Edward Mountain MSP – the fiercest critic of those committing wildlife crime?

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?

We’ll see.

20 Responses to “Edward Mountain MSP – the fiercest critic of those committing wildlife crime?”

  1. 1 Nigel Raby
    January 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    As you say, fine words but will he stand by them? Lets hope so.

  2. 2 crypticmirror
    January 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    When Tories say wildlife crime they mean people getting in the way of fox hounds, or people who take the laird’s deer and salmon. Screw him. He can sod right off.

    [Ed: That’s incredibly unfair to him. He specifically mentioned the illegal persecution of raptors, not fox hunting, not deer, not salmon. Let’s give him an opportunity to put his words in to action. If he doesn’t, then fine, criticism will be deserved, but he needs to be given time first].

  3. 10 BSA
    January 19, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Edward Mountain is probably sincere, but I doubt he understands, or could ever acknowledge, the scale of the problem. It is not about a few ‘idiots’. It’s about a whole industry, full of people that Edward Mountain probably socialises with, who he would be incapable of seeing as criminals. To someone like Edward criminals are underclass people with swag bags and pantomime masks who almost certainly come from towns. He would be taken more seriously if he read and quoted the ample evidence that wildlife crime is an industrial scale problem and addressed his concerns to the industry as a whole. He could start with a pretty robust interrogation of someone like Tim Baynes.

  4. January 19, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    If Scotland wants to support more initiatives that are sustainable and economicially beneficial they’ve already undertaken a great example here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-38558203?SThisFB&&post_id=10205667033746548_10210222751316640#38;utm_content=bufferc1be4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=b

    A small quote from it:
    “The latest study of its economic value concluded it had contributed more than £8.2m since it opened to the public.
    It has attracted more than 100,000 visitors and supported the equivalent of about 20 full-time jobs in the region.”

    Wish more like it could be developed in all over the UK, especially in peat moor areas. Conservatiion-oriented programs/areas could could offer great alternative to the destructive effects of DGS on wildlife, and the peat moors that continue to get burned off, seriously damaging them, increasing flood risks lower down, etc. Their economic benefits and potential are also really promising. Win Win…

  5. 12 Chris Roberts
    January 19, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    I really do hope that he does what he says, but as BSA states, I doubt if he realises the full extent of the criminality within the so called ‘profession’.

  6. January 19, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    He seems to be extremely naive but must surely mean what he says. Otherwise why bother? Maybe i am being naive and it the best PR stunt yet.
    It will be very interesting to see what happens when he confronts reality.
    He can either close his eyes and feel like a coward or become a real friend to raptor conservation.
    The latter would be amazing. It isn’t impossible.

  7. 14 Secret Squirrel
    January 20, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Sorry RPUK, fine words about raptor killing, but the rest of the anti-land reform, maintaining the countryside we love (That’s the one intensively managed for a rich elite) and country folk guff means he wants the status quo, without the illegal stuff ( So that includes intensive driven grouse moors, hare culling and other legal elimination of wildlife)

    The problem is people like that have a view that the ‘countryside’ should be what they want from it.

    • 15 Chris
      January 20, 2017 at 2:30 am

      The problem is that we all, you and I included, have the view that the counrtyside should be what we want it to be. It’s a problem because we can’t all have exactly what we want ; both “sides” need to find a way to become less polarized, otherwise the lack of meaningful progress will continue. RPUK is absolutely right to highlight these fine words and put the ball firmly back into Edward Mountain’s court. We will indeed see!

      • January 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm

        Chris, this way of looking at ‘sides’ seems very BBC. As if there just being a side implies some kind of balance. The ban on Fox hunting is an example that illustrates that it isn’t a case of sides it is a case of democracy or at least the will of the people and the law. In the case of driven grouse hunting the lack of balance is even more extreme. Are criminals and their victims just on different sides?
        Would that metaphor stand up when used by any other crime or sport that is dependent on and profits from crime?
        Usually a false balance is automatic when money or power is involved.
        Global warming in the media is another example. It is a false balance.

  8. 17 Secret Squirrel
    January 20, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Yeah, but I didn’t say ‘want it to be’ I said ‘want from it’

  9. 18 Barbara McMillan
    January 20, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I think someone should send him a link to this page, so he can see what he’s up against, and hopefully clarify his position. if he’s prepared to do that. If not, he should be cut down to size.

  10. 19 Tony Warburton MBE
    January 20, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    At first I was elated, forgetting about the reception he hosted at Holyrood. I’m afraid I am not impressed by the guests he chose to invite (just look at their smiles of triumph) – not a good start or inspiration that we have a budding champion. I hope he proves me wrong. .

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