Thank you (again) Scotland


It’s interesting (well, I think it is) to see where the signatures are coming from this time around. Remember, we have just passed (in six weeks) the previous total of 33,655 signatures (achieved in 26 weeks).

Let’s take a closer look at Scotland (more analysis to follow).

You only have to look at the map above to realise that the signatures are tending to come from rural areas rather than Edinburgh or Glasgow (though see below) and that they are coming particularly from areas which have a lot of driven grouse shooting.  We know that it tends to be rural constituencies close to grouse shooting areas that give our e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting the strongest support – and that is shown very clearly in Scotland.

The total signatures (out of 33,655) contributed by Scotland last time around was around 2900, whereas this time around it is already around 3500 (out of 33, 750 when I downloaded the data).

Here is how the signatures are spread across the 59 Scottish Westminster parliamentary constituencies, with constituencies that have already passed their previous totals in blue and ordered by current total (the last number in each row):

  1. Ross, Skye and Lochaber 110, 165
  2. Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 126, 145
  3. Argyll and Bute 101, 121
  4. Dumfries and Galloway 79, 108
  5. West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 74, 106
  6. Edinburgh North and Leith 100, 100
  7. Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale 89, 99
  8. Edinburgh South 72, 96
  9. East Lothian 71, 95
  10. Ochil and South Perthshire 75, 93
  11. Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 67, 91
  12. Stirling 71, 88
  13. Perth and North Perthshire 77, 85
  14. Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross 45, 83
  15. Moray 63, 81
  16. Edinburgh East 71, 77
  17. Orkney and Shetland 79, 72
  18. North Ayrshire and Arran 52, 64
  19. Angus 53, 64
  20. Edinburgh South West 43, 63
  21. Midlothian 34, 61
  22. Aberdeen South 55, 61
  23. Banff and Buchan 32, 59
  24. North East Fife 62, 59
  25. Gordon 52, 57
  26. Linlithgow and East Falkirk 36, 58
  27. Glasgow Central 47, 56
  28. Edinburgh West 48, 55
  29. Glasgow North 50, 54
  30. Glasgow South 45, 53
  31. East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow 30, 53
  32. Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock 41, 53
  33. Livingston 35, 53
  34. Aberdeen North 34, 51
  35. Falkirk 52, 51
  36. Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East 35, 50
  37. Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath 54, 48
  38. Dundee West 34, 47
  39. Dunfermline and West Fife 47, 43
  40. East Dunbartonshire 39, 43
  41. Dundee East 36, 42
  42. Lanark and Hamilton East 30, 39
  43. Paisley and Renfrewshire South 34, 35
  44. Central Ayrshire 31, 33
  45. Glasgow North West 39, 33
  46. Inverclyde 18, 32
  47. Na h-Eileanan an Iar 20, 32
  48. West Dunbartonshire 22, 31
  49. Kilmarnock and Loudoun 37, 30
  50. Rutherglen and Hamilton West 34, 28
  51. Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshil 14, 28
  52. Glenrothes 26, 27
  53. Paisley and Renfrewshire North 17, 27
  54. Glasgow East 14, 24
  55. Airdrie and Shotts 18, 24
  56. East Renfrewshire 34, 23
  57. Glasgow North East 24, 22
  58. Glasgow South West 14, 22
  59. Motherwell and Wishaw 18, 16

There are some fantastic figures in there – not just the ones at the top of the list which are doing ‘best’ but also those, let’s just single out Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (I had to look up where it was to be honest – it’s in North Lanarkshire), which have greatly increased their previous showing in such a short time.

I’m sure that many of you could speculate and guess at what is going on here – and why some places are doing even better than others – feel free to comment here.

Please sign the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting.




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19 Replies to “Thank you (again) Scotland”

  1. I am very pleased to say that since you wrote that list Falkirk has gone from red to blue 51 to 53 signatures. I'm not really sure why support is stronger now, but hopefully people here are finally starting to wake up to what an utter blight grouse moors and the traditional deer stalking estates have been for well over a century now. The next act may very well be a petition of our own aimed at the Scottish Parliament.....

    1. Les - that would be a very good move for the people of Falkirk and elsewhere in Scotland, and also for Mountain Hares, Golden Eagles, carbon stores etc etc

    1. What LACS did has so far been pretty much the exception (I think in the second petition the World Parrot Trust asked their supporters to back it as well?), but hopefully it will become the standard. FoE, Greenpeace, the Green Parties don't have the restrictions that conservation groups have technically and legally when it comes to campaigning so could easily do the same. And even with RSPB, Wildlife Trusts, RSPCA etc if they are just letting their members hear the arguments from both sides about grouse moors how can the petition not profit from it? Nothing more than applying democracy. Just needs the realisation for some that protecting the environment isn't only about carbon emissions, and for others having a bit more spine. I was very, very fortunate to watch the number of signatures grow and grow at the very moment the LACS email went out. It was a fantastic experience, not least knowing that if our charming opponents who leave dislikes, but never comments on the highly personal and moving posts such as the one that I suspect brought a tear to a few peoples' eyes (or lumps in throat), were witnessing it too they would be shocked, angered and very, very worried. Quite a few sneers wiped off ignorant mugs, and snide remarks stuck in the gullet. I would love to see that happen again before September the 20th, preferably on a regular basis.

  2. Curiously, Ross, Skye and Lochaber, with the most signatures has, as far as I know, little or no driven grouse shooting. Perhaps there is some towards its eastern boundary? Driven grouse shooting, especially the more intensive variant, is a feature of central and eastern Scotland. As you head west, into areas with a milder and much wetter climate, heather loses the dominance it shows in the drier east.

    1. Ross, Skye and Lochaber has the Black Isle with its experience of the Red Kite releases and associated persecution. Also Sea Eagles ditto in the west, as well as a fair number of folk who benefit from people visiting for wildlife, whale watching etc. It's all about seeing the bigger picture perhaps?

      1. Just to add; while it is certainly more of a deer stalking area than a grouse shooting area the constituency does contain some driven grouse moors.

        1. And just one notorious grouse moor in a constituency (or in an adjacent one) no doubt generates enough horror stories to bump up signatures; take Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield Central for example.

  3. I notice that in their press release speaking out against the Ilkey Moor protests, BASC do not claim that grouse moor management is good for biodiversity.

    “Far from damaging moors, decreasing biodiversity and degrading natural habitat, it has been proven that managing moorlands for grouse shooting benefits the environment and boosts the economy."

    Just the vague "benefits the environment"..... has the science finally got through or has somebody threatened to sue them for false adverting? An oversight or have they turned a corner?

    When I was in the BASC web site, I noticed that in scotland and Northern Ireland, the use of lead shot is banned over "wetlands" and the Ramsar definition of wetland includes peatland. Presumably most heather moorlands in Scotland are on peatland habitats.... so lead shot should probably not be used for shooting grouse in Scotland?

    1. Maybe we need a petition seeking the classification of peatlands as wetlands as per the Ramsar convention in England and Wales? Keep chipping away at the foundations and the house will come down.

  4. I think support for banning driven grouse shooting was rapidly growing at the end of the last petition following the winter floods. I think the You Gov poll in Scotland shows that a great number of people in Scotland have been convinced. I think there is far more to come in Scotland we just need to find out how to reach them.

    I also suspect the images of snared and shot wild cats played a part. Much credit might belong to Highland Titles who have written about the case against driven grouse shooting and have been advertising it on Facebook. I hadn't heard about them before but I understand they are a group who sell pockets of land to require land to be made into nature reserves and they have 132000 likes on Facebook.

    I think the floods, petition, You Gov poll etc has now sifted the spot light on issue for many MSPs now. The Scottish Parliament is so much more easier to reach than the UK. Now for the first time I starting to think a petition to the Scottish Parliament will start to make waves. If a petition is launched I think we should hold protests (maybe based around Lush stores) and gather signatures there as those can be added to a Scottish Parliament petition total.

    1. Yes absolutely spot on re good time to start new petition aimed at Scottish Parliament. In fact I think it would actually look pretty bad now if one isn't started after three from Mark and the present interest up here. I did a petition four years ago to the Scottish Parliament and know that the proposer needs to be on rock solid ground re knowledge and personal experience of the issue. Myself and others would be prepared to help anyone who fits the bill, I don't or I'd have done it. I'll double check, but the Scottish petitions only last for six weeks so you have to do a lot of preparatory work to hit the ground running, making sure which organisations will support you, what you'll send to what newspapers, list of who you'll email, publicity stunts, prepare MSPs etc. My feeling is that one which begins a bit before this current petition ends would be good, like passing on a baton? There's a cracking feature in the new Nature's Home about ring ouzel research in Scotland. A few days before I read an article by a wildlife artist who it seems does a lot of work for the estates, in which he wrote a scathing and pretty pathetic attack on those involved in ringing and monitoring birds accusing researchers of harassing the birds and even damaging their conservation. To me this is like blaming the emergency services for road accidents. He made special mention of ring ouzel work in his area. Sound like part of a co-ordinated, multi pronged smear campaign by any chance? Wouldn't it be good to hit back at these people, not with dirty tactics, but with more intelligent co-ordination and co-operation which doesn't use propaganda, feed on prejudice or use outright lies ('birds of prey flying around in distress for hours while their young are ringed'), just openly with the truth? We need a proposer with a strong personal/professional background in the relevant area who can sit in front of a bunch of MSPs and throw anything back at them. There are an awful lot of people in Scotland who would back someone qualified and prepared to make this step to the absolute hilt.

    2. Owen,

      You say you have not heard of Highland Titles before. While it is laudable that the Facebook page of Highland Titles has highlighted the issue of the snaring of wildcats, the charity is not registered in Scotland but in Guernsey and therefor it is not open to public scrutiny. There is also concern the "selling" the plots does not confer ownership to the buyer.

      Further details of the charity can be found on Andy Wightman's blog here.

      1. Just to clarify they were advertising the petition. I was seeing the wild cat images elsewhere on Facebook and Twitter.

        From what I read there Highland Titles are a company and owned by a charity in Guernsey. I'm also not very comfortable with that business model. To me it sounds like it could be a profitable business that does well by the environment but maybe does less well by the tax man.

        Still it might help to explain why the petition in the highlands are doing well.

  5. As you know Mark, Martin Harper has been explaining the RSPB strategy for the HHAP on his blog in the last few days. I thought his comments on the Scottish involvement interesting, he says in a reply to comments:
    '...worth remembering that driven grouse shooting is carried out in Scotland as well as England. The current ban grouse shooting petition would, if it reached 100,000 signatures be debated by the Westminster Parliament. Environmental issues are devolved and so this would not affect the situation in Scotland. That said, the Scottish Government is considering licensing...'
    He then says in his blog:
    'I think that change is coming. In Scotland, the Government is seriously considering whether to introduce a licensing system for driven grouse shooting. This is long overdue but would be a welcome step.'
    A step towards a ban perhaps?

    1. Richard - yes. But as pointed out here already, a debate in Westminster is open to all UK MPs including those from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and thus the debate would potentially explore all the issues and possibilities across the UK. So Martin is wrong to say that a debate in the UK parliament would not affect the situation in Scotland - it would influence it, in the same way as a debate in the Westminster parliament would only influence what Defra might or might not do.

      The RSPB is not pushing licensing very hard at all - not publicly at least. And if you want licensing, the best way to get it is to support a ban because that will make decision makers look at the options a lot harder.

  6. I suppose the introduction of licencing does bring with it the sanction of withdrawal. But you only have to see how "our partners with a Common aim", constantly contest the current laws and champion the law breakers to see how effective the withdrawal of a licence would actually be. Just something else to toss into the long grass.


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