Deeside workers in national rural protest

Land and river workers from Deeside are taking part in the first ever national online rural Protest this week, demanding a better deal from Scottish Government.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 7:00 am
Gamekeepers Robert Patterson (left) and Josh Hooper (Photo:Kirk Norbury)

Representatives from Grampian Moorland Group will join others for the national Rural Workers’ Protest 2021 tomorrow (Friday, March 19).The event has been organised by The Scottish Gamekeepers Association and Scotland’s regional moorland groups and replaces a physical demonstration at Holyrood.That mass event in Edinburgh had to be postponed due to lockdown but tomorrow’s protest will be online spanning 15 hours; the first such rural action of its kind.Gamekeepers, local shepherds, river ghillies, deer managers, businesses, international visitors, chefs, butchers, individual farmers, equestrian interests, anglers, falconers, pest controllers, wildlife photographers and some MSPs have all pledged support.Protest participants will get involved posting their concerns by image, text and video.Rural workers have grown frustrated at lack of proper representation in Parliament which they feel poorly reflects their contribution of centuries of practical knowledge on land and river.They feel Scottish Government is playing more to urban voters and interest groups, single issue activists, capital-based environment NGOs and keyboard fringes using mass e-petitions.After May’s election, they want a specific cross-party forum established at Holyrood where politicians can hear rural workers’ issues first hand and practical demonstration visits can be planned.

Lianne MacLennan, Co-Ordinator of Grampian Moorland Group, said: “This protest is overdue. Workers in our traditional rural industries want a different politics, one where the vast practical knowledge they have is reflected in laws and bills. That’s not what they are getting. Scottish Government’s heads seem to have been turned by campaign groups and untested visions of how rural communities could be. By not acting for traditional rural workers who are there, now, they are putting local economies, jobs and families at risk. People are fed up of bad laws when they are the ones facing the brunt of them.”“The rural workforce makes up the fabric of our communities,” said Deeside artist and gamekeeper’s wife, Mel Shand. “Their tireless work and their vast contribution to our landscapes, natural larder and cultural heritage should be celebrated much more than it is. Perhaps the protest will make politicians realise that.”For more visit: www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/protest