Imagining a New Scottish Landscape
Much of the world we inhabit is based on deep assumptions we aren’t even aware of. Much of the way the world is – is based on a history we barely acknowledge. Who owns the land, how it is used and what is thought of as productive are issues that we struggle to get perspective on because of this. This is true of much of our political structures and social organisation. If you had to make the case for dependence and joining the Union today, you would struggle. If you had to make the case for private ownership of housing you would likewise struggle to make a convincing argument.
The case for much of the current (mis) management of land in Scotland is completely unsupportable. It is completely irrational for land to be held in such concentrated forms for the benefit of a wealthy elite, yet it is often thought of as axiomatic and unchallengeable.
Revive – the coalition for grouse moor reform – is really a campaign about far deeper change about land and power. The same arguments about grouse can and are made about deer and salmon, and it is no coincidence that the three iconic symbols of Scotland – are also ones that represent both a bedrock of landed power and aristocracy – but also a festering sore of environmental injustice, pollution and contamination. The things that we hold up as our greatest symbols of nature and wilderness are the very things that distort our society and destroy our environment.
Today MSPs were shown the following video by Revive. ‘Government’s Den’ satirises the world of entrepreneurs and business gurus in the TV show Dragon’s Den and imagines a world where grouse shooting doesn’t exist. Instead it puts two lobbyists in front of the Dragons, arguing for up to a fifth of Scotland to be managed for the bloodsport. The film sees the lobbyists put forward their case for ownership of a huge part of Scotland in return for a 0.02% contribution to the economy, with only ‘a few Government subsidies’ required. They also argue that they will use predator control to systematically wipe out all species that pose a threat to grouse to enable them to cultivate tens of thousands of game birds to be shot for entertainment.
Reform’s Campaign Manager, Max Wiszniewski said: “The video is intended to be taken tongue in cheek, but behind the humour is a very serious issue. Driven grouse shooting is an intensively managed bloodsport which depends on turning vast swathes of Scotland into barren monocultures. The circle of destruction which surrounds grouse moor causes untold suffering to many thousands of animals, depletes our peat reserves and causes environmental damage on an industrial scale. The Revive coalition has alternative visions for our moors to address the environmental crisis in our countryside caused by intensively managed grouse moors and we hope this video will raise awareness of these issues and show just how ridiculous the current situation is.”