SGA members have made us aware they would like to know more about the Election on May 6th and candidates they can vote for.
We have been providing overview information on several seats (relevant to members) prior to the Election #SP21. (see other overviews on our website news pages). https://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/latest-news/
Please note: The SGA is not affiliated to any political party. The information is intended only as a helpful guide, offered from the perspective of members' interests, as requested.
People should vote according to personal choice. However, we will give advice for circumstances in which people would wish to vote solely for the purposes of protecting their profession.
In looking at seats, we have provided an analysis based on what candidates have done for rural workers in Holyrood (track record) or, if not yet elected, looked at standpoints on issues to gauge where they might sit in relation to workers on river and land.
What Choices will you have on the ballot paper?
On May 6th, voters will get the opportunity to vote for which person they want as their Constituency MSP i in Aberdeen South and North Kincardine. This person will be an individual representing a party (White coloured paper).
Voters will also get the opportunity to vote for a Party in the Regional List (Peach coloured paper) for North East Scotland.
For the Constituency vote (white paper), the person with the highest number of votes becomes the Constituency MSP. In the regional list (peach paper) a total of 7 MSPs are selected to represent the North East Scotland region.
This allocation is worked out around the share of the party vote on the peach paper. If a party has already won the Constituency seat, they will win less regional list seats in that region. The system is designed this way to avoid any one party dominating.
The white paper contest in this constituency seat could end up a tense and close contest, although the SNP will want to retain a seat won by Maureen Watt in 2016 by 2755 votes from the Conservatives' Ross Thomson.
It will be all change in terms of candidates for the leading contestants in this seat, with Audrey Nicoll (SNP) and Liam Kerr (Conservatives) in the running this time around
Something which may give the Conservatives some gain of hope on the white paper is the recent upswing in their support in this seat in recent times (see below).
That said, the SNP have also gained over the past 10 years and, although they may not openly declare it, the Conservatives will have one eye on fortunes on the peach paper (regional list for North East Scotland) should Liam Kerr come up short on the white paper contest.
Audrey Nicoll (SNP) will be new to SGA members. A professional, she has spent many years in the public sector. She also has broad experience when it comes to the oil and gas sector in the North East.
Liam Kerr is well known to SGA members and has spoken up on key rural issues in debates and on Bills at Holyrood. He has submitted motions of support for community work undertaken by rural workers and attended the first Gamekeepers march at Edzell. Most recently, he posted a supportive film on the occasion of the Rural Workers' Protest, #RWP21: (see below)https://twitter.com/LiamKerrASNK/status/1372577920988934159?s=20
Voters will have a bigger choice of parties on the peach paper including some new parties which could have a significant bearing on the final election result eg: Alex Salmond is running for his new pro-independence Alba party on the regional list in this region and will have earmarked this area as a potential springboard for his party. See their manifesto, here: https://www.albaparty.org/where_we_stand
In the interests of maximising their interests, both the SNP and the Conservatives will want to mobilise all their support at the polling station in favour a vote for their candidate on both the white paper and their party on the peach paper.
One issue which may have an impact on SGA members' voting intention in Aberdeen South and North Kincardine is the point, below.
"One worry SGA members have been contacting our office about is whether a vote for SNP means they get the Greens as part of the deal. " SGA Chairman, Alex Hogg.
The Green Party recently published its manifesto which pledges to end, what it terms, ‘bloodsports’ including shooting and angling. They will ban driven grouse shooting, reintroduce species and incentivise the removal of sheep from the hills.
For those seeking to vote in terms of their employment, specifically, the Green manifesto represents the likely loss of over 13 000 rural workers’ jobs. See their manifesto, here: https://greens.scot/ourfuture
Should the SNP fail to win an outright majority at this election (which current polling shows is possible) they may again choose to join with the Greens in order to form a majority. Given the Greens’ unhidden desire to end the employment interests of sections of the rural workforce, SGA members should make themselves aware of the dangers in this possibility.
Give this, SGA Chairman Alex Hogg has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon seeking reassurances for rural workers that any potential SNP/Green pact will not mean Scottish Government adopting the Green manifesto pledges, mentioned above, which will be so damaging for rural workers and their families. You can read the Chairman’s letter, here. To date, we have not had a response from the First Minister.
On whether an SNP/Green pact might comes to pass, leader of the Greens, Patrick Harvie, was quoted in the Scotsman newspaper on April 30 saying, that 'most of our members would be willing to have the conversation' after the Election. (below)
To find all candidates standing in Aberdeen South and North Kincardine plus North East Scotland region- (and all the other Scottish constituencies)- see: https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/politics/6918475/scottish-election-full-candidate-list-standing-my-area/
*This seat analysis, which fulfils a requirement of our members to provide voting information on their behalf, has been produced by The Scottish Gamekeepers Association, a Company limited by guarantee, Company number SC386843.