21st Dec - Alison Johnstone MSP
Recent legislation on mountain hares in Scotland came about after a last-minute amendment was snuck into the Animals and Wildlife Bill at the eleventh hour by Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone.
Johnstone has relentlessly pushed the anti-grouse shooting narrative in Scotland in the face of widespread economic, social and scientific research showing the policies she is pushing will be counterintuitive.
At the time of the mountain hare amendment Scottish Land & Estates said: “These changes will not help Scotland’s wildlife, which is the prime concern of gamekeepers and land managers.
Mountain hares are thriving on Scotland’s moors and their fate will not be improved by this vote. There is clear evidence that the control of hares helps combat tick and Lyme disease and protect plants and young trees.”
Given the evidence is so strong against Johnstone’s position, why is it she continues to push such an agenda through Scottish Parliament? We wonder if it could be something to do with the closeness of her relationship with the activist organistion, League Against Cruel Sports?
Robbie Marsland, the Director of LACS, is regularly championing Johnstone and uses all platforms available to push her politics. But the relationship is evidently closer than that.
As part of the Johnstone’s declarations of interest, amongst the more mundane revelations including a share of Harlow Hydro, a community hydropower, and her membership of Friends of the Earth Scotland, there is a more curious revelation. Johnstone recently received a Hills and Harbour Gin Tasting Set as a Gift from the League Against Cruel Sports.
This luxury gin was recently voted Scottish Gin Distillery of the year. Whilst the value of the gin itself may not be hugely significant, it does once again demonstrate the cosy relationship many of those politicians attempting to push an anti-grouse shooting agenda through parliament maintain with controversial animals’ rights group.
In 2013, in an interview with the Mirror, the then President of League Against Cruel Sports said when questioned on the tactics being used in the campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences: “I’m not very nice, I’m really not….the campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences has been very clever and people need to do something.”
According to reports the "do something" campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences included extreme violence, threats and terroristic acts against Huntingdon employees, including the beating of people with pick ax handles and the delivery of a bomb containing enough dynamite to blow up a city block.
It was action against Huntingdon Life Sciences that ultimately led to extreme activists, Luke Steele and Sarah Whitehead, receiving prison sentences of six years and 18 months respectively. Labour MP, Kerry McCarthy, another ally of the activists is also a Vice President of the League Against Cruel Sports.
I wonder Ms Johnstone considered any of that that as she poured herself a large luxury gin courtesy of the League Against Cruel Sports.