Wednesday 5 May 2021

#SP21 MAY ELECTION: Aberdeen Donside 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)

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: Aberdeen Donside

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 Aberdeen Donside. 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.

About Aberdeen Donside

This is a seat (white paper) where, despite the vote share increasing for the Conservatives over the past decade, the SNP has reigned supreme. 

Mark McDonald won the seat in 2016 from Liam Kerr of the Conservatives with a whacking 11 630 majority and newcomer Harriet Cross of the Conservatives looks likely to need a miracle if she is to defeat SNP candidate Jackie Dunbar this time around.

For Labour, Heather Herbert will be pulling on the coat-tails of Harriet Cross for second, where it is literally nip and tuck in a seat with a genuine three-way interest.

Support for SGA members or rural workers in general among the candidates is difficult to gauge overall (in terms of track record) although Harriet Cross publicly backed the Rural Workers' Protest, #RWP21, in March and offered participants her 'full support' as the image below shows. 

With the white paper battle looking relatively one-sided in SNP's favour, major emphasis will fall on the peach paper vote for the North East Scotland region.

SNP or pro-independence supporters may opt to use their second vote tactically, given the likelihood of securing the victory on the white paper. 

Conservatives or Labour supporters will be doing their utmost to get their voters out to the polling station, to try to win the party share on the peach paper. Should they do so, it could go a significant way towards a greater number of seats for their party on the regional list at Holyrood.

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:

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:

Should the SNP fail to win an outright majority at this election (which current polling shows is on a knife-edge) 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.

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 Donside plus North East Scotland region- (and all the other Scottish constituencies)- see:

Most importantly, SGA Chairman Alex Hogg is urging all members to go out and use their vote tomorrow. See the video message, here.

*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.