Scottish land-owner Tory attacks his own party’s support for fishing limits

Sir Edward Mountain MSP, estate owner in Strath Spey and Hampshire, tells us on BBC Scotland that the supposedly SNP/Green plans to introduce “highly protected” marine areas (HPMAs) where all commercial activity would be banned, could see the ‘second clearances.’

This is another Reporting Scotland story, not on the BBC Scotland website at all and, of the newspapers, only in the Scotsman. Mountain’s claim is not challenged.

Reporting Scotland, along with Good Mourning Scotland and John Beattie’s Driveltime, operate largely as advertising platforms for the opposition parties.

There is no mention of course of this:

or this from stewartb just two weeks ago:

From the 2021 Tory manifesto for the Holyrood elections (with my emphasis):

‘One in nine species in Scotland are threatened by extinction. To prevent this, the Scottish Conservatives would bring forward an ambitious Nature Bill to strengthen environmental protections on land and sea for Scottish species and their habitats.

‘OUR COASTAL COMMUNITIES CAN THRIVE AND GROW WHILE WE BETTER PROTECT OUR MARINE BIOLOGY – THE TWO ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. With 61 per cent of the UK’s domestic waters, Scotland has an important role in responsible marine stewardship. We will review the current MARINE PROTECTED AREAS IN SCOTTISH WATERS, WITH A VIEW TO EXPANDING THEIR EXTENT, and PILOT THE INTRODUCTION OF HIGHLY PROTECTED MARINE AREAS. We will promote sustainable fishing and effective stock management.


The Westminster government intends to designate the first three Highly Protected Marine Areas in English waters before 6 July 2023. This decision has come following the analysis of responses from a consultation on five HPMA candidate sites. So of course the Tories in Scotland wanted HPMAs in Scotland too.

Does Mountain know that the first clearances were initiated by estate owners like himself?

Mountain’s predecessor, Lord Edward Mountain (1872-1948):

In 1904 he acquired the marine insurance business of British Dominions Insurance and formed British Dominions Marine Insurance Company. He then established a reputation for himself by refusing to insure the RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage.

During 1934 he organized a search for the Loch Ness Monster.

He died in 1948 at Dunkeld House in Perthshire.

It looks like they arrived too late to enjoy the Clearances but you have to doubt they’d have been much averse to them.


22 thoughts on “Scottish land-owner Tory attacks his own party’s support for fishing limits

  1. The ‘second Highland Clearances’ trope is one which has been quoted unchallenged by, in addition to Mr Mountain, Brian Wilson and a fisherman on one of the western isles.’

    The Clearances were murderous criminal acts carried out by landowners, similar to Mr Mountain’s ancestors so that they could get estates to gain profit from to the exclusion of those who had worked the lands for many years.

    Mr Wilson is an unpleasant individual who exemplifies the song, ‘the working class can kiss my arse, I’ve got the foreman’s job at last. As for the local fisherman, these measures are designed partly to protect the livelihoods of such people by allowing habitats and marine stocks to regenerate so that local fishing communities can fis sustainably.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. It looks as if the idea that HPMAs are a 2nd Highland Clearances may be catching on in some quarters.

      Of course no mention of the effects of Brexit on the West Coast fishing communities

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Have I missed THE announcement? An HPMA to be established in the very area fished by Tiree residents? That was a very quick decision!

        Liked by 4 people

          1. Thanks for the clarification. So the residents of Tiree are NOT going to be ‘cleared’, will not be forced to migrate to Nova Scotia or Australia or wherever – well at least for a wee while yet!!

            That must be a relief to them and to many others who may have read Ms Forbes’ tweet and feared that a decision with dire local consequences had already been taken unilaterally by Scottish Government ministers. It would have been a decision taken at record breaking speed given that the public consultation has only just closed and the findings are yet to be published!

            What’s going on?

            Liked by 3 people

            1. KF finding a cause? Any cause to stay front & centre. Watching Reporting Scotland on the subject now. References to Clearances as you might suspect. Mairi McAllan was her usual calm self and tellingly made the point that Labour & Tories have the same policies & for larger areas than SG eg Lab 20%. She’s good.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. ‘Finding a cause’ – if it’s working for the well-being of communities in rural and island Scotland that is a very worthy cause!

                And if that is indeed apposite, on the face of it, what an opportunity for someone with those interests and commitments to take on the challenging role of Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs in the Scottish Government!

                But then I’m too simple a soul to understand fully political ambition. I do hope though this is not the surfacing of political machinations!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I have said much the same as you re KF and Rural Affairs post. Indeed a worthy cause which may be why consideration of the socio-economic consequences is written into the process set out by the Scottish Gov on HMPAs as well as involvement and input from stakeholders eg communities in selecting the sites etc.
                  From the SG’s paper:
                  “Potential sites will be selected using the best available evidence. We will work closely with stakeholders throughout the selection process to so we can assess the socio-economic impacts of any proposed sites. Final site proposals will be consulted on before being designated by Scottish Ministers.

                  Stakeholders will also be able to suggest potential sites as HPMAs through a third-party proposal process.”
                  End Quote.

                  Liked by 2 people

      2. I greatly suspect Kate’s remarks are being taken out of context with respect to the current propaganda campaign, whereas she was highlighting a long term issue of depopulation.


        1. From her own tweet which I posted above it is pretty clear she is including/linking HMPAs to further depopulation.


          1. I did read it as highlighting further stresses COULD accelerate depopulation, but interpreted it more as warning on the importance of getting the policy right for the communities rather than the hyperbolic nonsense of Mountain et al who are agin it.

            Her article in the National on the subject does appear to further clarify that perspective


  2. “what he’s saying is: …if I can’t make as much money as posdible from ‘my’ land I will clear the workers off and it will be your fault because I can’t make enough money.”
    Maybe we could clear the land of landowners. That would be a clearance I would support.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Och it’s just GMS making a Mountain out of a molehill again..

    I think it was Geissler who had Ross Greer on last week trying to boost this propaganda line of ‘imposition’, which Greer perfectly countered with “we’re only in the consultation phase”.

    Was it not on the Ayrshire coast or around Arran where the first experimental area was set up, and the results far exceeded expectations for local fishermen in short order ?

    The bigger commercial fishing interests must be behind this propaganda game, hence the ALL in “all commercial activity would be banned” being emphasised by the deplorable Mountain.

    It really is a disgrace that the greed of the few as amplified by HMS James Cook, should be stirring up fishing communities against the strategy before they become fully aware of the community benefit.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thatcher’s sale of council housing and unionist parties’ failure to new build probably counts as the second clearances.

    I wonder how many early deaths were facilitated by Conservatives ‘ corruption and evasion.

    If Mountain had read our Government’s overview to the consultation just closed he would realise he was talking absolute nonsense. His accusations of eviction and starvation are a disgrace. He should resign.

    I haven’t listened to BBC Radio Scotland News since lockdown ended so not aware if cabinet secretaries have responded.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. The main blog post refers to Labour’s 2021 manifesto commitment on HPMAs – 20% of Scotland’s seas. OK, but it rather depends on the version of the 2021 manifesto you rely on! I shared the following elsewhere a few days ago.

    Labour issued a manifesto document in 2021 with a specific geographic focus: ‘A Recovery Plan for the Highlands and Islands – Empowering and Enabling our communities’


    In the preamble, prospective Labour voters learn that: ‘Scottish Labour will bring about a radical change of direction to the Highlands and Islands’ and ‘Scottish Labour MSPs will be a strong voice for the Highlands and Islands, focused on the people’s priorities’.

    As part of this RADICAL CHANGE and of being this STRONG VOICE for the Highlands and Islands, Labour made this commitment to voters if it won power:

    ’There will be a plan for ocean recovery, where AT LEAST 30% OF SCOTLAND’S SEAS ARE HIGHLY PROTECTED BY 2030 and protect sustainable coastal fisheries.’ (my emphasis)

    ‘At least 30% highly protected’ in its Highlands and. Islands manifesto or ‘a further 20% highly protected’ in its Scotland-wide manifesto – I wonder which target would have been pursued if Labour had gained power in 2021? Did it think a bigger protected area would go down better in the Highlands and Islands? But then what’s 10 percentage points of a difference anyway?

    Well, arguably a significant difference!. After all the Scottish Government has been consulting on whether and where 10% of Scotland’s seas should be highly protected: 10% seems to equate to the scale of drafting sloppiness between two contemporaneous Labour manifesto documents!

    But then Labour politicians and commitments – what are they like?

    Anyone hear Keir Starmer’s car crash of an interview of Radio 4’s Today programme this morning? Rowing back on his prior commitment to abolish university tuition fees in England and it seems now against raising taxes on wealthy people.

    As well as listening to the the interview – it’s ‘educational’ – I suggest reading the analysis and comment btl on it in Richard Murphy’s Tax Research blog –

    This should be essential reading for anyone in Scotland still holding on to the delusion that under its present leadership, Labour would be a left of centre, progressive party of government!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. So this rich Pratt with a non historic Scottish name


    To those who do not deserve ONLY MONEY IS THE CLAIM

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Scotland needs serious land reform. There has to be a clearance of non Dom land owners, and land thieves who call themselves owners, some who are wrecking the eco system with their hunting and killing of Scotland’s wildlife. Compulsory purchase after independence, rich folks threatening to throw people out if they don’t get their own way is totally unacceptable.


  8. Interesting to note this morning HMS James Cook has launched yet another propaganda salvo with “Why are Highly Protected Marine Areas so controversial?” as if ‘Because the BBC are instrumental in making it controversial on behalf of political forces opposed to it’ is not the obvious answer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.