LAST MONTH the Scottish Parliaments First Minister, Jack McConnell, provoked a storm of controversy by appointing a committed anti-hunting campaigner as a policy advisor to the Scottish Executive.
McConnell s decision to appoint Peter Hastie, from the Scottish Campaign Against Hunting with Dogs as a policy adviser to the Scottish Executive, drew angry comments from Allan Murray, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance. Mr Murray said: This is a breathtaking and provocative appointment by the First Minister.
Mr McConnell and his Ministers have refused outright to meet representatives of countryside organisations to discuss the real problems facing rural Scotland. That decision was bad enough but now this is another slap in the face for rural people.
The Scottish Executive has repeatedly said it is neutral on the anti-hunting Bill currently going through the Scottish parliament. This appointment exposes that stance as a complete sham. It is grossly insensitive and provocative when we are only a few weeks away from a final vote on the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill which will have a profound impact on rural Scotland.
Mr Hastie has been peddling hysterical propaganda about the hunting issue. Time and again he has made wild accusations about hunting which have no basis in truth. He is a zealot whose judgment cannot be trusted.