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READERS’ LETTERS: Jim Crumley forgets the people in the rural economy

grouse shooting
A black grouse.

Sir, – Those who endured Jim Crumley’s previous incarnation as a nature writer in The Courier will not be surprised to see his latest wishlist (Courier, November 24).

What should come as a surprise is his total disregard for the working rural population and their continued employment. In these awful times one of the few glimmers of hope for the rural population is the jobs and financial spin-offs dependent on field sports in Scotland – studies and research have repeatedly demonstrated the value of field sports to the Scottish rural economy.

Glib and meaningless sentences such as “Legislation to insist on lower intensity and more diverse farming that takes wildlife’s needs into account” demonstrate Mr Crumley’s dismissal of the effort to support wildlife that farmers and landowners make – mostly at their own expense – and his disregard of those who work daily to promote the rich and varied wildlife present on the land.

Jim – you forgot the people! His only interest in nature and the countryside is as a place where he may enjoy his leisure, as distinct from a vital, dynamic and working environment.

Views such as his do a great deal to damage Scotland’s wild environment, and those striving to protect it.

Gerard Watts.

Persie Estate,



Independence a disaster for whom?

Sir, – Does Jill Stephenson (Courier Letters, November 23) not realise all administrations pursue the objectives they were elected for?

Aren’t identifiable nations allowed control over their affairs? The unionists argue independence will be a disaster without providing any factually based arguments in support. Yet, they decry those promoting independence who provide a clearly presented vision of a better future.

Independence will, of course, involve a break-up of the United Kingdom, which post-dated the Union of the Crowns, but for whom will that be disaster?

Any bilateral devolved arrangement has to be made to work by all those involved, and as there are clear differences of opinion north and south of the border a solution has to be at least a compromise, which is what devolution was always intended to be.

Hitherto Westminster continually seeks to undermine the concepts of devolution itself.

Pandering to Great England is not exactly going to win hearts and minds elsewhere.

Nick Cole.

Balmacron Farmhouse,




It’s worth giving up Christmas for

Sir, – I believe the vast majority of people in Scotland are sensible enough and willing to forsake over-hyped Christmas celebrations for one year in the hope this will contribute towards eradicating the coronavirus more quickly.

Think of the thousands of people who have sacrificed so much, some with their lives, in an attempt to combat this illness.

Why is the Scottish Government even contemplating relaxing restrictions at all, never mind for five days?

Is it political, personal, practical or just pure popularism?

Such a decision is not pragmatic.

This could be by far the biggest mistake Nicola Sturgeon has made as first minister.

Sandy Coghill.


Isle of Skye.


Save celebrations for a safer time

Sir, – The approaching winter festivals could be yet another ‘banana skin’ for the public, where five days’ relaxation could create another Covid spike just as the vaccine roll-out starts. It seems too much, too soon.

I would propose families shift these winter festivals later into 2021, where employees’ holidays can be moved, or until more have received a vaccine.

As an atheist living in what was a predominantly Christian society, it seem fair for us all to stick by the restrictions that other religions have also complied with.

Alistair Ballantyne.