Edward Mountain MSP is a new member of the Scottish Parliament (Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party, Highlands & Islands).
Edward recently wrote a guest article for the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association’s quarterly rag, Scottish Gamekeeper (Issue 71, winter 2017, page 20). We’re going to reproduce part of that article:
‘I believe that challenging the ‘spectre’ [of land management reform] is vital, if the very countryside we all value and love is to be maintained. The way to do this is by standing tall and laying out a stall, for all to see the benefits positive management has to offer. The problem is that every time it looks like the right story is being delivered another case of wildlife crime comes to light. If there is any chance of moving forward we must stop these idiots, who believe illegally killing raptors is acceptable.
I therefore would urge all organisations that represent country folk to stand up and let people know all the good work that is being done for conservation. At the same time, they also need to vilify those that break the law.
Over the next 4.5 years I look forward to working with the SGA and I will do all I can to defend the values you and your members believe in. However, I must also say that I will be the fiercest critic of those that jeopardise these values by breaking the law‘.
Good strong words, but will he put them in to action?
His article for the SGA was probably written before he hosted a parliamentary reception at Holyrood for the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group in mid December 2016 (see here). The reception was to launch the ‘Game for Growth’ initiative that is using public funds to promote country sports providers in Scotland. Here’s a picture of him acting as host, with some of the others involved with this initiative (L-R Tim (Kim) Baynes from Gift of Grouse / Scottish Moorland Group / Scottish Land & Estates, Malcolm Roughead from VisitScotland, Edward Mountain MSP, and Sarah Troughton from the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group).
We now know that these public funds are being used to promote a sporting agent with a conviction for raptor persecution (see here) and two estates where illegally-set traps have been discovered (see here).
Now’s your chance, Edward – it’s been put on a plate for you. As you’re so publicly supportive of this Game for Growth scandal, are you going to stand up and be “the fiercest critic” of the associated wildlife crimes?