the site, either on the topics, or in my comments? To my knowledge, and if I remember correctly, one of my comments was derogatory towards the average No voter, but it was a real knee-jerk reaction to the vote. If there are others, then please alert me to them. Of course, you (and others) are free to read the posts and comments, and you might be surprised by how much the truth is suppressed and ignored by the corrupt UK media. I consider Wings over Scotland as an entirely political equivalent of Raptor Persecution Scotland, but you obviously have a major issue with that.

                “The point I clearly made was that you might be better served to view all politicians with scepticism, and I even provided you with some examples of why putting too much faith in that one specific group over the other may be misplaced. A politician is a politician, and with few exceptions they say or do what gets them elected, pleases the most voters or upsets the least.”

                Which is why I am not a member of any political party, and never will be. I have clearly stated my stance on this. It is such a stance that allows me to criticise any party or individual when required, or offer support if the matter arises, and it is because of the current situation that I see the SNP as the only hope we have of being able to eradicate persecution in this country. It certainly won’t happen with the Tories, Labour or the LibDems. UKIP probably don’t have much of an environmental policy, and hopefully they will never reach the predicted highs, but then again, there isn’t much between all of the right wing unionist parties. However, it would be interesting to learn of UKIP’s position on migratory birds!

                “Despite the obvious passion expressed here on this blog I’m afraid the vast majority of voters don’t have dealing with raptor persecution high on their list of wants when they visit the polling booth, and politicians (of all persuasions) know this. In this respect I doubt there is any political quick solution to fix wildlife crimes issues, I just expect a slow progress as politicians are slowly persuaded to do the right thing by science, lobby groups, dedicated individuals, and their own policy failures, exactly what has happened over the last 100 years in fact, I don’t see that changing anytime soon regardless of who is in power.”

                I partly agree that most voters are not interested in raptor persecution, but could that be down to the fact that persecution rarely merits an airing on TV, and apart from tiny snippets on page 24 of the newspapers, it is hardly ever in the press? When you consider that mainstream TV and more or less every single national newspaper in the country are the mouthpieces for the establishment, and they try to sweep such incidents under the carpet, is it any wonder that the public is not aware of what is actually happening in the countryside?

                A new publication hit the newsstands this week, namely The National, and I sincerely hope that it is able to continue publishing after this week’s trial period. Sister paper to the Sunday Herald, it is tabloid in format, running to 32 pages of mostly newsworthy events (no celebrity pish!), and a few pages of sport, and few adverts, it is a refreshing alternative to the guff normally available. For example, on Wednesday, there was a lengthy article by Rob Edwards on the mass slaughter of Moles near a grouse moor in the Lammermuirs. I honestly couldn’t see any of the biased pro-establishment papers running with such a prominent story, and in fact, I don’t believe any of the other papers even mention it on their websites.

                “Forgive my mixing up of Mr Ewing’s late wife with his sister (also an MSP), the level of nepotism can be quite confusing, some might argue it’s just another indicator of a party that is no different in it’s self serving creation of political elites… four MSP’s from just one family (including his mum of course)…..one really has to wonder!”

                You could well be correct in your assertion that nepotism is at work within the higher echelons of the SNP, but you must also realise that an MSP has to be elected in the first place, either in a straightforward election, or as a list candidate. They can’t just ask their mum/dad/brother/sister for a job as an MSP, so in this respect, nepotism can only get you so far. However, the perceived nepotism issue would be a matter for the SNP and its members to debate and discuss, and certainly nothing to do with a non-member. If you have concerns about this, perhaps you should join the SNP and forward your observations to them?

                “I won’t entertain you any further in this discussion, seems it just encourages you to post yet more divisive anti unionist rhetoric…”

                If you were to read my text with an open mind, you would soon realise that I am fully anti-Westminster and against the lying, deceitful, propagandist, pro-establishment media. I am certainly not against those that voted to stay in the union, so please do not attempt to suggest otherwise. But sadly, this “divisive” issue was regularly aimed at the pro-independence supporters during the referendum campaign, and the media were only too happy to participate in this utter lie – anti-English, Nazis, thugs, vandals, separatists, etc. However, I will alert you to some issues that may have passed you by, mainly as a result of the lying UK media – every far-right and neo-Nazi organisation operating in the UK, campaigned for the union. So despite the Yes campaigners repeatedly being labelled as Nazis, it was the No campaign that had the full support of the far-right. Yet these vile alliances didn’t make the news!

                “you now appear to have dragged paedophiles and WMD’s into this discussion, goodness knows what cybernat cliché’s will follow if you continue.”

                Yes, I mentioned paedophiles, as a comparison on how the police, at times acting for the government, differentiate between the severity of crimes within the class system. Establishment figures are able to carry out child abuse for decades without any action taken against them, yet a bunch of peaceful, pro-democracy protesters are immediately arrested, forcibly removed from their protest, and bundled into police vans! As for “dragging” the issue of WMDs into the conversation, it was briefly mentioned as a comparison of UK government spending, but then again all of this is clearly a “cybernat cliché”, and not of importance in the UK.

                You will, in all probability, choose to ignore all of this, just as you have ignored the questions put to you.

  5. November 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I still have the feeling that we start at page 1 with every new environment minister appointed..and that being appointed is seen as a bit of a poisoned chalice and not a reward in government…So..here we go again..I hate to think how many environment ministers Ive talked to/aimed criticism and/or praise at/seen the back of in the last 30 years but we have to connect with them…..My message to the new incumbent?…Remember this is the 21st century, remember how many of your constituents hate wildlife crime, remember that real knowledge of the countryside and wildlife is not held by those who happen to own the land or shoot wildlife on it….and lastly..you have the power to do something about the awful situation our predatory birds and animals are in..we will make damn sure any positive moves you make are publicly acknowledged and appreciated. Good luck..go to it.

  6. 12 Chris Roberts
    November 21, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Really disappointed that Paul Wheelhouse has gone. As Marco stated he has certainly been better than all of Westminster’s environment ministers, who in the main have been shooters themselves, and obviously under the influence of land and estate owners.

    I am really surprised that our new first minister has moved him, just as he appeared to be getting up to speed with the wildlife criminals. I bet the gamekeepers well enjoy a few drams tonight to celebrate his demise, lets hope that Aileen McLeod will make those celebrations short lived.

    • 13 nirofo
      November 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Quote:
      “I am really surprised that our new first minister has moved him, just as he appeared to be getting up to speed with the wildlife criminals”.

      That’s probably the very reason he was moved, the wildlife criminals in the shooting fraternity were starting to become jittery at the way things were going under his ministerial tenure and decided to pull a few strings to put a stop to it.

      • 14 Chris Roberts
        November 21, 2014 at 11:33 pm

        If your right Nirofo, it means that we now have a corrupt government.

      • 15 Marco McGinty
        November 22, 2014 at 4:56 am

        I would hope that is not the case, nirofo, and as stated earlier, the Scottish Government has made some progress on the issue. I think it is merely a case of a new first minister wanting to have her own team in office, giving her their full support. To use a football analogy, it is quite similar to a new manager taking control at any given club, and wanting to bring in his own backroom staff. Sometimes this fails, for example David Moyes at Manchester United, but on other occasions it can work, and we can use Gordon Strachan’s relative success and vast improvement with the Scottish national team.

        Time will tell as to how effective Aileen McLeod will be in her new post, but any sign of backtracking on Wheelhouse’s work, or a lax attitude to those issues that affect us, and we will pounce on any failings. That is for certain.

        Although much credit should go to Paul Wheelhouse (and as RPS has suggested, I hope he uses his new post in a positive way regarding the indiscriminate use of poisons in our countryside), we must not forget the tremendous effect blogs such as this has had in the fight. As I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, the UK mainstream media is simply not interested in highlighting these problems, and some of the large charities are not doing enough to combat the problem, so it is left to sites such as RPS to highlight the problem. Nor should we forget the positive impact us individuals have had, especially with the vast number of emails that we have sent to Paul Wheelhouse, ensuring that he tackles the problem – and that we are not going away.

        I’m prepared to give Aileen McLeod some time to settle into her new post, and will reserve judgement until then. However, as a result of the Independence referendum, and the huge participation from apolitical individuals and those without affiliation to any political party, Scottish politics has changed forever, and MSPs are more accountable to the electorate than ever before. Despite their huge post-referendum membership rise, the SNP know this too well, and with a General Election in May next year, followed by the Scottish Parliament election in 2016, the SNP will have to be seen to be pro-active in this respect, otherwise they will lose support.

        Irrespective of peoples beliefs on Scottish independence, the SNP is our only hope on this matter.

  7. 16 Mr Greer Hart, senior
    November 22, 2014 at 12:18 am

    I am a person with deep concern for animal welfare, wildlife conservation, indigenous people, the various habitats essential for biodiversity to exist and sustainably so, such the world’s oceans, forests, etc. These, and support for relieving those efforts for humans exposed to famine, thirst, war and disease. Millions world wide now are of the same compassionate frame of mind. To put into effect such energy, we donate to the many charities that have come into existence to put that money and love of Life into effect. For the first time in human history, we have a powerful force in this world, that can transfer funds immediately to some emergency to alleviate a human tragedy or save an endangered species. We sign petitions to tell governments, companies, police forces etc., to persuade them to assist in some humane campaign. However, we sometimes encounter indifference or refusal to implement existing laws or to just ignore our pleas, and even to renege on promises for action to end something cruel, not yet covered by existing legislation.

    With regard to persecuted wildlife and inhumane conditions for captive animals, Scotland has a few that should be sorted to clean up our reputation for being a modern humane country. The treatment of our birds of prey and all the waffle experienced in seeking out and punishing those guilty of killing them, has angered the majority of our population. Some of this anger has arisen over the obvious powers held by land and estates used for shooting game birds, to influence the hierarchy composed of those who investigate and those who enforce the law. The use of animals for public entertainment was promised Government attention by Mr Cameron, when the Anne the Elephant episode, whereby a circus animal was badly beaten by a handler. The Press and the Commons were indignant that such barbarity was being experienced in this country. David Cameron promised action on this issue and legislation to follow, but that was trounced recently by three Conservative MPs preventing this item to be discussed in Parliament. Those MPs were connected to circus owners. Lightning struck twice on this issue, when Lions and Tigers were wintered on an Aberdeenshire farm. These were circus animals, and this has caused a large reaction from various animal welfare groups, and many individuals here in Scotland. We have also got the issue over the installation of CCTV cameras in slaughterhouses in Scotland, to monitor for any cruel treatment of animals. The usual compliant vets have been found in the case of circus and slaughterhouse animal welfare, to make statements that everything is in order, with regard to food and bedding.

    What we thus have is a closing of ranks by the various interests that have animals as the basis of their economic activities. They see that new laws or enforcement of existing ones, as a weakening of the whole structure of the use of animals for human use. They have got away with specious arguments for maintaining the status quo, such as their costs would rise and hence food prices; they are guardians of the countryside; people come first as jobs would be under threat; they are essential to the economy with their contributing millions of pounds; Added to this lobby, is the indifference to animal suffering by some of the big guns that collect millions of pounds for saving iconic species, such as the Elephant, Rhino, Lion etc, with their “sponsor a Dodo” adverts. The biggest one backs trophy shooting, and has got into bed with some of the worst destroyers of rainforests and other essential habitats, and explain it away as being supporters of sustainable monocrops, or amelioraters of mining projects.

    How can we win against such a powerful lobby with connections all over the planet, with regard to the killing of wildlife for sport and for the provision of exotic meats one can find in certain fishmongers and restaurants here in Britain, e.g. Zebra, Giraffe, Kangaroo? All within the law of course. Kenya has set aside tribal land for the exclusive use by a Middle Eastern aristocratic family to shoot wildlife, and in Tanzania, according to an EIA report, the killing of Elephant herds is done with the connivance of top politicians and its game wardens, working with Chinese criminal gangs. So, the decent people of the Earth give generously to save wildlife, but are giving to protect that wildlife so it can be shot by the international trophy shooting mob. Two such shooters from the USA each paid £350,000 to Namibia to shoot two Black Rhino, just to get their horns as trophies, but a vociferous and indignant backlash has occurred in their country.

    I do not think we will ever win, until we get better organised and channel our donations away from those wildlife charities complicit in trophy shooting and in sports shooting on a mass scale, by setting up a new regime dedicated to having a more powerful political influence. Scotland has still got to get its forces for change marshalled to make sure that our concerns for birds of prey are permanently on the Holyrood and Westminster agendas, and not be baulked by agents of the enemy sabotaging efforts to enforce the law.

  8. 18 Dougie
    November 22, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Trouble is that in the UK all Government ministers are simply politicians. Mere transients that come in and out with the tide – here today and gone tomorrow.
    I have read Aileen McLeods bio. My impression, in a word, “vague” !

  9. 19 Circus maxima
    November 23, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Start again….but we should go in with an open hand and an honest argument.
    I think the bigger blight is that the bullying environment hater Fergus Ewing kept his post.

  10. 20 Duncan Halley
    November 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Worth noting the new portfolio is environment, climate change – and land reform, an interesting grouping; and that the FM promised ‘radical land reform’ as first on her list for the new government. If the report of the land reform review group is followed in all this, then there is some considerable new thinking going on about how to use the tax system to in effect fine estates every year for not meeting environmental targets. Structural change to how land is owned in Scotland and by who would also structurally change the base of this whole problem.

    The details should be available soon, and with any luck will be interesting reading. Looking from outside (I live in Norway), the apparent continuing influence of a tiny group with no electoral clout is very odd – is it just that everyone has not yet lost the habit?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog Stats

  • 3,206,453 hits

Archives

Our recent blog visitors