Friday, 30 April 2021

#SP21 MAY ELECTION: Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch overview

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://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk


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.


Overview: Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch




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 in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch. 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 Highlands and Islands.


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 Highlands and Islands 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.


About Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch


In the constituency vote (white paper), SNP's Kate Forbes will be confident of seeing off Lib Dem and Conservative challengers after landing the seat in 2016 with a 9043 vote majority and a swing of 4.56% from the Lib Dems, who maintain a strong presence in certain parts of north Scotland and the islands. 


On the white paper, her competition will be Denis Rixson (Lib Dem), Jamie Halcro Johnston (Conservative) and John Erskine (Labour).


Kate Forbes (SNP), now Finance and Digital Economy Minister, is a hard working constituency MSP. She is willing to engage with constituent SGA members and hear their concerns, first hand. 

She is supportive of rural jobs and advocates a 're-peopled' highlands and has taken time to understand members’ work, including a day out stalking red deer with SGA Deer Group member, Lea MacNally. She recently responded to emails regarding the Rural Workers’ Protest, showing willingness to discuss the protest's key asks. 






Denis Rixson is a Lib Dem Highland councillor and a former school teacher. He has written books on highland history and believes an urgent tree planting programme must get underway in the highlands to mitigate against the impacts of climate change. 




Jamie Halcro Johnston (Conservatives) is a current MSP and will be hoping to pare back ground in this seat. He has been supportive of rural workers in his shadow rural economy role and recently pledged support for workers of river and land at the Rural Workers' Protest, 2021 (left).








Given the size of Kate Forbes' majority, tactical voting may factor in voters' mindsets in this seat. If a party wins the constituency seat (white paper) they naturally pick up less seats on the regional list (peach paper), so some voters may opt to vote for one candidate and party on the white paper and another party entirely on the peach paper, to maximise their chances of getting the kind of representation they want. 


Hypothetically, someone may vote for Kate Forbes (SNP) on the white paper yet vote for Conservatives or Lib Dems on the peach paper or vice versa. This pattern was seen in this seat in the 2016 Election as the images below, show. The Lib Dems were second on the white paper (constituency) yet the Conservatives were second on the peach paper (regional list), with a greater vote share than the Lib Dems. This helped to give them more representation in the Highlands and Islands region.





Similarly, pro-Independence or pro-Union voters may decide to vote tactically, with parties such as pro-Independence Alba Party and pro-Union All for Unity standing on the regional list.


Alba Party manifesto: https://www.albaparty.org/where_we_stand


All for Unity manifesto: https://www.alliance4unity.uk/manifesto/


On the aforementioned regional list (peach paper) for Highlands and Islands, voters will have much greater choice, with no fewer than 15 different parties as well as 2 independents, Hazel Mansfield and Andy Wightman, to choose from.


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. 


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 Chairmans letter, here. To date, we have not had a response from the First Minister. 


https://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/2021/04/open-letter-to-first-minister-rural.html




On whether an SNP/Green pact might comes to pass, leader of the Greens, Patrick Harvie, was quoted in the Scotsman newspaper today (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 Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch plus Highlands and Islands 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.


 


#SP21 MAY ELECTION: Inverness and Nairn overview.

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 these on our website news pages).


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.


Overview: Inverness and Nairn




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 in Inverness and Nairn. 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 Highlands and Islands.


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 Highlands and Islands 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.


About Inverness and Nairn


In terms of the constituency vote (white paper), this is one of the safer SNP seats in the country, despite a 5.8% swing from the SNP to Conservative at the last election in 2016.


In 2016, Fergus Ewing took the seat by 10 857 votes from Edward Mountain of the Conservatives. Both parties will expect to poll strongly again but the toughest battle may yet emerge in the regional list on the peach ballot paper (for the Highlands and Islands region).


Fergus Ewing (SNP), a Cabinet Minister- has, for many years, been a consistent supporter of all rural land workers, from farmers and crofters to deer managers, ghillies and people working in fieldsports. He is an advocate of strong rural businesses, equally, to the point where his support of the aquaculture industry may not please all SGA members. Having land workers’ backs in a largely rural constituency has helped him to one of the strongest majorities of all SNP politicians. This support, given publicly, often places him at odds with vocal opponents but is a sign of trust which constituents appreciate. Fergus backed the SGA on the Watson Bill and reversing tail shortening of working dogs.

Edward Mountain is a strong supporter of the work of the SGA and its members. He sponsored the evening event in Parliament, with rural vets, which helped the SGA convert support for its campaign to reverse the ban on tail shortening of working dogs. He enabled the SGA to have an educational stand at Holyrood to engage with MSPs on land management. Being a land manager himself, he is in a unique position in that he speaks on key rural decisions at Holyrood as someone with a rare gift- experience. He has spoken regularly in key debates, often as a lone voice, and attended the recent SGA Political hustings and posted a supportive film for the Rural Workers’ Protest, #RWP21. (see: https://twitter.com/1edmountain/status/1372893736066281476?s=20


In short, the leading choices on the white paper in the Inverness and Nairn constituency seat both have a track record of support for rural workers on river and land. 


Both Mr Ewing's SNP and Mr Mountain's Conservatives are advocating that they, and their parties, be chosen by voters - on both the white and peach ballot papers.


Given the size of Fergus Ewing's majority, tactical voting may factor in voters' mindsets in this seat. If a party wins the constituency seat (white paper) they naturally pick up less seats on the regional list (peach paper), so some voters may opt to vote for one candidate and party on the white paper and another party entirely on the peach paper, to maximise their chances of getting the kind of representation they want. 


Hypothetically, someone may vote for Fergus Ewing (SNP) on the white paper yet vote for Conservatives on the peach paper or vice versa; Edward Mountain on the white paper and SNP on the peach paper.


Similarly, pro-Independence or pro-Union voters may decide to vote tactically, with parties such as pro-Independence Alba Party and pro-Union All for Unity standing on the regional list.


Alba Party manifesto: https://www.albaparty.org/where_we_stand


All for Unity manifesto: https://www.alliance4unity.uk/manifesto/


On the aforementioned regional list (peach paper) for Highlands and Islands, voters will have much greater choice, with no fewer than 15 different parties as well as 2 independents, Hazel Mansfield and Andy Wightman, to choose from.


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. 


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 Chairmans letter, here. To date, we have not had a response from the First Minister. 


https://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/2021/04/open-letter-to-first-minister-rural.html




On whether an SNP/Green pact might comes to pass, leader of the Greens, Patrick Harvie, was quoted in the Scotsman newspaper today (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 Inverness and Nairn plus Highlands and Islands 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.


 


Thursday, 29 April 2021

#SP21 MAY ELECTION: Angus North and Mearns overview

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 will be providing overview information on several seats (relevant to members) prior to the Election #SP21. 


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 or, if not yet elected, looked at their standpoints on issues to gauge where they might stand in relation to workers on river and land.


Overview: Angus North and Mearns


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. This person will be an individual representing a party or will be independent. (White coloured paper).

Voters will also get the opportunity to vote for a Party in the Regional List. (Peach coloured paper).


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. This is allocated around the party share of the vote. If a party has already won the Constituency seat, they will win less regional list seats. The system is designed this way to avoid any one party dominating.


About Angus North and Mearns


For the constituency vote (white paper), this double marginal seat will effectively be a 2-horse race between SNPs Mairi Gougeon and Braden Davy of the Conservatives.


In 2016, Mairi Gougeon took the seat by 2472 votes from the late Alex Johnstone of the Conservatives, who was replaced by Bill Bowman following his untimely passing.


Both SNP and the Conservatives will see this as a key seat, given how tight the margins are. In the last election, there was a 10.41% swing from the SNP to the Conservatives and a further swing of that magnitude would see the seat go to them. However, SNP will be determined to retain the seat belonging to the recently appointed Minister for Public Health and Sport.


Mairi Gougeon, SNP, engaged with the SGA on a few occasions in her stint as Environment Minister. During her tenure, she announced Scottish Government’s intention to restrict fox control with dogs to 2, unless under licence. She supported the protection of mountain hares, despite being critical in the Parliament of the way the measure was introduced by the Greens with no possibility of legislative scrutiny. She announced the Scottish Government’s intention to licence grouse shoots in the new Parliament. 


Braden Davy, Conservatives, has been an Angus councillor since 2017 and was a previous Assistant Director of Scotland’s Vote Leave campaign. He has worked as Communications Manager for Liam Kerr, who will be running again for Conservatives on the North East regionalist list (in which Angus North and Mearns lies). Mr Davy will be new to SGA members in the constituency although Mr Kerr has engaged well with local members and supported their efforts in the community.


Given the potential tightness of this seat, those seeking to maximise an SNP vote may choose to give both votes (white paper and peach paper) to SNP. Similarly, those looking to maximise a Conservative vote may do likewise on both white and peach papers.  People in either of these camps will feel that this is probably a seat where tactical voting may pose too much of a risk.


The peach paper will contain greater choices for voters, with no fewer than 17 parties vying for a regional list berth in the North East region (in which Angus North and Mearns lies). 


The Scottish Green Partys list choices will include Mark Ruskell. The Green Party recently published its manifesto which pledges to end, what it terms, bloodsportsincluding 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 workersjobs. 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 repeat what they did in the last Parliament and join with the Greens in order to form a majority. Given the Greensunhidden desire to end the employment interests of sections of the rural workforce, SGA members should make themselves aware of the dangers in this possibility.


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 Chairmans letter, here. We await a response from the First Minister. 


https://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/2021/04/open-letter-to-first-minister-rural.html





Some SGA members may want to vote in order to maximise a pro-Independence opportunity.


In that scenario, it is possible some might vote SNP on the white paper and Greens on the peach paper. Polling suggests this is likely to be a voting strategy adopted by a percentage of pro-Independence supporters. 


There are, however, other pro-Independence choices on the peach paper. Alex Salmonds new pro-Independence Alba Party will be on the peach paper. Their key list candidate in the North East region is former First Minister Mr Salmond himself, who is no stranger to the political scene north and south of the border https://www.albaparty.org/where_we_stand


Other new entrants on the peach paper will be Jamie Blackett and George Galloways pro-Union, All for Unity party. Jamie Blackett was invited, amongst others, to join the SGA hustings and comes from a land management background. All for Unity sent supportive messages to the Rural WorkersProtest and their manifesto contains a number of commitments on land management, which members can make themselves aware of, here: https://www.alliance4unity.uk/manifesto/


Their principle list candidate in the North East is Dundonian Arthur Keith.


To find all candidates standing in Angus North and Mearns- and 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.


 


#SP21 MAY ELECTION: Angus South overview

 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 will be providing overview information on several seats (relevant to members) prior to the Election #SP21. 


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 or, if not yet elected, looked at their standpoints on issues to gauge where they might stand in relation to workers on river and land.


Overview: Angus South


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. This person will be an individual representing a party or will be independent. (White coloured paper).

Voters will also get the opportunity to vote for a Party in the Regional List. (Peach coloured paper).


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. This is allocated around the party share of the vote. If a party has already won the Constituency seat, they will win less regional list seats. The system is designed this way to avoid any one party dominating.


Labour's Jackie Baillie and leader Anas Sarwar showing what the voting papers will look like- White for Constituency and Peach for Regional List.


About Angus South


For the constituency vote (white paper), this double marginal seat will effectively be a 2-horse race between SNPs Graeme Dey and Maurice Golden of the Conservatives.


In 2016, Graeme Dey took the seat by 4304 votes from Kirstene Hair of the Conservatives.





The margin of victory in 2016 places Graeme Dey favourite for the Constituency seat once more but the Conservatives will be eyeing gains in a constituency where their vote is also strong.


Graeme Dey, SNP, has experience of rural issues as Deputy and Convener of the ECCLR Committee. He takes time to engage with local members, at times as a ‘critical friend’ and was supportive of the SGA’s campaign to reverse the tail shortening ban regarding working dogs. Assesses rural concerns on an issue by issue basis. He was known to support the move to give mountain hares Schedule 5 protected status, an issue which the SGA opposed and which still wrankles with many members.


Maurice Golden, Conservatives, also has experience of rural issues during 2 stints as his party’s Environment Spokesman and as Deputy Convener of the ECCLR Committee. Being a West of Scotland MSP in the last Parliament, he has not had much direct engagement members in this rural region but comments during debates suggests he is supportive of rural workers’ contributions to Scotland’s economy and environment.


Given how close this seat may turn out, those seeking to maximise an SNP vote may choose to give both votes (white paper and peach paper) to SNP. Similarly, those looking to maximise a Conservative vote may do likewise on both white and peach papers.  


The peach paper will contain greater choices for voters, with no fewer than 17 parties vying for a regional list berth in the North East region (in which Angus South lies). 


The Scottish Green Partys list choices will include Mark Ruskell. The Green Party recently published its manifesto which pledges to end, what it terms, bloodsportsincluding 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 workersjobs. 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 repeat what they did in the last Parliament and join with the Greens in order to form a majority. Given the Greensunhidden desire to end the employment interests of sections of the rural workforce, SGA members should make themselves aware of the dangers in this possibility.


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 Chairmans letter, here. We await a response from the First Minister. 


https://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/2021/04/open-letter-to-first-minister-rural.html


Some SGA members may want to vote in order to maximise a pro-Independence opportunity.


In that scenario, it is possible some might vote SNP on the white paper and Greens on the peach paper. Polling suggests this is likely to be a voting strategy adopted by a percentage of pro-Independence supporters. 


There are, however, other pro-Independence choices on the peach paper. Alex Salmonds new pro-Independence Alba Party will be on the peach paper. Their key list candidate in the North East region is former First Minister Mr Salmond himself, who is no stranger to the political scene north and south of the border https://www.albaparty.org/where_we_stand


Other new entrants on the peach paper will be Jamie Blackett and George Galloways pro-Union, All for Unity party. Jamie Blackett was invited, amongst others, to join the SGA hustings and comes from a land management background. All for Unity sent supportive messages to the Rural WorkersProtest and their manifesto contains a number of commitments on land management, which members can make themselves aware of, here: https://www.alliance4unity.uk/manifesto/


Their principle list candidate in the North East is Dundonian Arthur Keith.


To find all candidates standing in Angus South and 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.