We stand with Scotland's rural workers
Today, 19th March, Scotland’s rural workers are staging a mass online protest, letting the Scottish Government know how they feel about the ill-judged rural policies that their politicians are pushing to the fore.
The protest has long been planned, and although due to Covid restrictions it cannot be held in Edinburgh, the organisers of the protest – the Scottish Gamekeepers association and Scotland’s regional moorland groups – hope that the virtual protest will reach far and wide.
This isn't just about gamekeepers, but about all of Scotland's rural communities and workers – shepherds, farmers, forestry workers, fishing ghillies, farriers and hunt staff all want to express their disapproval of Scotland's rural policy.
Of course, the work that we do isn't focused on Scotland, but the issues that Scottish rural workers face are not so different from the issues faced in England.
“There have been issues and decisions in this Parliament which have made rural workers feel marginalised by the type of politics we now have in Scotland,” explained the SGA chairman, Alex Hogg.
“The Edinburgh Parliament feels distant from many people on the ground. Practical experience seems to hold less sway than presentations by slick lobby groups, campaign videos and emotive messages which often misrepresent important issues."
Does any of this sound familiar? Here, as in Scotland, laws are passed without politicians engaging sufficiently with rural workers. The traditional ecological knowledge of rural workers is ignored, and their interests marginalised in favour of emotive campaigns and misleading data and polls. As in Scotland, we are dictated to on rural policy by politicians who are being lobbied by people who are against farming, shooting, predator control and land management and who have their own self-interests at heart.
This is threatening jobs, families, communities, estates, ways of life, and the health of rural industries which remain major sources of employment, cohesion and economic stability.
We may not be Scottish – but we are all rural workers.
You can share your support for the protest on social media using the hashtag, #RWP21. For more information and updates on the protest, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/263941002016424/