I was left shaking my head reading comments on Twitter from people objecting to Pete Wishart and John
Swinney attending an end of season game dinner hosted by BASC.
I would like to show my support for both for doing so. In fact, it has never been more important for
politicians of all colours to listen to the working people of our countryside.
Maybe I am wrong but when the Parliament was set up in Edinburgh, I thought it was so that the voices
of all Scotland could be heard, not just the vocal people who believe their view is the only one.
Sadly, I feel we are getting further and further away from that optimism of when the Scottish
Parliament came into being and what it was meant to deliver - for all the geographic locations of
Both of these senior politicians make a living from representing the constituents in their areas and,
in those areas right now there is a lot of genuine concern for their jobs and the future.
The votes of those individuals matter the same as any others and it should be remembered that it is
by serving the interests of their constituents that politicians return to Westminster and Holyrood to
deliver what their voters- and their parties- want.
A lot of the comments I read seemed to come from issues of class. There is a very narrow focus and it
infuriates people like me.
What commentators don’t seem to understand when they jump on bandwagons is that our members represent
the working people of the countryside. They have the same worries, trying to bring up families and keep
roofs over heads as the factory or shift workers of Glasgow or Dundee. The difference between the rural
working person and the urban working person is often very little, other than geography. A decent wage,
decent conditions, good healthcare and schools for their kids. That is what most of us want.
Whether we like it or not, most people work for a wealthy man or woman somewhere down the line,
whether you are working for an estate owner, working on the rigs or working for Amazon.
Like any other industry, there are good bosses and bad. Our members are thankful that, in the main,
they have bosses who have continued to invest and have kept jobs on, when seasons have been wiped out by
weather or other factors beyond control. That doesn’t happen in all industries and we all know folk that
have lost jobs when times get hard. I don’t want to see that for our members.
Our skilled membership are delivering a lot for rural Scotland. They are a quiet folk by nature but
they are growing increasingly irritated by what they see as a continuing attack on all they hold dear.
Despite being working people, they have been largely abandoned by parties who once considered
themselves to represent working people. This is a real shame and something I have found difficult to
There are many people in our industry that will vote different parties. We are not a political
organisation. We are a broad church that represents all our members. There are members of our own
committee who have been SNP supporters for decades and they, too, find some of the venom directed on
these Twitter posts to be galling to say the least.
What our members are crying out for just now are politicians that will listen to their concerns, on
moor, hill, forest, riverbank or wherever and will give them their voice, even if that is to disagree or
In my view, the politicians that do that are more likely to find support for their aims in their own
constituencies than those who continue to ignore them. It is those who ignore, and not people who do
take the time to listen to the views of all, that will fan the tension that is beginning to grow among
rural working folk.
On that note, we are running a political poll for members on our website, in response to all the
feedback we have been getting. There are 3 basic questions. It takes under a minute. Scroll down the
website homepage and take the poll. Find it, here: https://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk