4th Dec - Robin McAlpine, Common Wheal
Robin McAlpine, the Director of Common Wheal, is an impressive and well-respected operator. Just ask anyone who has worked with him.
With years of experience as a journalist and as a political advisor, McAlpine is as straight talking as they get. This was abundantly clear when, despite being a lifelong campaigner for Scottish Independence, he recently described the SNP HQ in a blog as ‘utterly corrupt and has been for years!’. He recently signed of another blog directed towards Nicola Sturgeon with a scathing ‘F**k off!”. He feels that the independence campaign has been hijacked by grandstanding.
Unlike so many people on his side of the grouse debate, McAlpine has at least the integrity to back up his public positions with dedicated commitment and evidence-based groundwork, rather than spurious lies based on Disneyland conservation.
He presents passionate and well considered ideas, which make no secret of his ultimate objective: he would like nothing more than to see an independent Scotland. A position we can fully respect. Unlike so many, McAlpine is not taking his stance for the power, or the money, of the political posturing. He is in it because he firmly believes in his cause.
Therefore much of the work carried out by his think-tank, Common Wheal, attempts to demonstrate a way that an independent Scotland could be financially viable and actually sustainable.
In his report examining potential alternative uses for Scotland’s grouse moors, commissioned by the Revive Campaign, it was little surprise to see that out of the 7 proposed alternative suggestions for usage of land, 4 involved boosting Scotland’s energy industry.
It is no surprise either that energy firms like Calor Gas have financed some of the research Common Wheal has put out, such as the report: “Carbon Free: Poverty Free”.
Common Weal have stated both through published reports and the words of McAlpine that they see an energy independent Scotland as a key part of their independent future, a case that could be strongly boosted by the conversion of Scotland’s grouse lands into a future energy source.
The reason Robin McAlpine garners our respect is because, whilst we may not agree on it, he is putting forward a genuine alternative to the use of Scotland’s grouse moors from grouse shooting, unlike the RSPB or Alison Johnstone MSP, who seem to think that eco-tourism will suddenly generate the income to sustain a healthy moorland habitat and the jobs that go with that.
That is an honest debate worth encouraging and Mr McAlpine is right. When all said and done, if the vast area of Scottish moorland was covered with wind turbines and fracking sites, there may well be enough revenue to support an independent Scotland.
Gamekeepers could be re-trained as fracking engineers and wind turbine mechanics, walkers could stick to a few designated paths away from the heavy machinery and the RSPB could squirrel away the additional carcasses of all those birds and bats which get killed by the wind turbines each year.
Whether this is a price the Scottish public are willing to pay for an independent Scotland is unknown, but it is a debate we would warmly encourage.