Seeing Red

“The intensive habitat management that is required so that the few can shoot lots of grouse for sport puts up the water bills, increases home insurance costs and adds to the problems of climate change for the many who never go shooting and have never seen a red grouse.” (

Plus there’s that little ethical niggle of killing for fun

Ban driven grouse shooting.

10 responses to “Seeing Red

  1. Now that all but one of the rural Scottish constituencies has an SNP MP, what is the SNP’s position on grouse shooting as a ‘sport’?

    • Many thanks for your comment.
      A very interesting question: the SNP Scottish Government is currently ‘reviewing’ calls to license grouse shooting – “Environment minister Dr Aileen McLeod has said the licensing of shooting businesses remains an option for the Scottish government” and “We have committed to an examination of the regulation of the game shooting industry sector.” All the more encouraging given the SNP’s background as the champion of farmers and landowners. However, this summer has also seen the peculiar ‘Scotland’s Natural Larder‘ campaign lead by the public body Scottish Natural Heritage.
      And, as you said, it needs to bring Scottish legislation into line regarding the Hunting Act.

      Scotland actually has three non-SNP MPs: one each Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat. Just for balance. [but I take your point about rural constituencies]

      • Thanks for replying. I am aware of the SNP’s history as ‘Tartan Tories’ up to about 35 years ago and although the leadership for at least the past 25 years, under Salmond and now Sturgeon, is centre-left going on fully left, there are many rural conservative (with a small ‘c’) parts of Scotland where hunting is a mainstay of the local economy. So I can foresee an urbal / rural divide within the SNP developing on this issue.

        • Very astute. There’s also the Land Reform bill which is challenging the powers of the rural wealthy. The SNP is treading a fine line. Meanwhile, south of the border… The Westminster government seems to be rolling back decades of social and environmental progress!? How do you feel about seceding from the UK and joining us? πŸ™‚
          Thanks again for commenting.

          • I live in the English Midlands so seceding from the UK is hardly an option, however I think that the UK as it stands is past its sell-by date. I cannot see Wales ever seceding and I think that ‘rump UK’ will be England & Wales only. On the basis that London will continue to be the financial capital, I’d like to see the administrative capital elsewhere, in my biased opinion the Midlands, specifically Coventry which would be the most geographically central and which geographically and demographically lies on the cusp of the traditional ‘north-south’ (Severn – Wash) ‘divide’. It also is historically a Parliamentarian city, where England’s Parliament was once based.

            • That sounds a little like the old heptarchy, which would place you in Mercia. Good luck with that. And I do like ‘rump UK’; makes me feel better about being treated like a boil on Westminster’s arse πŸ™‚

            • I actually think that a republican federal ‘heptarchy’ is not a bad idea, though the ‘boundaries’ are essentially blurred. The EU-imposed ‘regions’ of England are artificial as my home town of Oxford, all of 50 miles away from Coventry, is lumped in with Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Historically Oxford was a border town – a ‘Berwick’ or ‘Carlisle’ – between Wessex and Mercia.

              My scepticism about Wales wanting to go its own way is not just to Plaid Cymru’s poor electoral performance, but because I visit there regularly and there is little demand for more than the level of devolution then they already have. Not surprising when most of the population lives within 50 miles of England.

              So, long-term a federal republic of Wales and the English ‘heptarchy’ sounds a good pragmatic idea to me. As for the those living in two-thirds of Ulster that is allegedly ‘British’, they’ll have to go begging to Dublin for expenditure if those living in the remainder of Ireland want to take them on.

            • I agree with you about republican regions, and that communities on the boundaries would inevitably have quibbles, just like every other community to have a new politico-geography imposed, although at least their villages wouldn’t get sacked, pillaged or flattened by tanks etc.
              It’s true that unlike other parties Plaid Cymru wasn’t a victim of our electoral nonsense (although I still wonder how much the opinion poll mis-information affected the outcome generally). Wales could even be another region of the heptarchy. Any concerns about East Anglia etc. dissolving in rising sea level?
              Eire I like; it’s part of Britain we seem to forget has fairly successfully broken out of the UK yet remained part of Europe.
              That’s sorted then. Worse apportionings have been perpetrated around Europe, even in recent times.

            • We’ve strayed way off topic. I doubt whether many Irish people outside the ‘loyalist’, Ulster-Scots, enclaves of Norn Iron would consider Ireland to be part of Britain. Ireland is geographically, as Britain is, part of Europe; as in Britain but for different reasons ‘Euroscepticism’ is on the rise. Many Irish people now realise that losing their fiscal sovereignty by joining the Eurozone was huge mistake as it has resulted in a humungous economic boom and bust, from which they haven’t recovered. As for a ‘heptarchy’, the main issues would be urban rivalry over the regional ‘capital’, particularly in the Midlands and North of England.

            • Indeed, and all this was notably absent from the Scottish independence debate. I especially like ‘Norn Iron’; hadn’t heard that before. One thing the Irish can be commended for is outlawing the persecution of pine martens. The return of this native species positively correlates with boosting native red squirrel numbers while reducing invasive grey squirrels. The Scottish Wildlife Trust among others is researching the mechanism by which this happens as the inter-relationships are complicated, but the persecution of pine martens wasn’t: another spectacular ecological non-sequitur by the game industry. And we’re back on topic πŸ™‚

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