By Gordon Davidson

CITY-based lobby groups are dominating rural policymaking in Scotland, at the expense of experienced countryside workers, who are being ignored.

That is the complaint motivating rural workers this week, as they prepare to stags a mass online protest, demanding a ‘new politics’ that will take greater account of their contribution to Scotland’s economy and environment.

The Rural Workers’ Protest 2021 – #RWP21 – has been organised for March 19 by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and Scotland’s regional moorland groups, replacing a long-postponed physical mass gathering at Holyrood, which was originally timetabled for last Spring.

But just because it is online, Friday’s protest is not aiming low. The intention is that it will span 15 hours, during which gamekeepers, shepherds, fishing ghillies, deer managers, businesses, international visitors, chefs, butchers, individual farmers, equestrian interests, anglers, falconers, pest controllers, and wildlife photographers will use image, text and video to vent their frustration at their lack of proper representation in Parliament.

The key demand of the day is that, after May’s Scottish elections, a specific cross-party forum should be established at Holyrood where politicians can hear rural workers’ issues first hand and practical demonstration events can be planned.

“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,” said 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.”

For in-depth news and views on Scottish agriculture, see Friday’s issue of The Scottish Farmer or visit