Wednesday 14 August 2019

Eagles, and governance

Young eagle flying with trap clamped to its leg
Here is the text of my letter to the First Minister regarding the wildlife persecution on grouse moors crisis. I strongly suggest you write to her too, but please write your own letter - copy/pasted letters tend to get ignored.
Dear First Minister

The SNP's craven inability to face down landed interests has always disappointed and puzzled me, but the developing crisis over the behaviour of grouse moor managers and the failure of your government to intervene in it is reaching the stage where it risks undermining the whole independence project.

You will (I hope) be aware of the illegal slaughter of Scotland's iconic wildlife on the grouse moors, from eagles to wildcats. You will (I hope) be aware that there is today a young eagle flying in Aberdeenshire with an illegal trap clamped to its leg.

Now, we have a petition, addressed to the Westminster parliament, asking it to intervene in a devolved matter. which in less than one day has gathered more than 16,000 signatures, and which is highly likely to gather several hundred thousand. You will see from the map that a very large proportion of these signatures have come from remote rural Scotland - where you cannot afford to lose votes.

In these febrile times, do you really want Westminster holding a debate on the failure of your goverment? Do you want grandstanding Tory ministers - the fragrant Alister Jack - having a popular excuse to take powers back from Holyrood because of Holyrood's failure to legislate effectively?

We have left an open goal, and in the run up to the next trial of strength on independence we do not want the Unionists to be able to say, "well, we trusted them to care for their own woldlife but they wouldn't do it; why should they be trusted with independence?"

It's a good question, and one which will be hard to deal with on the doorsteps.

Please act now, by enacting a bill which places a duty of care on estate owners to prevent wildlife crime on their land, with penal sentences on the beneficial owner if they fail to do so.

Yours sincerely

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The fool on the hill by Simon Brooke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License